Move Back From It

I have never read a Beth Moore book and I’ve never heard her speak. I’m not on Facebook and I don’t have Twitter. So I was caught off guard when Carrie-Anne told me last week that Moore’s December tweet against Trumpism in the Church had created a bit of a national stir before Christmas. I had no idea.

Maybe you already know about this and it’s old news. If not, let me fill you in on what I know. From her Twitter account, Moore straight up called out American followers of Jesus for their fevered Christian Nationalism:

“I do not believe these are days for mincing words. I’m 63 1/2 years old & I have never seen in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.”

There are an endless number of things about the insurrection at the U.S. capitol last week that sicken me. It’s a very discouraging thing to consider. What happened in Washington D.C. is tragic. It’s still happening – the threats, the violence, the anger — and it’s scary. It’s terribly sad. But, by far, what disturbs me the most are the Christian flags and symbols that were carried by the insurrectionist mob and the Christian Scriptures they wore and quoted as they stormed the seat of this country’s government.

Wearing a cross while waving confederate flags. Chanting “Hang Mike Pence!” while toting banners that read “Jesus is my Savior, Trump is my President!” A Christian flag was carried into the House chambers as U.S. lawmakers huddled under chairs fearing for their very lives. Hundreds of these violent protesters — some carrying loaded guns, some brandishing clubs and bats, some throwing fire extinguishers,  some breaking glass and stealing government property,  some carrying plastic zip ties, some beating police officers, a couple planting pipe bombs — were carrying out their angry attempt at a violent coup in the name of our Lord Jesus. They erected a cross on the capitol grounds and draped a MAGA flag around it. They also erected a gallows on the same property and called for the execution of government officials who aren’t voting the way they want them to.

More than anything, that is what breaks my heart and causes the tears to run down my face. The American church’s grab for political power over the past forty years, the compromising of our Christian commitments in order to wield influence and pass laws, the idolatrous syncretism of mixing national politics with the Kingdom of our Lord, has turned us into a people whose actions defame the eternal name we claim to wear.

The Kingdom of God is a political Kingdom, but there is no right or left, there is only the straight and narrow; there is no elephant or donkey, there is only the Lamb of God.

When it comes right down to it, the reason Judas betrayed our Lord is that he couldn’t lay down his own agenda to take up the agenda of Jesus and the Kingdom of God. We are called by Christ to be a people of grace and peace, of love and unity. But the banter leading up to last week’s assault on the capitol and the banners that were carried in D.C. betray the agendas of thousands of Christians. Fear and anger, violence and force are not what we are to foment, practice, or endorse. We love and forgive, we embrace diversity and strive toward unity, we consider the needs of others more important than our own, we lay down our rights in order to serve the ones around us. Those are the politics of the Kingdom of God and decidedly not the politics that so many Christians displayed last Wednesday. And Christian leaders need to call it out.

As Beth Moore tweeted last month:

“We will be held responsible for remaining passive in this day of seduction to save our own skin while the saints we’ve been entrusted to serve are being seduced, manipulated, USED and stirred up into a lather of zeal devoid of the Holy Spirit for political gain.”

“And, God help us, we don’t turn from Trumpism to Bidenism. We do not worship flesh and blood. We do not place our faith in mortals. We are the church of the living God. We can’t sanctify idolatry by labeling a leader our Cyrus. We need no Cyrus. We have a king. His name is Jesus.”

An article in Relevant magazine about Moore’s tweet and the reaction from both secular and Christian leaders asks why she’s “the only one brave enough to say this stuff.” She’s not. There are preachers and pastors all over the country who are saying these things in smaller churches in less significant settings. They/We have been preaching and teaching and writing on these things for many years. The question is why more big-name leaders with big-mega-membership churches and big-national-reach platforms aren’t saying this stuff.

The evidence is widespread and overwhelming that, when it comes to people 34-years-old and younger, the American church’s marriage with the politics of this country is the number one biggest turnoff to Jesus. Our lust for power, our endorsement of and participation in the ways and means of the political machine, are driving people away from our Lord. Rightly so. I get it. We have only ourselves to blame.

The anger and violence in the United States is still simmering. What we saw in Washington D.C. last week is not the end of it. There will be more threats made and names called and armed groups gathered and lives lost for the kingdoms of this world. If you wear the name of Jesus and are a member of the Kingdom of God, move back from it.



1 Comment

  1. David Byrnes

    Put this one on a monthly repeat cycle. Powerful brother. Thanks.

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