We now have the first active NBA player to publicly proclaim his homosexuality. The drumbeat is getting louder for a federal gay marriage law. Mr. Obama has become the first sitting American president to give a speech to Planned Parenthood, lauding it for its commitment to women’s rights, contraception, and abortion. The FDA lowers the minimum age to 15 for teenagers to get the “morning after pill” over-the-counter, without prescription or parental consent. All this in just a few short weeks! Did I mention that Christians are supposed to remain quite, be tolerant, and resist their natural meanness and hatefulness as the world cheers all of these ” societal evolutions?” After all, the government is simply trying to extend “freedom” and “rights” to all of those that are oppressed in our society.
With all that in the background, a friend of mine who attends another church thought it would be a great idea to have a short series for women on some of these current social issues (homosexuality, gay marriage, abortion, etc). I have taught classes on culture and Christianity for years in Sunday School, so I encouraged her in that endeavor. She asked a leader of women’s ministry, and was promptly told: “We can’t do that! That’s political!” Now, this sort of reaction can mean a couple of different things. Maybe she means that talking about these subjects with a group of women would be too divisive for peaceful church life. Or, she might believe that the church shouldn’t be involved in making political statements of any kind. Both of these sentiments are shared by many Christians today– that the church is really not the place for political discussions. We should be all about grace, love, and sharing the gospel.
Now I certainly agree that the church is to be gospel-driven, and not to be a political machine, telling its congregants for whom or for what to vote. And I understand the current climate of fear that exists for Christians in openly speaking up about laws, policies, etc. Even within the walls of your local church, the arguments can become quite heated. So I get why it’s safer to avoid such subjects. But I think the real problem here is one of definition. Why is homosexuality or abortion a political issue? Laws are involved, so government is involved. Yet these issues are first and foremost Biblical issues, not just ones which politicians alone should be debating. In other words, they are topics that the Bible addresses, and even more so, that the Bible authoritatively instructs people in the way they should live.
Homosexuality is not just a lifestyle choice, it is an activity that is clearly defined as sinful by the LORD. Marriage is not determined by society, it is defined by God. Abortion is not a woman’s choice, it is murder according to the Bible. And, by the way, the Bible instructs us how to help those who are caught up sin and in difficult life-altering situations! Therefore, these and other social matters are not political subjects that the church is wrongly discussing; they are Biblical issues that the world is trying to take as its own. The church must regularly educate her members and evangelize the world on these issues, as they are Biblical matters.
If your children are studying through the entire Bible (like with our curriculum), they will read much about marriage, family, children, and the right ways we are to relate to each other in this world. From the very beginning of Genesis, they will read how marriage is to be between one man and one woman. From a reading of God’s moral law, they will learn what sexual behavior is sinful and what behavior is righteous. They will learn God’s design of family life, how children are a gift from God, and how Jesus welcomes the little ones. They cannot be taught the Bible without hearing about these so-called “political issues” of our day.
If your youth are going deeper and developing a Biblical worldview (like in our curriculum), then they too will have to grapple with these issues. As they look at Scripture more systematically, they will build a comprehensive view of God’s design for relationships, marriage, and family. Questions will be answered instead of ignored as they study God’s Word. These “political issues” will be on the forefront of their minds as they watch the media and study in school, so we must point them to the fact that the Bible is their true authority.
Finally, even though we may find it uncomfortable, adult Christian education should also apply God’s Word to the cultural issues of our day. As we study the Bible together, there should be forums to both learn and discuss all sides of various political issues. As followers of Jesus, we are called to point people to God’s Word as the authority for our lives, and to the grace of God for our salvation and sanctification.