The deeper we go into the present political morass the more I’m convinced that Christianity has been hijacked by both political parties. Oddly enough, it seems many in the faith – leaders included – have been far too easily duped, controlled and manipulated. I am fast becoming weary of Christianity that focuses more on “taking our country back” politically rather than on making disciples. The Great Commission didn’t say, “Go and make a Christian nation.” Rather, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.” It seems apparent American Christianity has focused on making converts rather than on making disciples. In my opinion, this fact has greatly contributed to the decline of both the Christian church in America and America itself. Allow me to explain.

As a Christian leader I’ve heard a lot of debate about church growth. Some argue that most church growth in America is “transfer growth.” That is, church growth that occurs due to people leaving one congregation and moving to another thereby creating “growth” in one congregation but depleting another. Many bemoan this type of church growth and adamantly call for “conversion growth.” Conversion growth takes place from the evangelization of the community resulting in the making of new converts and the addition of those converts to the congregation as new members. Again, I point out we were never commissioned to make converts at all. Rather, we were commissioned to make disciples. Yet we persist in making converts – to what? Christianity? I’m not so sure. Perhaps Oswald Chambers best demonstrates my concern with the following quote from his devotional “My Utmost for His Highest”.

 “Remember that there is a passion for souls that does not come from God, but from our desire to make converts to our point of view.” Oswald Chambers

There are many paths in life; some are dirt. An inordinate focus on conversions and “conversion growth” can easily lead us down the wrong path and away from the clear commission given to us by our Lord to make disciples. I believe that if the world is paying any attention to modern Christianity in America at all, it likely perceives us as a sub-culture filled with purveyors of our own opinion at best and as haters of gays and abortionists at worst. Could we have inadvertently fouled our message and misrepresented our Lord by promoting our point of view to the degree that people now think our God and we who follow Him are haters? And this, all in an effort to make converts to our faith “point of view”?

If the Christian church in America had spent the last 20 years making disciples rather than converts I doubt we would have to worry about our country, its politics or its future.

But now, for the first time in our history, according to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 percent – not even half of the population. And for the first time in our history the Supreme Court of the United States has no Protestant representation. It shouldn’t surprise us there was no Protestant representation on the Republican ticket for President and Vice President of the United States in 2012. But there was Protestant representation on the Democratic ticket (Mr. Obama). One can’t help but wonder: was this representative of the faith a convert or disciple?

I believe the facts in the previous paragraph are a significant signal to the Church – a prophetic warning, if you will. I am not pointing to the decline of the church in America but the decline of disciple making within the Church in the United States. When American Christians focus on the good intentions of our Founding Fathers rather than the great commission of our Heavenly Father, we clearly fail to understand the very heritage our American Founders were giving us. I don’t believe the Founding Fathers were necessarily attempting to shape a Christian nation. Rather, and perhaps more importantly, I believe they were attempting to establish a nation founded upon the Christian understanding of freedom, an understanding that must be taught to generation after generation. The freedom I reference is not to be found anywhere in human wisdom because its only source is God. Therefore, the Declaration of Independence specifically states it is the Creator who created all men to be equal and has endowed each with the unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The political responsibility of the Church in America is not to rule a free nation, but to teach people how to live freely – to live in a disciplined and orderly fashion so as to give each person full opportunity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our failure, it seems to me, is in the fact we have done a poor job of disciple making. We simply have not taught and trained the generations how to live under the One who sets men free.

I don’t believe we can take our nation back unless we first teach people the meaning of being free; free from sin; free of guilt; free of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. For freedom to work as a governmental principle it must be practiced by a people with a clear understanding of what it is to be free – free indeed. This freedom was understood by our Founding Fathers and by the people who fought for our independence – the Christian people of the United States of America in 1776.

I don’t claim to be anything more than an average man. But I know a child without discipline will never be a happy human being. It would seem to me it is a rather small and insignificant leap to surmise a nation without principled discipline will likewise never be happy. Taking back our nation starts by reclaiming, reforming and transforming the people of Christian faith. Christians should be people who are first and foremost a free and disciplined people themselves. Secondly, they should be people who make true disciples, not just converts.

Be well and wealthy!

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2 Comments to “Hijacked Christianity – The Politicizing of Faith”

  1. Sharon L. Ruckman says:

    Wow, I am stunned with the facts of the Pew surveys. The Republican and Democratic tickets for President/Vice President, especially. My guess? Converts. Just my opinion.

    Great piece, Wes. You are diving beneath the surface to reveal some deep insights. It is obvious you have pondered your opinions thoughtfully and objectively. Where will we, as a nation, go from here? I wish I knew.

  2. Wes I just believe that man has complicated the simplicity of the Gospel. John 21:16 tell us if we love Him to “feed the sheep” and Psalms 146:9 to look after the fatherless and widows which is pure religion. If we want less diplomacy in our churches, we have to return to our first love. Christ came so that the relationship between God and man changed. He came to live in our hearts! If we focus on pointing people to Jesus without infusing secular or church politics, I believe we can see changes in every other aspect of our society…. Love your blog ~ D.J. Williams a/k/a TheBrokenVessel

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