Are You in the Wrong War?

"...to hear some Christians talk, we’re apparently in a war with others, culturally and politically.  I’ve been told things like, 'We’re in a battle for the soul of America' and 'If we don’t win against the Liberals we won’t be able to preach the Gospel.'" - P&D

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Some more...

for far too many Christians, we are at war with the very people we’re called to reach.  Christian friends, God has not called you to a culture war, a holy war, or any war against flesh and blood.  The church is not an outpost in a political struggle, and pastors are not its generals.  Instead, Jesus commanded us to “Love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44), “Pray for those who persecute you” (also Matthew 5:44), and said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 511-12) because, after all, “Human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (James 1:20).

One point of disagreement, we are in a culture war and are called to fight in one. But it's not a war against people. It's a war against ideas, and that should make it obvious what kind of approach is required (hint: this is a war of persuasion not a war of coercion)

5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, (ESV, 2 Co 10:5)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

When Paul stated, "advance the gospel", it is the very message that the Church is missing today.  Instead we are focused more on advancing a political ideology, a candidate, a media personality in attacking those who we deem are aggressive towards our morals in order for us to resurrect a government and society that re-establishes these morals through legislation and practice.  We have entirely forgotten what the gospel is, how to spread it and the power that it contains.  The gospel stands in stark contrast to the darkness of the world.  It shines brightest when it is darkest and we can't share it with those that we have shunned.

What I am glad for today is that it has become quite clear that legislating morality has clearly failed and that it cannot take the place of the gospel.  We can't make sinners good by outlawing alcohol, abortion....  And Christ has clearly shown how quickly this can "spin on a dime" and change and fall away.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Unfortunately many people confuse the gospel and citizenship but in a way that most won't consider. They believe that gospel ministry/witness and faithful citizenship cannot coexist. We can either be faithful gospel witnesses or we can be faithful citizens who work for, yes even fight for, our civil and civic rights. Some, particularly over the past year, seem to think that we cannot do both. It has been an unfortunate scenario.

Truth be told, Christians should be at the front of fighting for civil and civic rights because they are matters of justice, not convenience. Christians, more than all other people, have a reason to fight for these things, not just for themselves but for the good of society.

So when someone says, "We have entirely forgotten what the gospel is, how to spread it and the power that it contains," I am not sure who "we" is, but I will not allow myself to be put in that category. The point of legislation is not to make sinners good but to make society better for us all. And what's the alternative? Have no legislation? Or leave the legislation up to unbelievers? Of course very few would claim the former and only the most radical of the radical Reformationists would claim the latter. To the contrary, faithful Christians must be faithful citizens, trying to influence society for the better through legislation, public policy, and good citizenship. And faithful Christians must never confuse that with gospel work.

Don Johnson's picture

Larry wrote:

Unfortunately many people confuse the gospel and citizenship but in a way that most won't consider. They believe that gospel ministry/witness and faithful citizenship cannot coexist. We can either be faithful gospel witnesses or we can be faithful citizens who work for, yes even fight for, our civil and civic rights. Some, particularly over the past year, seem to think that we cannot do both.

Larry, what would be the biblical precedent or justification for your view?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry's picture

Moderator

Larry, what would be the biblical precedent or justification for your view?

I assume this is tongue in cheek.

Don Johnson's picture

You've made an assertion, sounds like a strong position. I'd like to see if you have a scriptural foundation for  your position 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry's picture

Moderator

I didn't imagine you were seriously questioning whether we should love our neighbors and enemies and work for the best of the society we live in. My apologies.

I guess I could quote a bunch of verses on loving our neighbors and our enemies. I could quote some verses on justice and kindness. There are verses on doing good for all men. I could go with teaching on respecting and caring for the image of God in man. I wouldn't think that would be either hidden or controversial but I guess I am wrong on that. My apologies for thinking that was tongue in cheek.

Interestingly, this seems to be the very type of thing the article was about (and you posted it didn't you?). If we don't like unbelievers, they likely won't listen to us. Part of liking unbelievers is working for their good in society.

dgszweda's picture

Larry wrote:

 

Larry wrote:

 

Unfortunately many people confuse the gospel and citizenship but in a way that most won't consider. They believe that gospel ministry/witness and faithful citizenship cannot coexist. We can either be faithful gospel witnesses or we can be faithful citizens who work for, yes even fight for, our civil and civic rights. Some, particularly over the past year, seem to think that we cannot do both.

 

I would say Larry that "Some, particularly over the past year, seem to think that citizenship overshadows the gospel".  I think we would all agree that we should be good neighbors, and love others.  What we are seeing in our churches is that we have shifted from a Spiritual war to a political war.  Yes, they lay connections between the political war and the spiritual war, but the goal for many seems to be less about winning souls and expressing the gospel and more about overthrowing Biden and establishing Trump at all cost, or war against the government in general (mask, vaccines.... everything else in this list).  It is surprising the emphasis that people have put on the "overthrow" of the political establishment.  Both Christ and the Apostles lived under intense persecution (including practically all of them losing their life over their beliefs), and despite all of that, there is no reference to "fighting for their civil and civic rights".  Instead the NT is replete with Scriptures that focus on government being established and ordained by God.  Living peacably with government...  For me that emphasis has guided my life to wane on the side of obeying government with a good attitude and focus on changing people's lives through the gospel.  It doesn't mean that we shouldn't vote and speak out against injustice, it just means it is not our focus.  The Israelites were seeking that from Christ and He didn't give it to them.  I see nowhere Scripturally that stormig the capital building to overthrow the law and resestablish Trump, based on nonsensical reasoning is scripturally justified.  Not saying that you are saying that either, but there are many in our churches who would love to see the Pillow Guy's ideas of having Trump reinstated by the Supreme Court as a good thing.

JD Miller's picture

What confuses me is that many on SI who think we are too preoccupied with politics are often the ones who keep bringing up politics.  

Don Johnson's picture

JD Miller wrote:

What confuses me is that many on SI who think we are too preoccupied with politics are often the ones who keep bringing up politics.  

I think we respond when political topics are raised, but I don't recall "bringing it up" 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

There's a difference between bringing up the topic of politics and being driven by political concerns. It's like talking about combustion engines vs. riding in a car. You can do the former all day without doing the latter.

Unfortunately many people confuse the gospel and citizenship but in a way that most won't consider. They believe that gospel ministry/witness and faithful citizenship cannot coexist. We can either be faithful gospel witnesses or we can be faithful citizens who work for, yes even fight for, our civil and civic rights. Some, particularly over the past year, seem to think that we cannot do both.

This touches on the idea that medium = message, which has been on my mind the last few days. Someone said--in some other context--"Say it with gentleness so that your emotion isn't louder than the truth." What seems to be happening with evangelicals and conservatives lately is that the way we're pursuing what we believe is best for society/our country is drowning out the substance of it--and drowning out our ability to be witnesses in the Acts 1:8 sense as well. 

So in a war of persuasion, a vital question is, what are we really communicating? I think many hear hate, whether that's what we mean to transmit or not. (I believe too many really are hateful but that's another topic.)

So yes, Christian/gospel living and passionate citizenship can co-exist but it's really easy for the less important of the two to be much louder than the most important.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Joeb's picture

They say there is 200 Million Christians In China.  Many due to the ministry of Hudson Taylor Im guessing and the China In Land Mission now known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship.  These Chinese Christians truly live under persecution by a True Tyrannical Government.  It's been going on for 80 years.  Yet the Chinese Church is thriving.  The Chinese Christians are not worrying about their RIGHTS AND GUN RIGHTS whatever.  They are truly changing hearts and minds for Christ in their underground churches.  They put the Evangelical Church in the United States to shame in some ways. In my opinion we have lost our way due to the Christian Right and to Evangelical INC.

How much further we stray I believe deals with Donald Trump.  In my mind the only true Believer in Congress is Congressman Adam Kinsinger.  I don't know if Liz Channey is a Christian but at least she is honest. The others are complicit with Trump and buy into the Cultural War Baloney and complete lies. Now their threatening violence again when they return September 18th.  Lying Congressman Cauthorne came right out and pushed the big lie and threatened bloodshed  if they don't get their way.  If that's an honorable young man of God that's news to me.  

My son in law is Chinese and his parents got out of Communist China via British Hong Kong and then to NJ. They see all this Cat and Dog fighting in the US Political System and they think American Evangelicals have their priorities skewed since they know what it is like to live under TRUE TYRANNY.  Abortions by gun point my friends and people disappearing off the face of the earth. Sadly my son in law and his parents lost my son in law's brother when he was 12 years old in NJ making my Son In Law an only child.  

My 1 year old granddaughter has been a real blessing to all of us but especially to my Son IN Law's parents.  God willing my daughter will have more children.  Problem is my daughter has medical issues that make it hard for her to get pregnant   My daughter has endodemetrious which is very painful. Please pray for my daughter she just went through a horrific operation to reattach her rectum to her body.  Lots of cutting and stitching and she is fighting an infection post surgery.  It breaks my heart to see my daughter suffer at such a young age.  My mother suffered every year like that until she died when I was 18   

Although my Son In Law did share a funny story about his parents trying to swim across the Hong Kong Bay to freedom when they were 18.  My Son In Law said his father law wrapped some rice and fish in paper with some oil which his mother didn't bother with and told him not to bother with it.  The oil gave my Son In Law's father the runs which ended their swim to freedom.  They ended up on an Island and surrendered themselves to some fishermen.  They both spent 6 months in prison for that swim to freedom   They were able to get out to Hong Kong later when things loosened up.  
 

 

JD Miller's picture

Joab,

Thank you for sharing the story of your son in-law's family and how they risked their lives to reach freedom.  I recently visited with my cousin's husband who fled Viet Nam.  His father got out first, and it took him 11 years before his father was reunited with his mother.  I told him that he should write down the account of all that had happened.  You and I may disagree on politics, but I do agree that few in this country understand what living under Communism is like.   One of the reasons that many Evangelicals want to protect the freedom we have here is so that we can continue to distribute Bibles and literature as well as sermons and podcasts throughout the world.  I have a brother in law who got saved after listening to pirated podcasts.

I am praying for your daughter.