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, 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.