I have a lot of hope that America, as a nation, will return to some kind of normalcy and sanity. Since news is a market-based consumer operation, news and politics will slow down simply from sheer exhaustion. I do not, however, harbor as much hope for our moral sanity, as that requires supernatural intervention.
The neo-Jacobins burning statues of the Virgin Mary will age out of their youthful rebellion, and the hot-takes pushing the conquistadors of California linked to the now-burned San Gabriel Mission will fade into dust. But the fact is that American cultural power has shifted from the white protestant to many factions, all wanting their version of “the greater good.”
In this move, the legal cause of religious liberty has emerged as juggernaut, illuminating the positive value of our constitution and the laws protecting the worship, practice, and administration of religion in America. David French points this out in his latest dive into comparing the case for religious liberty to the case for Christian power. (I don’t normally endorse paid newsletters outside the one I write for, but The Dispatch is definitely worth the price of entry to read these excellent pieces.)
While the political and cultural power of white protestants has waned in many places in America, the legal protections of religious practice–especially in areas hostile to Christianity–have increased. “In either case, the truth rings clear—’For we do not have an enduring city here; instead, we seek the one to come.'” writes French.
But as Christians follow the rabbit hole of political and cultural aspirations, we lose the salt and light of this short life we’re given, trading it for the tasteless spice of life and the sandy foundations of the institutions of men, not of God. Let me remind you that the “greater good” of this world is inextricably linked to the eternal one that all of us will enter.
It’s not fitting that Christians trade eternal security for liberty in this life. We have a task before us, and the Lord Himself has prepared hearts to receive His truth, and ears to hear His message. In 1 Corinthians 6, we are admonished to avoid “trivial cases” amongst ourselves. We are also warned that we are not to mold the church to the world, because there is a greater liberty to be lost.
6 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
On gay marriage, I have never opposed homosexuals having the right to be recognized in all ways by government as being civilly joined in a union as a couple. But I have never wavered from the Biblical belief that this is not, and cannot be called “matrimony.” Churches that recognize gay marriage within the church itself are throwing away the Bible, and bringing these disputes before unbelievers to resolve.
As Paul wrote, they are deceived.
Political leaders, in a similar vein, are not qualified by their position to be overseers in the church. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 3:
3 Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate,self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness,not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
The church in America puts up with far too much disgrace, promotes far too many recent converts, and tolerate far too much conceit to be of any heavenly good. If the leaders of the church aren’t worthy of respect from believers, how can they gain the respect of the world?
12 A deacon must be faithful to his wife and must manage his children and his household well. 13 Those who have served well gain an excellent standing and great assurance in their faith in Christ Jesus.
These two verses alone disqualify Donald Trump from any spiritual role whatsoever. Any pastor who defends Trump and his character should be removed from leadership. We can respect the secular office and the person holding that authority, but that does not imply godliness or even sanctification to God’s purpose.
Christians may be winning the legal battle for protection of our rights, but we have already lost the cultural battle for the souls of unbelievers if we have thrown out the Bible in exchange for paper laws written to govern us on this earth.
We are all on a rather short journey in this world, and destined for another after we leave it. We must not forget that our liberty here will not apply in Hell, and that we have no need of that liberty in Heaven, for there we will be with Christ.
What trade would we make in this world to ensure our friends, neighbors, and political rivals can join us for eternity in Heaven, versus choosing to reside without God in Hell? As Paul wrote, we should be shamed for our lack of vision and devotion.