Tuesday, October 23, 2007

This is Part 18 of a continuing series of articles examining the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. This statement of faith was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting on June 14, 2000 “to set forth certain teachings which we believe.”

The Christian and the Social Order

All Christians are under obligation to seek to make the will of Christ supreme in our own lives and in human society. Means and methods used for the improvement of society and the establishment of righteousness among men can be truly and permanently helpful only when they are rooted in the regeneration of the individual by the saving grace of God in Jesus Christ. In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography. We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick. We should speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death. Every Christian should seek to bring industry, government, and society as a whole under the sway of the principles of righteousness, truth, and brotherly love. In order to promote these ends Christians should be ready to work with all men of good will in any good cause, always being careful to act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth.*

Christians are called to be salt and light. Salt is intended to arrest the spread of corruption and light is meant to dispel the darkness. Society left alone will increasingly become morally rotten and spiritually dark. Salt confined to the shaker and light hidden under a basket will have no ability to affect the culture—there must be contact in order to have impact. Yet, many churches ignore their God-ordained responsibility to season and shine—huddling behind the four walls of the sanctuary while the world outside descends into a cesspool of sin!

Kingdom living is not just for the church house, but the courthouse, the state house, and the White House! We are called of God to bring a prophetic voice to a world that will only hear the propaganda of hell, unless the people of God stand up and speak up. “Nature abhors a vacuum,” it has been stated; and that values vacuum between people’s ears has been filled with movies, magazines, music—all sorts of media proclaimed by hell’s missionaries. To rail against Hollywood and the liberal press is all well and good, but what are Christians doing to counter such demonic doctrine?

The most important message we can share is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Political parties cannot bring in the Kingdom of God. It isn’t by legislation or Presidential election that lives are changed—and unless hearts and minds are regenerated, moral freefall is inevitable. True transformation in a nation happens one heart at a time.

Yet, there is a vital role for believers to call upon the government to perform its God-given mandate to promote justice and punish evil. Scripture tells us that government is the minister of God to carry out that very function. But human government will fall prey to the same vices of society unless it is confronted with a prophetic word from the church. Yet, someone has well said that the church today is a “Non-prophet organization!”

Let us repent, and with a word of truth spoken in love become the potent force for goodness that God has appointed us to be! Enough with the hand-wringing that leads us to whine in despair instead of actively working for righteousness! Away with the attitude of monasticism that leads us to withdraw from a world we are called to engage with truth! Let us repent by viewing all our activities—in the home, the community, the marketplace, and the culture—through the lens of Scripture, and model Kingdom principles in our daily acts and proclaim Kingdom principles loud and clear, without being obnoxious prigs.

* Exodus 20:3-17; Leviticus 6:2-5; Deuteronomy 10:12; 27:17; Psalm 101:5; Micah 6:8;
Zechariah 8:16; Matthew 5:13-16,43-48; 22:36-40; 25:35; Mark 1:29-34; 2:3ff.; 10:21;Luke 4:18-21; 10:27-37; 20:25; John 15:12; 17:15; Romans 12–14; 1Corinthians 5:9-10; 6:1-7; 7:20-24; 10:23-11:1; Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:12-17; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philemon; James 1:27; 2:8. (Baptist Faith and Message, 2000)

No comments: