(quoting Dave Hunt)
Increasing numbers of Christians are engaging in social and political activism for the astonishing purpose of attempting to coerce an ungodly society into adopting Christian standards of conduct.
Romans 13 tells us to obey rulers, and 1 Timothy 2 to pray for them—not to attempt to change them by coercion. It is not only foolish but counterproductive to attempt to persuade the unsaved to live like Christians. They can’t do it—and if they could it would only blind them the more to their sin and need of a Savior.
(quoting Buddy Hanson)
Christianity is not to be lived in quiet seclusion with the only application of the truths we believe taking place inside our homes and churches. On the contrary, we are commanded to approach everyday tasks within a corporate or covenantal context. The pietistic attitude of “not forcing our beliefs on others” is not Biblical. It was the seventeenth-century English philosopher John Locke who popularised the idea that Christianity is a private concern. Since Locke and other Enlightenment leaders thought that man’s reason ruled supreme, it was only logical for them to encourage Christians to remain silent when it came to cultural matters, because in their view, “spiritual thoughts” were not relevant to “real life”.
My two cents
If Dave Hunt and Buddy Hanson were locked in a room, I’d love to hear them hammer out their points to see who would win. I’d like to know what Hunt would have to say about John Locke. If we’re not supposed “to attempt to persuade the unsaved to live like Christians” then I suppose that applies to mission work as well; pushing that to its logical conclusion, perhaps the apostles should have stayed at home. They might have been the root cause of political revolutions in the name of Christ.
Yes, Romans 13 tells us to obey rulers, but by no means does that make it an absolute. If we can never challenge an unchristian political or social order, then I guess genocide, human sacrifice, and cannibalism are morally neutral after all—just so long as it’s not Christians who are doing it.
Contrary to Hunt’s assertion, the unsaved can be persuaded to live like Christians, through both missionary and political means. To say that unbelievers can’t be persuaded? With God, nothing is impossible. I’m surprised that an Arminian would be so Calvinist.
Hunt, D. (n.d). Christian Activism: Is It Biblical?. Available: http://www.thebereancall.org/content/christian-activism-it-biblical. Last accessed 15th Feb 2013.
Hanson, B. (2011). Rx for Turning America “Rightside Up” . Faith for All of Life (Nov/Dec 2011), p. 10.