What if homosexuality was made illegal? What if abortion was outlawed? What if sexual relations outside of marriage were unacceptable? What if prayer was back in the classroom and the Ten Commandments back in the courtroom? What then? Are people going to heaven? Has the mission of the church advanced one inch? Suppose we could turn the clock back to the good old days, wherever they were, with shared boundaries of morality, a basic respect for God, a basic underpinning of absolute truth. . . . Would we breathe a sigh of relief then? Would we think that we have somehow completed our job?Unfortunately, no link is currently available. If this changes, I'll post an update. Here's the real kicker though:
What if we had our way in Washington or here in Raleigh? What if every evangelical viewpoint was respected and every piece of legislation that we wanted presented [was] supported and applauded? Would we wipe the sweat off our brow? I fear the church at large in America would, because the church at large has forgotten the nature of the battle.
That doesn't mean we don't care about what society does. Given our current freedoms, we vote every opportunity we have. We rejoice when our culture respects moral purity. For those called into civil and political service, we rejoice when they shine as lights in the arena God has called them to for the glory of God.
But true victory, true reformation, however, is not changing the behavior of our culture unless we first change their belief in who Jesus Christ is. And when their belief in who Jesus Christ is changes by virture of spiritual life, then reformation truly occurs.
I had a leader engage in conversation with me some time ago, and he said, "You know, what we're trying to do is keep for you your freedom so you can preach." And I asked him how he knew that I should have my freedom. Maybe the best thing for the church in America is for men like me to go to prison for what we preach and what we believe. It does not take a strong and free culture to have a thriving church. Go to China. I fear that our mission as a church has become one of distraction rather than of disciple-making.