THE GOSPEL AND CITY HALL
Currently in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska is a proposal before the city government to add an ordinance that adds to the definition of discrimination any decision based upon “sexual orientation” which includes heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality. Also included is “gender identity” which is defined as the actual or perceived appearance, expression, identity or behavior of a person as being male or female, whether or not that appearance, expression, identity or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s designated sex at birth.
This article is not to dissect the ordinance but the ramifications of the ordinance does have an impact on the church, para-church organizations, and we as Christians living in this culture. The question I want to address is should the church of Jesus Christ respond to issues of civil government such as what is happening in Lincoln? Some would say no; I say yes and here is why.
As the church of Jesus Christ, we live being members of two kingdoms, the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world. The Scriptures teach us that one kingdom, the kingdom of heaven, will be preserved and everlasting and the other kingdom, the kingdom of this world, will not last. Our culture, activities, and institutions will not be redeemed by God but for now, they are being preserved through the covenant that God made with Noah (See Genesis 8:20-9:17). Through this covenant, God himself established the responsibilities of our culture and in doing so, he did not distinguish a separate set of rules to identify one people group from another. It is however only the church, the Bride of Christ, that will be welcomed into the new heaven and new earth at the end of the age. So in the meantime, what is our role as citizens of heaven living in “Babylon?”
Because we are part of the culture, we are to strive for justice and excellence in our cultural labors out of a love for Jesus Christ. As Jesus prayed for us in John 17, we are not to be taken at this time out of the world but are to be entrusted with the message of the gospel and the responsibility to engage the culture with that message as those not of this world.
In this culture, the members of Christ’s church participate in the same politics, commerce, and many of the same cultural activities as those outside the church. We have not been summoned to withdraw from these but as residents in “Babylon,” we pursue these activities with righteousness and may even suffer persecution for doing so. But, we will return to our “Jerusalem” as we wait for the day when human culture will be destroyed. (See the connection of Jeremiah 29:4-14 and Revelation 21:2-8, 21-26)
So why get involved in political and social issues such as currently happening in Lincoln? Because according to the Noahic Covenant (Genesis 8:20-9:17), God is the one who has ordained what brings stability to culture until the day the world ends. He has also ordained us to engage in all these activities and to be voices of justice to those who would disrupt the social order established by Him. But, the cultural activities of the kingdom of this world have no part or authority on the eternal kingdom of Christ’s church. When we look at this proposal, we find that the civil government crosses kingdom borders. As Satan is not just a tempter, but is also an intruder of kingdoms, the government is not to intrude upon the church. Even our country’s founding fathers understood this.
Those in Lincoln and part of the church of Jesus Christ need to be informed of this issue and other issues that move out of the area of good social order and justice as established by God’s Word. Laws giving special rights and protection in sexual orientation and identity will not ultimately help these people. Each one of them needs to be treated with the dignity of being created in the image of God but they are enslaved to a sin that civil government laws will not free them from. If the church is silent, then so is the gospel message that is their ultimate hope. For everyone, this is not an issue just about the church and state, but it is an issue of love for those who need to hear and embrace the riches and the treasures of redemption in Jesus Christ.
For those of us in the Lincoln area, we need to be informed, get involved, and pray.