I’m sorry, but somebody has got to write this… I didn’t want it to be me. I would love to find another blog and share it so that I don’t take the heat for thinking this way. I know that it won’t be popular and I cringe at the thoughts that will run through your head, but I am mad enough not to care so much. I have prayed, I have tried to see a different perspective, I have laid this all at the cross, but it still must come out because it seems to be fire shut up in my bones.
The more that I get to know myself, the more that I realize that God put a good bit of “Reformer” personality in me. I know it is to be used for His purposes alone and when it comes out in other things, it can cause quite a stir in me and in others. I told David the other day that I wish God would call me to run for office right now or become a journalist, because I am just in the mood to kick some corruption, evil, injustice fanny. I know that I have to be careful not to be divisive, but when you stand for truth it WILL be divisive.
Let me state that again… When you stand for truth, when you stand for the Word, when you stand for Jesus, it WILL be divisive. People will hate you. They will call you intolerant. They will accuse you of hatemongering. They will try to shut you up. And by “they” I thought I only meant the world, but now I am starting to think it will come from the Christian community as well.
Jesus said “I have come to bring fire on earth and oh, how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to undergo and how distressed I am until it is completed. Did you think I came to bring peace to this earth? No, I tell you, but division.” Jesus had fire shut up in His bones too. I believe this verse came out of a heart that was struggling to live in a world filled with injustice, corruption, dishonesty, and evil.
I wonder what people thought or said of Jesus when he walked into the temple and started overturning tables and destroying the money changers property. “Oh, Jesus. You shouldn’t do that. You, of all people, should know that we need to walk in love.” What about when He called Herod a “fox” or the Pharisees (yep, they were definitely a political party) “whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones.”
Jesus didn’t pull punches. He didn’t tiptoe. He went straight to the heart of the matter. So why is it that when Christians do that these days we get it from both sides? Why, when we are purely revealing truths and stating honest facts, do we get accused of deviating from the message of Christ? Why are we hearing SO MUCH these days about separation of Christians and government? Do we really want to see a government without Christian influence? Do we really want to keep our noses completely out of what is happening in the leadership and the laws of our land? Is it really time to stop standing up for truth, to stop fighting for it, to mind our own business with our eyes on the sky?
God forbid! Following Christ should permeate every aspect of our lives. The way that we live as individuals, as a society, as a nation, and as a culture. The Church, by definition, is a government type organization. We have leaders, we have helpers of the leaders, we have advisors to the helpers of the leaders…political. In order to have accountability, you must have politics. So why now are passionate, God-fearing Christians being accused of missing the point and not walking in love if they care about what is happening in our nation and continue to fight it.
Rick Warren says recently “If I thought politicians could change people’s hearts, I would go into government. “If I thought laws could change people’s hearts, I would go into government. But I don’t, so I’m not.” If we all thought like Rick Warren, there would be no Christians in politics, no Christians in the leadership of our nation… Can politics change the hearts of people? Not directly, but definitely indirectly… Saying that politics is wrong for a Christian to care about and fight for because it has nothing to do directly with the hearts of people is like saying that anyone who gives to missionaries in some way is wrong because they are not directly on the mission field. Why does Pastor Warren even have the freedom to make such a statement? Because of politics. Why does he get to sell books and preach openly and pray at government events and host debate forums? Because of politics.
I just have a really hard time with being told to “sit down and shut up” in essence by both the world and the Christian community. Yes, let’s go after hearts…Jesus did that… but He did it in the political arena as well if that was what was needed. He confronted. He stood before. He wasn’t swayed by “well, if I do this or say this, I may ostracize some people and they may not follow me.”
How about Ed Stetzer who says “When you mix Christianity and politics, you get politics.” So what do you get when you separate Christianity and politics?? You feel free to answer this question in your mind. But I think we are treading on dangerous ground when we even infer that it is wrong for Christians to be involved in politics. I think we are headed toward relativism and compromise when we say that we should all just “get along” no matter what it takes and that is what walking in love looks like. Tell that to the prophets… tell that to Jesus as He is being crucified for bringing truth to the midst of politics… tell that to Paul as he traveled the world and stood before kings and leaders praying he would influence them. Christians are now uncomfortable making others uncomfortable and that my friend, is dangerous territory for the Church.
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” II Timothy 4:3-4
“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you”. John 15:18
“When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan.” Proverbs 29:2
“Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people.” Proverbs 14:34
How can the same church honor and exort people who have served in our military and yet chastise people for being “political” or concern and involved in matters of our government? Shouldn’t we be thanking our brothers and sisters in the trenches of politics who endure it from both sides day in and day out so that we can have some semblence of Christ in our nation’s government. What does it say to our Christian leaders fighting for justice every day when we make statements like Ed Stetzer? It reeks of complete arrogance… “I am following Christ because I am reaching the lost from my pulpit of church government that you are out there fighting to give me… but you are wrong to be fighting for all that stuff… Jesus will take care of that… He doesn’t need you to be involved.” Really?? Well seems to me that Jesus could save all the souls He wanted without us too, but He doesn’t. He allows us the privilege to be involved in His plan… to exult when righteousness conquers and sin is destroyed… to watch as truth sets people free… to be leaders, Senators, Judges, Magistrates, and soldiers… to be in the world, but not of it… to let people see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
Whatever God calls you to do on this earth, may you work at it with all your heart and all your might, not paying attention to the ones who would distract you from your call… and if it is a call to politics, may God put His Hand on every one of your endeavors. As the church backs away from you, may the Holy Spirit take up residence all the more. As you fight corruption and dishonesty, may the justice of our God go with you and temper you with mercy from the cross. And as you fight in the trenches, I will be right here supporting you in every possible election, giving money to your campaign, revealing truths to others, and hoping and praying you are given the right to make decisions for this great country.