As a nation, right now, we are at a crossroads in history. I am gripped by a strong urge in my spirit to push forward in discussions that blend spiritual revival with toxic distractions and soul-numbing passivity. What I mean to say is that opportunities for a spiritual breakthrough are here, right now; but way too many Christians are passive and are losing out. Now, I must admit that I am a Christian with moderate conservative leanings, so the tone shared here may not be comfortable for those that are more liberal leaning, nonetheless, I ask that you prayerfully read the entire contents. Christians are separated from political discourse. Why? They don’t have a clue about economics or political theory, they turn their eye away from the violent rhetoric gripping our nation, or grab their information from heavily right or left wing leaning headlines. It is doubtful that ministries are teaching the flock on how to deal with the national debate. Lance Wallnau believes that “the church is about five years behind the curve”. Bottom line is that this is not a normal moment in history and too many Christians are not equipped to talk about the issues that plague our nation.
It is almost impossible to discuss political issues today without setting off some emotional responses or outburst. Some issues have become so supercharged and hypersensitive that many simply wont touch it. Why? Because some topics are loaded with figurative landmines that have become so polarized that your political leanings or philosophy simply does not matter – anyone and everyone can be criticized and/or negatively characterized. What makes this complicated for Christians is that this is not just a secular problem, it is impacting all of us. We are now in a time where Christians are pitted against Christians. In such a climate, how can any progress be made? I know this will be criticized but we cannot ignore this topic, because God doesn’t.
For our nation, trouble isn’t coming, some evangelical leaders believe that trouble is here. This means the days and years ahead will be of a different caliber of difficulty and complexity than anything we’ve ever known in the past. The new normal will not look like the 80s, 90s, or even the 00’s. I believe it will be more challenging than people expect, but the kingdom opportunities are far beyond what we imagine. Christians must not get complacent or be passive, they need to find where and how they can get involved. Get outside of your circle and have open, honest, and civil discussions with others that have opinions which differ from yours. Learn why people believe what they believe – and do it with grace and honor.
In the Old Testament (2 Kings), there was a group debating severe issues for themselves. As they contemplated their courses of action they asked themselves “Why do we sit here until we die”? (2 Kings 7:3). They correctly asserted that complacency and passivity would not solve any problems. Once they made a decision, at the prompting of their heart, the Lord prepared their path. Psalm 11:3 reads that “If the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do”? The Book of Hebrews reminds us [what the righteous can do]. God is still up to something and we need to join Him in His work. Who speaks for Christians today? The answer is simple. You do.
We have to stay [courageously] and culturally relevant. It’s not only possible but absolutely necessary for Christians and Christian values to become a vital element in the overall moral and cultural discourse of our nation. Without our strategic involvement in the culture shaping this nation we simply cannot be the great and glorious society it once was and what we are meant to be. The Lord knows that we are resourced with excellent resources to be great – He provided them. Let me be up front – the issues we have today are absolutely not President Trump’s fault, though it can be argued that he is complicit. I would argue that the members of our Congress, on all sides, are more accountable as are past administrations. But, back to the church, the church is almost a nonentity when it comes to shaping culture. Mike Bickle argues that “Cultural decay is dragging our young people into gutters of oppression and perversion. War on God fearing Christians is escalating as nations heave in the throes of crises, birth pangs, and political correctness”. If you don’t believe this, then ask yourself why condoms are now distributed in public schools without parent permission or oversight, but the Bible and the principles it contains are banned. How did this happen? Because Christians have abdicated all rules – we got scared.
For too long Christians have allowed themselves to be bullied to hide in closets or under the bed. Christians are under attack, our faith is on the decline in the USA. We should not be ashamed of our faith anymore than a member of the LGBTQ community is told that they do not need to be ashamed of their choices. We should have courage to stand up for who we are and we should defend it to anyone. We don’t have to sit back and wring our hands at the way our culture is going down the drain. But I believe that churches in the US are missing it and as a result, its members are missing it. Salt and light, this is what we have been tasked to do. In love, we can remove the hate one bit at a time; don’t be violent but do not be afraid to be loud, always remaining in love. Our country is on the decline while our politicians are trying to lead a nation that is at war with itself. It is a dangerous time but Christians can, as ordained, bring the government of heaven to the earth.
Dave Barton, the founder and leader of Wallbuilders, offers the following:
90% of pastors believe the bible addresses current issues such as abortion, same sex marriage, immigration, socialism vs. free enterprise. While 90% believe the bible has something to say, only 10% are willing to address the issues. Are they concerned about being seen as political? They don’t want to take risks? Afraid they will lose members? Worried about losing tax exempt status? But, if churches cannot (or will not) do this, then how do you mobilize Christians to change, or turn, the political climate? Conservative churches have a biblical mandate to teach but they are choosing to ignore things in order to be a safe space. Does this make the church irrelevant? These days, people are choosing to invest their time into things that are relevant to their lives, not on topics or lectures that do not intersect with what their lives or the life questions in their daily struggles. Is this why Millennial’s are leaving the church? Evidence suggests that they are engaged with others that are open and having free willing conversations. Instead churches are focused on hope, potential, dreams, and prophecy; it is really a challenge.
I don’t know where Dave got these statistics but I trust him. So, we have less than 4 weeks until the mid-term elections and rather than mobilizing people to talk about things to turn around the political climate, politicians and their helpers are mobilizing brain power to determine how to survive. I would argue that instead of just hanging around the fringes of our culture, we (Christians) need to be right smack dab in the middle of it. I am extremely tempted to argue conservative versus liberal, but not today, this is about Christian involvement. So here we are as Christians, we ring our hands, we pray, we listen to our favorite worship music or podcasts. This is not the same thing as political engagement. I would agree that some people are simply not wired or prepared to express emotional intelligence in a political debate or discussion.
Political debate and Christian inclusion goes beyond the act of “voting”, which is very important, but God needs people who will take a stand for what is right. Christians must [lovingly] speak out for what is true and right. To speak out for what is true and right requires more than just railing against evil. The call is for rational, cogent, well-crafted presentations of positive alternatives gleaned from the scriptures. But, unfortunately, evangelical Christians have abdicated. There are a few that are trying – can you name two that have the spotlight? We primarily spend our time and energies talking only to each other, writing only for each other, arguing with each other. To be properly positioned, we must take a hard look in the mirror. Too much of our inspirational rhetoric has become both anemic and insufficient relative to the coming storm. Times and seasons change; if we discern the Spirit is leading this, we are compelled to obey, even if it requires disruption.
At this stage, it would just be nice that Christians start involving themselves in cogent and civil discussions – regardless of political philosophy or leaning. It is important that Christianity find its way back into “the system”. To this end, I pray that all are well and may the Lord bless you in your endeavors.