Historically, the Church’s shining moments have often come in direct conflict with dominant cultural beliefs and practice.
By John Stonestreet and Kasey Leander
Recently, a denominational leader said to me that the best thing the Church could do to handle the challenges of this cultural moment would be to “stay in its lane.” The so-called “culture wars” have been too grueling, he said. The Church is primarily called to spread the Gospel, so when it comes to the most controversial issues, the best strategy is non-confrontation in order to focus on what is most important.
I think I know what he meant. Some Christians do overemphasize politics, and politics make for a lousy worldview. In a culture without better answers to life’s biggest questions, politics too easily assume the place of God, determining everything from our values to our sources of truth to whom we’re willing to associate with. When Christians embrace a political identity rather than a Kingdom identity, the riches of Christ are exchanged for the porridge of political gamesmanship.
However, telling the Church to just “stay in our lane” and out of politics is an equally unhelpful answer. Typically, the “stay in your lane” mandate is only applied to unpopular issues like abortion, marriage and family, or religious freedom. No one ever tells the Church to stop fighting against sex trafficking, or to no longer dig wells for communities without fresh water, or to cease sustainable economic development in impoverished nations. Christians should absolutely engage worthy causes because the Lordship of Christ and the implications of the Gospel demand it, not because they are deemed culturally uncontroversial.