The American Vision: A Biblical Worldview Ministry

Why It’s Wrong for the Church to be on the Sidelines

Become an insider.
Sign up for our emails.

We won't spam, rent, sell, or share
your information in any way.

There are some Christians who take themselves out of the battle over worldviews. They believe the Bible teaches that Christians should stay above the fray of social involvement. I’ve dealt with this and many other similar arguments in Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths.[1] James L. Evans, pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church, writes in an editorial that appeared in the religion section of The Decatur Daily that “The church was never intended to rule—that’s why we have never been good at it. Our true identity has to do with serving, healing souls and reconciliation. It’s that old taste of power in our mouths that keeps us from embracing our proper vocation.”[2]

The church as an ecclesiastical government was never intended to rule in a civil capacity. Rev. Evans confuses the church as a government with the church as a body of believers. If we follow the logic of Pastor Evans, the church is not really in the world because the church’s message is confined to the institution of the church. If a pastor preaches on the evil of despotic governments, individual Christians can nod in agreement but not take the wisdom of a pastor’s counsel beyond the doors of the church. “As long as you preach your sermons and teach your Sunday school lessons in the context of a church service and keep your views private,” secularists would argue, “we have no problem with your religion. It’s when you make your religious views public that we object and will do something about it.” Here is how one editorial writer put it: Christians can “rant and rave against humanism and feminism and any other `ism’ on Sunday, come Monday, the children belong in school.”[3]

Jay Bookman, writing in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, stated that “faith should be personal, not political.”[4] This was the view of the Roman Empire and every despot who used the sword in defense of his divine right to rule:

“But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and coming upon the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. And when they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, ‘These men who have upset the world have come here also; and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus’” (Acts 17:5–7).

Claiming there was another king other than Caesar had political implications. Christians could believe there was another king, but you couldn’t say it because other people might believe it, act on it, and, in our day, vote on it. This is exactly what despotic governments want Christians to believe. The church does its thing in its self-imposed cloistered community, while the long arm of civil government and its courts and schools do their thing. The hope of people like Rev. Evans is that if civil government ever becomes tyrannical, it will respect the jurisdiction of the church and let it continue its ministry. History is not on the side of such misguided optimism.

Endnotes:

[1] Gary DeMar, Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: How Misreading the Bible Neutralizes Christians (Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 2004).
[2] James L. Evans, “Why it’s right for us to be on the side” (July 8, 2006):
[3] Rheta Grimsley Johnson, “‘People’ vs. Fundamentalists,” The Marietta Daily Journal (September 2, 1986), 4A.
[4] (May 2, 2005), A11.

Join the email family.

We won't spam, rent, sell, or share
your information in any way.

Join the support family.

Donate Now
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram
The American Vision

FREE
VIEW