In my opinion, one of the greatest strategic successes political candidates and parties apply against the church is what is know as “divide and conquer”. The reason we have difficulty advancing our causes and concerns is because we have no civic leadership advocating for them. The reason we have no political candidates willing to provide leadership in advancing our causes is because we cannot elect them. The reason we cannot elect them is because Christians have a hard time moving in unity to become a type of monolith movement that can influence election outcomes to their advantage. Politicians and parties know this and do everything in their power to dilute our influence and keep our influence spread thin. The easiest illustration to offer is the primary system of selecting candidates. The 2016 GOP primary process offered at one time over 15 candidates for president. Of that number, I could easily identify 4 or 5 candidates that might have made an acceptable choice for many committed and consistent biblical worldview voters. The problem was that our voting block diluted their impact among those 4 or 5 by spreading out our votes and consequently the less than stellar candidate navigates his way through the pack and becomes the nominee in a system that cannot think beyond a 2-party paradigm. When the general election takes place, the Christian assumes for their vote to matter they must choose between the “lesser of two evils” in order to avoid catastrophe from the opposing candidate. It is a scenario we have consistently seen for several decades now and inevitably all we get from it are the “table scraps” of political movement with regards to the great moral issues of our day. The millions of evangelical voters who could move rapidly to rebuild this nation into a Christian civilization will never see it happen because we haven’t figured out how to move as one.
There is no simple answer to this last rebuilding block. The Pope has little to no political influence with his American Catholic parishioners these days and Protestants are too ruggedly independent to respond to any leadership outside their own sense of “what God is saying personally to them”. This mighty army called the Church has become the gang that couldn’t shoot straight especially with regards to influencing an election. Bringing unity amongst the Christian churches and pastors in America is tantamount to splitting the Red Sea or walking on water. It would be a miracle of biblical proportions for us to arrive at a consensus with regards to civic leadership or policy. That being said, while difficult, it is not necessarily impossible. However, what drives us together, in my opinion, can be only one of two things…
The first will be predicated upon a willing embrace of humility before the Lord. The second will be predicated upon a pain which will force us to a place of humility. The first we humble ourselves before the Lord. The second, we are humbled under the mighty hand of God. That will be our choice. I would rather the first, but my sense is that it will take the second. You see it’s hard to politically or theologically fuss in the metaphorical catacomb with a man sitting on the rock next to you when the crosshairs of a hostile culture are upon you both. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t an appropriate standard of “essentials” when it comes to doctrine and practice. I am suggesting that the list of essentials may need to be refined as we work to rebuild a Christian civilization. If the Church of Jesus Christ which encompasses bible-believing fellowships of various theological camps cannot begin to process elections and public policy from a biblical worldview perspective, and soon, we will enter into a European dark age here in the USA.
I will be the first to stipulate that there will always be a natural sectarianism which will exist in the broader Body of Christ, even among those who are fiercely biblical in their worldview. Do I “like” that reality? Of course not. Even Paul recognized both the legitimate reality and the sin of sectarianism in his letters to the Corinthians. We “see through a glass darkly” he states, in his exhortation to the Corinthians in what it means to “love”. However, despite the biblical precision I may demand when it comes to who I may invite to minister from my pulpit may not be the same precision I demand from those whom I link with to rebuild a civilization to it’s Judeo-Christian ethos. It’s a dicey proposition no doubt, but one that must take place lest our influence remains diluted and ineffectual.
I have founded and attended pastors fellowships and gatherings for over 33 years. I have been within the “inner circle” of discussions with regards as to how Catholics, evangelical Protestants, Reformed, Arminian, sects, and theological cults should relate to one another when it comes to civic government influence, especially when our biblical moral bases are at times exactly the same. I will be the first to admit, I am challenged in these regards due to my passionate conviction of the inerrancy of Scripture and comprehensive Christianity. That being said, I recognize that a Christian civilization is much broader than just my theological perspectives. Listen closely at this point, I am not letting cults off the doctrinal hook or endorsing their theology. I am not diluting the true faith to accommodate those who preach error with regards to what I believe is the clear message of salvation. I am simply saying that in America’s current state, I cannot afford to base the work of cultural reformation on eschatological precision or what version of the Bible I think to be most authoritative. Whether or not a pastor teaches that there is one, two, or three definitive works of grace awaiting the believer is absolutely critically important to the disciples they are mentoring, but may not be critical to our broader connection in rebuilding this civilization.
Honestly, from what I have seen pastors tend to gather in much the same way sheep gather on Sunday mornings. We find people with whom we generally agree concerning our Christian Faith and we spend most of our time fellowshipping within that circle. The homogeneous theory may not be optimum, but it tends to be a reality. Birds of a feather really do flock together. In any city, you may find a half-dozen types of pastors gatherings. My point is that there must be a way to communicate and “cross pollinate” our mutual concerns with regards to elections and public policy. There must be a way to “sanctify” our rugged individualism in order to achieve the biblical mandate for our nation. I have no illusion that there will ever be one, official organization which can accomplish this. In fact, it can only be accomplished through voluntary relationship, mutual concern, and respect. However, it must begin immediately.
Psalm 133 states:
“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Running down on the beard, The beard of Aaron, Running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, Descending upon the mountains of Zion; For there the LORD commanded the blessing— Life forevermore.”
Divine LIFE needs to come to America again. This happens when we figure out the appropriate place of unity amongst those who claim Christ as Lord. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the courageous German pastor who stood against the Nazi Reich, understood the potential power that could be released if the Church could find that place of unity. There is a legitimate place for critiquing a compromised ecumenicalism, but a biblical unity transcends that counterfeit. It is time to find that place if we are serious about restoring the biblical mandate of rebuilding.