When I was a member of the liberal church, we spent hours debating and voting on resolutions to legislatures supporting leftist causes and opposing racism and greed. At the time I wondered, what would the apostles think of this method to improve public morality?
In the 70’s, Evangelicals joined the political game by actively lobbying to make abortion illegal, not just for believers, but for everyone. Later James Dobson led the fight to get legislation passed against the sexual revolution, including sexuality in the media and pornography. This was done largely to protect America’s families and children from growing promiscuity. Many Evangelicals, including myself, hopped on the Focus on the Family bandwagon. How did we do?
Now candidate Trump woos religious conservatives, promising them more political clout by repealing an old law prescribing tax penalties for religious groups who get involved in politics. Many of our leaders applaud this, but is this really a good thing for the cause of Christ? And what has been the fruit of this push by Christians to change public morality through political action?
- Results The liberal church made no dent in eliminating racism and greed. How about our Evangelical efforts in the political ring? Has America’s morality improved over the last 40 years? Can we point to any real gains in issues of abortions? How about homosexual marriage, pornography and sexual morality in general?
- History And what does history teach us about Christian crusades to improve public morality by political means? Consider prohibition, the largely Christian movement which resulted in getting a constitutional ban on alcohol passed in 1920. How did that work out? We’ve heard that insanity is doing the same thing over and over, failing each time, yet continue to expect different results. Isn’t that us?
- Reputation. How do folks outside the church view us today? Does the man in the street see us as a positive force for morality or as sanctimonious spoil sports—self-appointed policemen of the bedroom?
- Mission. When believers campaign against sin in elections, in public courts and political arenas, are we truly obeying Christ’s command to love one another and make disciples? Do we demonstrate our love for God and our fellow-man by demonstrating against sin?
- Job Description Is it the job of the Christian church to convince the world of sin? “When the Holy Spirit comes, he will show the people of the world how wrong they are about sin, about being right with God, and about judgment.” (John 16:8) Is it possible we try to play God when we shout our indignation to an unsaved world at how badly they are behaving?
- Our Children. We got into this fight for them. Is our world a better and safer place for our children and grandchildren? Are we winning our youth to Christ or turning them off?
- Membership. Has the church gained or lost members over the last 40 years?
In short, has our plunge into the political arena stirred the moral conscience of society or is it costing us our authentic witness and losing the ear of the American public?
Our next post addresses the question, “What does Jesus and the apostles say about our modern obsession with politics?”
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