The Christian community is itself divided in thought, attitude, and even interest level across a wide variety of hot topic arenas. So what matters? ◊
Jim’s company recently was recognized for its high “LGBTQ Inclusivity” rating by a regional newspaper. While a departmental vice president at the company, and a Christian, Jim has no issue supporting and enforcing the company’s equity and diversity policies. He was recently challenged however by another man in his mid-week Men’s Bible Study group about not taking a firmer stance against these diversity trends in the marketplace.
Susan has conducted extensive research on Covid and vaccination medical protocols, hospital and pharma financial incentives, and negative field results data that have not been widely distributed. As a Christian, she is frustrated with what she calls “widespread deceit” and is not shy about sharing her strong opinions and even anger over local, state, and national government health policies. She has recently argued with others in her church who call her a “conspiracy loon.”
Jeff & Carol and Eric & Cindy are fellow Christian couples on separate ends of the liberal and converative political spectrum. They find little if any common ground on political candidates, national fiscal and energy policies, home schooling, and even in areas of Biblical interpretation (Genesis as narrative, localized Flood, women in leadership, and end times eschatology, to name a few). Their friendly put pointed banter in their church home group sometimes makes the others in the group feel uncomfortable.
It’s clear that the Christian community is itself divided in thought, attitude, and even interest level across a wide variety of hot topic arenas.
So What Matters?
It seems that it all matters. And therein lies the rub. Each of us have our own heartfelt, casual, or ambivalent perspectives on these topics. It really is a function of our own experience, education, interest, and bias.
Even as Christ-following Christians.
Now there is certainly nothing wrong with one’s personal knowledge and opinion, it’s what we do with it and how we manage it. There will always be one side or another on any controversial topic, each with its own perspective on truth and reality. And while there is absolute truth in life, not all parties have full absolute information. And sometimes, some are actually right, and some are actually wrong. Yet truth is always in the eye of the beholder, particularly if they are truthful in acknowleding their possible lack of full information and natural bias.
So how are we to deal with this as Christians who are to love and get along with others in the world?
Keeping Christ-like Focus in a Broken World
We’re actually called to love God and love our fellow-man.
Jesus answered him, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and most important commandment. The second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)
This does not mean agree or force agreement with every other person, Christian or otherwise, on all topics from politics to religion. It means to love and honor God as well as to love and honor our neighbor as we love and honor ourself.
Additionally, Jesus also directed His disciples to develop other Christians around the world:
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matthew 28:18-20)
That is, we are to bear witness to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and develop other Christ-followers among all other nations.
But what if they don’t agree with us?
Don’t Judge or Argue
Outside of us proclaiming and teaching the gospel of Jesus, it’s God’s work to soften and win over the surrendered heart and soul, and minds.
In the meantime, we’re not necessarily called to always win people over to our side about LGBTQ inclusivity, Covid protocols, vaccination realities, mid-term election choices, global warming motives, education funding, or Biblical interpretation of Genesis, the historicity of the Flood, male and female roles in the Church, or updated eschatology, or any and all sorts of ripe and juicy issues for debate.
Not to say that we’re not to engage others on these important topics. These are valid issues worthy of exposure and discussion. But do so in love, humility, and gentleness, being sensitive and kind to perspectives that differ from our own. Even this past week, through friendly conversations and inputs, God is teaching me to be grounded in my connection to the Vine and the essential cause of Christ.1 Christ will stir, lead, and direct my inclinations.
Live and Let Live – Let God Be the Judge
In Romans chapters 13 and 14, the apostle Paul writes about Christian conduct in relation to the state and to our neighbor. He challenges us to acquiece to the state, who is actually appointed by God Himself, the caretaker of all details in life:
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1)
In the context of living practices, Paul also calls us to be models of peace to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters, even those at lessor points of maturity:
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters…. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt?… Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. (Romans 14:10,13)
Yes, even as we eat, drink, talk, and fellowship with others, we do so in peace and in love, with an eye to Christ, not just our side and opinions.
Do you judge others? Are you argumentative?
For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God. So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God. – Romans 14:11-12
1. Days and Diets – Romans 14 (sermon), by Pastor Mark Clark, Bayside Church, Granite Bay, CA, October 23, 2022.
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Mike – I faithfully enjoy your blog. How would you respond to the letter below:
State of our Country – author unknown
Men, like nations, think they’re eternal. What man in his 20s or 30s doesn’t believe, at least subconsciously, that he’ll live forever? In the springtime of youth, an endless summer beckons. As you pass 70, it’s harder to hide from reality.
Nations also have seasons: Imagine a Roman of the 2nd century contemplating an empire that stretched from Britain to the Near East, thinking: This will endure forever…. Forever was about 500 years, give or take.
France was pivotal in the 17th and 18th centuries; now the land of Charles Martel is on its way to becoming part of the Muslim ummah.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the sun never set on the British empire; now Albion exists in perpetual twilight. Its 96-year-old sovereign is a fitting symbol for a nation in terminal decline.
In the 1980s, Japan seemed poised to buy the world. Business schools taught Japanese management techniques. Today, its birth rate is so low and its population aging so rapidly that an industry has sprung up to remove the remains of elderly Japanese who die alone.
I was born in 1945, almost at the midpoint of the 20th century – the American century. America’s prestige and influence were never greater. Thanks to the ‘Greatest Generation,’ we won a World War fought throughout most of Europe, Asia, and the Pacific. We reduced Germany to rubble and put the rising sun to bed. It set the stage for almost half a century of unprecedented prosperity.
We stopped the spread of communism in Europe and Asia and fought international terrorism. We rebuilt our enemies and lavished foreign aid on much of the world. We built skyscrapers and rockets to the moon. We conquered Polio and now COVID. We explored the mysteries of the Universe and the wonders of DNA…the blueprint of life. We. meaning: the United States of America!
But where is the glory that once was Rome? America has moved from a relatively free economy to socialism – which has worked so well NOWHERE in the world.
We’ve gone from a republican government guided by a constitution to a regime of revolving elites. We have less freedom with each passing year. Like a signpost to the coming reign of terror, the cancel culture is everywhere. We’ve traded the American Revolution for the Cultural Revolution.
The pathetic creature in the White House is an empty vessel filled by his handlers. At the G-7 Summit, ‘Dr. Jill’ had to lead him like a child. In 1961, when we were young and vigorous, our leader was too. Now a feeble nation is technically led by the oldest man to ever serve in the presidency.
We can’t defend our borders, our history (including monuments to past greatness) or our streets. Our cities have become anarchist playgrounds. We are a nation of dependents, mendicants, and misplaced charity. Homeless veterans camp in the streets while illegal aliens are put up in hotels.
The president of the United States can’t even quote the beginning of the Declaration of Independence (‘You know – The Thing’) correctly. Ivy League graduates routinely fail history tests that 5th graders could pass a generation ago. Crime rates soar and we blame the 2nd Amendment and slash police budgets.
Our culture is certifiably insane. Men who think they’re women. People who fight racism by seeking to convince members of one race that they’re inherently evil, and others that they are perpetual victims. A psychiatrist lecturing at Yale said she fantasizes about ‘unloading a revolver into the head of any white person.’
We slaughter the unborn in the name of freedom, while our birth rate dips lower year by year. Our national debt is so high that we can no longer even pretend that we will repay it one day. It’s a $30-trillion monument to our improvidence and refusal to confront reality. Our ‘entertainment’ is sadistic, nihilistic and as enduring as a candy bar wrapper thrown in the trash. Our music is noise that spans the spectrum from annoying to repulsive.
Patriotism is called an insurrection, treason celebrated, and perversion sanctified. A man in blue gets less respect than a man in a dress. We’re asking soldiers to fight for a nation our leaders no longer believe in.
How meekly most of us submitted to Fauci-ism (the regime of face masks, lockdowns, and hand sanitizers) shows the impending death of the American spirit.
How does a nation, The United States of America, slip from greatness to obscurity?
* Fighting endless wars they can’t or won’t win
* Accumulating massive debt far beyond their ability to repay
* Refusing to guard their borders, allowing the nation to be inundated by an alien horde
* Surrendering control of their cities to mob rule
* Allowing indoctrination of the young
* Moving from a republican form of government to an oligarchy
* Losing national identity
* Indulging indolence
* Abandoning faith and family – the bulwarks of social order.
In America, every one of these symptoms is pronounced, indicating an advanced stage of the disease.
Even if the cause seems hopeless, do we not have an obligation to those who sacrificed so much to give us what we once had? HISTORY: I’m surrounded by ghosts urging me on: the Union soldiers who held Cemetery Ridge at Gettysburg, the battered bastards of Bastogne, those who served in the cold hell of Korea, the guys who went to the jungles of Southeast Asia and came home to be reviled or neglected.
This is the nation that took-in my immigrant grandparents, whose uniform my father and most of my uncles wore in the Second World War. I don’t want to imagine a world without America, even though it becomes increasingly likely.
During Britain’s darkest hour, when its professional army was trapped at Dunkirk and a German invasion seemed imminent, Churchill reminded his countrymen, ‘Nations that go down fighting rise again, and those that surrender tamely are finished.’
The same might be said of causes. If we let America slip through our fingers, if we lose without a fight, what will posterity say of us?
While the prognosis is far from good. Only God knows if America’s day in the sun is over.
We in America are at the moment in time to stand up,—or let it fall! We now may soon be in the next step in our country’s future. I believe that it might be closer than we think.
Some think it bust one for the body of Christ ( the Church) to stand in the gap.
I certainly agree with what you have written. Scripture backs it up.
God bless you and I look forward to you thoughts.
Grace and Peace to you,
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Greg, yes – interesting letter. Gets a bit worked up as it goes. Certainly have heard and read the sentiment before. The US is a crucial point in its history. We’ve witnessed in our own lifetime the wide spectrum of popular opinion and values. I hold to my premise in this post to wisely maneuver in a changing culture and boldly resilient and loving Church.
Thank you for your reply Mike. Love you blogs. Keep up your great efforts for the Kingdom of God.
May God continue to bless you.
Thank you, Mike for this wise exhortation! Good for all of us to reflect on. I really appreciate your making the making the time to share these things with us.
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