Acts 26:19-20 (ESV)
“Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.
Over at the Gospel Coalition Justin Taylor gives a quote from a speech of Abraham Lincoln’s in 1860 regarding slavery. He makes a connection between what Lincoln said about slavery to the battle against abortion. It is a good argument.
Here is the quote:
You say that you think slavery is wrong, but you denounce all attempts to restrain it. Is there anything else that you think wrong that you are not willing to deal with as wrong? Why are you so careful, so tender, of this one wrong and no other? You will not let us do a single thing as if it was wrong; there is no place where you will even allow it to be called wrong! We must not call it wrong in the free States, because it is not there, and we must not call it wrong in the slave States, because it is there; we must not call it wrong in politics because that is bringing morality into politics, and we must not call it wrong in the pulpit because that is bringing politics into religion . . . and there is no single place, according to you, where this wrong thing can properly be called wrong!
You can find the whole speech here .
As a general principle this is true. If we are for something or against something, our stand should be evident in the way we live and speak. It is true that no one can get involved in every cause that needs involvement. But we can get involved in something. Do we really believe that people who do not believe in Jesus Christ are in danger of eternal damnation? Then will it not show in how we act towards others and in our prayers?
Or perhaps other issues capture the passions. Poverty, child slavery, religious freedom, spouse and child abuse, cancer, public morality, crime, social injustice, racial discrimination and inequality, war, rights for the disabled … . The list is endless, it seems. For a believer to have a heart for issues and have biblical justification for the concern, is to have an obligation to get involved at some level. There may be legitimate reasons that keep many of us from getting involved in the issues of the day. But there are many illegitimate ones as well. We do well to analyze our own reasons for our lack of action in the things that we oppose and support in our culture and in our churches.Whatever we think about these things it is a fundamental tenet of Christianity that we prove our faith by our lives.
The Lincoln quote in Justin Taylor’s blog is from a new book by Donald Carson (to be released on February 28) entitled “The Intolerance of Tolerance” . Reading this may be a good place to start questioning our stand on the issues of the day. Whatever Carson writes is usually worth having a go at, and his contribution to this question in our culture I am sure will not disappoint.
In any case, Lincoln’s point is well worth considering as we think about how to live in our culture as believers in Jesus Christ.
Matthew 25:31-40 (ESV)
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’