What is your opinion of where sinful social issues and politics collide in the church?
To be honest, I am not sure where I am at on it. It seems that we are dangerously close to the Lord's church being driven underground. Looking back at history we need to remember that the freedom and lack of harassment that we have enjoyed in this country for the better part of two hundred years are but a blip on the radar of history. Traditionally Christians have always been persecuted and harassed. Of course. Jesus told us to expect this.
I think that beyond the obvious social issues we think about; abortion, homosexuality, and others; it is hard not to overstate the importance the leaders in our country have on the moral agenda in the country. Whether you liked President Clinton or not, think about the leftover damage that we still suffer from as a country. Lying, extramarital affairs, condoms in the classroom; all of these were things that would have killed a candidate thirty years ago. Now we have accepted them as a society through the slow drip of being in our consciousness precipitated by our leaders. I was borrowing some stuff from one of your sermons, and you made the excellent point that many of the traits we are supposed to embrace today; diversity, tolerance, etc.; was the exact opposite of Jesus and his Apostles; yet most Christians would be the first to state publicly that they both harbor and endorse these traits.
I do not know where to go with this, but educating the flock I would think would be a good place to start. I know this is a very controversial stand to take, and I would never do it in a church. But it would seem to me that we have a duty as Christians to take a stand in the culture wars. Our conversation started about growing the Lord's church. Does it not make it much harder to convert people in an increasingly secular, atheist culture? We talk about taking a stand for the truth in the context of defending our practices against those of denominations. So why would we not take a stand for the truth in a public manner where we can do some good in a cultural manner? So the big question would seem to me to be; what does the Bible say about it? What does the Bible authorize in this manner, what is prohibited, and where is it silent? Jesus openly challenged the religious and political leaders of his day. I do not wish you to think that I am some nut or extremist; I once again wish to emphasize that I would never preach anything like this from the pulpit. I do think that the time may come that elders in faithful churches start looking at this kind of teaching from a strictly biblical perspective.
Anytime our preacher mentions anything about social issues (which is hardly ever and done so in a very politically correct manner), you can always hear the elder that sits in front of me, myself, and few others give the hearty amen! Sorry to be so lengthy, just wanted to make sure I gave a worthy accounting of what I thought on this issue. To conclude, I think that the greatest threat to the Lord's Church in modern America is our own government. So what are your thoughts on this topic?
I guess I don't see much controversy for myself. The rule is always, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). I end up stirring up controversy, but only because I stand firm in God's teachings. I don't take sides on political candidates, but I do teach about morality. Hence, when Clinton was in office, I did teach about lying and used the articles justifying lying by Clinton as examples of society getting right and wrong mixed up. I do teach from the pulpit that fornication and homosexuality are sins and I'll use the arguments from the paper to show why they are wrong. I've taught on the sin of abortion and one young lady left because she thought there ought to be exceptions to God's teachings. But things like that rarely happen.
One thing I don't do is say that a person needs to vote for a particular candidate. That's not my business. Yet, if someone takes an immoral stand in public, I'm not against naming the person, quoting his arguments, and proving him to be wrong by God's Word. Of course, we have to take stands in the culture wars. We have to say that right is right, wrong is wrong, and here is why. If God's own people won't defend His laws, who will? One of the faults God charges the Israelites is: "They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me," says the LORD" (Jeremiah 9:3).
I don't let who is in office or what society thinks to modify God's teachings. I really don't care what government is in charge in regards to what I need to teach. I vote. I do hope that better choices are made and that a better government is formed, but in the meantime, there is truth to be taught. I don't plan to go underground. I want to be among those who turn the world upside down.
"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels" (Mark 8:38).
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek" (Romans 1:16).
"Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).