The American Church
As a confessed "political junkie," I have watched long hours of C-Spann, listened to pundits rail and spin, read countless opinions, and generally overdosed on this election.
This weekend, I took a small step back and asked myself, "Did I miss anything?" Mentally checking off the list, George Stephanopoulos, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, (I miss Tim Russert) …nope, I think I've heard from everyone.
Everyone except the American church.
Rush Limbaugh states that this election is a referendum on Barack Obama. I agree with him …to a point. Going a little deeper though, I believe that this election is a referendum on the American church. Does the church in America provide the moral clarity, stand on Biblical authority, promote God's mandates of justice and integrity, and demonstrate a nationwide concerted effort to reach the lost and hurting?
I don't even have to answer it in this article. You and I already know the truth. The evangelicals, so prominent in the last seven elections, have barely received a footnote in this one. "Change and Hope", "Country First" are the rallying cries …with the obligatory "God Bless America" tagged on to button up the speech.
God Bless America? Who are they beseeching, the God of the Bible …or the god of this world? Homosexual marriages are on the ballots in California, thirty-two hundred babies are being aborted daily, and crowds cheer wildly as Sen. Obama tells us America is no longer a Christian nation.
This election is indeed a referendum on the American church and how it has been marginalized to being a community organization at best …a myopic nuisance at worst. Jesus Himself stated that His Church will withstand the very gates of Hell. Quite an indictment against the modern American church that doesn't even seem to stand up to Saturday Night Live. With more and more pastors and denominations offering "Oprah-esque" theology, it's clear that the organization of the American church has contrasted itself from the organism of the Church of Jesus Christ.
When Roe vs. Wade assaulted the moral fabric of our society, a local pastor drew a line in the sand and said, unequivocally, that he had had enough. Using only his deep conviction, he led the charge against the gates of Hell, and, literally, all hell broke loose. We lost that pastor this year, and Jerry Falwell's absence is keenly felt on the political landscape. When he started, he didn't have the trappings of the massive television ministries we see today. He stood up without the help of talk radio or cable TV. Rather, he staked his entire message, reputation, and passion on the word of God, the Rock of our salvation, Jesus Christ …and stated boldly to the world, "No more!"
Are we prepared to do the same? The Church of Jesus Christ is at war. For too long, we've enjoyed the protection of political cover, but the enemy has not slept. I am no longer comfortable with a "reach across the aisle" mentality. The lines must be drawn, and we must make a stand …not for political purposes, but for Kingdom purposes.
It is my belief that the United States of America is, and can still be, responsible for Christian evangelism and ministry on a scale beyond anything we can imagine. That effectiveness, however, can only be attained through an unyielding commitment to the authority of scripture. Regardless of denominational and doctrinal differences, when we agree and live our lives on the authority of the Word of God, the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and salvation through faith alone …in Christ alone, we then become true agents of hope and change, and our rallying cry of Country First …transforms to Kingdom First.