I am suspending my analysis of our culture to address our national crisis. I plan to do so at least until the government shutdown is resolved for better or for worse, which may be by the time this post is published.
The Evangelical church is AWOL in our Fight with Evil
I continue to find myself amazed at the silence, the prayerlessness, the unresponsiveness, the indifference of the church in the face of the crisis confronting our nation. Thankfully, a few pastors and churches are engaged, and I feel confident that they will welcome this expression of concern regarding those who are not.
I have tried to fathom what might be the cause of this lack of engagement.
No Problem: The Lord is in Control
One response I have heard is expressed in the declaration of faith, “The Lord is in control. Therefore, we don’t have to fret about these developments.” This pious platitude, of course, makes this stalwart believer in the Lord appear superior to the one who is framed as a fretter. The implication is that “It is too bad that you don’t have the faith to rest in the Lord during difficult times.”
The problem with this response resides in equating the Lord being in control with everything being okay. The Lord was in control when Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, the men were killed, the women raped, and the babies dashed against the rocks. Did the fact that the Lord was in control make that of no concern? It was heart-rending to Jeremiah. The Lord was also in control yesterday when over 2740 unborn babies were scaled, torn apart limb by limb, or killed by scissors being rammed into the backs of their skulls, and He will be in control today when these atrocities are repeated. No need to worry about that. The Lord is in control.
God Has not Called the Church to be Involved in Politics
Some pastors and churches hide behind the excuse that God has not called us to engage in politics. We have a higher calling. Our job is to preach the gospel. This position also possesses the ring of superiority. Like the priest and the Levite who did not want to soil their hands tending to the man beaten by robbers, these people cannot stoop to engage in the dirty work of politics.
This position is built on sand because politics and the spiritual world do not exist in two hermetically sealed universes. One would think so on most Sunday mornings when no mention is made, no prayer offered, no sermon preached, addressing the catastrophes being inflicted on our nation. What of the abortion provision of ObamaCare and the owners of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties and others who are fighting for their lives to escape funding abortion because of their faith? Is that just politics? Does our calling rise above praying for them or informing and encouraging the flock to do so? Or what about those serving in the Air Force who are being mocked and threatened and coerced by homosexual commanders for their faith? Does the church have no responsibility to do all in its power to stand with these men and women? Or what about our President’s financial support with our money of radical Muslim groups like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt or the rebels in Syria who butcher God’s people? When even the Washington Post expresses concern over these and other atrocities against Christians, is our funding of these murderous groups just politics that should not concern us?
The Tightening Noose
The current fight concerns ObamaCare. Why is this a spiritual issue? We already mentioned its abortion provisions. In addition, it hurts our nation and consequently it hurts Christians and others economically, by providing inferior health care, and in other ways. That should concern us. Beyond that, it gives the government far greater control of our lives, which makes Christians more vulnerable to the rope of oppression that we feel tightening around our necks with each passing day.
One would think that the words of Pastor Martin Niemöller regarding the church’s response to Nazi atrocities would be ringing in our ears:
First they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
This quote seems to describe the evangelical church in America. I know that most Christians are concerned and even engaged as individuals. My concern is with the church. I would like to hear from you whether your church is engaged in the fight or if it is AWOL from our war with evil.