How Would Jesus Fight the “Culture War”?
It greatly troubles me that so many people have such a negative opinion of Christians. I’m sure there are lots of reasons for this; some valid and some not. I wonder if one of the main reasons is the practice of Jesus followers to engage in conflict with the culture over what we understand to be biblical teaching. In 1 Peter 2, Peter writes this: 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. These words don’t seem to justify engaging in any sort of cultural conflict through legislation or other means.
Yes, there is the passage in Acts where Peter says to the religious rulers that they must obey God rather than men….but that was specifically linked to telling people the gospel of Jesus Christ, not societal laws. Also, aren’t Jesus and Paul completely silent on exhorting the followers of Jesus to change the political system, which in the first century was extremely oppressive and often immoral? What is our basis for arguing, sometimes vociferously, that laws be written to support biblical values, even though we passionately believe such laws would benefit society in general? Would it not be better to argue lovingly, state our opinion, and yet support the “ordinance of man” as given by Peter here in verse 13?
What if followers of Jesus simply focused on the gospel message…sharing what the Bible says about the sin of man and the salvation offered through Jesus? Why do we expect people who don’t believe what we do to live like they believe what we do? It is right to discuss culture and share our opinions about laws and what we think is best for society but each and every time self-proclaimed followers of Jesus start calling names or demanding things are we not going completely outside of the guidance that we have in the New Testament? Did Jesus, Paul or Peter ever act like many of Jesus’ followers act in regard to government and others who disagree with them about policy and law? I think we have much to learn and if we put into practice what we read in the New Testament, I think we stand an excellent chance of seeing the culture’s opinions change; probably not of the gospel…most will still reject that; but of those who proclaim it. And if they truly see our love might that be an effective tool to point people to what matters most, the gospel of Jesus Christ? That is a war worth waging!
I’m not presuming to fully know “what Jesus would do” if He was on earth today. I’m wondering if the way we are presenting His truth to an unbelieving world, and a political and cultural system that is against His teaching in many ways, is effective. And I don’t see what we are doing modeled anywhere in the New Testament. What do you think?