Thursday, July 24, 2014

Pure religion

In a recent interview, Tullian Tchividjian said:
"The core message of the Christian faith has been lost in the public sector because what we are primarily known for is our political ideology or opinion," Tchividjian told The Christian Post. 
"Specifically the reason why Evangelicals in America are unliked by non-Evangelicals is because we've branded ourselves as a political movement. It's not like Christians don't have opinions about what's going in our world and what's happening in our culture; I think that we do, I do, we all do, but when the primary message that the world hears from us is, "We need to fix the world…We need to stamp out all of the bad stuff," they don't hear the message that Jesus has entrusted in us," continued Tchividjian. 
"If people are going to stumble over what we say, it's going to be because we're called to speak the Gospel which Paul says is a stumbling block. But I can't go out there and be a jerk and align myself with a political party or a candidate and get crucified on either the right or the left and just say "I'm just a martyr for the truth." No, you're not even speaking the truth that God has called you to speak first and foremost."
So is Tully's position that Christians should stop acting in the best interests of their children? Christians should stop protecting their children from becoming wards of the state? Christians should stop protecting babies, the elderly, and the developmentally disabled from abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia? Christians should stop defending the right of children to be raised by a real mother and father? Christians should stop warning people about the consequences of self-destructive lifestyles? Christians should stop defending their Constitutional right to preach the Gospel? Should we live to be "liked." 
When James says "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world" (Jas 1:27), has he lost sight of "the core message of the Christian faith"? Is that an unnecessary stumbling block? As one commentator explains:
This verse is not meant as an exhaustive list of what pleases God; rather, it describes by practical example the behavior patterns exhibited by a person whose character is being shaped by "true religion," that is, genuine faith. Both personal holiness and social responsibility are manifestations of the character transformation that genuine faith effects. It is noteworthy that James includes both here, because it is difficult to be involved in the ills of the world without getting entangled in its idolatries, and it is difficult to cultivate holiness without cutting oneself off from the exigencies of the world. Ultimately, however, to be truly effective in dealing with the ills of the world requires personal holiness (cf. 3:17), and genuine personal holiness entails involvement in dealing with the world's ills. D. McCartney, James (Baker 2009),130. 

1 comment:

  1. Tchividjian seems to find himself on the wrong side of a number of important issues. For example he's been publicly challenged for well documented, glaringly antinomian statements both spoken and in print.