‘and the government shall be upon his shoulders’
One of the great challenges facing Christendom, is Western Christian’s obsession with taking political sides. Trump or Clinton, Brexit or Remain, Liberal-Labor, passions run high. For many Christians, their identity is seen more in their politics than in Jesus, in fact you would assume from the outside, that politics is their Lord.
Refugees in America stood amazed as the battle lines were drawn between various church factions prior to the last election. Where they had come from, their unity was first and foremost in Christ and standing united under him was their only chance of survival. We in the West need to take careful note of this, because if we read the signs correctly, a time is coming when any government and all government will be against Christ and his followers. Do we think we will be able to preach ‘one true God’ in the pulpit for much longer? It has already been banned from the streets in many countries.
In different ways, the church and its followers are preparing for this; some, a minority, are realising that there will be a need to toughen their resolve and face what is coming. But for most, there has already been a merging of the message with modern day political acceptance. There is a subtle but widespread shift amongst many evangelicals, towards a soft-Left morass of the Gospel and political tolerance. The hard, uncompromising Gospel of Jesus Christ is being soft-pedalled to accommodate our recent acceptance of new standards. Jesus, we are told, would be much more accepting of homosexuality today, that he would be environmentally friendly, and more proactive for women’s rights.
The cross has become an embarrassment to many believers today in the West, especially amongst the enlightened. That Jesus had to die to save homosexuals, or young couples living together today is simply abhorrent to the vast majority of Christians. The political line goes, who are we to judge, how dare we? Sin is slowly being dismantled from the Gospel. The next obvious question then becomes is Allah any different from Jesus, do we have the right to tell Hindus that our religion is superior to theirs?
The combined effect of all this though, is that proclaiming the Gospel at all is seen as offensive, pointless. Even dangerous. Christians everywhere will be content with the notion, ‘I believe in my God, they believe in theirs.’ We can express our differences in our politics. It reminds me of Israel in the Old Testament, the great compromise that occurred where Yahweh and all that he stood for, became ‘the also ran God’ in Israel.
We think of course, in our naivety, that this will lead to the world being a much happier place. We will all love each other and be more accepting, just as Jesus wanted. In fact, history teaches us the opposite is true. God doesn’t wholly agree with our terms he is just another God and the world refuses the notion Jesus should be Lord. Clashes erupt on both sides, quite the opposite to the outcome we expected.
The only politics Jesus spoke about, was the one where he reigns unfettered across all Kingdoms, including this world. He promises us that will happen one day and urges us to cling to that at all costs. I have been reminded recently, that it is impossible to show the love of Jesus to my neighbour, while expressing my disdain about some political leader or another. That it is impossible to preach the uncompromising Gospel about sin, while being unwilling to accept that so many of today’s norms are sinful in his eyes. The cross, however abhorrent is the centrepiece of the Gospel.
I have become alarmed, when so many Christians post their political views on social media when these so clearly clash with the teachings of Jesus. When we claim special insights into his teachings (found nowhere in Scripture) that somehow justify our political position; but mostly, when our political views, not him, dictate and govern our thoughts and behaviours.
I fear we have slipped into a position from which we will not easily recover unless of course we are willing to repent. That the ramifications of our continually willing to accept the current worldview over the cause of the Gospel of Jesus will be severe.
For those of us who refuse to compromise, who are willing to bury our political views because of our desire for the Lordship of Jesus in our own lives, and who will not stop preaching the Gospel of the Cross beware. The fiercest opposition may well come from within the church itself.
It wouldn’t be the first time.