Updated: Apr 12, 2021
One of the main detriments to the gospel in America has been the widespread politicizing of it. It is an agenda that many Christians passionately embrace. Many have even come to view the role of political activism as an integral part of the “Great Commission”. But nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than follow Paul’s instructions that the soldiers of Christ are to shod their feet with the “Preparation of The Gospel of Peace” many politically motivated Christians have put on the hob-nail boots of combativeness, hostility, mud-slinging, arrogance, bullying, contention, strife, hatred, judgementalism, backbiting, name calling, character assassination, pettiness, muck-raking and the sowing of discord in pursuit of their moral and social agendas. Rather than being true ambassadors for Christ their moralistic posturing has turned them into little more than the world’s judge and jury.
Not only have many Christians been obsessed with “putting the world in her place” and her political enemies on the chopping-block, but her misguided militancy has also backfired and actually worked to undermine the effectiveness of our witness and the “Gospel of Peace”. Rather than support what Paul refers to as the “defense and confirmation of the gospel” their militancy has worked against that very goal. This disturbing trend has, in large part, been one of the major contributing factors in making the contemporary church increasingly impotent, insignificant and irrelevant to this lost and dying world. In their militant obsession with being “religiously correct” and drawing moral lines in the sand between “us” and “them” many are unconsciously working against the gospel by building barriers rather than bridges and, in so doing, have unconsciously done untold harm to the Christian message.
Through their religious posturing and compulsive need to defend the moral high ground the church is inadvertently spreading a message that Jesus never intended the church to spread. Rather preach the true gospel they have inadvertently played into the hands of the enemy by condemning and alienating the very people we are supposed to be reaching out to. In so doing they have often adopted the same spirit of James and John who wanted to call fire down from heaven on a town that didn’t embrace their message. Jesus made it clear that that spirit was not from above. Tragically, the church has often unwittingly played into the world's negative opinion of Christians as being “holier-than-thou”, hateful, bigots, self-righteous hypocrites and condescending stone throwers in its self-appointed mission to judge the sins of the world. Instead of being the bearers of the “Good News” which produces life; many have become bearers of “bad news” which only produces condemnation and death.
God has never called His church to political activism or enlisted us to be the world’s moral crusaders. It is not our job, your job or the churches job to judge the world. That is not our battle to fight or the “good fight” we’ve been called to rally to. That’s why He said that if His kingdom was of this world His servants would fight. Our responsibility is to reach the world with the love of God. As far as judging the sins of the world is concerned, the obsessive drive to serve as the world’s moral police or “morally correct” torch-bearers has never been the churches’ job either.
The Apostle Paul made it absolutely clear that it is not our responsibility to judge those outside of the church, outside the family of God or outside the household of faith. “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (I Corinthians 5:12 & 13a) When it comes to “judgement” He made it clear that our only responsibility is to judge the household of faith when in error – precisely what the American church has largely failed to do today in the face of unprecedented corruption, complacency and false teaching. Furthermore, Paul made it clear that judging those that are outside of the church (i.e., those in the world, sinners & the lost) are God’s responsibility alone. This is a vital lesson the contemporary church of America has largely forgotten in their quest to be societies self-appointed moral police, political watchdogs and self-righteous torchbearers. It’s time for the church to get off their morally indignant high-horse and stop acting more like self-righteous Pharisees than like Christ.