Monday, March 30, 2009

Anti-Evangelical

I have a couple of questions I would like you to consider.
  1. What makes a nation a “Christian Nation”?
  2. What benefit would it be for the United States to be a “Christian Nation” if the majority of her citizens perished in hell?
I am convinced that the Devil has many Christians in the United States deceived, or at least confused. He has made us think that fighting a “culture war” is what we have been called to do in order to proclaim God’s Truth to the world. So we have been ramming God’s Truth down people’s throats, ignoring the fact that more and more people are leaving the church. The result is that now more people than ever before think the church has little influence in society. Here are a couple of statistics that support that reality. In 2001 24% of Americans said religion is losing its influence on American life, and in 2009 that number is 67% (Christianity Today, March 2009, p. 16). The vast majority of Americans notice that the Church no longer has the influence she once did in society. In 1998 the average congregation size was 75 people, that number is now 70 people (Christianity Today, March 2009, p. 16). It appears to me that the more engaged we became in a “culture war” the more influence and people we have lost.

C. S. Lewis used the character of Screwtape to say:
"But I would not end on that note. I would not--Hell forbid--encourage in your own minds that of your human victims. I mean the delusion that the fate of nations is in itself more important than that of individual souls. The overthrow of free peoples and the multiplication of slave-states are for us a means (besides, of course, being fun); but the real end is destruction of individuals. For only individuals can be saved or damned, can become sons of the Enemy or food for us." (Screwtape Proposes a Toast from the book The World’s Last Night)


Nations and cultures come and go, but people are created to live forever. Yes, it would be more comfortable for us to be able to live in a country where our values were upheld and the majority of the population lived by the same morals that we lived by, but morality and values do not equate salvation. We are called to evangelize the world, and often our foray into politics actually cripples our ability to carry out the Great Commission Jesus gave to us.

Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Restoration Movement (the heritage of faith that I am a part of) wrote:
“To compel men destitute of faith to observe any Christian institution...is commanding duty to be performed without faith in God' and therefore 'anti-evangelical' or contrary to the Gospel” (The Political Ethics of Alexander Campbell; p. 46)


Campbell uses strong language, anti-evangelical and contrary to the Gospel, when he talks about using political power to impose on people a Christian lifestyle, but I think he is correct. The reason the Church has lost influence in this country isn’t because we haven’t proclaimed the truth, but because we haven’t loved and served people. We have not truly sought to evangelize, but we have sought to mandate morality, and that has turned people away from the Church and away from the Creator.

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