Church, Government and the Great Commission

There’s a lot of things wrong in our country. We legalize the murder of innocent children; we condone sexual immorality; we are power hungry; we lie, and we still think it’s okay to judge others by the color of their skin or ethnic background.

Granted, not every American is like that, but there’s no denying that those problems exist.

And we all have the same question: Why is it this way? Why is my country this way?

I’m afraid that the church can often point the finger at society and non-Christians for the problems. There’s a picture that makes annual rounds on Facebook that asks basically the same question, and it responds to it by saying “We need prayer in schools. We need God back in America. We need Christian leaders in government,” and so on and so forth.

But how do we get prayer back in schools? How do we get God back in America? Is that even possible? And do we really need Christian leaders in government?

You see, a few decades ago, the Moral Majority movement attempted to give Christians power in government to pass “Christian” laws, based on biblical ethics. This was, in so many eyes, a fantastic movement that would bring a great revival in our country. The “religious right” became a powerful political influence, and while leaders of that movement and other Christians continued to personally share the gospel, the overarching belief seemed to be that this movement would be the movement that brought about a great spiritual revival.

Unfortunately, the moral majority is gone, and our country is worse now than ever before.

Why? Because you cannot legislate the human heart. Because the government cannot make disciples.

I believe our country is the way it is because of sin. And I believe sin has a foothold in our country because the church has failed to make disciples the way God has called us to. We have gotten so caught up in the next election that we have failed to carry out our God-given mandate. We have thought that the government should “allow” prayer and “allow” God to work in our country, failing to remember that God Himself indwells each and every believer, and thus, we are divinely equipped to make a difference regardless of what the government is doing.

Don’t get me wrong….I will vote in November, and as both a concerned citizen and a journalist, I keep up with politics and care, probably more than the average person. However, to put all of our hope in what a politician can do, rather than it what the Lord Jesus can do, is foolish.

I care about this country. I care about its future. I care enough to vote for leaders whom I feel will make our country better than it is now. But there’s a difference in wanting good, wise leadership to make some temporary changes and thinking that a politician, a sinner like the rest of us, will “fix” everything wrong in our country.

There is one man who can and will fix what’s wrong with this world. But He is not an American citizen, and He will not be on your ballot November 8. I hope our next president does a great job. But if he or she doesn’t, fine.   know that one day, the King of Kings will put everything right. And I know that the church’s role, and my role, regardless of what happens in a few months, will be the same as it has been for 2,000 years: make disciples.

In 1 Peter 4:17, Peter tells the church that it is time for judgment. You can imagine the church is excited, thinking that those pagans are going to get it. But, surprise, Peter says that judgment will “start at the house of God.”

When God judges our nation, He will judge the Christian church first. And we will be judged for thinking that our government can do our job for us. We will be judged for all the times we have thought that if only Washington would fix this place, if only Washington would outlaw this and outlaw that. We will be judged for seeking to change laws instead of preaching the gospel to change hearts.

We must speak out about what God’s Word says to our culture. We must be loud and clear about what is right and wrong. But we must also remember that the gospel, not the law, changes hearts. People whose hearts are not committed to the Lordship of Christ and haven’t been changed by His grace will not live holy lives. They may be religious, but they won’t be saved. They’ll still go to hell, they’ll just look cleaner on the way.

The church must make making disciples its primary goal. Each Christian must make making disciples his or her primary goal. We must get back to preaching the good news that someone has died for us and can save us when we cannot save ourselves. We must preach Christ as Lord, and call people to trust Him and repent.

Another note needs to be made here: It’s very easy for my generation (age 18-35) to criticize the previous generation for things like the moral majority. And while we may not be wrong in pointing the finger, the whole point of what I’ve just written is for everyone to point the finger at themselves and think about whether or not disciple-making is really top priority.

If the previous generation’s biggest crime is seeking revival through the moral majority and “Christian” government, all while forgetting to preach the gospel and focus on the human heart, my generation’s biggest crime is wasting time blaming the previous generation.

If I blame my grandparents’ generation for not making disciples, does that help make disciples? Obviously not. There’s a time for figuring out where we went wrong. But when we do that, it’s time to start going the other way. I just moved to a new area, so that makes a lot of literal sense for me. I have found where I have gone wrong on many different roads. But I’m learning to go the right way now, and not wind up lost…again. But if we keep focusing on the wrong way, we don’t ever go the right way.

Bottom line: We know what we need to do. We’ve known for 2,000 years. God isn’t updating the handbook.

So let’s make disciples. Meet people. Share life with them. Tell them about Jesus. Teach them to tell people about Jesus. And keep making disciples.

Lord, may we make disciples. May we not forget that your commands are not complicated and you have given us the Spirit. May we be who you have called us to be.

God bless,

Neal E.