Monday, November 17, 2008

MONDAY MUSINGS: Who Sets the Agenda for the Church?

The sign in the picture is not real, just someone's impression of what the real message is in many churches today.

Somehow in the last twenty years, the evangelical church has often allowed those who advocate culture war politics to set the agenda for the church and Christian people. We have become known more for the political positions we take and the particular sinful practices we oppose than for the Good News we promote!
  • In many cases we have bought the questionable argument that there is only one correct "Christian" position, not only on a moral or ethical question under discussion, but also on the one right way to go about changing things. Anyone who disagrees with that position or method, or who even wants to consider other options, is automatically considered suspect.
  • Furthermore, and even more dangerous, is the fact that we have been drawn into the political arena and have accepted the premise that this is the arena in which we fight our most important battles.
  • Finally, we have accepted the "culture warrior" definition of ourselves, which makes it impossible to treat those with other political views as anything other than "enemies" in the struggle.
In short, we have allowed the world system, the media, and those who have anointed themselves war strategists and generals in the culture war to set our agenda for us. Why don't we believe the Bible? Why do we get sucked in like this? Why don't we allow words like these, from Paul, to protect us from being drawn into the world's agenda?

Indeed, we live as human beings, but we do not wage
war according to human standards... (2Cor 10.3)

In this light, Scot McKnight has posted a remarkable letter on the Jesus Creed blog today. It is from a conservative pastor who struggled with the issues during this past election and ultimately voted for Barack Obama. In the process he shared his struggles and decision with a few close friends. It became known, as things tend to get known within church families, and now he is facing severe criticism, people leaving the church, folks saying he is not qualified to be a pastor, etc. I encourage everyone who reads this to go to Scot's blog, meditate on this letter, and give a comment.

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