Avoiding Persecution 101
When I refer to “political correctness,” I am not referring to our common meaning of the term. That is to say, I am not going to talk about the politicians of America, gun control, Syrian Refugees, drug legalization, nor am I going to talk about how the media (and “educated youth” in general) somehow land on an absurd point of reasoning. There may be a time and place for such discussions, but here I would like to bring up a more important issue, and that is the “political correctness” that has infected the church of our day.
Christians have disagreements. This is not unheard of, nor denounced, but if it is considered “too far” it is quickly condemned and forbidden. Not disagreements per se, as much as the freedom to discuss them. For example, if someone was sitting in a modern Christian “mega-church” and they began to talk with their fellow church-goers about the sovereignty of God, they would be hushed at some point or another, because such topics are considered “offensive” and unnecessary. Or human depravity- that is called “hateful” and “unloving,” because the sinner does not need to hear about how bad they are, but instead need to be surrounded by “love” and “acceptance.” More specifically, I have seen it more and more how we deal with the unbelievers of the world who claim to be followers of Christ as we do. They have extremely liberal views, or they simply lack any consistent viewpoint at all, but they always have one thing in common: they never want to be sure of the “right view,” but instead fall into the middle of everything, and if they do take a stand, it is on that liberal side of things. They are “Christians” in name only, as their actions (and words) prove themselves to be inconsistent with the Word of God. On one hand, they claim Jesus died for the sins of the world, and on the other, they believe abortion should be allowed (either because women have the right to “healthcare” or because, if it were outlawed, people would do it anyway, only in “unsafe” conditions). I have actually met people like this, who are so liberal in their beliefs outside of church that you would never know they were Christian unless they told you (thus the term “professing Christian”).
But these people are not the reason for this post. No, on the contrary, the subject belongs to those in the church who are Christian, and yet respond so poorly. Allow me to elaborate: If someone comes up and says “I don’t appreciate your staunch views on women’s healthcare. You don’t believe they have the right to it [i.e. birth control], and don’t have any problem saying it in the open.” What is the response of the true Christian? Well I for one, as is perhaps a weak point, would become livid, and respond harshly with such specificity that they would either shy back in awe or walk away, as has happened before. But in all honesty, the Christian should primarily respond with the Word of God, and yes, be very principled on such matters, regardless of the other’s “feelings.” Because the Word of God does not take second place to people’s feelings. But what has become the “responsible” Christian response in our day? “Why thank you, I didn’t notice I was being so open. I’m sorry it bothered you, and I thank you for showing me the error of my way.” Instead of using such events as opportunities for the Gospel, we are practically required to see them as genuine Christian, and must therefore respond “in love,” that is, “never be staunch and always find something to agree on.” Is that the correct response? As Paul might say, “May it never be!”
And it goes farther than this. Take, for example, those with mental illness. Under no circumstance are they ever allowed to be corrected, in any way, shape or form. If anyone ever crosses into the realm of correcting someone with a “learning disability,” we are seen as hateful, unloving and unChristian. We are seen as those who are mean, cruel and unthinking, unfeeling. We see it even with children, where a child can lie to your face, and they would be no more sinful than the pastor of a church, because “they’re just a child,” and therefore receive a pass for practically any and every sin imaginable. And this is, quite bluntly, evil. Never once was Jesus characterized as hugging the sinner while they wallowed in their sin, but instead was as the Good Samaritan, who saw the man in need and actually did something to help, instead of encouraging them to no end. If I saw a man lying on the ground dying, and I came up and gave him words of encouragement and a blanket, but didn’t actually do anything to try and save him, I would be no more loving than the two Jews who passed by without a second thought, because I am only making his death more comfortable. And yet in our day and age, that is seen as the most Christian thing you can do. Sure, they are still sinning, and will never be rebuked for such evil that is viewed as damning before the righteous and almighty God. But we are loving Christians, and so we will hug them all the way to Hades and the Lake of Fire. And if you ever once tell them they need to stop sinning (as Jesus did with the adulterous woman or Nicodemus), then you are hateful and unloving, a Pharisee and legalistic, and are not a true follower of Jesus Christ. If you saw a person with a mental disability committing sin, and you rebuked them for it, any and every “Christian” in the church would would slap you in the face and say “How dare you!” and would practically hold hands with the sinners of the world in unified condemnation of such an “unloving” action. Because “Jesus would never do such a thing!” Ah, but these forget who the apostles were. More than a few were fishermen, uneducated and inexperienced in the things of ministry, such as Peter and Andrew, or Paul the apostle, who was formerly the head of the persecution of the church, seeking to destroy it, who was known for his inability to speak well. These became the twelve apostles of the Lamb, declaring the Word of God and preaching it with all boldness, at the cost of most of their lives, all of which had many examples of being rebuked and corrected constantly.
Sure, the world would condemn the rebuke and correction of children and those with mental disabilities? But the church? We see every man, regardless of their mental ability, in light of their true need, because regardless of our physical or mental status, we are all sinners, and all need the Spirit of God and the outright clarity of the Word of God.
What bothers me so much about these types of responses from Christians is that it is never once something we see in Scripture. Oh sure, it appears outwardly to be Christian, because it is so “open and friendly, and allows further conversation with that person.” But what type of conversation? Surely not anything offensive, since such would be contrary to the original motivation behind avoiding subjects of any substance in the first place! What irks me to no end is the reality that Jesus never responded in any such manner. Was He seen eating with the tax collectors and sinners? Sure. But what did He talk about with them? Things that would be seen by “responsible” Christians in our church as “offensive” and “too specific.” After all, think about how these situations (where Jesus ate with such people) were described by the writers of the Gospels. What does the writer call them? SINNERS. Tax collectors, prostitutes, Gentiles. He calls them what they were, and Jesus never once avoided calling them such, because it was to the “sick” He came as a physician, not to those who “needed encouragement.” He did not come saying “Friends, let’s see where we can agree with each other!” but rather “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” We’ve become so “politically correct” (avoiding anything offensive for the sake of maintaining a calm and “loving” atmosphere) that even when we do say anything specific, it has no basis nor meaning, since odds are we won’t actually keep to anything we say, if it costs that outward appearance of love and affection. Jesus never said to the Pharisees “Thank you for showing me another way of looking at the Law, I never thought of it that way.” (Nor did He ever say this to the outright sinners. While He preached the Gospel to the sinners of the world, He downright condemned the Scribes and Pharisees in the open.) He referred to them as “vipers,” and declared their sins to those listening. And to the Gentiles, He preached the Gospel, making clear their need for a Savior because of their sin and abject depravity, and such salvation came through faith, and repentance was called for. And that word “repent” is of such importance, because it not only requires a person to stop doing wrong, but to turn around and start doing good (and to clarify, this is not to be saved, but would be a result of being thus). Jesus never once said “Let’s agree to disagree,” but instead said to the sinners “Repent!” and to the Scribes and Pharisees, “You will receive greater condemnation” (Mark 12:40). Even to Nicodemus He was blunt, completely avoiding any “friendly” and “agreeable” conversation, and instead driving straight to the point, “Unless you are born again you cannot see the Kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
We are “Christians,” meaning we are followers of Christ, who never once dove for the middle, but remained a contrast to the world around Him, through both actions and words. To the sinners, He declared the absolute need for repentance because of their innate depravity, seen also through His apostles, and to the professing followers of God, He drove them either to the point of them completely hating Him, or seeing even their need for repentance. If someone comes up and says “I do not appreciate your strict views on [a particular point of theology/morality],” our response should not be striving at all costs to avoid debate, and to find something agreeable, but to preach the Word, whether or not it is acceptable to those who reject anything and everything specifically against their natural inclination.
“And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.'” – Luke 6:20-26