Following up on yesterday’s post on the “religious left,” I found a brilliant and thought-provoking post on Greg Boyd’s blog. He begins this way:
Someone e-mailed me with a question worth wrestling with. He said he heard a well known preacher recently call his church to take a stand against the injustice of his local government that had cut funding for inner city recreational facilities. This e-mailer wanted to know what I thought about this. How could a Christian not be against this sort of cut? And so, shouldn’t churches “take up arms” and fight for such causes?
As understandable as it is to get angry about inner city funding being cut, I honestly think this preacher is misusing his Kingdom authority in giving this charge to his church. I’m very concerned about any pastor using his or her spiritual authority for any reason to tell his church to tell Caesar what to do.
When did Jesus ever do anything like this? And remember, our job is to mimic him (Eph. 5:1-2).
Some readers may have just gotten angry, but I ask you to hear me out.
Think about this. If the American church wasn’ t fragmented into a million isolated units (churches), hardly any of them talking with each other let alone working together, and if the average American Christian didn’t spend (according to George Barna) 97% of their income on themselves, we Christians could build our own inner city recreational facilities — and many other things. And this would be done to the glory of God rather than to the credit of Uncle Sam.
I strongly encourage you to read the rest of the post here. It is one of the more important posts I’ve ever read because it speaks to the heart of this question we’ve been discussing for nearly a year now about rendering to Jesus and rendering to Caesar and the difference between the two.
The bottom line is that Christians of all sorts have gotten seduced into thinking one of their major jobs is convincing government to do things for them – that advocacy is the same as service. It isn’t. We are called – unfortunately (and I say that because it is so much more difficult) – to sacrificially give of our time and service to help others… not to lobby government to do it for us. That is a distinction with a serious difference.