We recently were able to watch the debacle that is known as Election season. One of the things that is common in the election seasons for American is the interaction between religion and politics. The group of Christians that most commonly interact with politics are conservative evangelicals. Along with the voting season was the marriage vote that passed an amendment in the state’s constitution that said that marriage would be civilly defined as between one man and one women. This sparked much conversation in that it led the president to make a statement on the issue.
My point is not to make issue with the state, since the state will do what it will do as separate from the Nation of God, which is the Kingdom of Heaven. The issue at hand was the so-called Conservative Evangelical church, aka the Moral Majority, used Evangelical understanding of Scriptures to defend voting yes to the amendment. There is a problem with this position besides it being a law passed many years ago in that state. What was our point? Why did we got that route? Did we seek to save people or did we just want to let them know that they were wrong?
Let’s start by taking a look at what makes an Evangelical. (This will not recognize the work of Scot McKnight, which is another issue with Evangelicalism that will not be covered here.)
- Conversionism: The need for personal conversion, or being born again (aka Personal Salvation, Redemption, Atoned, etc.; must be on a personal level),
- Biblicism: A high regard for biblical authority (This is a debated topic, but what is agreed upon is that the Bible is transformative),
- Crucicentrism: An emphasis on teachings that proclaim the saving death and resurrection of the Son of God, Jesus Christ (This obviously puts an emphasis on Christ’s work and off of Man’s works),
- and Activism: Actively expressing and sharing the Gospel of Jesus (This is a focus on the physical and verbal expressions of evangelism).
Observing this formula calls out some things that have been practiced by evangelicals in voting on legislating morality. The fact that we focus on personal decision tells us that forcing practice on those who do not believe is against our theology. The Biblicism aspect might bring us to the use of law to force a morality, but we are brought back to the reality that it is Christ that is the focus and not human law, which shows that the Biblicism along with Crucicentrism points to an internal transformative reality and not simply a legal reality. And only those who have been transformed can recognize the authority of the Bible as a covenant. This brings the focus on responding with Conversionism (personally coming to the faith) and Activism (expressing that personal decision to follow Christ). If that becomes our focus in responding to the Gospel, then we will find that we will need to interact personally with those not of our faith and use the Early Church method of conviction. We then would not be allowed to hide behind law and government to do the Church’s work, but would be challenge by the Spirit to do it ourselves.
Are you Evangelical? Have you used law as a platform for your religion? Are you willing to let Christ be your platform (or, better said, let yourself be a platform for Christ)? Will you allow the Spirit to guide you into real evangelism over votes?