The political situation today in America has completely captured the attention of citizens who are at all aware of what is happening around us. The political issue that will ultimately determine our future as a free republic or a Venezuela-style, cultural Marxist, Socialist nation, is this: at such a crucial crossroads in time, which fork will the organized, traditional church take its people? Yes, I believe the church holds the key to our nation’s future.
I believe two forks are clear:
Fork #1. “We don’t take stands on politics in our church. We preach Jesus crucified and then how to know Him as our Savior. We let every man decide his politics for himself. We are completely neutral on the subject.”
Fork #2. “Along with preaching Jesus and knowing Him, we also preach His Kingdom, that begins within the hearts of each of us as we meet Him, and then grows until it envelops every activity in which we are involved—our families, jobs, education, recreation, the arts and entertainment—Jesus is Lord of all we touch. That obviously includes the civil government and politics.”
Which fork should the church take? We cannot take both. We must choose, because they lead us in diametrically opposite directions. The sheep our leaders shepherd need guidance, instruction, and encouragement to take the right fork, with confidence that God is indeed leading His people.
God tells us clearly what a nation that is desperately sick such as ours can do in order for Him to come and heal us:
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14).
Notice the problem God addresses is not the profligate, wicked non-Christian world around us that desperately needs evangelizing. The problem is ours, the church, and our sin! He addresses the church directly. We must humbly repent of our wicked ways, one of which is unbelief—not really believing that Jesus defeated Satan at the cross. Furthermore, He is currently ruling over the earth from His Father’s right hand in Heaven and is currently delegating that rule to us as His people, wherever He has given us responsibility, here on the earth, as the Scripture clearly teaches us.
Do you see yourself participating in Jesus’ rule, right now? Not theoretically or theologically, but actually? Do you see that wherever you go every day, the Kingdom of God goes, because Jesus lives through you? He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, is talking, loving, serving and exercising authority in whatever you are doing on a daily basis (Galatians 2:20). The Kingdom is coming, his will is being done, at this time, on the earth, just as it is in Heaven (Matthew 6:10). God is answering the Lord’s prayer, every day, through us!
If the church has taken Fork #1 and is not preaching this Kingdom anymore in America, including Jesus ruling through us self-consciously repentant sinners, in every area of life, including politics, would that not be grievous sin? What about Fork #2?
Historically, Fork #2 is the message the church has preached in America. Our political foundation laid in colonial America was entirely and self-consciously biblical. The United States Constitution, formulated 150 years later, while not specifically a Christian document, was based fully and unapologetically on the truth of the Bible. The “black regiment” of the Revolutionary War (the “robed pastors in the churches”) preached both the gospel of the free grace of God, and the universality of His Kingdom over the whole earth and all it contains, with equal fervor!
However, in the mid-nineteenth century that all began to change. The introduction of Marxism and evolution in Europe quickly made its way into the cultural milieu in America. They presented two intellectual challenges to Christianity that believers had never faced before, and, rather than standing on the truth of Scripture and doing battle, many of them folded.
A new theology, originating in England about this time, gave them a perfect out. What if Jesus didn’t really defeat Satan at the cross at all, “experientially,” right now, but only “positionally,” as a future truth that will be experienced only after Jesus returns. For now, Satan is “alive and well on planet earth, and Jesus will come back at any time to rescue us, maybe tomorrow. In the mean-time, hunker down, withdraw from the worsening situation in the world (particularly politics!) that we can do nothing about, hold on, and pray that He comes soon.”
This “Johnny-come-lately” theology (150 years old) has flourished in our church in America. It has changed the whole reason for Christians to live here on the earth: from “ruling over the earth” as God’s vice-regents (Genesis 1:26) to “saving as many souls as possible before Jesus returns.”.
All ideas have a theological base: they are based on God and His truth or they are not. Fork #1 comes from this escapist theology, while Fork #2 comes from 500 year old Reformation theology.
Some church leaders have awakened to the political crisis and have tried valiantly to awaken their churches as well, with varying degrees of success. Without a theological reorientation as a foundation, it is hard to produce the same results that reorientation would produce naturally.
However, it is never too late. We are all still learning, shepherd and sheep. I firmly believe this crisis in America is God’s pruning of His church, and it may be severe if Biden is ultimately victorious in the election. I believe His purpose in this discipline is to awaken the church to its sin of unbelief in God’s eternal purpose to use us as He extends His righteous, loving rule over the whole earth. God, open our eyes that we may see!
My recent book, The Two Edges of the Sword, covers this two-pronged, Gospel-Kingdom, Fork #2 theology in great biblical detail in 168 pages. It is available in the Products section of this web-site.