Cover of Time Magazing week of March 26, 2017
Christianity is built upon truth. It has it’s roots in Old Testament revelation and it’s fulfillment is made complete in Jesus Christ who said unambiguously, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no man comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) To think that Christianity is a subjective philosophy which can be synthesized with various other philosophies, religions or worldviews is simply wishful and erroneous thinking. Christianity teaches exclusivity with regards to salvation through Jesus Christ not because we are hateful, intolerant bigots, but rather we take serious what the Scripture has revealed. Christian orthodoxy maintains that truth can only be found in Jesus Christ and the totality of Scripture. There may be overlaps of truth found in other philosophies and religions, but that does not validate the entire truthfulness of those worldviews. It is only in the Scriptures where we can find a personal and corporate standard by which there is an assurance that we are building our lives and our communities (nation) on a solid foundation.
One of my favorite movies is Braveheart, the story of William Wallace. Wallace was a Scottish peasant who led Scotland to war with England’s King Edward the first. The movie is fictitious at numerous points, but nevertheless has a certain inspiration imbedded in it concerning the struggle for freedom over tyranny. The conflict (called a “rebellion” by the English and Scottish nobility) begins due to the murder of Wallace’s wife. Wallace had married his wife in secret disobedience to English law of ius primae noctis (Latin), “right of first night”. Once this news was uncovered, his wife was executed by the offended English lord sending Wallace into a killing rage of justice (vengeance?) which likens him to a 13th century Rambo. The village supports Wallace but now they realize they either fight England for their freedom or they all shall be killed.
A movement may have the best ideas, the best strategies, the best tactics, and even some of the best personnel available; however, if it has no courage it is going nowhere. The Church is replete with notable scholars and activists whose goals are to defend and advocate Christian (biblical) values and concerns. We have numerous para-church organizations resembling an alphabet soup (ADF, FRC, AFA, ARP, ACLJ, etc.) of experts who work under the broad banner of “faith, family and freedom” for various political and legal concerns. Yet with all this spiritual and intellectual firepower at our disposal, we are not only no closer to recapturing where we once were as a nation with regards to biblical worldview, but a case can be made we are moving backwards. We find ourselves on too many occasions defending our values rather than advancing our values.
“Then Joshua said to the children of Israel: “How long will you neglect to go and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers has given you?”
Joshua 18:3 NKJV
The children of Israel had become war-weary. They were called to possess the whole land which God had given to them, but between time and pain, it was getting long and hard, so much so, they were beginning to negotiate treaties. That was the reason for Joshua’s rebuke. They had only secured a part of the land…not the whole land. “But hey…some is better than nothing right? It’s not what God told us to do, but this conquering mandate is long and painful and since it’s a little better than what we had then let’s just call it quits here”…
“Everything rises and falls with leadership”
– John Maxwell
I don’t agree with everything leadership expert John Maxwell espouses, but his statement concerning the nature of leadership is spot-on. Leadership is one of the key components to rebuilding a Christian civilization. This in no way diminishes the place of the saints of God, grassroots activism, or the energy of the individual believer. The key in my analysis is that leadership, whether it be pastors or civic leaders, is the catalyst which will bring theory into reality. But therein lies the challenge. It is difficult to find leaders in either category which have the basic foundational understandings of biblical worldview and comprehensive Christianity. Hence, the regular frustration we feel when it comes to candidate selection and election. We (evangelical, conservative, Christians) accept the every election cycle testimony of numerous candidates who promise to be attentive and concerned about our values, but then find ourselves with elector’s remorse as those same candidates forget us and our priorities when they occupy the office. It’s analogous to the girl who gives herself away to the boy in the back seat of the car on the promise that he loves her and will make her his bride, only to find out later she was simply used for his own selfish purposes. Conservative Christians have been “used” by the political right for almost a generation now. It is time we woke up to the fact that no one is really taking us seriously.