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National Associations of Evangelicals Shame

Posted by MDViews on December 14, 2008

In an article titled, National Association of Evangelicals VP Quits After Backing Pro-Abortion Obama, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has announced the resignation of long-time vice president, Richard Cizik. Mr. Cizik admitted on National Public Radio that an evangelical Christian could vote for Senator Obama in spite of his radical pro-abortion views. Mr. Cizik admitted he supported Mr. Obama, voted for him in the Virginia primary and stated the interviewer could infer from that how he, Mr. Cizik, voted in the national election.

To what do we attribute this sad state of affairs in which someone of high ranking office in an association of evangelical Christians would consider life of so little value?

I have opinions or I wouldn’t have posted on this. But, if after reading what I’ve written, you have additional insight, by all means, comment. I’d love to hear it.

First, he could be just an isolated renegade that does not reflect evangelical thinking. Were that it were so. Did anyone ask Leath Anderson, the president of the NAE, for whom he voted? Does anyone doubt that Rick Warren of The Purpose Driven Life tends liberal with his stand on global warming? Every global warming advocate group I’ve ever read promotes population control (birth control and abortion) as the ultimate solution. So, no, I don’t think this pro-abortion position is of one isolated leader. I think more and more it reflects leadership in evangelical circles.

What about the pews? Pro-abortion evangelical church goers are not uncommon. I would guess that evangelical Christians as a group are quite pro-life, but, as our former pastor noted, his prolife sermons were always followed by lower attendance.

Why that? Why, when our holy, all-powerful God, in whose image we are created, values life so dearly? How can one love and serve Christ and be proabortion?

I think it is because so many evangelical Christians (EC’s) have such a shallow, cheap, superficial, worldly view of Christ and the church that the distinction between the world and the church is disappearing. Few now fear God. God is now love, and EC’s magnanimously honor him by choosing to accept Him as their personal savior. Isn’t he lucky? Church is a few announcements followed by the latest, coolest worship choruses led by the band and worship team, occasionally with some eye candy for the guys with a worship team member in a dress too tight, too low or too short. After singing, a skit that may illustrate a Biblical concept, ushers collect an offeringafter a prayer and then probably a life story (what used to be called a testimony) after which you wonder if the one testifying is really a follower of Christ. The sermon, which may or may not apply to a scripture passage read, emphasizes a Christian concept applied to the latest pop psychology to help all the child care-hassled, work-busy, television-saturated, credit card-maxed, marriage-stressed, liberally-minded, Lexus-driving church goers make it through the next week. If such a lesson is told, then they have been “fed” and may come back for more. No one wants to hear the gospel, because it is so simple and everyone knows it anyway. Then the EC’s go to the Yoga class the chuch puts on on Tuesdays, sell the latest magical vitamin cure to everyone they see, sit in front of the TV for another 10-20 hours in the next week, complain they have no time for anything, buy the latest electronic gadget after claiming poverty to the needs of the church and wonder why their lives are so empty.

The Catholics are worse. They raise money by gambling and vote like the edicts of the Pope against abortion and birth control mean nothing, protected by the belief that their infant baptism has ushered them into the kingdom. (United State and Canadian catholics may be a lost cause.)

The answer is not one EC’s want to hear, I’m afraid.

Church is worship. God is all. Saving faith is not our doing, but His. Loving Christ includes loving what He loves. The Bible has the words of life. Christian theology and thought are at the same time so simple that a child can become a Christian and so complex that brilliant scholars cannot get their minds around God and His precepts.

For example, as John Piper says in his biography of Athenasius spoken to pastors at his pastors conference, we must 

“…help people, by the grace of God, to see what is happening to them (the shattering of their categories) as the best news in all the world.

From the very beginning, in the most winsome way possible, we must labor to create categories like this: God rules the world of bliss and suffering and sin, right down to the roll of the dice and the fall of a bird and the driving of the nail into the hand of his Son, yet, though he will that such sin and suffering be, he does not sin, but is perfectly holy. Or a category like this: God governs all the steps of all people, both good and bad, at all times and in all places, yet such that all are accountable before him and will bear the just consequences of his wrath if they do not believe in Christ. Or this category: All are dead in their trespasses and sin and are not morally able to come to Christ because of their rebellion, yet, they are responsible to come and will be justly punished if they don’t. Or: Jesus Christ is one person with two natures, divine and human, such that he upheld the world by the word of his power while living in his mother’s womb. Or: sin, though committed by a finite person and in the confines of finite time is nevertheless deserving of an infinitely long punishment because it is a sin against an infinitely worthy God. Or: the death of the one God-Man, Jesus Christ, so displayed and glorified the righteousness of God that God is not unrighteous to declare righteous ungodly people who simply believe in Christ.

These kinds of mind-boggling, category-shattering truths demand our best thought and our most creative labors. We must aim to speak them in a way that, by the power of God’s word and Spirit, a place for them would be created in the minds of those who hear. We must not preach only in the categories that are already present in our listeners’ fallen minds, or we will betray the gospel and conceal the glory of God.


2 Responses to “National Associations of Evangelicals Shame”

  1. MDViews said

    Thanks for commenting.

    I am thankful for ardently pro-life Catholic folks of whom their are many. Birthright is mostly a Catholic organization.

    The people in the Catholic pews, however, are generally Democrats first and Catholics second. They have no moral compunction to vote pro-life.

    And, of course God is love. My point was many evangelicals focus only on “God is love” to the exclusion of a God’s equally important attributes; sovereignty, justice, omnicience and power.

  2. Abigail said

    Great job pointing out the moral slide of the NAE. I’m surprised at the number of people who say they are passionately pro-life, but don’t believe that it’s a battle that should be fought politically. They think that if you let it into the political realm you’ll become the most reviled, “one-issue” voter. How uncool.

    Here are my two critiques: 1) by saying, “God is now love” you rightly point out that some wrongly cling to, “God is love” with an understanding of love that is strictly informed by our culture, not real love (the kind of love that would kill His son on the cross). But, nevertheless, “God is love.” So we have to be careful not to make it sound trite, but to give the correct definition of what it means. I am certain that you didn’t mean it as trite, but were pointing out how others have made it trite. But other readers who don’t know you, might read it differently. And 2) you say, “The catholics are even worse.” As a general statement this is true. But (in my opinion) you should make an exception clause, to give credit to those catholics who are fighting hard for life. When I worked at MCCL, probably 75% of the people there were Catholic and they worked tirelessly for life.

    There’s my two cents. Great post.

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