Why Politics And Not Religion?
Recently some people have begun to ask me why I took down my ministry page and why I'm not focusing on "spreading the gospel." One even went so far as to say that they feared that I was "leaving my faith behind." That really is the impetus for this article, and it is why I feel I need to answer this question.
In America today, stressing today, we have been taught that our religion should have nothing to do with our politics. We are no longer being taught that there should not be a mandated religion, but that in order to be in, or speak about, politics, you must leave your religion at the door.
In other words, freedom from religion and not freedom of religion.
This is pure and utter madness, and it also is why we are in such a dismal political state as a country.
As a pastor, I have been repeatedly told that my political writings will, "push some away from the Gospel." Also, I have been told that I am, "pushing people away from Christ with my rhetoric."
Yet let me turn it around for a moment. If there is no discernable difference between the Church and the world, why would anyone consider being a part of the Church?
The philosophy that these people are presenting is that we have to, "get them into the church so they can hear the good news!" This... is... rubbish.
The Bible never says, "Bring people into the church so they can hear the Gospel." It says, "Go ye unto all the world," and that is my first bone of contention with this modern "Seeker Friendly" philosophy. The Church service is NOT a place for seekers, it is a place for the spiritual feeding of the congregation. A place where they learn to be more like Christ and to help to refine them.
This seeker friendly church philosophy is largely responsible for the weak and worldly state of many Christians today.
My second bone to pick is that these people have come to equate numerical growth with success instead of spiritual growth. I would any day rather be congregated with twenty hard core and sold out believers than 3,000 wishy washy worldly believers who are generally still seekers themselves if they are even believers at all.
But I have digressed a bit in order to make a point, so I should get to it. The reality of our situation today is that we no longer have the luxury of political neutrality. It is sad, but it is true.
In my time ministering to the homeless and the low income, I was repeatedly accosted with the question, "How come no one ever told me this?" As I would show them scriptures speaking directly to the behaviors that were their particular sin of choice. They had been in church for years and no one had ever confronted them about the sin in their lives because "having them in church" was what mattered, not actually growing them spiritually.
This speaks to a larger dynamic in our society. As the voice of the Church, and thereby the voice of Christ, in our society grows quieter and more accepting of peoples CONTINUED sinful behaviors, our political system becomes more and more rife with sin and the condoning of sinful behavior itself.
In other words, the more we accept the, "go along to get along" mentality, the more we see the difference between the Church and the world disappear. When you cannot tell the difference between the Christian and the non Christian at the club on Saturday night, there is a problem.
Not to mention asking why a believer would be there in the first place.
But there we go, if we confront that sin, we might push them out. Well, maybe they need that in order to come to terms with their own sinful behavior so that they can, as Paul said, be disfellowshipped in the body for the purpose of saving their soul.
Yet in the end, I found that it was politics, not religion, that was the biggest hinderance to sharing the Gospel. It was city edicts banning open air church services. It was anti-discrimination laws that forced pastors to turn in their sermon notes to the city so that they can be reviewed under threat of shut down. It was anti-proselytizing laws that forced believers into using the church as a means of evangelism rather than as a means of growth.
These are all political issues, not religious ones, and yet they DEEPLY impact the Church's ability to actually accomplish its goal, purpose, and mission.
So it became clear to me that in order to actually accomplish the great commission, I had to do as Paul did and challenge the social order of the day. I have to tell believers to stop buying the idols of the Roman merchants, even if it turns the country and some "believers" against the me
Why? Because being right with God is infinitely more important that being right with man.
I have not left my charge to the Great Commission. I have not left my charge to care for my flock. I have not left my charge to build a Godly congregation that learns to be more like Christ each day.
What I have left is my cowardice that caused me to watch "helplessly" as the unbelievers in this country destroyed its moral core.
No more silent mewings meant to "encourage" believers to "just play nice" and hope someone will believe despite society.
I want nothing more than to bring the world to Christ, but unfortunately today that starts by tearing down these man made political barriers.
And to be hated as Paul was.
I only hope that Dietrich Bonhoeffer knows just how much of an impact he made by his martyrdom.