It is discouraging when churches become involved in social activism (a campaign to bring about political or social change). Is this really the calling of a church? And as a church takes on social issues, people will fall away at a time when churches cannot afford to lose members. If this has not occurred at your place of worship, be grateful and guard against it.
Those who support activism by the church will eventually need to justify their position by saying that Jesus was also an activist; as-if to elude that Jesus is on their side. By doing so, they degrade who Jesus is and His mission. As fallible humans, we are not authorized to give Jesus additional labels. The only label that Jesus accepted from humans was the label placed above Him on the cross, “King of the Jews”.
Jesus is not concerned with politics or protesting for social change. How do we know this? Because all we have to do is look at a time when Jesus was on Earth. Jesus did not command His followers to rise-up against the great injustices of the Roman empire; instead Jesus healed a child of Roman soldier. And when a soldier came to arrest Jesus, a great injustice, Jesus commanded his disciple to put away his sword. Jesus did not rise up nor did He raise His fist in the air and march in protest for social justice. Jesus came to Earth for individual souls to save them from destruction and to lead them to life. Simply stated, Jesus’ mission is to save you and me from drowning in our sin.
Further, let us look some labels God gave His son to describe Jesus: Teacher, Savior, Son of Man, The Word, King of Kings, Light of the World, and Lamb of God. So the church, as a representative of Christ, should not be adding to this list.
It’s tempting for church leaders to justify moving towards social activism. However, what one person sees as a clear-cut issue, another may see as misguided and self-righteous position; very seldom does a constructive dialogue occur. These social issues are far more complex than what some may want to acknowledge, or don’t care to acknowledge. If the boundary of the church is not carefully reflected on, then the church will divide and eventually become irrelevant.
Instead of activism, a church needs to offer something else. A church has a place within it called a sanctuary; a sanctuary is a place of refuge and protection. Figuratively speaking, the world is to be outside the walls of a church. If the world is in the church, then attending church becomes unappealing and discouraging soon followed by apathy. And it doesn’t take much after that to watch members leave and not come back.
For me personally, and I am sure others as well, we seek sanctuary from the world. We are looking for something different than the world; a place that offers hope of a better place. We are there to gain a glimpse into what God’s place must be like, a place where Christ teachings reign and the world’s way is greatly diminished. A place of unity with focus on Christ and His love for us.
Why do I say these things? Because we are to remain with Christs’ teachings which teaches us that if we are called to rise up against hunger, then we are to feed the poor without condemning the wealthy. If we are called to heal the injured, then we are to do so without condemning the offender. If we are called to rise up against racism, then counsel the one that is being persecuted and pray for the racist. Jesus spent His time with sinners, tax collectors, and even those who nailed Him to the cross; yet He never condemned.
We are to serve all as Christ commands because all of us share the one label God gave us, “Dirty Rag”. By serving all then there is no division among His children; we remain steadfast in our faith in Christ. We are called as individuals to reject our own personal sin and to trust Jesus to deal with the ills of the world because only He is qualified to do so. As we teach individuals the word of God, this leads them to Christ and only then can society as a whole be changed.
Don’t be consumed by what you are seeing in the world as it will overwhelm the soul. Our command is to reject the world’s way and rely on Christ. As Christians, we are to stay close to our brothers and sisters in Christ together as one family.