This article on changes in the Religious Right is interesting in itself, saying how the old hard-core conservative leaders have either died or are no longer listened to, and how evangelical Christians are now going beyond sex and abortion issues to work also for “compassionate” issues, such as improving the environment and battling AIDS in Africa. The article also raises another issue, though, that Christians are finding that non-Christians’ identifying Christianity with right-wing conservatism, which they hate and fear, has become a major obstacle to evangelism. An excerpt from the article:
Bush’s fall from grace has also highlighted a spiritual reality as evangelicals have begun to sense just how damaging the fusion of Bush and Jesus has been to the perception of our Christian faith.
Beliefnet’s poll revealed that a third of all evangelicals now believe that Christian political activism is “damaging to Christianity.” This isn’t an isolated poll. As Christian pollster David Kinnaman writes, “The number of young people in our culture who now embrace unflattering perspectives about Christians and politics is astounding. Three-quarters of young [non-Christians] and half of young churchgoers describe present-day Christianity as ‘too involved in politics.’ ” Twenty percent of all evangelicals believe that adopting a conservative Christian political agenda has helped destroy the image of Jesus Christ.For a community of believers such as evangelicals, for whom sharing Jesus’s life-giving message is an essential part of life, this is a shock. It’s evidence of misplaced priorities, of focusing far more on the city of man than on the City of God.
Good point? Or are non-Christians going to hate Christianity no matter what? Should Christians try to be more popular in the name of evangelism? Or is that just more trust in our human efforts at persuasion rather than the power of the Holy Spirit to bring people to faith? One prominent Christian writer has said that Christians should drop anti-abortion activism, since this has become an obstacle to evangelism. How can Christians sort out their spiritual and their earthly missions?
(Hint: Try applying the doctrine of the two kingdoms. How would this work in practice?)