Are you a Christian who takes seriously your belief in Christ and His Truth for our world – or a schizophrenic Christian who fails to engage culture through the compartmentalizing of your faith? Because when it comes to spreading godless values through your school, church, or government – guess which Christian the liberals prefer?
However, as we’ve written in the past, there are Christians who seem to continue having difficulty understanding the power of the Gospel in shining the light of truth into all spheres of life. Jonathan Merritt (a faith and culture writer for USA Today, etc.) writes on Faith and Culture (6/11/13) that, “During the last 25 years, the Southern Baptist Convention has rushed headlong into conservative politics, often parroting Republican talking points and baptizing the GOP’s agenda…American evangelicalism is becoming more politically diverse and nuanced than it once was, particularly among young people.” Merritt notes that, “If the Southern Baptist Convention wants to regain the credibility, interest, and relevance it has lost, the denomination must learn to put first things first. Namely, sharing the gospel through missions and showing the gospel through acts of service, compassion, and justice.”
While I agree with Merritt on the foolishness of churches automatically jumping on the Republican bandwagon, and Christians keeping the gospel front and center – I hope that Merritt is not implying that Christians, for the sake of our young people, withdraw from active participation in Government. Because Government, like the institution of Church and Family, has been designed by God to bring order to His creation. Sure, politics can be a corruptible business. But there’s a big difference between men twisting politics for their own purposes – and God’s eternal, unshakeable Truths. And it’s Christians who, of anyone, should understand and stand for the truths given to us by God for the flourishing of community. How are we to make disciples of all the nations if we can’t share how the gospel relates to their family, community, and government?
Chuck Baldwin, syndicated columnist, and pastor, states that most Christians virtually know nothing on American history, or have any sort of understanding on the philosophy of government “America’s current generation of Christians has allowed itself to become pathetically ignorant as to the Biblical, Natural Law principles of liberty and government.”
Baldwin believes that it’s unfortunate that Christians (including pastors) have a fairly emaciated understanding when it comes to the topics of American History, law and government. And I’d have to agree. Because when reading the Bible, and then reading early American thinkers – some Christian (like Blackstone, Abbot, and Mayhew) and some (like Jefferson) who had an appreciation for Christianity, but weren’t Christians themselves – you begin to grasp just what our communities were attempting to do when they formed their Governments. True, the creation of a Government designed to protect Christian Liberty, Law and Truth hasn’t always been easy. But if one were to read documents like the Federalist or Anti-Federalist Papers, John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, George Washington’s Farewell Address, or Alexander Stephens’ History of the United States, you just might come away with a better understanding in effectively ministering to our communities.
It’s a false dichotomy to say we should spread the gospel – which applies to every sphere of life – but then refrain from an involvement in Government. And through failing to properly engage culture in regards to what we claim to believe about God’s law, and His authority over creation, “We Christians are, for the most part, unwitting contributors to the demise of freedom and rise of oppression in our land,” Baldwin writes. “Without a firm grasp of necessary truth, how can we know what to do, who to believe, or how to act?”
- Chuck Baldwin: An Open Letter to America’s Christians
- Religion News Service: What Southern Baptist must do to slow their decline
- True Liberty: How to be a Believer in Christ
- God and Government: A Christian Responsibility
- Christian Media: Word and Way’s Cynthia Holmes slams Liberty movement
- Does Southern Baptist organization “LifeWay” support Porn?