Most Christians were horrified by the events that took place in the Capitol building this week, especially seeing images of “Jesus Saves” posters and “Jesus” flags among the crowd.  What could lead certain Christians to mix religion and politics in ways Jesus frankly condemned?

  1. Great Awakenings led many to over-individualize “the gospel.”  “Pray a prayer” and you’re accepted by Christ, regardless of how you live.  But the gospel is about reconciling heaven and earth, loving your enemies, and forgiving those who wrong you seventy times seven times.
  2. The mockery some Christians face due to fidelity to the Bible has led some to understand “faith” as believing in spite of evidence.  Over time, this opens them to various conspiracy theories.  But biblical faith is trusting allegiance in Jesus as King and has its evidences.
  3. Some Christians argue America was founded as a Christian nation, leading at times to an unhealthy blend of cross and flag.  While many founders were Christian, others were deist, atheist, Jew-even Muslim.  In reality, America was a refuge for all religiously persecuted.
  4. In post-Christian America, many Christians feel the loss of status.  Some believe political “culture wars” are necessary though Christianity initially emerged and thrived as a minority movement.  Lasting cultural change comes by small groups, like a little yeast added to flour.
  5. Premillennialism is popular in many circles with emphases that the world will become more evil, Christians will be persecuted, and a “one-world government” will rise.  As America become post-Christian, it is “fulfilled prophecy” so some accept “deep state” theories.
  6. In society, postmodernism has given up on objective truth.  There is my truth and your truth.  Power determines which prevails.  Unfortunately, many Christians have adopted this perspective, despite the one who said, “I am the truth,” demonstrating his power through sacrifice.
  7. With the decline of Christian power, many see any inconvenience as “persecution.”  Interestingly, they accuse others of “playing the victimization card” when they do the same.  Sadly, they insult the term persecution as millions of Christians face genuine persecution today.
  8. White evangelicals vote on one issue-abortion.  Democrats are “non-Christians,” they argue, despite support from a majority of black evangelicals.  Sanctity of life is biblical but social justice is more so.  In addition, black Christians don’t view the world “getting worse.”
  9. Many white evangelicals have increasingly hyperbolized Reagan’s emphasis on limited government into a distrust of all government.  “Not by might . . .but by my Spirit” they might quote, often not seeing their own power-plays as Zechariah’s chief concern.
  10. With the rise of talk radio, 24/7 news, and the Internet, ministers cannot compete with pundits for influence of their congregations.  Talking heads and pundits get multiple hours to shape thoughts while a minister, at best, gets 30 minutes.  Thus many conform to this world.
  11. Many Christians allow one segment of the media to tell them to “distrust the media” without realizing that all media must be consumed with discrimination and critical reflection.  To keep you “tuned in,” like click-bait, they often say what your itching ears want to hear.
  12. Search engines and social media algorithms predict what users want.  Searches can reinforce assumptions, creating an echo-chamber of ideas where any outside voice is deemed “heresy.”  Churches must reclaim their role as moderators of discourse-one body with diverse opinions.

Christians should pray for healing in our nation.  Christians on both sides of the aisle should be agents of reconciliation.  Faithful engagement of society as humble servants of Christ is needed now more than ever.  Your enemy is not flesh and blood.  Put aside the Old Man.

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