Responding justly (I hope)

I want to answer my good friend and brother, Russ, from a comment he made with questions to me. I figured I would make a new post to try a put forth a better understanding of where I stand. I am not 100% sure where I stand exactly on all the issues concerning political activism in the church. I do think that the JS (Justice Sunday) events have employed a wrong method, but that Tom Ascol had made some great points in that direction. My post I made was really more of a rant than a thorough critique as I think through these issues.

Russ quoted me here, “The problems we need to address start inside the church. Outward political moral band-aids don’t even start to solve our problem.”

Then asked me some questions starting here:

I guess my question would be why do you assume that those who seek “political moral band-aids” are attempting to solve the problems of the church through these “band-aids”? Can you point out any Christian who has said or indicated that his political efforts are directed at Church reform? Cuz if so I am right there with you in disagreement.

The JSII flyer is entitled “God save the United States and this Honorable Court” with a topic of “How activist judges subvert the family, undermine religious freedom and threaten our nation’s future.”

When I read those words I wonder how they want God to save the US and Court through the Gospel or political reform? If the Gospel then where is it in their focus? If political reform, well, that’s never saved anyone.

I am not necessarily saying that they are trying to solve the problems of the church through these means, but that their focus through the current methods employed are wrong and confusing. First, we have the JS rallies held in buildings that are designated places of worship, a church building. During the first JS, there have been mentions of the Gospel by an evangelical and Jesus mentioned by a Roman Catholic if I recall correctly. This in itself is confusing, especially, given the state of the church and her members’ lack of doctrine. We could even reference Jim Elliff’s article Southern Baptists, an Unregenerate Denomination which may serve better here since these events were held in SBC churches.

I may perceive this incorrectly, but what I see is the Gospel being secondary in order to push a certain political agenda. It also skews the lines and could promote the idea either directly or indirectly that Republican = Christian = Republican. It seems the JS folks have created a bit of doctrinal soup in there coming together. It’s as if they’ve chosen Brand X to use Name Y only to mix tomato and chicken noodle soup in the same can. That is to say that JS sends the wrong message when we have the motivation of opposing Gospel’s coming together under the roof of a church under the roof of a political party for the promotion of that party. And the Gospel fits in where? It fits in second place as I see it in this format. If these folks are going to go through the church then why not start by not mixing Gospels? Or what is it that truly unites us? I know there is a problem here which I will touch on later.

Then asks:

And secondly, and most importantly, why can’t we attempt government reform (not speaking to degree or how it is done, just the principle of having the freedom to do it) *at the same time* we are endeavoring to reform the church?

This is where I wasn’t really clear. (Hey, maybe I haven’t been clear at all.) I do think we can attempt government reform and I am speaking to how it’s done in this instance. I just think that church reform starts first. You cannot have church reform if you do not actually have a church to reform. In other words, if we are not preaching the Gospel and winning souls then we do not have a church. Given the current stats and what’s going on in the church we need the Gospel now more than anything. Then, we disciple and take to the world. This is where I believe we need to start and our message needs to be clear i.e. one Gospel. Not that JS is explicitly trying to reform the church, but their current method doesn’t have one Gospel.

My problem I will touch on is this: How is a Christian to be politically active without partnering up with those without the Gospel? If we applied this to every interest, hobby and career then we’d be bored and broke. I will tell you right now that I don’t exactly know the answer to this and I hope we can dialogue about it. My main gripe isn’t about Christians being politically active, but about the methods of the JS events. I rambled a bit and I hope I made some sense, brother.

Peace,
Mark

Ps. No one else call me Markus! It’s not really my name.

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The above article was posted on August 18, 2005 by Mark Lamprecht.
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