Christian Social Activism
How should Christians be involved in their community? Are the to be change agents, bringing about a better, purer culture? Many believe that
I heard a sermon this past Sunday about abortion. The scripture that was used as the text was Pro 24:11 & 12 - Deliver
those being taken to death, and those stumbling to be killed,
unless you hold back. If you say, Behold, we did not know; does
not He who searches the heart consider it? And the Keeper of
your soul, does He know? And He repays to a man according to his
works. The gist of the message was that Christians should be doing everything they can to rescue the unborn children who are being slaughtered. And an illustration was given that tended to say that the end justifies the means. The illustration was that a man trespassed onto property to save a child who was injured. The man that owned the property then prosecuted the man for trespassing. And so we were told that we should be doing everything we can to save those "being taken to death, and those stumbling to be killed," and so we should be doing everything we can to save these unborn children.
My understanding based on this scripture is a little different. No, a lot different. If we think about who in the case of an abortion is being lead to death, its not the baby, its those performing and participating in the abortion (death being separation from God). The child is completely innocent and as soon as he dies, he enters into the presence of his Lord and Savior. What a wonderful thing to have happen. He does not have to suffer the trials and travails of this world. He is conceived and enters into eternal peace and rest immediately. No, its those who are committing the despicable sin that are being led to destruction, and we as Christians should be rescuing them. They are the ones who need the saving grace of Jesus. We should be proclaiming the gospel to them, but instead we've become their enemies by proclaiming their sin to all the world. I'm not suggesting that we should say abortion is OK. I'm saying that the focus of our rescue efforts should be those who are truly being lead of to their eternal death.In fundamentalist Christian circles today, there seems to be the idea that Christians are supposed to be changing our culture, that is stopping sin. While I believe that if Christian are doing what Jesus wants us to do, that is proclaiming the good new that Jesus has paid the penalty for our sins, that people will be coming to Him, changing their lives and the net result will be a reduction of sin in the world. However, I don't find anything in the Bible that tells us we should be pointing out people's sin and making them stop. Therefore, I don't believe Christian should be:
Don't misunderstand, I don't believe that Christians should just roll over and say that all of that stuff is OK. We should be a voice for right and wrong, but I suspect that this protesting (making a show of our righteousness?) really does much good. In fact it may do more harm than good. It just makes non-believers think Christians are a bunch of holier-than-thou prudes if not hypocrites.
- picketing in front of abortion clinics
- holding marches for or against _______ (you fill in the blank)
- lobbying congress for laws against abortion, gambling, etc.
- picketing in front of adult entertainment clubs (strip joints)
There was recently in Mansfield, an anti-drug rally. People marched to the square and held a rally. Christian leaders and politicians said how they were against drugs and they were going to take Mansfield back. I guess up until now, they've been in favor of drugs? And I didn't see anything mentioned in the article that was promised someone was going to do. Did any churches pledge some money to the police force? Did anyone say they were going to open some drug rehab houses? Did anyone say they were going to do
Maybe they did, and the newspaper just failed to mention it. Maybe. I wonder if any churches even paid for the overtime they cost the police department and streets department for the traffic control for the parade.
So, if I'm a non-believer and I pick up the newspaper, what is my reaction?
1Timothy 2:1&2 - First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that
we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in
Yesterday (Nov. 26, 2007) I heard Dr. James Dobson complaining on his nationally broadcast radio show about stores who have directed their employees to not say Merry Christmas, but rather to say something like happy holidays. He mentioned each store chain by name and listed each store chain who did not direct their employees one way or the other and the store chains who told their employees to say Merry Christmas.
First of all, why is this any of James Dobson's concern?. If the store management feels that this is best course in order to maximize their sales, then why does he care (unless he's a share holder and thinks that it will compromise sales). He's certainly not going to make any friends of the store management by criticizing them on his national radio show.
Really, what difference does it make to James Dobson or Christians, unless its that people want store clerks to say Merry Christmas so that they see Christmas as a mainstream part of our culture. Christians in America today do not want to be considered odd, or weird, or stupid. They want to be the mainstream. This even though we're told over and over in scripture that if we are good Christians, we will not be considered mainstream, but rather we'll ostracized, criticized, condemned and even physically abused.
A simple test.. would Christians living in the 1st Century have gone around to the local businesses telling them that they should be saying "Merry Christmas?" I think not. If it wasn't important to them, then why should it be to us?
My opinion is that these store chains are doing Christianity a great favor by separating themselves from Christmas. The spiritual aspect of the Christmas holiday is for all intents and purposes gone, and replaced with an entirely commercial aspect. By these stores distancing themselves from "Christmas"
perhaps Christianity has a chance to make the holiday once again, a religious holiday. It clearly is not one now.
Are Christians in America Prone to Protest?
I believe that the motivation is primarily selfish. We grew up in a nation that was primarily a Christian nation. That is, the culture primarily had Christian values. Now we see those values being erroded and we can see our perfect living environment is becoming less so. We can see that we will soon be the weird people in our society. In fact much of our culture already dislikes the church. They see us as judgemental (and in deed we are, aren't we?)
We really like having our society be a Christian society so that we don't feel out of place. We don't want to feel threatened, and we think we don't want to have to worry about our children growing up with bad influences (a falicy). Our concern for society being a depraved one is really self motivated. If we were really concerned about the people in our culture, we would realize that stopping their sinning doesn't change anything for them. They are still condemned to Hell, even if they aren't committing abortions, even if they aren't running strip clubs. Its not their sin that condemns them to Hell, its their rejection of Christ. Our desire to stop the sin, is not out of concerns for them, its out of concern for ourselves, isn't it?
If we asked Christ, should we be more concerned about standing up for what is right, or leading people to faith in Christ, what would he say?
So What Should Christians Be Doing With Regard To
Social Activism?Christ told us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves and then went on to tell the parable of the good Samaritan to illustrate who our neighbors are. Christ gave us specific examples of things to do in our culture.. "And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
So we are called to help those in need.
We are also instructed by Paul to take care of widows and orphans, and to take care of our family members in need.
But none of that even comes close to pointing out the sins in our culture or to put a halt to sin.