Politics, Culture and Morality Have Nothing To Do With The Gospel

The reality that politics, culture and morality have nothing to do with the gospel may come as a shock to some. To others it may sound even blasphemous. What do I mean when I say that these things have nothing to do with the gospel? God’s purpose for the gospel was not to change the political, cultural and moral landscape of human societies. God’s purpose for the gospel was and is to save people so that they may have eternal life and be transformed into the likeness of His Son.  It is not a gospel that calls us to change the political, cultural or moral atmosphere of our society.

You could say that it equips us to by empowering us, through the Holy Spirit, to live godly lives in an ungodly world. But it does not call us to this work. Neither does it authorize us to engage in such work. What we Christians are called and given the authority to do by God is best summed up in the Great Commission. That is to make disciples, teach them to obey Jesus’ teachings, and baptize them. Nowhere in there do we see the church given the task, nor the authority, to pursue political, cultural or moral agendas.

The gospel is the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,” is the task we are charged with and given clearance for. This is the mission that undoubtedly has the full backing of God Himself. We like to think we’re the world’s morality police. But when we put political, cultural and moral agendas on our to do list as God-given tasks we’re stepping outside our boundaries. We may become successful at achieving the goals we set for ourselves in these agendas but that does not necessarily mean we have achieved goals God desired for us to achieve.

Ironically, if we put as much effort into the Great Commission as we did into being morality police there would be a lot less moral headaches in our politics and culture. We will profess with our mouths that the real problem in our world is not broken governmental systems but sin in the human heart and that the gospel is the only real solution. But then we turn around and put more effort into litigation than we do into proclamation.

Is it not enough that God has already shown us in the Bible that the law does not save people and cannot change people? If the law of Moses, given to Israel by God, did not stop the nation of Israel from becoming a corrupt nation why are we so foolish to think that we can use the law to stop America from becoming a corrupt nation? Do you see the flaw in our thinking?

Our theology is right but our methodology is all wrong. Which brings about the question of how much faith do we really have in our theology? How much faith do we really have in the gospel? How much faith do we really have in Jesus?

Because of the number of views I’ve gotten on my articles on Ferguson I wanted to be clear that I’m not calling the church or Christians to charge head first with all their theology into political, moral or cultural agendas. I do not and will not support a politicized gospel. That is not our job. Is it okay to be involved in such things? I think so. God has blessed us to be in a country where we can be a part of the political process.

But that is not our primary responsibility and it is not going to save our country. Nor any other country for that matter. Again, if the very law of God Himself could not change ancient Israel what makes us think we can use human laws to change America or other nations? We are so convinced that when we elect our Christian politicians into office and get our Christian laws passed that we have accomplished something.

Here’s some real food for thought few are bold enough to say. What difference does it make if we change the moral landscape of our society, stop abortions, genocide, racial discrimination, human trafficking and end hunger if those people still end up in hell when it’s all said and done? We’ll have a bunch of unrepentant sinners, on their way to hell, but we’ll be sitting back feeling accomplished because they’re following our moral laws. Such outreaches are important not because we are called to create more moral cultures but because people are important and we are called to love them, serve them, and reach out to them with a gospel that has hope, healing and salvation.

It’s time for us to wake up dear christians. We’re living in our own little lala land. Yes, we need to get involved because we have the answer to the real problem. The gospel. But what good does it do anybody to get involved if we’re not going to do it with the gospel? It’s like saying your car needs a new battery but you keep putting new tires on it instead. Doesn’t make any sense. Then we want to wonder why the car won’t go anywhere. Litigation should not be our first priority. Proclamation should always be our first priority because without we’re not really accomplishing anything.

The church has been trying to change the moral landscape of our society for decades now. We’ve made very little ground because we’re wasting our time putting tires on a car that needs a new battery. Litigation has taken precedence over proclamation. You can’t save the culture. The “culture” is an abstract construct composed of the values of the people in it. But you can save the people in it and that’s what we’re called to do. We’re trying to save values when we should be trying to save people.

It is important for us to be involved in the political process. But when we politicize the gospel to make it about moralizing the culture we’re missing the mark. Worse of all is that we end up creating a gospel that is not the gospel of Christ.

And probably the most detrimental of all the affects it has on the body of Christ is that we begin to hate those we should be loving. We turn the mission field of unreedemed people into a battlefield of enemies. We allow political, cultural and moral issues to create in us hearts that are not Christ-like at all.

Just because they hate us and hate our God does not mean we are to treat them as our enemies. If we really want to accomplish some good in this world we are best doing it by turning our attention back to the work that Christ has called and commissioned us to do. Anything less will simply not produce the results we desire. Let us stop putting tires on a car that needs a new battery. If that is what you really insist on doing the least you could do is stop getting mad at the car for not going anywhere.

Joseph Sterling

More Posts by Joseph

See also A Christian Response to Ferguson and The Church and Ferguson