A Way Forward

by Bob Allen:

I have reached the point of despair.

In the wake of the recent El Paso and Dayton shootings, in the wake of the polarization of our country, in the wake of the refugee and border situations, I cannot claim to have the answers for what we are to do, but I have a couple of suggestions.

Suggestion #1: Repent

Ladies and gentlemen of the church, we need to repent.

I’m not talking about repenting from our personal sins of greed and lust and pride and the like. Those are obvious and are on going.

No, we, as a church, need to repent of our alignment with and reliance on political parties to accomplish a “Christian agenda”. Folks, a nation founded upon Christian principles is not a Christian nation. There is only one “Christian nation” and it’s the church; the citizens of God whom Christ reigns and rules over.

We would not for a moment assume that every person who immigrated to the 13 original colonies prior to them becoming the United States was a saved person. How could we be a Christian nation when being a Christian is a choice not a birthright? If you don’t believe me, read Romans particularly chapters 9 through 11.

Yet, we find ourselves in a predicament because the church has lost ground in our culture today. We denounce abortion and euthanasia, rightly so as they are violations of the sanctity of human life, but in so doing we align ourselves with a political party, and now a President, which is America first, not Christ first. We have become like the Levite in the service of Micah, an idol worshipper, in the Book of Judges. We have sold our service for ten pieces of silver and a suit of clothing. We have traded the mission of God for political influence. Throughout the history of God’s people one can track a pattern of following after worldly things rather than the things of God. Sometimes that’s wealth sometimes that’s influence, sometimes that’s leadership. Each time, however, it leads to the judgment of God as his covenant people turn from their covenant purpose.

Judgment always begins at the house of God. God’s grace and mercy are infinite, but they are not without discipline. God disciplines those he loves and he chastises them in order to purify them. God begins with his people because they are the only ones who should know better. God will eventually judge everyone regardless of tongue, tribe, or creed, but in the temporal scope, his judgment falls upon his people.

If we want to escape the coming judgment, we have to repent of our failings as a church.

We have to turn away from hoping to legislate the human heart and return to being ministers of gospel reconciliation. Let’s bring hope where there is none. Let’s do everything we can to change the culture to value innocent life rather than see it as a bundle of cells as expendable as the billions of skin cells that slough off of our skin each day. If we want to put abortion clinics out of business, let’s take the gospel into the communities where it is prevalent.

We have to turn from putting our weight behind a political agenda. Until we reach the day of Christ’s glorious reign, we won’t have a perfect leader with perfect purposes and perfect motives.

Suggestion #2: Shift Your Mindset

To quote a friend of mine, “Don’t hear what I’m not saying.” I’m not saying that we should not work to have a voice or that we should remove ourselves from the public sphere. We absolutely should strive to speak on the issues of the day. Scripture has strong answers for the issues of this day and age.

What I am suggesting is that we shift how we live out our Christian faith. When Christians marry themselves to a conservative ideology, they divorce themselves from many of the social issues which Jesus said we must care about.

Our mindset is to be distinctly Christian. Our worldview is to be distinctly Christian. We must be ambassadors of reconciliation. Stances on issues like immigration or social justice or the economy or pick your “pet” issue, which are not main and plain gospel-centered missional issue, do not further the cause of Christ. God calls Christians to further the kingdom mission, it’s all that matters in God’s eyes.

I will never forget an illustration by Dr. Tony Evans I heard once upon a time. He spoke of a football game and how there are two teams on the field going against one another and they are trying to defeat the other. BUT there is a third team on the field, the officiating team, and their job is to make sure that the two combatants abide by the rules set out by the league, the authority over the game. Folks, as Christians, we’re the officials.  We are in the middle because we don’t represent either side of the aisle, we represent the Creator and Master of the universe in his absence. This world is not our home even though we live here; we are exiles living in a foreign world and our job is to welcome people into the Kingdom of God.

We must take on a new mindset and new way of “doing business” if we are to be who God has called us to be and that starts by repenting and turning back to what God has called us to do while we wait for Christ to come back and be the leader we so desperately want.

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