Christian Activism
John D. Telgren

        There are serious problems in our country today.  Without a doubt, the moral decline is directly related to the removal of religious instruction in the home and in education.  The direction and condition of our nation has caused many Christians to protest in various ways.  Some of these include picketing, writing, and protests.  There are also those who believe such activity to be inappropriate for Christians and will have little or no part in such demonstrations.  What is a Christian to do and why?  What would God have his people do?  The answer lies in his word.
        First of all consider the following passage:  ". . . wives . . . let not your adornment be merely external. . . but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God." (I Pet 3:1-4). 
        But does this mean Christian men can picket and Christian women can't?  This principle of a quiet spirit is also applied to men:  ". . . I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity."  (I Tim 2:1-2) ". . . make it your ambition to lead a quiet life . . . so that you may behave properly toward outsiders . . ." (I Thes 4:11-12).  This example was seen in early Christians.  They worked hard, did not ask for handouts, were respectful of the government (Rom. 13:1-7), and didn't engage in activities such as protests, and this in a government that was more ungodly than our own. 
        Early Christians didn't influence their world with things such as protests, picketing, letter writing campaigns and such.  Still, they turned the world upside down.  How?  "Conduct yourself with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity.  Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person." (Col. 4:5-6).  "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matt 5:16).  "Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:4).    Notice they didn't go about protesting.  They made the most of every opportunity to preach the word.  The power to save is not on picket lines, but in the "Gospel" (Rom 1:16). 
        Don't misunderstand.  It's not wrong to be involved in Government and to try and change it for the better.  Paul used the courts all the way up to the highest authority, Caesar himself.  But Paul was a witness, not a protester.  (Acts 22-28)
        Christian Activism has probably done more harm than good for the cause of Christ.  A person who is not a child of God is lost regardless of  what they do.  If you make it impossible for a person live "sinfully", they are still in sin if they are not a disciple.  Gaining a reputation for being a "hate group" serves the devil's purposes instead of God's.  More Christians need to get off of their self-righteous soap boxes and roll up their sleeves to help pick up the pieces of lives that have been shattered by sin.  That is exactly what Jesus did.  Jesus' method of changing people was extremely personal.  He got down where they lived and confronted them with their sin and with God's love.  If we are going to be conformed to the image of Christ, we need to have the same attitude Jesus did toward sin AND toward sinners. 
        Do you understand the Commission that Christ has left us?  (Matt 28:18-20; Mark 16:15)  Are you actively engaged in it in the way Paul describes (I Cor 9:19-23).