I spend a lot of time writing when I'm working on Self-Evident material. Most of you have probably already learned that a large amount of content produced by Self-Evident has been written in some way, shape, or form by yours truly.
Producing content continues to be a passion of mine. I enjoy the research, I absolutely love to write, and I'm spiritually motivated. I want to go after all areas of society and culture. I want them for Christ, and if I get to use my skills and talents to help raise up disciples in these areas: then game on.
But sometimes, you wonder whether you're actually making change with everything you're doing. There's a difference between throwing a bunch of paint at the wall, and using a roller to make a pristine new wall color.
With the deluge of content which covers various areas, some are likely to say that we're all over the map. And in all honesty, that's true. We see ourselves as teachers raised up to disciple people in Christ and liberty. We're here to completely change your mindsets, and build up disciples who can go out and replicate. That means that Christ and liberty have to make sense in every situation presented to you as you interact with society.
But after a tasty lunch with a dear mentor, I came away with a bit of a challenge. He challenged me in all of those sore spots that are easy to flair up, because they're vulnerable. Those blind spots that could easily hurt with waves of offense. He meant no harm, but on the contrary, put disinfectant in the wound to clean it up and heal it. He pointed out the gaps in my direction and vision, in order to help us build back better (for all my Biden fans...).
One thing that I think Self-Evident does extremely well is get people passionate, and help them make connections in new ways. We give a fresh voice and wind to concepts that are old, dusty and tired. We're not the library-bookcase-in-the-background-of-the-video type. We're not the parchment paper background type. We're not usually fond of a bunch of American flags and eagles. We're not the clean-cut, wide toothy smile televangelists pushing the 30 second gospel.
Not that any of these things are bad or wrong, but they're just not us. We love America. We pray for America. We feel called to the mission field that is America. But we're so much more than a Constitutional education ministry. We're more than a “social warrior” ministry. We're more than a “bring the gospel” ministry.
We're here to disciple, and activate people, and bring about a transformational shift in the culture of America. We're here to bring life to the dry bones. But one of the sore spots that got touched was the fact that we sometimes take our own knowledge and depth for granted. There are groups of people who have immense influence on numbers of people, yet they don't know what we know. They don't recognize the ability and freedom they have.
I realized we need to give a little time to a certain segment, and so I realized I needed to do something to help fix that problem. What I discovered was this:
We need to influence the leaders.
For the Pastors
Walking away from my discussion with my dear mentor brought about a rush of new thoughts and perspectives. One of the areas that may have been sitting in front of our noses for a long time without realizing it, is the population of pastors here in the US.
The American church has been absolutely beat into submission with various techniques. And please, let me know if any of these sound familiar.
“A 501c3 cannot get politically involved. Any discussion about government goes against the Johnson Amendment.”
“Separation of Church and State. It says it in the Constitution, and churches are not supposed to get involved.”
“Romans 13 requires the church to submit to governing authorities. So guess what: you as a church better do what the government tells you.”
“We need to preach the gospel, not the government. Let the government do what it needs to do, and let the church save souls.”
“We don't want a theocracy. We don't want to legislate God down people's throats, so let's just keep government secular, and church spiritual.”
I could go on and on, but you get the point. And if you're a pastor who has said these things or agreed with these arguments, then please understand that I'm not here to call you out or chastise you. These things are legitimate concerns, and require a full discussion about whether they are true or not.
But if you'll please bear with me, I have one question: Do you feel that your government and society has fared better or worse without the church's direct involvement?
Okay, I lied. One more question. Do you believe that the government is better run, more upright, more principled, and healthier in the hands of the secular, or in the hands of humble, God-fearing christians who mean only to serve well and to honor their fellow man?
What's the fruit of the church having resolved to remove itself from the daily governance of the people decades ago? (Right...a third question. So sue me.)
At some point, the church as a group bought the lie that they were not to have any influence on government, and that the governance of a nation was not to be in any way put in the hands of the faithful. Ideas such as “Separation of church and state” were shouted from the roof tops at any pastors or church members who dared to stick their head outside the church walls. Romans 13 became the battering ram from the pulpits, and the 501c3 became the threat from the government itself.
We as pastors have endured a lot of opinions and thoughts throughout our tenures. Each pastor can recount when he's been chastised or belittled for an outlook or teaching. Each of us can recall those moments of dread when a congregant determines that what we're doing is just plain “wrong.”
Then the voices from outside the church grow, letting us know that our ilk are not welcome in the major pillars of culture. No, instead we must watch as the nation around us teeters and collapses. If anything, we mourn the fact that we seem so powerless in the face of such growing darkness and evil.
If you're anything like me, you're absolutely saddened about the waves of evil that seem to be hitting our culture and society. The tyrannical oppression of the government during COVID left many pastors reeling and questioning what to do. And whether you shut your doors or not—the decision should have been yours...not the governments.
But what if we picked ourselves back up, dusted ourselves off and began reminding ourselves that the prince of this world has come to lie, steal, kill and destroy. That the prince of this world may have influence and control over segments of the world, but that we are in enemy territory, and are not here to sit and wait for Christ to return. Our mission is one of spiritual warfare. We are called to step onto the battleground of the world, and fight for the souls of those around us. We're called to influence and change the direction of our territory. We are the ones who are in the best position to bless our towns, cities, states and nation with the benefit of being a country wholly devoted to God.
If God can bring Israel back into a blessed relationship with Him, then there is no reason He can't do it here. But He won't do it if we tell Him we don't want Him anywhere near our culture and government.
The question really boils down to: who would you rather have in charge? For there is no third choice. If you reject God's influence and hand in the affairs of your daily governance, then you have stated that you would rather satan take the lead. If we say that God doesn't belong in the affairs of our nation, then we've said that satan is a better leader of government.
Government rests on the shoulders of Christ, and therefore we can comfortably conclude that there is nothing sinful about wanting Christ to have an influence and be in ours. This doesn't create a theocracy, because we don't need laws to enforce christian leaders who have their ear to the Lord and stand on righteous conviction. We don't need enforcement of religion on non-believers. We don't even need to say the pledge of allegiance to prove our right standing with the Lord.
What we need is a passionate, warrior mindset church body that does not just accept what is told to them by the world itself. We need a driven, ambitious body of Christ that desires more than anything to crush darkness and create a wonderful, peaceful, blessed nation that honors God in their hearts and recognizes His provision in every day.
Our churches have immense power. There are over 30,000 churches in the US today. The media will tell you that faith in Christ is dying, and that the churches are shrinking and closing. They might not be wrong in one respect, but do you notice the world is never going to celebrate the growth the church or spirit-filled believers? They will never give you positive messaging, because they don't want you to have influence. The structures of the world system have no interest in the christian getting involved, so of course they've never told you, “Yeah, you as a pastor can talk about political things and political candidates.”
They'll never say, “501c3 only says you can't spend more than 20% of your budget on political campaigning.”
They'll never tell you, “Separation of church and state is nowhere in the Constitution. It was taken out of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists, assuring them the government would not get involved in the church affairs.”
They won't admit, “The first act of Congress was prayer.”
They won't remind you that, “The First amendment is there to protect the voice of the church, not prevent the christian from speaking.”
They'll never shout out loud, “The Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” ...But the founders did say it.
And they'll gladly tell you, “Look, you worry about your worship songs and salvations, but leave the city ordinances, legislation, regulations, and controlling people to us.”
Now maybe you don't agree with me, and maybe something in you is riling up with what I'm saying. I just pray that you ask yourself this, “Would you trust the guidance and leadership of your flock to a non-believer? Then why do you trust the guidance and leadership of your town, city, state or nation to a non-believer? What do they have in that arena that christians sorely lack?”
Wouldn't it make more sense that christians get involved in the things that concern them on a day-to-day basis? Wouldn't it make more sense that christians understand the history of our nation, how our government actually works, the philosophies the founders held, and how much influence on events in society the church actually has?
It comes down to a confidence issue in us. I think plenty of us have been brutalized for generations, and now we sit in submissive posture, hoping to just lead quiet and peaceful lives. In a way, it's not a bad thing to lead a quiet and peaceful life. But is it truly a quiet and peaceful life right now? Has our attitude of “keep your head down” brought our nation to more cohesion, humility, strength and righteousness? Or less?
But if we lived with confidence and conviction, our hearts would break at the gradual tightening of the screws that is taking place on ourselves and our congregations.
If we think it's dangerous for our kids to be exposed to drag queens and transgender surgeries, then maybe it's time for us to stand in the gap for those kids.
If we think it's dangerous for our government to spend trillions of dollars they don't have, while taking more and more money to feed an insatiable greed, then maybe it's time for us to stand up and show what fiscal responsibility means.
If we think that the body of Christ should not be forced to shut its doors in a time when people need healing, then maybe it's time for us to stand up and show what it means to have real faith.
Our faith produces fruit, and the fruit of our life can either be bowing to the government dominated by those who want nothing to do with us, or the fruit and legacy we can leave to our children could be one of standing firm in conviction for God's righteousness and the liberty of men.