As emotions have flared and tensions have tightened between Christians and Christians and between Christians and non-Christians over the political issues that have branded our time, I hope and believe that there is growing an understanding that, at least between Christian and Christian, much grace must be given on differences of opinion on these matters. And for some of us (myself included), we have had to show grace and patience to ourselves, finding that one day our hearts and minds would lead us one way, and on another day the other.
And as these differences of opinion between Christians have arisen on these political matters, some of us might be (or have been) tempted to simply chalk these disagreements up to the typical culprits of divisions in Church in other matters, such as biblical ignorance or theological subterfuge. In these non-political cases, we would make our claims based on our biblical arguments and theological understandings and be quick to dismiss as wrong anyone who has a differing opinion. We would then view these political issues in the same manner that we view those other issues that are contained within the Church and its theology, and we would readily divide ourselves further with the same power of conviction.
However in these political matters, we should not be so quick to judge and to divide, for I believe that there is something else at work in our time that distinguishes this battle of political opinion from disagreements and divisions of the Church in times past. For, though it is almost cliché to say such a thing, I do in fact believe that we are presently living in a unique and transitional time in our country. It is not a time of outward revolution or change in government (at least in structure), but it is a radical and visible change in the moral climate of our country. And it is changing quickly.
Concerning this matter, there is an excellent article on the Gospel Coalition’s site, and the author makes a succinct but strikingly accurate summary of the personal moral axioms of the present generation:
1. God made me this way.
2. He wouldn’t deny my natural desires.
3. And I don’t have to explain myself to you or anyone else.
By looking at these statements that are increasingly depicting the convictions of persons in our society, it is not difficult to see how the moral climate is changing so rapidly. If a person, whatever his personal vice, convinces himself to believe that he was born / created a particular way and that God would not to create him in such a way so as to frustrate his natural desires, then it is only “natural” for him to practice those things and to confer his convictions upon others in the society with similar and different personal vices. We see this perhaps most clearly in the self-righteous mantras of tolerance and the banding together of licentious groups who would otherwise have no association with one another excepting for their unity in silencing whatever opposition exists that preaches that their desires and practice of them are immoral and wrong.
They not only do such things but give approval to those who practice them (Romans 1:32).
For, as is also becoming increasingly apparent, the human conscience is a fickle thing and is only as good as the knowledge upon which it rests. And as this rebellion against the knowledge of revealed morality grows, it only fuels the suppression of God and his revelation while giving greater and greater credence to the licentious circles who mutually pat each other on the back. It a spiraling circle into moral decay that is garnering strength exponentially, and nothing short of divine intervention will slow or alter its course.
A shift in the people is a shift in the government
It is upon this realization that I base my aforementioned belief that we are in fact living in a very unique and transitional time in the history of our nation. It is also for this reason that I believe that we as Christians are having trouble coming to a consensus on such political issues as Amendment One. For as the government that is “by the people and for the people” starts reflecting the changing will and morality of the people, so too will there be a transition in the political regime. No, leaders will not be forcefully overthrown nor will new foundational documents be written, but in a country where political power is derived from the people, the country goes as the people go. As the country is turning person-by-person against revealed morality and to “whatever is right in his own eyes,” the government is shifting from one in which Christians can participate and have influence into a “tolerant” dictatorship in which they cannot. And as we shift from this present regime to the future regime, the debates over the Christian’s place in government will lessen and lessen, not by choice, but by the force of the will of the majority.
At the present time, some may rejoice that revealed morality triumphed in the passage of Amendment One, but it is hard to imagine that there is anyone who believes that that amendment will stand for long. It was a last ditch effort by the diminishing majority who believe in universal morality, and as their number becomes smaller, there will come proposals to repeal it. It is not a matter of “if” but “when.”
As these times come upon us (and I sincerely believe that they are), we all will have to reconsider our roles as Christians in the government of the United States. There was a time in our history when Christians held considerable sway over the direction of the country, and it was then rightly seen as a Christian duty to conform our laws to revealed morality. But the time is coming, probably within the next decade or two, when the Christian’s part in the governance of this country will be brought to naught. What will be our response in those days? Will we persist on politically as a picketing group with our own suppressed rights, or will we retreat back into the quietness and peace of living out our lives? Will we attempt to regain control of this country “under God,” or will we become as the Church under a hostile dictator?
We, the Church, will have to come to terms with these questions and with others that have yet to be asked, and I am curious as to how we will collectively respond. Nevertheless, despite our response, there are undoubtedly terrible times ahead, yet, even so, I cannot help but believe that the change in America will be for our good, whether we see it as good or not.