Last week the Seattle Times published a front page article claiming the Christian right wing movement in Washington state is tubing and evangelical pastors are reluctant to engage in partisan politics. Cedar Park Assembly of God pastor Joseph Fuiten went so far as to say “As a political movement, [the right] is a leaderless army milling about the field.”
Fuiten doesn’t like the way opponents of homosexual marriage are vilified as intolerant bigots, so he has come out against Referendum 71, the 121,000 signature-needy petition that went to the Secretary of State’s office on Saturday for an official count. If the required number of signatures are obtained, a statewide vote will ensue and I’ve not heard anyone predict that gay marriage benefits in Washington State stand a chance–only elected officials impose that sort of stuff thus far.
Fuiten’s response has disappointed many, and while he seems to be buckling under the slander of the pro-homo movement, his response is helpful in a few ways. It shows that the left’s strategy works on those who don’t like being called names. The article states Fuiten believes that with our country’s abandonment of traditional values and beat up by the economy, people need to hear about hope, not hell. Apparently, preaching about hell and the sin of sodomy isn’t consistent with the hope of the Gospel. Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill is quoted in the article saying he’s a Bible teacher and not very political.
If what the Times says is true, perhaps the fragmentation of the right shows that Christians are less willing to be part of the ungodly system of left and right, created during the French Revolution to distinguish moderate radicals from flaming radicals. We don’t need to compete in that system because it turns out Jesus is the ruler of the world, and the church shouldn’t act like another political party (much less be identified with one) nor see political action as the answer to issues like sexual confusion. What we should do is worship and preach the Gospel and be unashamed of what the consequence of right worship will be.
Legislation is usually a reflection of what people believe and not determinative of what people believe. This has its limits because obviously what is permitted influences what is considered acceptable. Less people would believe abortion is not murder if it were not illegal. So while it’s good that churches are not over-concerned about legislation, it’s odd for pastors not to be concerned at all about marriage benefits for homosexual couples. Obviously this affects everyone, and saying nothing makes it look as though God and his ways are for inside the church on Sunday, but He has little to do with our everyday affairs. Keeping mercy and justice out our marriage laws is anything but tolerant and compassionate.