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November 17, 2006 at 12:49 am #1482AnonymousInactive
Would Jesus Have Supported “Political Correctness” for His Followers?
Increasingly, Christians in the “Christian West” are Being Discouraged – Or Even Banned – from Praying ‘in the Name of Jesus’ in Public – Should Commited Christians Support Such Bans?
In describing the Pharisees, John the Baptist could have said,
“Well now, it really is not for me to judge. We should all just worship God in our own way. After all, religion is all in your heart, you know.”
We should not be surprised at the case of the U.S. Navy chaplain who got himself into hot water for giving a public prayer ‘in the Name of Jesus’ – its the way our one-time “Christian west” is going!
Even here in the UK, if I, as a Christian minister, was called upon to give a public prayer here in our home town of Penarth, and it was known in advance that I would be doing this, I have no doubt whatsoever that various interested parties would make it their business to get in touch with me beforehand and attempt to influence me about what I could or should include (and not include) in that upcoming public prayer. I might well patiently listen to such people but I would still ensure that my public prayer was firmly given ‘In the Name of Jesus Christ’ Why? Very simple really – I have always felt a calling to Christian ministry – not to a ministry of religious pluralism (all religions lead to God and are equal before God).
As we Brits say, those who would be offended by a purely Christian ministry can ‘like it or lump it’! Frankly, all those who consider themselves to be evangelical preachers should reject that form of political correctness which is becoming increasingly pervasive in Britain and America. It greatly saddens me that various leading figures in the Church of England (Episcopalianism to you Americans), are showing such a willingness to compromise. Of course, many of these men (and women!) have already swallowed huge chunks of liberal theology in their training and so this matter does not seem very important to them. Our adversary has ensured that many such people are already compromised at source!
Lt Gordon James Klingenschmitt, the U.S. Navy chaplain who found himself in hot water for insisting that a Christian chaplain should pray ‘in the name of Jesus.’
We have to ask whether our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, employed any sort of ‘political correctness’ in His dealings with people. Lets check out a few Scriptures. Now let us just consider that it might well have been in Jesus’ interests to employ a politically-correct respectfulness to the scribes and Pharisees, if He wished to avoid persecution. He could have done that, but did He do so? – or did He obviously consider some things just had to be said even if saying them might hasten serious persecution? He could have said, ‘It is not for me to be judgmental of the way others worship their God’ (a typical modern attitude), but to the Pharisees and ‘teachers of the law’ Jesus actually said this:
‘…”Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men. You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”‘ (Mark 7:6b-8, NIV)
Even before Jesus’ ministry commenced, if John the Baptist had been asked, “What do you think of the Pharisees and the Jewish religious teachers?”, he could have said, ‘Well now, it really is not for me to judge. We should all just worship God in our own way. After all, religion is all in your heart, you know.’
But in fact when John the Baptist saw Pharisees and Saducees He said this,
‘”….You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. The axe is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.'”(Matthew 3:7b-10).
Hmmm! Strong stuff! I don’t think that John the Baptist would have been any sort of a supporter of ‘political correctness’, do you?
The Religious Authorities of Jesus’ Day
Neither John the Baptist nor Jesus employed “political correctness” when discussing religion. This is especially true when they interacted with those, such as the scribes and Pharisees, who they felt were without excuse.
But it gets stronger! In Matthew, the 12th chapter, Jesus makes it quite plain that He suspected that certain of those religious teachers had actually commited the unpardonable sin by their opposition to Him (read verses 22-37 carefully). But the most persistently scathing attack by Jesus on the Pharisees is saved for Matthew, the 23rd chapter – read the entire chapter to check out whether Jesus was prepared to show a politically-correct respectfulness to those people – but lets just pull out one verse,
‘You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape from being condemned to hell?’ (Matthew 23: 33).
Now, of course, Jesus had a certain authority which you and I certainly do not have – that is undeniable. Moreover, I do not suggest that evangelical Christians should necessarily refer to liberally-compromised ‘All religion is in the heart, who are we to judge?’ -type so-called “Christian ministers” as snakes and vipers, but this does show us where John the Baptist and Jesus Himself stood on a diluted and humanly-compromised form of religion. Jesus was more scathing about those who had no excuse for not understanding than He was for those who were held under the power of totally different religious ideologies and belief systems. Today also we should respect those of other religions while praying that God, in His perfect grace, may open the eyes of many of these people to the truth of the Gospel.
But Britain and America have been considered to be substantially “Christian countries” (in fact, the British government now insist that Britain is not “Christian” but is “multi-cultural” – even though 62% of Britons still – however loosely – associate themselves with the Christian God and all other professed religious associations put together remain less than 4%), but those of us who follow Christ should insist that we do not accept such compromises as to only pray to ‘God’ – but not to ‘Jesus’! Our national leaders can think and do as they like but – for our part – we must separate ourselves from heresy!
If you and I have entered into a covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ, we owe all our loyalty TO HIM ALONE! We are His ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20), and all decent ambassadors understand that they must remain separate from the cultures of the nations in which they temporarily reside! If we are Christ’s, we must represent His eternal kingdom alone. Yes, we may reside here awhile but we will eventually be called home. Let us be faithful to the degree that we can one day be described by Jesus Himself as ‘a good and faithful servant.’ See Matthew 25:21, and let us all read the following,
‘ Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?
What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”‘ (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Robin A. Brace, 2006.
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