Should the Church Just Be Quiet?
Should the church speak out on social issues? That is a fun question.
In our country today, people often say churches ought to stay mum on social issues, because, well, we don’t pay taxes. But other people think the church should be able to advocate for what we believe is right. We have seen this a lot in 2020. There have been a lot of BIG, divisive issues taking up space on the news and social media. And people on both sides feel very passionate about what they believe to be the truth. This leads to even more questions: If the Church sees an injustice taking place, should it say something? If the government isn’t acting in the best interests of the people, should the Church say something?
In my opinion, the answer is always “Yes.”
Should the church tell people who to vote for on their ballots every November? Ehhh, probably not.
But as followers of Jesus, Christians vow to live like Jesus and that may mean having uncomfortable conversations. If we look at Luke 4, we have Jesus basically presenting his mission statement in his hometown.
Luke 4:16-21 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
20 And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.
Christians believe Jesus came and died for our sins. But I would argue that Jesus also came to live in community with each other here on earth. And we do so by making earth look like God's kingdom where those on the margins are taken care of.
Sometimes that means speaking up. Sometimes that means flipping some tables — something Jesus wasn’t afraid to do. Jesus’s message is clear: When people are suffering we must step up and love our neighbor. The issue I see today is that there are different Christians with many different opinions. That is where the tension lies.
There are some Christans who believe that Christians should not speak out on some issues and some that believe Christians should. They are all Christians, but they see the issue differently.
The question really becomes: “Can American Christians on both sides coexist in the 21st century?”
Well, I sure hope so.
Christians are not just Christians. We have various identities. We have different beliefs outside of our Christian beliefs and they impact our decisions. That is part of the human experience. And we are called to see the humanity in each other. We should offer each other grace. Grace upon grace.
But we are also called to see the humanity of those on the margins and those who can’t speak up for themselves. We offer them that same grace as well.
This tension isn’t going anywhere. We probably won’t see an end to it until Jesus comes back. So in the meantime, as Christians need to follow in the steps of Jesus as well and as faithfully as we can. And that means speaking out for the poor and the oppressed. And when our leaders are not protecting those on the margins, we need to hold them accountable, whether they are part of our chosen political party or not.
This blog is part of a series we’re calling Unashamed, where we’ll be discussing hot button issues faced by the church. Did you like the post or have something to add? Comment below, like, and share this post.