One problem within Evangelical Christianity is that a narrow view is often taken regarding what is important to the proclamation of the gospel and what Christians appropriate roles are. In fact, we’re given a picture of two types of Christians.
We’re told the the first is concerned with loving God and loving people and wants to see people come to Christ and this is what we should be.
Of the second type, we’re told they’re concerned with politics and with the media. We’re told this second group of people is concerned with the laws that are passed and what goes on the television and on the Internet. These people are wrong. If you’re one of these people, you need to forget it. Sinners will be sinners and we shouldn’t try and pass laws or try and be concerned with sinners sinning. Just be loving, proclaim the Gospel and stay out of these controversies.
This isn’t entirely without merit. If we’ve forgotten the Gospel, if we’re not loving people, or we’re putting our full trust and faith in the Republican Party (God help us!) than we’ve really got to realize that God is the true source of our hope and get our life and hearts in order.
However, the idea that we should abandon culture and political struggles or have a
blasé attitude about it and that is the godly approach is far more problematic.
Evangelist Don Johnson experiences sharing the Gospel and speaking with skeptics and other non-Christians and he finds that even educating them, many don’t accept the gospel and he laid out six reasons for this. Among them is fatherlessness and the number one reason people don’t accept Christ: sexual immorality:
Of all the motivations and reasons for skepticism that I encounter, immorality is easily the most common. In particular, sexual sin seems to be the largest single factor driving disbelief in our culture. Brant Hanson calls sex “The Big But” because he so often hears this from unbelievers: “’I like Jesus, BUT…’ and the ‘but’ is usually followed, one way or the other, with an objection about the Bible and… sex. People think something’s deeply messed-up with a belief system that says two consenting, unmarried adults should refrain from sex.” In other words, people simply do not want to follow the Christian teaching that sexual intercourse should take place only between and man and woman who are married, so they throw the whole religion out.
Let me suggest that if we can observe that fatherlessness and sexual immorality make people resistant to the Gospel that efforts to reduce the amount of fatherlessness and sexual immorality in our general culture will actually help promote the spread of the gospel. To me, this seems like a common sense idea but for so many churches and ministries this connection is completely missed.
It makes sense if you consider that the ultimate goals of the Evil One are not merely the ruination of a nation or a civilization but the destruction of souls. In past generations, great revivals have been more common as we’ve had a culture that hasn’t taught sexual immorality as something normative.
Since our culture has embraced immorality, people are more hardened against the Gospel against receiving the truth of Christ. Of course, there are many who find the path of least resistance by simply ignoring these controversial passages. That’s not a solution because in doing that, we are no longer proclaiming the Gospel because we are no longer really proclaiming the true God but an invented one meant to play to modern sensibilities.
A culture that affirms the values of fathers, of marriage, and of a right view of human sexuality is a culture where people will be more open to the Gospel than one in which fathers and marriage are optional and in which sex is something any which way you can.
This does not mean that Christians should pursue prohibitive laws as an answer to every social problem. Very few problems are solved by ham-fisted public policy ideas. Nor does it mean that the only reasons to work against sexual immorality and fatherlessness are religious ones. These forces have fed the Welfare State and cost taxpayers trillions of dollars. A sound economy, reduction in child poverty, and a reduction in crime are also served by strong family stability.
We also shouldn’t think they people who grew up fatherless or who are involved in sexual immorality can’t be saved. Many are saved. However, just because we managed to save several people from burning buildings doesn’t mean we don’t want to put out the fire.
And my final disclaimer is that Christians have to behave like Christ as they walk in the public arena. Also on Don Johnson’s list of reasons people don’t convert is, “Christians behaving badly.” That happens all too frequently when Christians in the public sphere don’t walk in the Spirit.
However, the choice of proclaiming v. impacting the culture is a false one. If Christians impact their culture in the right way, it aides the proclamation of the Gospel. It’s not an either/or proposition but rather a “Yes and.”