A Word Skillfully Spoken|
by Mike Quigley
Like Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver, So Is A Word Skillfully Spoken (Prov. 25:11)
We are Christians living in a secular land! I disagree that this is a Christian nation. Instead, I believe that our founders were Christian men who designed a system of government that was compatible with Christianity, and influenced by the Scriptures.
Everyone Doing That Which is Right in Their Own Eyes
Over the centuries these people have gradually turned their back on Christ, seeking only the gratification of their lusts, everyone doing that which is right in their own eyes (see Judges 21:25), and expecting us to accept and approve. We have become the people described throughout the book of Judges.
Laws Don't Change People - Jesus Christ Does
So then, what does God want us to do? Should we change their laws, behaviors and culture? Or should we bring them to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, letting Him change their hearts? Although the foundations of our law comes from the Bible, these people no longer wish to be governed according to those principles. Will changing the laws change these people? I don't think so!
Our Agenda Comes From Scripture
Let me make it clear up front. I think we should be involved in the political process as much as possible, but unaligned with the secular conservatives. Those who truly follow Christ have a different agenda than the politicians who will sell us out in a heartbeat. Our agenda is informed by Scripture; for instance, Matthew 25:34-40 and Matthew 28:19-20.
Change Laws or Change the Culture?
So, if this was a solely secular nation, operating with a similar constitution, and Christ dropped you and 20 other fellow believers here, what would be your agenda? Would you begin writing letters to the editor and your congressman, complaining about the injustice and hypocrisy of the government? Would you rail at the evil behavior of the populace? Would you refuse to obey those laws that you thought offended your Christ?
Or would you find a job and get down to work earning enough cash to feed and clothe the widows and orphans, and would you share the joy of your salvation with those who are so broken by their sins and culture? What is our primary purpose in Christ? To change the laws? Or to change the culture?
Are We Religious Zealots?
Every day there is some news story about a Christian Bed&Breakfast refusing to rent a room to a "gay" couple, or some believer refusing to bake a cake for a lesbian wedding, or refusing to photograph a homosexual wedding. They behave like religious hypocrites of the biblical Jewish cultures who refused to have anything to do with a gentile; as if associating with them would pollute their bodies and offend Jehovah. Are we becoming nothing more than "religious zealots"? Why are we so zealous for this outward purity, yet so lazy in our zeal for Christ?
Associate Only With The Pure?
Make disciples; take care of the widows and orphans!! Who is your neighbor? Ask the "good Samaritan"! Did Jesus associate only with the pure? We know the answer to that. One of his disciples was a thief. Jesus had dinner with sinners, tax collectors and Pharisees. We don't see him railing against the laws of the emperor. We do, however, see Him confronting the hypocrisy of the religious establishment. Remember, He touched lepers!
Preach the Gospel&Make Disciples
With that in mind, is it our calling to purify the world, or to preach the Gospel and make disciples? I think it is to preach and make disciples. Do we purify sinners first and then make them disciples? No. We make them a disciple and God purifies them. Will it pollute our souls and bodies when we serve those vile sinners?
It is a great evil when governments force Christians to compromise their principles. But, that has been going on since the Church was established. Remember Nero? In wisdom we need to discern which battles are the ones worth fighting. Refusing to bake a cake for a homosexual wedding is silly. Baking that cake will not encourage anything. But, engaging those couples in conversation about Christ is an opportunity worth grabbing. Every moment they stand before you ordering and picking up their cake is a precious opportunity. And when they thank you for your kind service, then to them you can give all glory to God! …these are precious opportunities indeed!
Let me ask you; do you know for sure that the heterosexual couple coming into your establishment has been living in purity? If not, know that their sin is the same as the homosexual couple. If you knew they had been living together, would you deny them service? Do you have a questionnaire that every customer who comes in must fill out? And if they come up morally short, do you refuse to sell them a donut? If you don't hold them to the same standard as the homosexual couple, then you are behaving as a hypocrite.
Those who refuse to photograph gay weddings are walking on thin ice also. They forget these are broken people who may never again hear the gospel. Come on, folks, they are a captive audience who are stuck with you, unless they fire you for engaging them in conversation about your love for your Savior. Don't be so myopic. Do you know the hearts of any bride and groom? Are they moral people? Don't be a hypocrite!
Are you offended that the government is forcing you to purchase medical insurance policies which fund abortions? Will you now engage in "civil disobedience," bravely facing the wrath of the government? Then why don't you refuse to pay that portion of your taxes that go to fund abortion? Is it because you know that resisting the IRS is more dangerous than resisting the devil? If that is your position, then you are also engaging in hypocritical behaviors.
Contending for the Faith - Not Contentious
Let's not be known for contentious behavior, but for contending for the faith, and loving our neighbor.
Should Pastors be forced to participate in the weddings of the morally bankrupt? That's a discussion for another day.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20, ESV).
Mike Quigley is a volunteer at the Gospel Rescue Mission in Grants Pass, Oregon, where his wife, Connie, serves as Women's Coordinator. He is among the rescue mission's finest teachers who has helped to found a new discipleship program working to change the hearts and minds of our poorest neighbors.