When the US hiccups, the rest of the world knows about it. And when the leader of the free world makes a decision – for good or ill – it will echo throughout the rest of the world. This may not always be a healthy thing, but it is a reality. Thus when the US President does the unthinkable, and declares that he will side with those who seek to destroy marriage and family, then this is earth-shattering stuff indeed.
Within hours of this announcement the lame-stream media here in Australia was asking: now that Obama has gone down this path, when will Julia? Of course they were not actually asking – it was more of a demand, really. The secular left media has long ago abandoned any pretence of partiality on these issues.
They have jumped into bed with the homosexual activists, and any excuse will do to push their cause, including homosexual marriage. So already all the MSM is going loopy over when Julia will get on board with the “progressives”.
Of course we expect the secularist elites running the zoo to stumble over themselves in supporting the various radical agendas. What is not expected is when so many folks who claim to be followers of Christ have totally capitulated in these areas.
And they can capitulate in one of two ways. Worst of all, they can defect to the other side. These apostates have simply sold their souls to the devil, and have declared themselves to be at one with the homosexual militants, and their plans to destroy marriage.
But the other form of capitulation – which is far more common – is to simply opt out. We get the same old lousy response from these guys as they try to claim the high spiritual ground:
“Oh, politics is of the devil.”
“We should only be evangelising.”
“God does not call us to change our world.”
“The ship is going down, so don’t waste time rearranging the deck chairs.”
“Our calling is spiritual, not political.”
“You can’t change things just by changing laws.”
Sadly, I get these sorts of unbiblical and irrational objections from other believers all the time. Many actually believe that what I am doing is a complete waste of time. They think that any efforts to minister in social, political and legislative arenas are just not something Christians should be involved in.
I of course have dealt with these critics elsewhere, so for those still not quite clear as to why this sort of thinking is so wrong, I refer you to these articles for starters:
The simple truth is, Christians are citizens of two kingdoms: an earthly and a heavenly; and we have responsibilities in both. In this world we clearly have a job to do – it is called being salt and light. Our faith is not just a ticket to heaven – a bit of fire insurance.
As N.T. Wright put it, “The work of ‘salvation’ in its full sense, is (1) about whole human beings, not merely ‘souls’; (2) about the present, not merely the future; and (3) about what God does through us, not merely what God does in and for us.”
Our salvation is meant to impact not only ourselves, but the world around us. As the late Charles Colson once wrote: “The church’s singular failure in recent decades has been the failure to see Christianity as a life system, or worldview, that governs every area of existence.”
And when such monumentally important things like the abortion holocaust or the war against marriage is taking place all around us, how dare we pretend we can just hide our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away? How dare we say the church has no role in this or that it should have no voice in this?
That is just what so many messed-up believers told Wilberforce: stop wasting your time on all this abolition business, and stick to the gospel. Indeed, as the pro-slavery Lord Melbourne complained: “Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade public life.”
Or as Adolf Hitler told the Lutheran Nazi-resister Martin Niemoller: “I will protect the German people. You take care of the church. You pastors should worry about getting people to heaven, and leave this world to me.”
Sadly things are little better today, with far too many Christians taking both Lord Melbourne’s and Hitler’s advice. But let me close with an important article Eric Metaxas wrote several years ago. He warned that believers cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and be oblivious to, and uninvolved in, all that is occurring around them.
He asks what Bonhoeffer would do today: “While Bonhoeffer was trying to wake up the German Church to stand boldly and decisively against the Nazis, another Christian was taking a different tack. Frank Buchman was a prominent American evangelical who headed up something called the Oxford Movement. He hoped to convert Hitler and the other top Nazis to the Christian faith, believing that this would solve everything.
“Bonhoeffer knew that Buchman’s goal was laudable in principle, but in reality it was a fool’s errand. Buchman failed to discern the times in which he was living. While he was trying to arrange lunches to talk with Himmler about Jesus, the very liberties that made it possible to preach the Gospel in Germany were brutally being kicked down the stairs and out the door.
“But Buchman’s idea is alive and well in America today. One often hears Christians say that they don’t want to get involved in political or cultural battles; they just want to ‘preach the Gospel.’ They think that by avoiding political and cultural battles they will retain the credibility necessary to be effective in preaching the Gospel.
“But according to Bonhoeffer, this is tragically mistaken. If your ability to speak the truth is itself under attack — if you cannot say that certain sexual behavior is wrong, or that taking unborn life is wrong — your ability to be a Christian is itself under attack. The Gospel you will be preaching has been fatally compromised.”
And that is exactly what we find happening all around the Western world. Freedom is under attack big time: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience. Yet many Christians say, “But it does not matter, as long as we can preach the gospel”.
But that freedom to preach the gospel is one of the main things which is under threat right now. Freedom is all of a piece. When we stand by and allow one freedom to be taken from us, soon all freedoms will be gone – and we will have only ourselves to blame.
Niemoller fortunately did not heed Hitler’s advice. Nor did Bonhoeffer – and he paid for that with his very life. I close with the very familiar words of Niemoller. We need to keep hearing them until they sink in, we awaken from our slumber, and we spring into action:
“In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”