Evangelicals & Peace
To keep gospel truth in the church is even of greater importance than to keep peace . . . The Apostle Paul valued unity very greatly as we know, but here he runs the risk of all the consequences that follow . . . Why? Because he dreaded false doctrine. He feared the loss of truth more than the loss of peace. Many people have a morbid fear of controversy. They would have said, with Ahab, that Elijah was a disturber of the peace. They would have thought that Paul at Antioch went too far! To maintain truth in the church men should be ready to make any sacrifice, to hazard peace, to risk dissension. They should no more tolerate false doctrine than they would tolerate sin. (But, good Bishop Ryle, if I may so address his shade, now the church is so desensitised that it can tolerate sin as well as false doctrine!). Peace without truth is a false peace; it is the very peace of the Devil. Unity without the Gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell. Let us never be ensnared by those who speak kindly of it. (J.C. Ryle)
Serious-minded Evangelicals will need to call upon all the resources graciously available only to the Church enabled by the Holy Spirit to govern our political engagement over the next four years under a Joseph Biden presidency. I previously posted and still wholeheartedly affirm Evangelicals are to pray for and submit to President Joseph Biden’s authority as much as the situation allows. Evangelicals are to do so joyfully and without mental reservation. Just as God commanded Israel to seek Babylon’s welfare while in exile as captives (Jeremiah 29:7-11), American Evangelicals are similarly commanded to seek the welfare of the nation even as President Joe Biden implements policies hostile, within a mere 72 hours of his presidency, to many tenets of the Gospel.
I purposely chose the qualifier “serious-minded” due to the ubiquitously positive-affirming public affirmation many professing Evangelicals have expressing concerning a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris administration. I submit for the reader’s due consideration: Is God rejoicing in Heaven with President Biden’s Executive Order to include transgender athletes in girl’s sports? Does the God of the Bible delight in President Biden’s gleeful appointment of the first transgender appointee of a high-level government official that requires Senate confirmation.
I challenge anyone to postulate that Heaven is rejoicing with these and other explicit claims from the Biden administration that will take place, many in the first 100 days of President Biden’s presidency. Yet, I see social media post after social media post celebrating all that a Joe Biden presidency promises to unfold over the next four years. There can be no mistaking many of the initiatives President Biden openly champions and will attempt to implement. Chief amongst them, especially Evangelicals, will be the Equality Act.
The Equality Act, a misnomer if there ever was one, would contend for the top of my list.
The Left’s perspective is as follows:
The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.
Evangelicals, as expected, have a profoundly antithetical view of the matter. The Conservative Thinktank The Heritage Foundation writes:
Where the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 furthered equality by ensuring that African-Americans had equal access to public accommodations and material goods, the Equality Act would further inequality by penalizing everyday Americans for their beliefs about marriage and biological sex. Similar sexual orientation and gender identity laws at the state and local level have already been used in this way.
As a proud and loyal American, I rightly understand the quest for peace to be a good and noble pursuit. Yet, at the same time, I cannot and will not compromise my biblical fidelity to attain an artificial peace that negates the tenets of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I stand with the sentiments expressed by Brother Ryle. The pursuit of peace at the expense of the truth is too high of a bar. One in which any Evangelical committed to allegiance with Jesus Christ would not and could not entertain as a serious proposition.
My chief allegiance is never to the Republican Party; it is not to an African American ideology. My supreme allegiance supersedes my affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention or any other human construction, no matter how noble or well-intended. My allegiance is to the Gospel of Jesus Christ only, and that allegiance is my bellwether all-day, every day, and twice on Sunday.
So, I reject President Biden’s call for unity because his unity calls demand my conformity to an ideology that is part of the world’s accommodation to a Godless ideology. I do not rejoice in what a Biden-Harris administration portends for America. On the contrary, I am disgusted and repulsed at what this administration seeks to advance as America’s best means for human flourishing.
God will not be blessing America for its haughtiness and recalcitrant. I will not delight in the Pearls and Chuck Taylor craze that many Evangelicals participate without any reservation or consternation. How can Evangelicals read the Bible and simultaneously join with people, in gleeful delight, who openly reject and work in direct opposition to what the Bible clearly and consistently opposes?
That, my friend, is Stinkin Thinkin, and it is just another clear example of the Church allowing the culture to shape us and conform us its image. It is to be no wonder the Church will continue to lose its relevancy and ability to serve as Beacons of Light. It is no wonder why the Church is impotent and lethargic, devoid of vitality and true life. We are not in conformity with the Bible nor it Master.
Sadly, many professing Evangelicals are, to appropriate Ryle’s language, imbibing the very peace of the Devil. There is no dispute that Evangelicals are commanded to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), but the singular tool available to Evangelicals in that spiritual quest is the Gospel, personified in the finished work and ministry of Jesus Christ. Thus, there can never be any real peace, any lasting peace that is not centered upon the Prince of Peace.
I will demur from any union with any movement that does not ground its ideology in the Gospel. I will not align myself with any worldview that is hostile to the Gospel. I refuse to accept the terms of peace that demand I call good what the Bible regards as evil. Peace at all cost is really in the final analysis nothing more than cowardice, and I do not roll like that. Not now, not ever.
My question for the professing Evangelical is a simple one. Why do you?
Do you even pause to consider how God will judge your complicity?
Do you even take stock of what you heartily affirm and approve?
The Devil does not present himself with a pitchfork while dressed in red. The Bible reveals the following regarding the Adversary, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).
So when the President calls for unity but does in a context of rejecting the clear teaching of Holy Scripture, I understand President Biden’s call for what it truly is. A Clear and Present Danger to the Church. A Clear and Present Danger that no faithful student of the Word of God should fail to instantly recognize and subsequently vehemently and strenuously reject.
The fact that many professing Evangelicals do not see it and reject it can only result in one of two tragic conclusions:
The Person is saved but living in apparent disobedience due to slothfulness, abject apathy or gross ignorance
The Person does not possess true salvation but falsely expresses confidence that does not conform to reality
My fellow Evangelicals, the next four years will clearly be a season of great tension. We will need all of the disposals of Heavenly aid to be as wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We must seek to navigate the tension of faithfully praying for President Biden while displaying fidelity to the biblical mandate to live out of all of life as obedience servants of our Master and Sovereign Potentate, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
As always, I welcome your feedback. Until then, Keep your Hands to the Plow and Seek to Serve for an Audience of One.