Whether you like to think about it or not, the age of the “Christian country” is over. I have read a few blogs on how we can turn America back to God. There is still a chance that God can rule this country once again. The fight isn’t over yet.
But maybe it should be.
Most of the blogs that I have read on turning America back to God consist of turning the American government into a form of church leadership. We believe that the greatest hope for the evangelical church’s version of Christianity is in the newest senator who prays before every meal. We believe that the greatest hope is found in the traditional, biblical marriage, which is exemplified in the newest governor. In all honesty, some of us still even believe the greatest hope for the evangelical church is found in the Republican party (as demonstrated by the voting for a Mormon, who, in any other election, wouldn’t even be considered because of his religious beliefs).
For too long, the evangelical church has taken comfort in the freedoms provided to us through our government. I, like you, am grateful for these freedoms. But I am fearful that in the midst of comfort, we have lost our purpose.
Instead of freedom being something that should benefit us, it has become something that has enslaved us.
For in freedom, we sat idly by while the hungry needed food.
For in freedom, we ignored the cries of the unwed mother.
In freedom, we watched marriages fall apart.
In freedom, we saw the numbers of those without health care.
I could go on and on but I think you get the point. In freedom, we shifted the responsibility of the church to the government. Here’s the worst part: now, Christians are seen as wanting the hungry to go hungry, hating the unwed mother, refusing to allow love flourish, and hoping that only the select receive health care. How did we get this image? In who we checked on our ballot.
I don’t believe that we want of those things to happen. We want to feed the hungry. We start up food pantries and soup kitchens to try and meet the needs of the hungry. We don’t hate the unwed mother. We show her love and offer her a place to stay to raise her child. We don’t want marriages to fall apart. We encourage couples to fight for their marriage. We want everyone to receive health care…that’s why the church has been so influential in the medical world.
We want God’s “thou shalt not” commandments legislated but we don’t want to legislate His “thou shalt” commands. In other words, we want the sins of commission legislated but not the sins of omission. But we cannot legislate God…let alone, half of Him.
We have tried, though. Unfortunately, someone who wants to feed the hungry, help the marginalized, and allow abortions is considered a horrible person. But someone who wants to cut food stamps, ignore the lower-class, and make abortions illegal is considered a great person. If Christians want the government to cut food stamps or other programs benefiting the marginalized, then we need to be prepared to step up and do what Christ commanded us to do — to love God, and love our neighbor as ourself.
We are living in an American stained Christianity era. As things become legislated, we fear the future of the Church. In reality, the Church has survived far worse situations. It actually excites me a bit; because hopefully we will see that the way we are to be the church is not through the government — but by being involved in our communities, in our cities, and in the lives of everyone around us. We don’t legislate God. We live like God. God never forced His decrees on people. Why do we think that we can?
I think most of us are upset with the government because it is not being the church we want it to be. It is allowing people to commit the “thou shalt nots” even though it is also providing people with the “thou shalts.” But Christ never limited Himself to those in need and neither should we.
The government is not the Church. We, as Christ-followers, are the Church. Legislation from the government will not ruin the Church. Parties cannot ruin the Church. Elections cannot ruin the Church. Nothing can. Christ promised us that.