We are ever more challenged to understand militant Christianity.
‘ “Defend the Bible?” I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself.’ Charles Spurgeon.
A Pastor we heard recently cajoled his congregation: Defend God by challenging moral issues of our day, engage non-believers and suffer for the faith. Protest, march, “Go, be… do!” Write letters, call your reps! Contribute here, buy that, read this, watch that, attend here, go there… Join up! Be heard!
We find Politics from the pulpit is extremely offensive. Our reaction: ‘show me where it says so.’ And surprise! It’s usually Burke quoted as if his words were scripture:
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
Some mistakenly attribute those words to Edmund Burke — but it is at best a paraphrase, adapted to serve a secular purpose.
Paul summarizes instructions to Pastor Titus with the following charge: (parenthesis added for emphasis)
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It (that is: the “grace of God”) teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.” Titus 2:11-15
It’s clear — Paul’s instruction is to engage those in the Church. “It” is the “grace of God … teaching US.” Note the phrases “while we wait” and “purify for himself a people…”
Are we waiting? Self-controlled. Not so much. Inflamed, busy, loud & obnoxious, defiant, confrontational, condemning, exclusive, enclosed, isolated — might be more descriptive of Christian Activism. Especially in recent years, the church has emptied itself into our culture and the presence of those claiming Christianity as the basis for their activism has expanded.
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden” Mat 5:4
For those wandering in outer darkness, the church is that lamp, the light — as the stranger draws near, and enters in we embrace them and share the hope of Christ.