Thursday, March 19, 2015

What I Wish I Could Say (a.k.a. Ugh, the Most Unpopular Blogpost Ever)

Things I wish I could say...

I wish Christians would be just as passionate in fighting for currently-existing traditional/biblical marriages as they are in opposing the legality of gay unions. I support traditional/biblical marriage, and am confessionally Baptist (both the 1689 Confession 25.1 and the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 art. 18). But don’t lose sight of marriage in fighting for marriage. Pray for the married couples in your congregations. Men, hold men accountable for being bullies, jerks, absent, unloving, adulterers, etc. Women, hold women accountable for bad-mouthing their husbands to others (or the children), never being content, thinking happiness (which they think God wants for them at any cost) is with another man, etc. Churches, hold members accountable for unrepentant sin in marriage. Couples, seek help sooner rather than later. Provide examples of a loving marriage by being open about your love for each other. I’ve heard complaints over the years that this couple or that couple was a little too affectionate in worship (“he was playing with her hair,” “they sure were snuggled up,” “they were just distracting”). Wish I could’ve seen it. I’m personally distracted by couples who grow in bitterness the longer they’re married. Show off your love for each other – we desperately need those role models, Church! I am my brother and sister’s keeper. I will fight for your marriage with you. I will rejoice with you, and be broken-hearted with you. I am passionate about it.

I wish Christians would be just as excited about “Jesus Christ, Who having not seen you love...yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:7,8) as they are pissed off at the bogeymen on the political stage. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: most of the political stuff we throw out there is “preaching to the choir,” and will not do a single blasted thing to change anyone’s mind about how they’ll vote. Both sides have their witty little sayings that make the other side look small and stupid. The argument "you're a total idiot" never convinced anyone. Promote Jesus. We could do with a little more apostle Paul (“I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified,” 1 Corinthians 2:2) and a lot less...well, you know (I’m not even going to talking about the theological compromise we’re willing to engage in to be on the same side politically). I’m politically conservative (not a compromiser or moderate). I vote. I pay attention to what’s going on and stay informed. I get frustrated by injustice and game-playing. I truly admire and support my dear brothers and sisters who are fighting the fight at considerable personal sacrifice. But I also try to maintain relationships with liberals because I care more about their eternal fate than anything else, and making fun of how stupid and logically inconsistent they are doesn’t serve that care for them.

Along that same trajectory, I wish Christians would talk more about Jesus than Israel. I support Israel. I dig Netanyahu. But those two things have nothing to do with religion, faith, or theology (though I recently saw someone use one's attitude toward the State of Israel as a test of Christian orthodoxy...something utterly alien to all of Church history!). Without Christ, the citizen of Israel will “be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8). So will the prime minister (and I’m thankful he was re-elected). He’s not my hero or my hope. He’s a part of “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1). Because apart from faith in Jesus Christ they’re not, even if we agree politically.

I remember a professor in my first semester of college saying, “if you want to know what’s most important to a person, listen to what they talk about the most.” I have never forgotten that (though I’ve forgotten a lot else about college). I would love to hear Christians talk about the glories of Christ, salvation through Him alone, and the display of Christ’s love for His Church in Christian marriages. Yes, and be engaged to see a biblical Christian ethic brought to bear on legislation, leadership, and justice in our country and in the world...but that should be the fruit, not the root. And it ought to be done in a way always glorifies and rejoices in the root, Jesus Christ. Where is your joy, hope, glory, peace, passion, life? Please, oh please, let it be in Jesus Christ alone, and, I beg you, let that become what you talk about the most!

Wish I could say that. And I love you more than I can say, so I just did.

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