The Finger in the Mirror


We hear the word repentance bandied about in Christians circles, and in some of those circles, it’s practically a mantra. The list of things we Christians need to repent from is an arm long, filled with things like lust, jealousy, faithlessness, failure to tithe, lack of a decent quiet time, etc.

We also hear pastors and parachurch leaders going on and on about the culture wars. Each day seems to bring a new call to arms from some ministry or self-appointed Christian leader to pray and/or write our political reps over homosexual marriage, abortion, Obama’s health care package, illegal immigration, the rise of Islam and jihad, and so on. The list is nearly endless.

But what I NEVER hear is a combination of the two messages that asks Christians to repent for our complicity in helping to empower the very culture war problems we fight. Never.

A friend sent me a call to prayer for the gathering of Muslims due to take place Friday, Sept. 26, 2009,  in Washington, D.C. Evidently, Islam is trying yet again to market itself as the religion of peace, even as it promotes Sharia law, says little about terrorism,  and advocates a host of legalistic follies that oppose the Gospel of Grace and send millions into a Christless eternity.

When I read that call to prayer arms, I had to ask the question that Christians in America avoid at all cost: In what ways am I at fault for this?

A few thoughts to consider:

  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in ministering to the sick, would we have the health care debate now tearing our country apart?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in caring for the orphan, the widow, and the elderly, would we have abortion on demand and a nearly bankrupt Social Security system?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in visiting the prisoner, would we have a sky-high recidivism rate?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in caring for the poor, Do we truly believe He is the answer?would we have government welfare and the burden of having fostered a society-wide victim mentality?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus in loving the outcast, would we still be fighting the homosexual agenda on its proponents’ terms or battling race and illegal immigration  issues?
  • If American Christians had continued to follow the way of Jesus by actually obeying His  Great Commission, would we be fighting Islam in this country or dealing with any of the culture wars we seemingly can’t wait to engage with calls to prayers and letters to our congressman?

I would offer that the answer to these and other questions like them is a simple NO.

I would offer that we Christians are as much to blame for the condition we find ourselves in as any of our supposed foes are, but you won’t hear that from the pulpits or from parachurch ministry leaders.

When the Church of Jesus fails to do what the Gospel asks of us, something will fill the vacuum created by our absence. And I can guarantee this: We will not like what fills the vacuum.

Honestly, the denial on our parts sucks the life out of me. And yet we will go on and on about our foes, the way the government does things we don’t like, or the next moral truth to come under assault.

We talk about our nation being a Christian one, but in truth, we’re Christian in name only. If we’re not living the Gospel, then of course everything will go to hell. Why would we be surprised at that?

Do we still believe that Jesus changes lives? Do we believe that Jesus is the answer to all of life’s issues? Then we better stop living as if we don’t.

5 thoughts on “The Finger in the Mirror

  1. Coming and Going


    You do know that actor Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather, former Saskatchewan premier and Baptist minister Tommy Douglas, was voted the “greatest Canadian of all time” in a CBC poll after his death, in part because he is credited with bringing universal healthcare to that country.

  2. Dan,

    I think you’re partly right that there would be many salutary effects if the American church focused less on politics and more on obeying what’s actually commanded in Scripture. That said, there seems to be an assumption on your part that Christians are expected by God to take care of all unbelievers. I’m not seeing a scriptural basis for this.

    Some of your points are no doubt alluding to Jesus’ description of judgment in Matt. 25. But Jesus commendations and denunciations are based on how people treated his “brothers” (i.e. believers). There’s no scriptural reason to believe Jesus will judge Christians on how close their churches came to providing universal health care. Indeed, the great focus of Christians in the Bible is doing good primarily to those in the “household of faith.”

    However, even were we to see a great expansion in church social welfare programs for unbelievers, there’s little reason to think this would cause liberals to desist in their efforts for ever greater government programs. Unless you believe the church would be giving completely universal coverage in a range of health and welfare services, then, logically, proponents of universal care would be unsatisfied. Also, the most passionate advocates of government welfare programs are often quite hostile to religion and bridle at the idea of dependency upon organized religion. Many also think of health care, welfare, etc., as human rights, which people are naturally entitled to from their governments.

    Finally, the character of Christian charity differs from the liberal concept. Christianity says that if a man will not work, he shall not eat (2 Thess. 3:10). As seen from the liberal resistance to welfare work rules, that is incompatible with the convictions of many liberals.

    (Also, I fail to see how “following the way of Jesus” would have made any difference on the legality of abortion. Crisis pregnancy centers hardly seem to be changing the hearts of the pro-abortion extremists running the Democratic party, nor do the 5 pro-abortion Supreme Court justices seem to have been swayed by them.)

  3. The government is not a viable solution to any of these problems. The church could be a solution, but only through a change of hearts among the populous. A true awakening would be needed for such a change, but it seems less likely that God would send His spirit in power to a people who express less and less reliance on Him. There’s the catch-22.

    Regarding who is responsible to aid others, remember the parable of the Good Samaritan. The teachers of the Law were shown to be too caught up in ceremonial trappings and business to do the real work of their faith. Because of this, the Samaritan was praised for doing the work of God, though the Samaritans operated under deficient teachings.

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