|Where Have All the Christians Gone?|
by Joe Murray - (AgapePress)
October 4, 2006
Category: Christian Living
| FEW WEEKS ago this author wrote of the importance of Christians exercising their civic duty and voting in local, state and federal elections. Specifically, I wrote:|
"While it is true that Christians are called to a prayerful life, they are also called to engage the culture in which they live. Prayer is the beginning of a Christian's role in public life, it is not the end. Christians do not have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines of history and watching the cultural conflicts that ensue." (See entire commentary)
Over the course of the past few decades, Christians have not just been on the sidelines, but those who have chosen to engage the political process have been left to wander aimlessly across a political landscape that is both hostile and lethal. As those officials elected by Christians sat in Washington and grew fat in wealth, power and body, Christians watched as well over 40 million unborn children perished in the name of personal liberty and the footsteps of the founders were erased by a tidal wave of secularism that crashed upon our shores.
This, however, is not the end of our agony, but merely the beginning. Christians have seen the culture they grew up in usurped by an unelected Judiciary, transformed before their eyes, and redefined to impose an agenda that would have made King George blush. And the reaction of the two elected branches of government? A mere whimper. Hence, the culture of Washington, Jefferson and Hamilton has become a culture that has removed prayer from the school house, placed the science of man over the faith of our fathers, and has made pornography a chief benefactor of the blood spilt by the aforementioned forefathers; all this in a nation whose population is purportedly 80 percent Christian.
What has happened to American politics? How and when did the light dim on the nation created to be the shining city on the hill for the entire world to see? Just when did the vices of hedonism triumph over the virtues of a Judeo-Christians ethic? How did a nation that is 80 percent Christian let this happen? In other words, where have all the Christians gone?
Christians, in light of this torrid tidal wave, have retreated to the subculture and divided amongst themselves. Christians have not remained united in this cultural battle, but have resorted to bickering and infighting -- they have permitted this cultural struggle to taint the Christian well from which we all drink. And this split has permitted opposing forces to make major strides in our electoral process. They have divided our churches and diluted our votes.
For the most part, Christians have divided into four camps -- the disillusionists, the loyalists, the modernists, and the traditionalists. Those who have pitched their tents with the disillusionists have all but put up the white flag. These folks, who have good hearts and pure intentions, are tired of the corruption and the lies that have become the main artery of American politics. They have come to the realization that Christians have been used and abused in a political process where the rules are fixed and the outcome is rigged; and because of that realization, they have chosen to retreat and withdrawal from American culture.
Next up are the loyalists. This group of Christians has taken the opposite view of the disillusionists, for they have actively engaged the politic process. Loyalists are those Christians who have hitched their biblical bandwagon to a political party. To this group, the distinction between party politics and biblical principle becomes blurred, thus permitting secular politicos to take advantage of their misplaced loyalty. Eventually, some of the loyalists become frustrated with the lack of results yielded by the political process and become disillusionists.
Then we have the modernists. These are the folks who focus all of their energy on the demands of society, not scripture. Modernists have been charged with placing more of an emphasis on man's wants and not God's needs. While these folks turn some of their attention to the Kingdom of Heaven, their main focus is on trying to create a heaven on Earth. Thus, they tend to reject calls to be more scripturally sound in their public poverty endeavors.
Finally, the traditionalists are the Felix to the modernist Oscar. Traditionalists place a heavy emphasis on scripture and tradition, and they also have a solid worldview that is biblically based. Their focus tends to be geared toward promulgating the Good News, introducing people to the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, and strengthening faith through active participation in public politics. These Christians have refused to abdicate their place in society, but because they fear diluting principle with politics, they tend to be uncompromising.
In Mark 3:24-25, Christians are forewarned that "[i]f a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand;" and despite the pearls of wisdom handed down from Mark's Gospel, it is safe to say that Christians have constructed a divided house. If the Christian house is to stand tall in a country that was kissed by God, then the time is come for all four groups to reconnect via their strengths and engage the culture from a starting point of Christian dogma, not secular divisions.
How do we reconnect? Simple -- toss out loyalty to politics and parties and replace it with loyalty to principles. Make no mistake, Christians are called to an active public life. In 1 Peter 2:13 it is written that Christians should:
"... [b]e subject to every human institution for the Lord's sake, whether it be to the king supreme or to governors sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the approval of those who do good. For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish people. Be free, yet without using freedom as a pretext for evil, but as slaves of God."But this call to civic action must be driven by a commitment to biblical truth, not political tenets. We are Christians first, Americans second, and Republicans and Democrats a distant third. By placing political labels above scriptural principle, Christians have split themselves into separate groups, demonized each other, and played into the hands of their oppressors. This must end today.
Our Christian faith erases any man-made labels that the secular world tries to apply to us. Christians need to vote their values, not their party affiliation. Christians should be leading, not following, those in the political process; and this is best done when all Christians return to the solid foundation of biblical truth and use that as a starting point to advance Christian public policy initiatives.
Look towards the issues of life, treatment of the poor, the place of war in society, and purity in all aspects of life, and apply those issues to the truths found in scripture. When Christians unite behind these principles -- and not behind the political parties that claim to be their spokesman -- a new Christian worldview will begin to take root in America.
And what happens if Christians vote and the candidate they chose does not keep his word? Toss'em. No sense crying over spilt milk. Christians have a tendency to view the world the way they want to see it and not they way it is -- and when they encounter folks that lie, cheat and steal, they become discouraged. When we stumble across these individuals in politics, as we will most certainly do, our response should be a pink slip, regardless of who they are and what they represent. Politics is a messy game and so long as we resist its siren song, we will be okay.
Secular forces fear a unified Christian front, for they know that such a voting block, a block that cuts across racial and regional lines, would prove unstoppable. And the best thing is that this block is not only possible, but probable. How can we make this theory a reality? Christians must have a "come-to-Jesus meeting" with each other, purge politics from the sanctuary, recommit to biblical truth, and actively engage the world by the means provided by scripture. Only then will the city on a hill begin to shine once again. Vote your values, not your party, this November.
Joe Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a civil rights attorney residing in New Jersey. Murray is a former staff attorney for the American Family Association and has also served as national director of correspondence for Patrick J. Buchanan's 2000 presidential bid. Murray has been a guest on numerous radio and television talk shows, including the O'Reilly Factor.
More guest columns.