Soldiers of the Cross

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.                                              1 Peter 2:12-15 NIV

It will not be news to anyone that, as Christians in North America, we feel beleaguered. It seems that every other religion gets treated with respect except ours, which is treated with contempt. It seems as though the customs, practices, and values that are dear to us, practices and values that we believe are essential to human flourishing, are those which are reserved for special attack.

So how do we respond? There is a real danger here. The fact is that Christian ideas and values have been privileged in this country, and now when that is no longer the case, we are tempted to react out of outrage. How dare our fellow-citizens take away our privileged status, especially when we know that to do so is to eat away at the very fabric of our country. We are confusing our status and the good of the country. Are we really motivated for the country or for ourselves?

The greatest danger, it seems to me, is to try to enforce our values through political means. Does anyone remember the 18th amendment? It prohibited the manufacture, sale, and transportation of beverage alcohol in this country. It was accomplished by Carrie Nation and the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. It was a Christian political victory. Was it a good thing? Almost certainly. Did it accomplish good? No. Its primary effect, still with us, was the institutionalization of organized crime.

Why did it fail? Because the majority of the people did not accept it. It was a political victory only. Any attempt by Christians to force unbelievers to accept Christian values by political means, including abortion, dare I say, will fail. We either convince people of the truth of Christian faith and values by living submissive, loving, transformed lives, or we do nothing at all. Romanian believers said it, “The weapon of the Lamb is the bared throat.”

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