The Political Church–The Power Argument

Church StateOne of the great ironies of the current church/state battle is the desire of the church to gain worldly power. We want to be able to tell the president what laws to sign and what laws to veto. We want Congressmen and Senators to realize they were elected by the power of the church and so they should enact only Godly laws. We want the very same thing the power companies, the unions, the gay rights movement, the defense contractors, and the AARP want: power. But what does the Bible say?

(2 Cor. 12:9-10) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Paul would have made a perfectly awful lobbyist. His special interest group would have failed to move Rome, because he didn’t know how the game is played. It’s about money, volunteers, and trading favors. We’ll help you gain power but you’ll owe us, so you’ll do what we want. No, Paul seems to think that weakness is better than strength. How naive can you be?

Of course, Paul uses a different strategy from the modern church because he has a different goal. His goal is to persuade the lost to accept Jesus. People’s hearts are touched by a man willing to suffer imprisonment and beatings to teach about Jesus. People are repelled when the church seeks to make them act like Christians under threat of imprisonment.

If, for example, we truly believe homosexual conduct is sinful (and it is), then we’d do the homosexuals a great favor by sharing Jesus with them and lovingly encouraging them to repent. If they’d do so, they’d gain not only salvation but also a relationship with Jesus and a loving church community with an eternal mission. They’d gain purpose, community, and family.

But if we instead prevail on the courts and legislatures to make homosexuality a crime, and if the law were to actually be enforced, they’d still be lost and they’d enjoy none of the blessings of salvation. Nor would they in any way feel loved. They certainly wouldn’t be more likely to be converted. And why should they?

Of course, if we could legally ban homosexuality, we’d improve our lives. We’d make the world a more comfortable place for the saved. But I’m not persuaded that God called us to comfort.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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