Friday, November 14, 2008

Fighting the Wrong Battles – Part 1

I have come to the conclusion that most Christians, unless they are completely on the sidelines, are fighting the wrong battles. I know some will disagree with me, but hear me out.

Those on the left spend an enormous amount of time and energy fighting on behalf of social issues such as gay ordination, gay marriage, pro choice, anti capital punishment, and other favorite left wing causes. I ask, shouldn’t those battles be better left to secular folks? All you are doing is dividing the Church in the United States.

Those on the right spend an enormous amount of time and energy fighting against the pressures from the left to redefine marriage as something other than between a man and a woman, against gay ordination, against unrestrained abortion rights, and other favorite right wing causes. I ask, shouldn’t these battles, except as they impact the Church directly (such as gay ordination) or the free practice of religion, be better left to the secular folks?

Why shouldn’t Christians be engaged in these social struggles? After all, aren’t they really moral issues? Yes, they are moral issues, but I believe the Church is called to a higher calling.

The higher calling of the church is to go and make disciples. We haven’t been doing that. The mainline denominations have been losing members at an alarming rate. Why? Because we’ve taken our eyes off the ball. Instead of making disciples, we’ve been engaged in fighting among ourselves over these issues. We’ve demonized those on the other side of an issue, and have seriously split the Church. What did Jesus say about a house divided? He said in Mark 3:25: “And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” We see that happening right now in the Church.

So what should the Church be doing? Evangelizing! Bringing people to Christ. Transforming lives one person at a time. If we change one person at a time through the power of the Holy Spirit, pretty soon the nation will change and will be more in keeping with God’s principles and not being guided by worldly principles. Look at the early church. The Apostles didn’t set out to reform the decadent Roman Empire, but its priority was to make disciples. We should be doing the same. Eventually a self-indulgent Roman Empire turned to Christ and was transformed. The same thing can happen here.

Christendom, such as it is, can either continue to slide into the post-Christian era as the Church bickers within itself and is distracted and weakened by these peripheral battles, or the Church can commit to making disciples and reverse the trend towards humanism and secularism. So let’s stop fighting the wrong battles, and work for transformation.

More on this topic in a future post.

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