My wife and I recently joined a prayer group with people from our church and others in the area. The stated objective of the group is to pray for our nation, our leaders, and our churches, that God would prepare us for revival.
However, it struck me that most of the discussion in the first meeting revolved around sins of “the others”; the usual groups and issues that evangelicals have become deeply emotionally attached to in recent years. There was a brief discussion about how the overall body of Christ has it’s own internal issues, but most of these were dismissed with a sigh and the lament “that’s just the way it is now…we can’t change everyone in the other churches”.
The more I thought about this outward focus, the more concerned I became that this reflects the overall attitude of many, if not most, American Christians. It is no wonder that Christians in the rest of the world are praying that God would send persecution on American Christians to deepen our faith in Him! Many of us seemed to have forgotten the urgent, desperate, yet real faith that is born in adversity of circumstance and against overwhelming opposition.
We tend to forget how good we Christians have had it in this country for so long without substantial governmental and social opposition. Sure there are all the media-enhanced “token” cases of discrimination that are used to stir up opposition to government in general, or perhaps local school officials and businesses. But in most of these cases, the issues are not systemic, but mere publicity stunts advanced by specific groups to support their own interests, or “ministries”.
For example, a recent Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby over reproductive rights issues was hailed as a great win for the Christian cause. However, the events leading up to this case, and the predicted outcome of the case for other large companies, indicates that this was only marginally about Christian principles. The real issue at stake was to establish a precedent to find other tax or employee benefits loopholes that businesses can claim to object to on moral or religious grounds in order to oppose to any government regulation that they find onerous. This was even illustrated by the actions of Hobby Lobby as a company in months leading up to the case that was heading to the Supreme Court. But once again, American Christians were whipped into a frenzy to defend “one of our own” against big, bad government, without even knowing the circumstances of the case, or the intended outcomes from a business perspective.
This is but one recent example of Christians acting like sheep, but not in a good way. (Not incidentally, the derogatory term for those who are led by others without questioning an issue is “sheeple”, which should give us pause.) Whatever happened to church leaders with keen insight and discernment about not only the obvious, but also underlying issues that are debated in the marketplace of ideas? Why do Christians only react so strongly to token issues which are of little eternal or even temporal consequence?
For example, some of the top “hot button” issues for Christians seem to be: abortion, homosexuality, religious liberty in education, reduction in government oversight of business interests, persecution of Christians, and castigating the Obama administration at every turn.
Let’s consider the background and consequences of some of these issues in these related posts…
[(Update July 15, 2014) Note: the following topics are still in draft status pending time to get back to them and also after doing a little more research. To avoid dead links, these posts will be published in draft status for preview of intended bullet points.]
- Issues Christians “like”: #3 Religious Liberty in Education
- Issues Christians “like”: #4 Reduction in Government
- Issues Christians “like”: #5 Persecution of Christians
- Issues Christians “like”: #6 Criticizing the Obama Administration