Gnostic Evangelicalism

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I feel in response to the agnostic Marxism that BLM represents, some people in American evangelicalism are pushing towards the other extreme, functionally Gnostic Christianity where faith is untouched by political debates.

But I find this position very untenable and inconsistent in so far as people in evangelicalism are also pushing to defund Planned Parenthood.

So the fact of the matter is, whether we are religious or secular, we almost inevitably engage in arguments and debate. The least we can do is be honest about this engagement and be honest about the convictions that we come from.

We are to pray for our leaders. This is true. Yet, from where I stand, whether you come from the right or the left, people can and will look to our political leaders to save our country, or change the course of history.

We have the great privilege of becoming educated in what our current laws codify, and participating in the decision-making process concerning them. If Americans never participated in the lawmaking process as some professing Christians seem to advocate, we may have never gotten rid of slavery as an institution, outlaw child labor, institute the FDA, fought in World War II, or institute seatbelt laws.

While political activism is not spoken of in the Bible, this relative silence should not mean Christianity is against political activism. Paul was a tentmaker, a Roman citizen, and a former Pharisee. Peter and John were fishermen. Their area of focus was to address the concerns of the local churches as they transitioned from Judaism to a Gentile-friendly Christianity. Paul’s letters helped establish rules for the churches to follow with regards to baptism, the Lord’s Supper, ordaining elders and deacons, etc. In some ways, the apostles’ battle against Judaizers, false apostles, false prophets, and false disciples looks similar to political activism.

“Sola Scriptura” is a good conservative Reformed principle to follow. But the norms that we find in Scripture should not mean avoiding everything that Scripture does not explicitly or implicitly mention. It just means we need to appeal to biblically informed wisdom on things that Scripture seems silent about.

After all, Scripture does not mention stem cell research, vaccination, marijuana, or domestic abuse, but that does not mean we ourselves should have no opinion at all on these important topics. It just means we need to exercise humility and wisdom in how we approach topics that are outside the purview of Scripture.

I strongly dislike professing believers who cast the debate as a “either-or” dichotomy. Those who say “Either we tell people the Gospel or we fight and debate them.” No.

We can do both.

Now granted, the two positions have different priorities. The soul needs to be saved from the wrath of God in Christ alone by the Spirit of God through the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel being that God the Son became the Spirit-conceived, virgin born, perfectly obedient, crucified, risen, ascended, and glorified Lord and Savior of all mankind. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to all those who come to Him by faith alone. The Spirit gives a new heart with new desires so that they learn to see the world through different lens.

Yet even sinners who are dead in their sins can come to some true conclusions by the common grace of God. Sinners and saints can look to common principles and seek reform, revolutions, and government to make life better for everyone. Even though these measures leave people in spiritual death without the Gospel, that does not mean we should avoid making use of them since we should do what we can to take care of the body as well.

The body and the soul are different entities. Biblically, the soul takes priority, but not so much that we end up treating the body as nothing or even immoral as the Gnostics of old did.

Making use of our privilege as American citizens to participate in the workings of government is not “putting more hope in man than God,” it’s putting checks on evil and reining in bad leaders when needed.

Everyone has sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Everyone needs to be reined in.

The President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Minority Leader, Senators, House Reps, Supreme Court Justices, State governors, State judges, Public health officials, City Mayors, major news outlets, Twitter, Facebook, Google, public teacher unions, police officer unions, employers, employees, the general public, Republicans, and Democrats can all use their authority or autonomy in ways that violate the command to “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

All of us are capable of calling evil good and good evil. No matter what side of the aisle you find yourself on, we are all guilty of inconsistencies, name calling, straw man arguments, guilt by association, red herrings, and slippery slope arguments. Special interest groups distort American politics. Republicans generally protect gun industries and cops. Democrats generally protect teachers and minorities. Sometimes this protection goes so far that they excuse the bad and immoral behavior of bad cops or bad teachers by resisting reforms that would better promote transparency and accountability.

Ideally, everyone would repent and believe in Jesus and then bear fruit in keeping with repentance. We are naturally selfish and we naturally protect people who enrich us, whether they be the voters who keep us in office or whatnot. We can all benefit from seeking reforms and we need to seek these reforms through the proper channels and if we find this task difficult, it would be because we need the grace of God in Christ Jesus to overcome the indwelling resistance to die to our selves, take up the cross, and follow Jesus.

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