SOCIAL RE-CONSTRUCTION ARTICLE
which is born of the Spirit is spirit.John 3:6
There is a disturbing trend among many of the evangelical churches today which has been described as ‘social re-construction’ This has as its motive an understandable desire to see the world living righteously. However well meaning these desires are, a christianised world, is, as C.H.Spurgeon once remarked, ‘a blasphemy’.
Faith or values?
It seems that many evangelicals would encourage the men and women of this world to live their lives according to Christian values and precepts, by presenting to the ungodly the Scriptural practice of divinely ordained marriage between one man and one woman; or by anti-abortion campaigns; or the idea that convicted criminals may be reformed; or street pastoring, or that drug takers and alcoholics should be led into social programmes whereby their addictions can be dealt with. (Let us note that the Muslims have the same type of programmes and objectives too). This is merely dealing with the symptoms in society of a terrible disease which only the Divine Physician can cure.
Yes, we are to be going about doing good and to visit and help the fatherless and the widows in their affliction, but to feed and help prodigals without showing them the way back to their Father’s house may seem to be commendable; but it is to leave them LOST. When Jesus healed a person He pointed them to faith in Himself – and so should we point to Him. Not simply to a better way of living.
It is also commonly held that the Christian can use political pressure and so influence the governments of the day, so as to lead them to govern as if their government were theocratic. Such things will never come to pass until the reign of Christ Jesus our Saviour.
It is undoubtedly true that by the knowledge of the Moral Law of God – the Ten Commandments – and the teaching of the judgement to come; that men are in part, restrained from the grosser acts of evil, just as the fear of going to prison restrains some from committing the crimes their hearts would have a mind to.
We read in Romans 1; 19 – 32; that the uninstructed savage having in himself that knowledge that there is a Creator, would in his sinful ignorance and fear seek to placate his ‘offended gods’ by sacrifices and superstitious practices. Likewise the Jew believes that in his keeping of the laws of God he is righteously acceptable in the sight of his Maker.
However, restraint and self-righteousness are not conversion. For Christians to leave men short of eternal salvation by teaching them moral values, and leaving them in that state is not just mistaken; but monstrously wicked.
Ye must be born again. John 3: 7
The natural man has little desire to keep the law of God, neither can he if he would. For the Bible teaches that by the law is the knowledge of sin and all the world is guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: Only those born again by God the Holy Spirit possess that new heart and new spirit which now seeks to live according to the will of God. When the true Christian can fulfil any part of God’s will – however imperfectly – it is his delight and joy. ‘I delight to do thy will O God’ is in his heart.
Thus it is the REGENERATED CHRISTIAN ALONE with his new nature and living by faith in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ, that he/she becomes the salt of the earth and so condemns the wicked by the reproof of a holy life. It is these who live in and by the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ who are persecuted and hated by an ungodly age, and so follow their God incarnate who was wickedly crucified by the men of this world. As spoke the Lord Jesus Christ when He said: ‘Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you!’ Luke 6:26; and the apostle John: ‘marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.’
To become friends with the world, and get along side them, or to expect worldly men, women and children to live a life of purity according to the statutes and precepts of God, and to live in a way which pleases Him without the new birth, is not only impossible but ungodly, and a false gospel. Our commission is to tell men that they ‘must be born again’. It is not enough to present a mode of life which is pleasing to God. Nothing but a complete ‘New Man’ is what is required, and this only by applying to Christ in faith.
Preaching not protesting
Moreover, in a large measure it seems, the Christian church today has adopted the world’s demonstration/protest culture and has moved away from the preached Gospel; to protesting to the world at large about their sinful behaviour.
Not by protests, or by moral crusades, or by letters to parliament, will men’s hearts be changed for it was only by the complete gospel preached by men such as John Wesley and George Whitfield, in the 18th century and at other similar blessed times, when this land was shaken by the convincing work of the Holy Ghost and righteousness once more exalted the nation both here and in the USA.
As wrote Paul, the apostle of Christ: ‘It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe’. 1Cor.1:21. Preaching not protesting
The term protestant in its original application by the reformers has always applied to those who were protesting to some in the professing Christian church who were perverting Christian doctrine. Nowhere, as far as I know, do we find in the Scriptures the apostles protesting to the world or the governments of this world about their sins; unless it was in the context of preaching the whole gospel; e.g. ‘Ye men of Athens… whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you’. Acts 17:23.
It is not our business to change society by trying to inculcate in men, women and children Christian moral values; God alone can accomplish that if He will; but His method in all ages has only ever been through the changed hearts of those of His elect who have been born again from above by the Word of God; and so become the salt of the earth. The more the salt – the less rotten the society.
Scripture makes a distinct difference when its comes to making an issue of specific sins in believers and unbelievers
Today we have those evangelicals who, however well-meaning, are specifically targeting the people of this world who are practising homosexuality, homosexual marriage, abortion, euthanasia, sex before marriage, paedophilia and other individual sins.
These serious sins can rarely be found among professing believers, but where they are they are to be dealt with by the discipline of the local church.
However, the world of men within these terms are to be left to their Judge – even their Creator. What says the Scripture: 1 Corinthians 5, explains this very clearly in verses 9 – 13; where Paul the apostle of Christ says by inspiration: ‘For for what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth…’
The majority if not all, of the leading commentators are at one on this Scripture. Whether John Gill, Adam Clark, Albert Barnes or Matthew Henry.
John Gill comments: “For what have I to do to judge, &c. To admonish, reprove, censure, and condemn: them also that are without? Without the church, who were never in it, or members of it; to whom ecclesiastical jurisdiction does not reach…”
The Puritan Geneva Bible notes state: “Those who are false brethren ought to be cast out of the congregation. As for those who are outside of it, they must be left to the judgement of God,”
We have no warrant in the New Testament to engage in political activities or to coerce unbelievers into adopting Christian values. Yes, we are to meekly and humbly to reprove sin everywhere we come across it, particularly in fellow believers (‘thou shalt not suffer sin upon him’ Lev 19: 17)
We show ungodly men their sins generally in presenting the gospel; but it is the work of the Holy Ghost to fasten sin to the conscience, and so effectually call out His own elect. ‘There is forgiveness with thee’ Ps. 130; is not just for a specific sin, such as homosexuality, but encompasses all sin; whether by commission or omission.
To endeavour to change society by moral persuasion – even by presenting Scriptural precepts – is futile and erroneous.
‘But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.’ 1 Tim 3:13, 14.