Did you know, the words politic, polity, and polite are all cousins from the same bloodline? All three of these words refer to what is civil, or… what is right.
Specifically, “politics” means “the methods or science of government”. In the church, we have what we call “Church Polity” which is usually a boring conversation about the right way to govern the church. And of course you may have heard the phrase “personal polity” which refers to how you govern yourself.
Anyway, the best way to understand “politics” is to think of it as a group of people within an organization (or citizens of a town, city, country, etc) who come together to create the general beliefs and behavioral expectations of those within that group.
It goes without saying, the reason we have so much conflict in our country is because there are two large groups of people who vehemently disagree on beliefs, and what the “right” behavioral expectations of people in our country should be.
The primary point of contention is, whose job is it to determine the beliefs and behaviors of the whole?
For the Christian, there are a few layers to this answer. First and foremost, what is “right” or “righteous” begins with God and God’s decrees. From there, God has gifted us with three different “layers” of community which determine the beliefs and behaviors of the whole.
Starting small and then growing larger, the first layer is the family, then the local church, then government. These are all “institutions” created by God and understood as the primary means for training, teaching and holding individuals accountable to “civility, righteousness, goodness, etc.”
#1 – Family. It has always been God’s design that the family is the place where an individual learns what is righteous, civil, good, Godly, or “right”. Within the family, people are reminded and even disciplined toward emulating righteousness. No doubt, the utter breakdown of the family over the last several decades has fundamentally changed our political landscape. And it’s no surprise that even Biblical authors like Paul prophetically declared that one day, “children will hate their parents” – this points to the breakdown of the family unit as a sign of the end of the age.
The second layer is…
#2 – The Church. Historically, the collective, gathered, community of God called “the church” assists the family in training and raising children in light of God’s righteousness. Unfortunately, we see a dramatic sifting happening within the church, and even ministers and “high ranking” church officials (including the Pope) are moving away from God’s decrees and scriptural guidance, and instead are leading the church toward Godlessness by accepting cultural norms and moral relativism as guiding principles.
The third group that determines the beliefs and behaviors of the whole” is
#3 – Government. This includes local, community, regional, state, national, and federal government.
The primary job of the government is to prosecute evil and to protect what is right and good, to give freedom and to protect those freedoms, and to ensure nobody, especially outsiders, can overcome or oppress the people.
Those three layers, family, church, and government are all Gods idea, and are supposed to work together, supporting one another in leading a nation of individuals as they pursue “life, liberty, and happiness”.
Of course, the government is currently led by people who lust for power and control, having no desire to lead people toward God honoring “righteousness.”
Many families have walked away from the church and no longer value the ways or morals of God. Additionally, the church has, notably, lost much of its influence through a massive compromise of God’s standards. Therefore, our elected government reflects the growing darkness that reigns in the hearts of the American people.
America is where it is today because we are putting people in office who will make the kind of “polity” that basically aligns with the morals and character of the majority of individuals who vote.
In short, the character of our government is a direct reflection of the character of our voters. The character of our voters is a reflection of the character of our families. The character of our families are a direct reflection of the church.
A long time ago, a guy named Charles Finney said
“If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is the reason for it. If the public press lacks moral discernment, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in Christianity, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.”-Charles Finney
Perhaps the reason for my slight personal depression over the past few months has been the heavy weight of the obvious moral and spiritual degeneration of the people in MY own church, and knowing that it is MY FAULT…Because the pulpit is responsible for it. Everywhere I turn this year I’ve seen foul language, drunkenness, sexual perversion, gossip, dishonor, and deep rooted pride…IN MY CHURCH. And at times, I’ve been a participant! I’m not talking about people out there, somewhere, I’m talking about my people…those who call themselves Oasis Church.
Let me be clear, this is not indicative of “everyone at Oasis.” There are many faithful saints and followers of Jesus who call Oasis home, and the last thing I want is for this to feel like some sort of unfair indictment on the people who pray and serve and love our community so well. However, there are others, more than I wish to admit, who have called me “pastor” for years, yet seemingly have zero interest in God, God’s ways, or the ways of righteousness. They have completely bailed on the church in 2020 because “church online just isn’t the same” and rarely have they leveraged their influence to share the gospel or even a Bible verse about Jesus. Some have completely forsaken Biblical community because, well, it’s hard. People have withdrawn their money, their support, their encouragement, their connection, simply because things have changed. Again, this is my fault.
As I consider the landscape of the American Church, I am deeply troubled by the lack of Biblical intelligence and the lack of Spiritual Maturity (even in ME)! In the past 7 years, I’m not sure if I’ve been making disciples of Jesus, or if I’ve just been gathering a fun group of people who enjoy connecting with each other and listening to good music, but remaining comfortable in our own spiritual apathy.
The sifting of 2020 has revealed “who’s who” in American Christianity.
I’m shocked and appalled that people who call themselves followers of Christ refuse to engage church online, but will gladly watch a 2 hour presidential debate on YouTube and spend the following hours evangelizing for the true object of their worship, a political savior. I guess they found their own online church. It’s an idolatrous religion where they passionately defend abortion and homosexuality while belittling the perspectives of ministers and church leaders, declaring their own version of “truth” yet rejecting the truth from God’s holy scriptures. As Paul said in 2 Timothy 3, they are “always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the the truth.” They found a new church this year. It’s a church where the Government is their god and Biden is their pastor, sexual “expression” is their practice of worship, millions of babies are their sacrificial offering, and money and possessions are their future glory. Their church motto is, “if it feels good to you, it must be good for you.” For the others, the Government is god and Trump is their pastor, and the accumulation of wealth is their practice of worship, the poor, marginalized, and “those people” who are not like them become their sacrificial offering to their God. Their motto is, “if it’s profitable, then it must be right.”
Either way, many Christians, even some who I thought I pastored, have gone astray and are worshipping another God. They are faithful to another church. They are great ambassadors for the donkey and the elephant, but they are no longer ambassadors of the lamb.
The reason I’m bothered about this isn’t necessarily that it’s happening.
I’m bothered because…
ITS MY FAULT.
The pulpit is responsible for this. I have focused so much on being liked, or being entertaining, or being relevant that I haven’t made disciples of Jesus. I have made disciples of how we do church and I have made disciples of cool branding but many people who wave the Christian banner aren’t truly rooted in God’s word. In fact, some love spiritual deconstruction more than they love any form of edification, training, or construction.
If I preach a sermon packed full of funny stories and unique self help tips, ending with an emotional tear jerker story, people say “that was your best sermon ever,” but if I preach a sermon that starts with a long scripture text and invites people to think deeply about the gospel and contemplate Jesus or the cross, those same people log off before the conclusion.
If I announced a gathering and said, “we will have alcohol and food, and there will be some great music” lots of people will hire childcare and plan to attend. If I announced a worship night and said, “the presence of Jesus will be there, and we will reflect on God’s word and partake in the Lords Supper” those same people will say “it’s not convenient for our family to prioritize it, there aren’t enough Covid rules, I can’t believe I have to wear a mask…or something. There will be an obstacle to participating, because that’s what we do when we have other priorities. We make excuses.
When it is not important to me, I make excuses. When it is important to me, I make a way.
This explains why I’ve seen bigger crowds of people at My Way Tavern this year than discipleship groups.
I pastor some good hearted, friendly, fun, nice, wealthy, educated people. We really are fun to know and easy to love. We are sincere and caring. Some of us are even philosophical and enjoy quoting self help authors and leaders from other religions. We just don’t always seem to care much for holiness, righteousness, or the ways of Jesus.
So, again, ITS MY FAULT. I should lead differently.
One of my greatest concerns is the uncertainty that I have what it takes to disciple people toward a fully surrendered relationship with Jesus that leads to righteousness and goodness, and holiness of character.
Winston Churchill once said,
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”Winston Churchill
I agree with that! LOL But while I chuckle about it, I’m also reminded that it is the job of the family to educate and inform the average voter. And who is responsible to build families that train children to be righteous and moral and live in a way that is God honoring? Well, that’s my job. I’m responsible.
If I have a single complaint against the average American voter, or against the average American Christian, my complaint is against ME! And of course, some of my pastor friends might be brave enough to step up and say “me too” because it is the American Pastor and preacher that has allowed the fabric and morals of our society to deteriorate and devolve into what it has become.
Think about it.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden are our only options for presidential candidates…this is a direct reflection of the character of our voters.
It’s no wonder this years election has been an absolute joke. The debate was a joke, the media surrounding the two presidential candidates…a joke. The constant babbling and battling for the moral high ground between worshippers of these two men…a joke.
I don’t think highly of either Biden or Trump. It seems like both of them are sexually perverted, both are guilty of racist behavior, both are liars, and both are bad choices for president. And let me say, to the Christian who is disgusted by Trump but feels like a vote for Biden is gonna ease the load spiritually, you’re just as lost as the people you point your finger at. I hope you realize that you are not braver by voting for Biden. We are stuck with an unrighteous, unGodly person for president either way! If you want to make real change, go out and rally and promote a Godly, righteous, morally upstanding person during the primaries.
I didn’t vote for trump in the 2016 primaries. I voted instead for Ben Carson. I liked him because of his conservative christian views about marriage, abortion, and religious freedom. While I had a few concerns about him, I generally appreciated his perspectives on immigration and his commentary regarding marxism.
But the simple fact that righteous, civil, Godly men and women are “unelectable” in America goes to show that America, in general, is unrighteous. The majority of voters, in general, are not Godly people who seek to live and be holy, or who desire to live according to God’s standards.
The average American voter is formed, trained, and educated by the average American family. And the average American family is not seeking after Jesus, or hungering and thirsting for righteousness.
That’s MY FAULT.
Church, no matter the outcome of this election, I hope you see what our country has become. We need to step up and live holy, be courageous in our morality, and fight for what we know is right according to God’s word. Simultaneously, we need to stoop low and humbly pray.
“Then if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn to heaven from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”-2 Chronicles 7:14
My hope does not ride on Air Force One, it rides on the back of humble, praying people. And I’m convinced the moral fabric of American Politics will not improve until our personal polity is marked by prayer, Christian discipline, & and a desire for holiness. If the morality of America improves, it’ll be MY FAULT. It’ll be OUR fault. It’s our responsibility.
PS- I’m not currently on social media, and nobody reads my blog, so maybe you can share?