(Photo: REUTERS/Scott A. Miller)
The president of one of the leading Christian-based research organizations in the U.S. says it's time for believers to re-consider how the church in America should engage a culture that appears to be shifting away from Biblical values. This year's election results make it obvious that the country is embracing moral views that differ from evangelical Christianity, said LifeWay Research President Ed Stetzer.
"We must face the reality that we may be on the losing side of the culture war," wrote Stetzer in his blog posted the day after the election. "For decades, the 'religious right' has focused its energies on winning the day through political means."
He also wrote about the outcomes of key ballot issues in Tuesday's election that included victories in support of abortion and same-sex marriage.
"This marks the first time for any state to legalize same-sex marriage by the expressed will of the people rather than through court rulings or legislation," Stetzer stated. "While this certainly does not mean we should stop legal or political efforts completely, it does mean that we should begin thinking about what it looks like to be the church in a 'post-culture war' era. We need to be prepared to defend the protection of religious liberty as we move into the future."
When asked by The Christian Post on the day after the election whether Christians truly are losing the culture war, Stetzer said, "Certainly many evangelicals believe the culture is moving in the wrong direction. It's obvious the country is more secular and pluralistic, and is embracing moral views that differ from evangelical Christianity."
Many Christian leaders are in agreement with Stetzer's analysis of a shifting culture toward moral collapse and a call for the church to take a harder look at itself.
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly wrote recently in his column: "That President Obama has won re-election comes as a source of great disappointment to many because of his campaign to support abortion and same sex marriage. These are policies which many know are contrary to scripture and weaken the family."
Daly added, "I believe the coming days, weeks and months could very well be one of the modern-day Church's finest hours. This is no time to name call; there is no place for pettiness as we begin to count the consequences of the 2012 campaign.
"Instead, this is a time to rise and reprioritize. It is time to reach out to every person in every corner of this country and in doing so, strive to reflect Christ's heart to a very hurting world by our words and actions."
Russell D. Moore, a lead administrator and dean at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., addressed Christians in a more individual way as opposed to writing to the whole church in a blog post titled "How Should Christians Respond to Obama's Re-Election?"
"There's a time to vote. There's a time to campaign. And there's a time to petition. But, through it all, let's be the people who, even as we speak with conviction, are marked by kindness and respect," Moore stated. "When we have to differ with President Obama, let's do that, with backbone. But let's make sure we do all this with honor, with respect, with prayer, and, most of all, with love."
He added, "Let's render unto Caesar, as free people with natural rights. Because we know as believers that we will eternally say 'Jesus is Lord,' we can as citizens temporally say, 'Hail to the chief.'"
When asked whether Christians should somehow fight back in light of the election results, Stetzer said, "The issue is not fighting but faithfulness. Christians need to be faithful to Biblical values of loving our neighbor and engaging and ministering to a hurting and confused culture.
"We should do today what we were doing yesterday – share the love of Christ with a world so desperately in need of the Gospel."