Christian protestersThe following is an excerpt from a reply I posted to a comment on the recent entry “Counter-Cultural Anger”.  Since media reports are still filled with accounts of Americans outwardly expressing outrage to their leaders, I thought I would publish this response to a thoughtful reader of this blog:  

I don’t deny that it is great to live in a representational system of self-governance (as America is, ostensibly). I also don’t deny that we have a responsibility to speak up for right thinking and living in our world based on biblical principles. I also think it is important to let our voice be heard, from the ballot box to the letter or phone call to our representatives’ offices. It can be a great witness to them and their staffers why we hold certain views and values. I just think the way we convey the message says as much about us as it does about our opinion on policy.

If Christians are expressing outrage in the same way as the world, I believe we lose the effectiveness of our witness because there no discernable difference to their actions, regardless of our motivation for seeing a godly policy enacted. Christ turned over the Temple tables and angrily confronted the religious leaders there, but we could never say it was “rather unkind” since He was without sin. The reasons for His outbursts never had to do with public policy, but a holy anger that God was not being worshiped as He should be. As a matter of fact, the examples of Jesus, Peter, Paul and others show an amazing indifference to the politics of the day, with the exception of the souls of these leaders.

The church is indeed called to be in the world, but not of it. How that looks is guided by many Scriptures that are unchangeable and applicable to all time periods and forms of government. My concern is that many believers spend more time, energy and resources trying to impact the temporal facets of this passing world rather than pour themselves into Christ’s command to make disciples as we should. Many are more invested in leaving a better earthly culture for their children rather than investing in the higher prize of leading others to a heavenly kingdom.

Can we do both? As I read the Word, talk to more folks, and reflect on my own experience, there’s no question we can carry out the Great Commission while expressing our values politically, if we keep these in the right priority.  Honestly, though, the more I think of these issues and work in ministering to people in the political field, the walk is not all that complicated. When we are commanded in Scripture to make disciples, pray for authorities, be salt and light, be filled with the Spirit and reflect His fruit, submit to governing authorities, trust in God’s sovereign control of our world, love our enemies, expect (and even rejoice in) persecution, seek to live quiet and godly lives – and many others, the walk is pretty straightforward.