Jesus never went to political demonstrations. Protests happened all the time in Jerusalem and many of the causes were just; but Jesus never marched against anything.
Spiritual leaders I highly respect are calling on churches across the USA to organize civil disobedience if Rome- I mean, the Supreme Court- decrees that same-sex marriage is the law of the land. Should that happen, we all know that the first amendment civil rights of Christians will be among the first casualties. There’s no doubt that the abandonment of conjugal marriage has been and will continue to be an historic disaster. But is this the hill the Church should be ready to die upon?
When Jesus lived in Jerusalem, pagan Roman influences encroached further into religious life every day. Roman Emperors were famous for their sexual escapades- not only with multiple women, but with young men and even children. It was not a tightly held secret. Jews despised the Roman obsession with sports and the gambling that accompanied it. They hated the fact that a pagan Roman living in a foreign land could order the arrest and death of faithful Jews is Israel.
The gospels mention some Galileans who launched a protest to assert that God alone is sovereign. Pilate had some of them slaughtered and mixed their blood with a sacrifice he offered to the gods. Jesus could have easily followed their example and might have been crucified a lot sooner. Two of his apostles were zealots, activists who supported the violent overthrow of Rome; but He influenced their priorities, and never allowed their passions to divert His focus. When over-taxed Jews tried to bait Him to denounce local money going to Rome as taxes, the Lord defused the issue. He replied that some things bear the image of Rome while others bear the image of God: never confuse what matters most to Heaven.
Jesus never led the charge against human trafficking or corrupt taxation or multiple marriage or forcing boys and men to become palace eunuchs. The Movement he launched would eventually make all of these evils look as inhumane and undesirable as they are. Jesus of Nazareth didn’t demand political relief: he changed hearts and families.
I’m open to persuasion here. Maybe I’ve missed something. But all these calls for demonstrations and civil disobedience remind me of the time years ago when American education began to decline but the PTA pivoted to address dirty movies and vulgar rock music. They surrendered in the war for education and marched off to lose a culture war as well. Was that really smart?
At a time when Roman Catholicism and the Southern Baptist Convention are both shrinking, it’s useful to note that non-denominational churches and the Assemblies of God are still growing. Their members are just as conservative as we are, but they aren’t identified with politics. They are identified with Jesus.
It strikes me that American saints have every right to vote their convictions and even march in Washington DC, if necessary. But why not do that as Americans and build bridges, rather than doing it as Christians and build walls? Perhaps political action should be rooted in individual convictions- not in church strategies. Is that crazy?
American warriors have always known it’s important to fight strategic battles on good ground. Part of military strategy is choosing a hill to die on. The same should be true of spiritual strategy, I would think. Which is the hill we should be prepared to die on?
What would Jesus NOT do? I don’t think he would sacrifice saving souls for defending marriage. Am I wrong? What do you think?
Lift up the Cross!