Saturday, April 11, 2009

Unholy Agreement

The Bible teaches that there is a Lie that Satan promotes, and there is a Truth that Jesus promotes and died for. When we say we preach the gospel it isn't in a vacuum. It isn't dependent on what culture we live in either. However, we must influence culture in this manner: take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.

When the apostles preached the gospel it was bracketed within information the culture could understand. Namely that God is real (He exists), He is sovereign (owns it all, including us), and we are culpable to him. Satan says that God is not sovereign (in various forms) and we are the masters of ourselves. All over the world, not just in America, this is the tension that exists — and what the world wants us to value.

The world wants us to make an unholy covenant with it. This covenant is basically, "Don't tell me I am doing anything wrong and I won't accuse you of doing anything wrong." In other words, it's okay for us to spread peace, love, and approving messages, pray in our churches, and be friendly people as long as we keep our mouths shut about the culture. "We will do our thing, and we will leave you alone to do your thing, as long as it doesn't interfere in the affairs of real life."

A dutiful Christian is suppose to accept this covenant and have approved conversations with others about Christ to fulfill his religious duties. The Christian's message is heard as a personal preference of religion. Our hearers are free to accept or reject the religious message because it either serves a utilitarian purpose or not. If someone accepts it, it is kept on a level of personal preference, not universal truth.

Many people become Christians now to simply fulfill some personal desire. I wouldn't say it is necessarily a problem in the beginning, but sometimes people baptize their already held beliefs in the process rather than repent. Thus the statement, "Christianity is a private matter." or "Christians should not get involved in politics," is the sentiment that Christianity is a personal religious choice rather than the truth (the way things really are).

It is true that there are some Christians who believe that our involvement in politics will save America, or recapture the ideal of a Christian nation. Some see our involvement in government as a directive to be saved by our government (create Utopia on earth either through socialism or totalitarianism). Still others just want to leave the business of government to unbelievers, while they just, "Preach the gospel." (This idea about preaching the gospel isn't seen as terribly courageous in hindsight. Just see how history paints the silence of the church during American slavery or during the civil rights era a hundred years later.)

The gospel without engagement is incomplete. The world must understand that it is evil, and needs a gospel. The gospel must be taught in the context of culture. We do this in current day America by using American English rather than Latin or Greek; disobeying the worldly covenant of silence; changing unjust laws whenever we can; trusting God by not fretting over the things we cannot change; giving to the needy without force; and giving God the glory even when others refuse. And for God's sake let's not lose our saltiness!

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