Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.
Usually this blog doesn’t touch on anything political in the worldly, partisan sense, and I have no intent that this post will be an exception. And if it does, then I hope not to tip my hand as to where I might be in what essentially is a spectrum in which good, intelligent people differ.
I am a “baby boomer” and I remember well the rise of Moral Majority. I think in large part it was a response to the Supreme Court ruling of Roe v Wade, a stand against abortion, but also a stand against immorality, particularly against the rise of open homosexuality.
It is my opinion that the church involved in such pursuits as Moral Majority, largely lost its way to the extent it was involved in this. I am thinking of the conservative part of the church, evangelical, in which I was raised. There is the liberal or progressive wing of organized church, which lines up on the opposing side. And the Roman Catholic Church as a whole, on the conservative side, particularly against abortion, though many of its adherents depart from the church on issues such as birth control and homosexuality.
I believe the part of the church which has gone on this path, the path of the culture wars, regardless which side (though, like Christ’s letter to the seven churches in Revelation, there are numerous ways the church can become unfaithful to Christ), has frankly gone off on a side path, and in doing so stumbled, at least as far as its witness goes. We are present for one reason and one reason only: Christ and the gospel. When we give something like supreme allegiance to anything less, then we not only endanger our souls in the process, but the souls of those we are to be a witness to of the gospel.
Paul lived in a different time. No representative democratic republic such as we live in here in the United States. Roman rule was essentially totalitarian, and the Christian message was a direct affront to it, though the gospel had no intention of a rule like that which God has actually ordained in the world. It is a rule based on Christ, and the good news in him, someday to take over the earth in the new earth, but present now by the Spirit in the church.
But Paul cared about one thing, and that was his calling, and by extension, ours today as well: the proclamation and witness by word and deed and life, of the good news in Jesus. Of the world’s need of that good news. And what it means for everyone today. Including all who serve in government.
Interestingly, Paul’s message did impact people in government, and even members of the emperor Caesar’s household. And the impact of the church’s witness was exponential growth, God’s hand in it. Not, I would argue, what we’ve seen in my lifetime.
We need to get back to the basics. Yes, as US citizens we can and should, to whatever extent we’re led, participate in the political process. But we must not compromise our identity in Christ and what that means for the world. In terms of the good news in Jesus which can only begin to be fully understood and appreciated through the pages of all of scripture.