A house is engulfed in flames. All the neighbors gather around and watch as slowly but surely the house is destroyed. Many neighbors cannot see the flames and suggest that the reports of a fire are erroneous and based upon ancient neighborhood traditions. In fact, some neighbors strongly suggest that the homeowner has a right to have his home destroyed by fire. The homeowner himself sits in his living room, unaware of the grave circumstances surrounding him.
Now some neighbors claim that the way to respond is to outlaw fire, although the fire starts naturally from lightning or from the home owner himself. Some homeowners claim to love fire. Still the fire rages, and still the debate over what to do continues. There are some neighbors who desire to speak to the homeowner and tell him of the dangers of fire, and they also desire to educate the entire neighborhood as well. Many join in with this point of view. The fire is immoral and must be stopped.
There is much back and forth within the neighborhood but many fires continue to burn and many more are started. But there are group of neighbors who insist that the reason for these fires is because the homeowners are blind and cannot see these fires and they are deaf and cannot hear the warnings. These neighbors strongly believe that all homeowners need eye and ear transplants so they can see, hear, and understand. They suggest that until the homeowner receives new ears and eyes, he cannot and will not understand and change his ways. Just addressing the fires, they say, cannot solve the problem. In short, the fire is not the problem; the homeowner is the problem.
This weekend saw a gathering of evangelical leaders and presidential hopefuls. The men and women were “courting” the religious right in hopes of eliciting their votes next year. The main issues were abortion, gay marriage, national security, and the economy. I completely understand the entire political procession and all the temporal accoutrements that accompany such spectacles. Humanism demands the abilities and power of man, usually leveraged by force, or in this case, the gathering of numerical supremacy. That is exactly what the humanistic Greeks thought when they instituted democracy.
But what I cannot understand is why people who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who profess to believe He is the only way to eternal life, can engage is such temporal things and in so doing mask the gospel with moral ornaments and political dominance. The church in America continues to bring water buckets to a fire without realizing that the homeowner needs a new heart. How do I know this? Because I only am pro-life because I was born again. I only view adultery and homosexuality as sinful because God changed my heart. I was not convinced by science or political pressure or voting blocks, but only by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God AFTER I became a believer.
What shall it profit a man if he is on the right side of all the moral issues but loses his own soul? We cannot, we must not, soil our garments by participation in the cesspool of politics because in so doing we besmirch the glory of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! This is not about “bringing America back to God” because America never was with God. America has always been a pluralistic nation that just like every nation considers her rights and her interests above those of other countries. Is that the teachings of Christ? American politics has infiltrated the visible church and deceived Christ’s disciples into believing that God calls us to protect America's interests. In fact, no follower of Jesus should love any country at all! (I realize some will desire to stone me for that one!)
I do not hate America. What I do hate is when we engage in sinful activities and somehow claim it is God’s will. If there is anything that can be called sin it is the America political extravaganza that is built upon the foundation of obscene amounts of money, power, judgment, self righteousness, and allegiance to a carnal system. I do take heart in knowing that many believers have come to realize that what we have been taught about nationalism, democracy, and political clout is against the teachings of the New Testament. But still many are weighted down with politics and “conservative” issues.
We have strayed from the cross and the empty tomb, and we have reduced the glorious labor of God’s Son into moral squabbles and national interests. We have made democracy an idol, and we have made the founding fathers into saints. But the early believers knew no such compromise, and the clear teachings of Scripture call us out to be a different and peculiar people. In the coming months you will see how the world seeks to accomplish their hopes and dreams, and you will see many churches support candidates based upon some moral stands and promises.
But shun your own self righteousness about it. Do not allow your carnal nature to be lifted up just because you do not participate in the political process. Most of us can remember when we used to be among the political throngs, but I can tell you that there is much freedom when God leads you out. Suddenly I can love a Barney Frank or a Michelle Bachmann or a Barak Obama. Why? Because I see them all through the prism of God’s redemption, and I stand completely upon the foundation of my own need of God’s grace.
As you see the coming political spectacle, remember to keep looking for Him who presented the greatest spectacle of all many years ago in Jerusalem. And He supports no political party or agenda.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
A Form of Great Compromise