Fighting the Real Battle

II Timothy 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

There’s a battle raging in America today. While some seek to “unite” the country, many are becoming increasingly polarized from one another. The battle of the worldviews is culminating in a head-on collision. Debates about abortion, stem-cell research, and especially gay marriage are bringing out the fight in everyone from all sides. 

While Christians are called to stand for the truth at all times, it seems we sometimes get too carried away with fighting the wrong battle. I sympathize for the churches that have been attacked and mocked. I am for this moment even on Rick Warren’s side. As a matter of fact, the Mormons have my pity at this time as well.

But, Christians – this is not the real battle! A friend pointed this out to me recently: there’s nothing wrong with taking a stand in society or voting for a referendum that would promote morality. But many of the Christians who are pouring their energy into these social issues have never personally shared the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation.

While it seems this “fight” is noble and godly, it is really the social gospel repackaged, and an outward expression of worldliness.

I make that comparison for obvious reasons. We tend to think of the social gospel in terms of missionaries who build houses and open hospitals abroad without preaching the gospel. Or we think of it as churches in America that are too politically minded and focus on after-school programs, homeless shelters, and community organizations without preaching the gospel. There is nothing wrong – in fact, it’s a good thing – with the social aspect of the gospel. What makes the social gospel heretical, then, is its absence of preaching the gospel.

And so it is with taking our God-given time and God-given energy and using it to fight for Proposition 8 or the like. There’s nothing wrong with participating in it for the greater good of society. But it becomes wrong when the preaching of the gospel is absent. And I fear that the overwhelming majority of “concerned” Christians are not nearly as concerned when it comes to the souls of those same people.

I also say it is worldliness to keep in line with yesterday’s post. Worldliness is a love affair with the world. Now it might seem contradictory to say that, because, after all, it seems Christians are doing this out of their hatred for the world’s system. And that might be so for many people, I don’t know their hearts. But it could just as well be said that the reason professing believers care so much about issues like gay marriage is because they want a better world to live in for themselves. But this physical world is not our home. Nor is it the fight with which we ought to be concerned. The Bible says:

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We’re not dominion theologians, are we? Are are trying to reconstruct society? Or perhaps trying to usher in the kingdom of God? You know what happens when church tries to meddle with state? False converts – thousands of people trying to conform to standards to which only the regenerate can conform. Why are we wasting our time trying to get unsaved, lost, reprobate people to conform to our morality? The only way they can change is through the preaching of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ! And if we believe that, we’d spend a lot more time, energy, and resources in getting out the gospel than we would in being so gung-ho about Prop 8. 

The church has failed in her first duty in America and is distracted by the affairs of this world. As a result, the lost do not see our good works and glorify God in heaven. Instead, they have all the misconceptions in the world about us. If they hate us for preaching the truth, great. But preaching the truth is the least tapped source of their hatred toward us. They hate us for trying to make them like us without any care for their souls. And they notice it. 

I haven’t liked Keith Olbermann since he left ESPN. In fact, I stand pretty much in opposition to everything he says, including this video. But when I watched this eloquent speech of his, I couldn’t help but think how much responsibility we should take in his misconceptions about Christianity:

Obviously, his views are distorted. I can think of a ton to say to him in response. But it’s not about that. That’s where Satan wants us – to concentrate on these battles and miss the all important war. Let’s not fall into that trap. Let’s stand for truth and against evil. But let’s place our affections on Christ and His gospel which is to be preached to every creature.

To those who serve the Lord faithfully, keep going. Don’t let the moral downgrade of America deter you from your work. God is in control and the church has persevered through much worse.

To those who have spent so much time and energy in these social issues, please consider passing out gospel tracts before you pass out anti-gay literature. Please consider preaching the gospel boldly before you scream against angry protesters. And please fight the good fight of faith before and above any other fight.

To all of us who are soldiers of the Lord Jesus Christ, let us fight the real battle. 

 

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3 comments so far

  1. SycomoreView on

    I was just telling a friend the other day, “We Christians will rally with the lost world to protest the murder of babies, but we would not work with a church that has lesser standards than ours, to preach the Gospel!” There is something terribly wrong with us. God help us get put the focus where it needs to be.

  2. Will Dudding on

    We may not ultimately be citizens of this world, but we must not give up one inch to the Devil. We still need to stand for truth and marriage as God defines it. That’s worth fighting for and if we lose, which we may in the future, then it’s Ok, as long as it doesn’t go down without a fight. God is in control, and we will preach truth anyway.

  3. […] this the War on Christmas. At large, we can classify this under the Culture Wars. But as with Proposition 8, I am prone to wonder: is this the battle in which Christians ought to fight? Or is this a worldly […]


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