A few hours after the election of Donald J. Trump in November, I was on Twitter and I kept seeing a specific theme on my timeline: People writing about the Church’s loss of credibility because swarms of white evangelicals evidently voted for a certain candidate.
I’ve never really put a lot of weight into statistics, but I do want to put my ear to the ground when I see a great deal of people beginning to question the credibility of the Church.
I am driven by wanting to see the name and renown of Jesus Christ loved and worshipped and understood, and as we watch a generation drift away from the Church and her teaching, I really want people to understand the good news of the Gospel.
Yes, the Gospel is personal—it’s me being saved as an individual by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That’s the Gospel. But the Gospel is also bigger than that.
The Gospel is the people of God pushing back darkness as they are salt and light to the world around them.
When I see reactions to the direction of the United States from African Americans, Latinos, whites and those all over the theological spectrum about the Church’s loss of credibility, I wanted to say that the Church will have credibility when she lives out all the implications of the Gospel—when she cares and fights for diversity in her ranks, when she’s not happy in hegemony, but reflects what we’re going to see take place in the book of Revelation.
We’re in the process to getting there now, so the Church needs to be serious about fighting for those things. These actions aren’t the Gospel, but they are an implication of the Gospel.
The Church will have credibility when she really cares about the poor, when she uses her influence and uses her money and uses her man hours to dwell among and serve the least of these.
The Bible is drenched with God’s commanding His people to be about the least of these. If you want to argue that the least of these is the unborn, I totally hear that and have a track record of supporting and preaching on that. But the least of these is not just the unborn.
I’m zealous for this because if the Church is going to have credibility, then more than ever she cannot lose heart because of what is happening in the United States. She needs to be happy to come alongside the immigrant, the foreigner, the sojourner and give, welcome and walk alongside.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be responsible, I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be good laws in and around immigration, but to ignore the poverty and heartache in that realm of society again is to fly in the face of clear commands in the Scriptures of what it means to be the people of God.
In this moment the Church has lost her credibility, I believe very much that is just going to be the case in certain sectors of our culture. But I think the Church has an opportunity now to step into spaces that the word of God calls and commands her to step into—and I think in that space, being the salt and light, will lead to the Church regaining credibility in the eyes of those who are its primary accusers.
It becomes very difficult for someone who hates Jesus Christ to make the kind of accusations against the Church they tend to make when we’re actively involved in fighting for diversity, actively involved in caring for the poor and actively involved in walking alongside the immigrant.