I read it again today on Facebook—the church let down America by voting for Donald Trump. Here’s the heart of the article, written by a friend:
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
What possessed [Paul]? What conviction gripped the soul of this Apostle to the Gentiles? I think that Paul believed if the church didn’t live this out, no one would. It is the church’s responsibility, and it’s alone, to manifest the realities of God to the earth, to be the outpost of heaven.
This is why blacks feel betrayed.
This is why women feel betrayed.
This is why Mexicans feel betrayed.
This is why Muslims feel betrayed.
Not because America let them down. But because the church did.
We may very well have voted for the pro-life candidate, but it appears as though we did it at the cost of blacks. Of Mexicans. Of Muslims. Of women. And I, for one, believe that the cost was too great.
I don’t want to get into the demographics of the vote—how women voted for Mr. Trump and therefore ought not be lumped in with those “feeling betrayed.” For the record, I feel betrayed that the Republicans let him run under their flag, but that’s a post for another day.
I also don’t want to address the idea that concern for the life of the unborn should take a backseat to concern for “blacks” or “Mexicans” or Muslims or women. There’s a lot to say about that statement, but I’ll need a separate post to deal with it.
Instead of those things, I want to think a bit about Christians ripping on the Church. I know I’ve addressed this subject before, but I think it’s reaching a crisis point. We’re not talking about progressives or atheists or people of other religions. We’re talking about people who believe the Bible and who are using the Bible to rip the Church.
We Christians aren’t perfect (though a small segment hold to the belief in Christian perfectionism, most of us acknowledge our sin and see the Bible as addressing ongoing sins—see Paul’s confrontation of the church in Corinth concerning their sin of tolerating sin in their body). I’m in no way saying that we can do no wrong or that we don’t have sins we need to address. The condemnation and warnings of Jesus given to the seven churches in Revelation, are ours too.
But in this day when the world mocks and denigrates the Church, we believers ought not join right in!
First, the Church is far greater than the collection of believers here in America. Therefore the statement that “the church” let down the list of people above is wrong. Even if American Christians had let someone down, it wouldn’t be “the church” that was at fault.
In reality, the article addressed a type of “Christian nationalism” that I agree with, but oddly, in the midst of this identification came the accusation that the Church was at fault for what happened in the American election.
Sorry, but the Church is an all-encompassing body that includes people of every tribe and tongue and nation which God is preparing as His bride.
Other metaphors describe us as His family; as His body, with Christ as the head; as a spiritual house made up of living stones with Christ as the cornerstone. These descriptions reveal our true identity. We must not be pulled into false ideas about who we are. We must not join the world in bashing the one Jesus died to save.
Besides our true identity we also know the following:
1) false prophets sneak in to steal and kill and destroy. Sometimes the world and even other believers see the false prophets as true and assume the worst of the entire flock.
2) sometimes bodies of believers can become lukewarm or can lose our first love and need to be called back to Christ, but that is not true of the entire Church.
3) therefore, no matter what happens in America, the Church is not to blame.
4) finally, our citizenship, just like that of every believer, is in heaven. This world, including our native or adopted home on earth, is temporary. We’re “just a-passin’ through.”
5) while we’re on earth we testify to the One who saved us, in part by our unity, by the way we treat one another.
So Christians bashing the Church? Not such a great witness.
In truth, Christians need to stand up for the Church, because no one else will. We need to reject the idea that we are responsible for what false teachers teach, unless we give them the pulpit and prod others to come in and hear their message. To think otherwise would be like saying Jesus was to blame for the false teaching of the Pharisees, because, you know, He was there too.
Well, no, Jesus wasn’t to blame for the fact that those religious leaders used Scripture to teach self-righteousness.
We need to keep front and center that the true Church holds fast to the gospel, that Christ died for sinners according to the Scripture, that we ourselves have received a new life in Christ because of what Jesus did on our behalf. Any teaching that contradicts those fundamentals is a different gospel.
We need to stop calling those who preach a different gospel, the Church.
And we need to stop going along with the world to bash the true Church.