Have you ever wondered to what extent you, as a child of God, should engage in the world? This is certainly an issue because of how churches over the years have shunned engagement in, for instance, the political arena. Churches may reach out to their communities and feed the hungry or clothe the poor, but they’ve been largely absent in political and cultural engagement. Actually, from the way things have shaped up, we see that political participation results in cultural determination. If the church isn’t in the political arena speaking out, what then happens in the culture? I probably don’t have to explain this all that much to you. All we have to do is look at our nation to see the result of pulpits being silent.
There was a time when pastors were at the forefront and led the nation into Godly results. The most obvious was at the founding of our country. The famous Black Robed Regiment was comprised of pastors who preached on Sunday, took off their black robes, and fought on Monday. They believed they had a charge from God to engage the culture. In this case, that meant pushing back from the tyranny of an overweening government to bring freedom to the people in this land.
There’s no direct verse that exactly specifies the concept that Christ-followers are to “be in the world, but not of the world.” It is derived from various verses such as John 15:19:
If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
John 17:15 also plays into the concept:
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Very likely, it comes from God’s initial injunction for Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28 in which He said:
… “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
The first key word here is “dominion.” The Hebrew word is radah, described in Strong’s #7287 as to “prevail against, reign.” If God said to prevail against and reign over every living thing that moves on the earth, the other key then is what the word “every” means. The Hebrew word is kol and Strong’s #3605 defines it as – wait for it: “all.”
Naturally, this is to be done completely in the Name of God through His righteous ways. Those who belong to God are to bring every aspect of the world system under His dominion. Believers are to do this because the Lord gave us this direction. “All” includes politics and the culture. Thus, for the church to ignore the political and remain within its four walls because politics is dirty (it is!), or we don’t want to offend someone (there’s always someone offended), then the church is abdicating the responsibility God gave it. That is disobedience.
Guess what? This is exactly what the church has done by refusing to dirty its hands in this aspect of the world. And look at the result! Instead of the church speaking to the government and directing its policies, the ungodly in that sphere have appropriated the direction of our lives in the way they define.
When God delivered Israel from slavery in Egypt, He required them to fight for the land He was giving them. Following the Israelite refusal to accept God’s Word that He was giving them the Promised Land, they had to take it by force. He was always with them and helping them. First, they had to remove their enemies – the anti-God peoples – from the East side of the Jordan River marching from South to North and devoting to destruction the remnant of the Nephilim, known as the Rephaim. This was a daunting task, but one that God required of them.
Once they crossed the river, they had to wipe out the inhabitants of the land area-by-area. It was total engagement or they’d have nothing.
King David had enemies. He couldn’t just sit back and say, “Okay, God, do Your thing.” and expect the Lord to destroy them. First, he had to go to war. Through that act, by trusting in God, the Lord delivered.
This is what Psalm 89:22-24 tells us:
The enemy shall not outwit him;
the wicked shall not humble him.
I will crush his foes before him
and strike down those who hate him.
My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him,
and in my name shall his horn be exalted.
God does it. He crushes our foes, but we have to be on the battle line for Him to move.
This all comes to mind because of the cultural war that is currently raging. The political realm is acting tyrannically because the church has allowed it to do so for far too long. This has created much chaos and consternation among the peoples of the land.
It is very interesting to observe. Finally – finally – people are awakening to the fact that those in charge of literally every institution in our country do not have our best interests at heart. People are arising and beginning to fight back. Some pastors – a very few – have stepped to the front of the line and said, “Here I am, Lord. Send me.” The grassroots of conservative Christianity has begun working hard to take back what is rightfully ours as God’s people and as citizens of this nation.
How this will end is anybody’s guess. There’s actually – from my perspective – a dynamic tension at work. I believe we’re in the end of the end days. Biblically, we see that’s totally a downhill process in the culture. There is nothing in Scripture that says a Great Awakening will halt this downward slide into lawlessness before the Tribulation.
On the other hand, Jesus told His servants in the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:13 to occupy until He returns. His followers are under that command. We’re disobedient if we don’t obey it. Thus, the efforts now underway to reclaim politics by electing good men and women in place of the bad ones, and to recover what has been lost culturally, e.g. in the schools that have replaced true teaching with social engineering, are all – I believe – honoring to God. He wants us to do these very things as part of His original declaration that we take dominion over every sphere of our lives.
It seems to me that this is part of the shaking out of those who desire to follow God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength, as opposed to those who simply do church, regardless of how they define their churchy activities.
Will this reclamation effort succeed? Is it too late? If it does gain us a foothold back in the political and cultural arenas, what then? What will God’s enemies do? How will they respond? If the Bible is to be believed – which it is – then it appears as if in the winning back and the successful reclamation, that the enemy will strike back harder.
God’s people have a tendency to rest on their laurels. They get riled up for one campaign, one battle, but then forget there’s a greater war all around them. It’s why the demonic Left fueled by Satan and his minions have been so successful. They strategize and work with an extremely long view. They believe in incremental victories and keep going even if they lose a few skirmishes. God’s people don’t have a great track record in that regard.
If the Lord doesn’t take us out in the Rapture sooner rather than later, we’re certainly in for some interesting times. I don’t think they’ll be pleasant. However, as God’s people, we know that we are victorious in the end because Jesus Christ is the victor over Death and Hades.
In Him we have much to anticipate. Let us work while it’s still day and the Lord will bless us and pour out His favor until that glorious Day.