No Reason To Hide
Standing for Christ in a Collapsing Culture
Should the church be involved in politics?
I’ve written a book, No Reason To Hide, with the intention of helping all of us think through how we should respond to the collapse of the basic moral and legal framework of the America we once knew. So, yes, this book deals with cultural and political issues.
I’ve often been asked, “Should the church even be involved in politics?” The answer is yes because politics cannot be separated from morality, and morality cannot be separated from Christianity. And if the church has nothing to say to our politicized culture, all that remains are the coercive ideas of secular values. Our allegiance to Christ means we dare not stay hidden.
The famous New England theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) believed, and I agree, that God made us dependent on political structures; God even made us dependent on our non-Christian neighbors. Edwards wrote that a failure to acknowledge our interdependence is “more suitable for wolves, and other beasts of prey, than for human beings.” This conviction stemmed from Edwards’ belief in what theologians refer to as common grace.
Edwards also believed that Christians should join forces with non-Christians in the public square to work toward common moral goals. That’s because God has ingrained His laws on all human hearts.
Several years ago, a few of us met with a member of Congress who pleaded with us, “you expect us to pass righteous legislation here in Washington, but how can we do that if you don’t send us members of Congress who believe in righteousness?” Food for thought.
In fact, can you name a single political or cultural issue that isn’t based on some worldview, whether secular, nominally religious, or biblical? Most such issues touch on biblical teachings or principles. As a pastor, I have never endorsed a political candidate or party, but if we hold to a biblical worldview, we must speak even on those matters many see as “purely political.”
Let those who think it’s okay to be indifferent about politics ask the Christians who lived under Nero whether they thought politics was important. Ask the Christians in Nazi Germany, China, Russia, and dozens of other countries, and they will tell you that politics is very important! For these believers, faithfulness to God demanded and continues to require their very lives.
I understand the tension many Christians feel. We would prefer to not become involved in politics or culture wars. We want to be known as loving and caring, and we want to be known for what we stand for, not what we are against. We want to be known as being apolitical for a reason; we don’t want to allow what appears to be secondary disagreements to divide us. We don’t want to erect needless stumbling blocks for the Gospel. I agree that sometimes neutrality is best, but at other times it’s not possible. Sometimes political issues force us into a moral corner where we must choose sides.
Christians & Politics: Do They Mix?
Our Culture Needs the Truth of Christ
According to Pastor Lutzer, Christians do not need to apologize for, or shrink back from, involvement in politics for fear it will compromise their witness for Christ. On the contrary, since political issues often have critical moral and spiritual consequences—and are often based on non-biblical principles today—these matters are a proper sphere for God’s people to defend Christian teaching and support candidates committed to truth.
Q: You mentioned that your new book speaks about cultural issues as well as political issues. Can you give us some examples?
A: A few of the political issues intersecting with Christianity are freedom of religion, the inherent value of every human being (including the unborn), biblical teachings about gender and sexuality, marriage, racism, and the like. The right of parents to have some input in their child’s public education is now a political issue. All of these issues factor into our political stances.
Q: But given the separation of church and state, does the church even have a right to speak to these issues?
A: Absolutely. We should speak not just because we are granted “freedom of speech” as citizen (which I realize is under attack today), but we should also speak truth about these matters regardless of the consequences. I believe the church is called to be the conscience of the broader culture. We must let the world know that God has revealed transcendent values applicable to all cultures, and we must help the world see the consequences of thinking all values are merely relative and can be individually chosen or discarded.
Q: There are those who would say we should not focus on whether America is being destroyed, but rather give all of our attention to sharing the Gospel and bringing individual Americans to Christ. Do you agree?
A: Let me first say that we must always be Gospel-driven; biblical redemption must lie at the heart of our motivation. We must see that even the pushback we are now receiving gives us new opportunities to represent Christ.
But let’s not act as if we can watch America being destroyed without dire consequences for us and for the entire world. The power of replacing freedom and sexual pleasure is replacing chastity and traditional marriage. Our witness and worldwide missionary work is under pressure. There is much at stake in this cultural moment to pass on the faith to the next generation, so we must speak up—with love.
Q: Two years before writing No Reason To Hide, you wrote, We Will Not Be Silenced—responding courageously to our culture’s assault on Christianity. Now, you have another book that analyzes the culture. How are they different?
A: The two books do cover some of the same issues, but from a different point of view. Most of the chapters in No Reason To Hide focus on new topics. For example, I discuss the triumph of the Self in our culture; I deal with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); and include a chapter on how language is used in propaganda. I discuss gender issues and the war against our children; and perhaps one of the most important chapters is how the culture is seeping into evangelical churches that have gone “woke.” I also provide readers with real-life examples of heroes who stood for Christ in their cultural moment. The challenge for us today is this: Will we interpret the Scriptures through the lens of culture, or will we interpret culture through the lens of Scripture?
Q: What do you want Christians to do about the obvious fact that our culture is indeed collapsing?
A: An excellent question. There is not a “one answer fits all.” But the basics are these: “How can I best be a witness for Christ and maintain my integrity?” and “Am I willing to draw a line in the sand and live with the consequences when I refuse to compromise my convictions?” “How can I band together with other believers to pray and seek God for discernment and guidance?”
In chapter one of the book, I make this statement: Evil never retreats on its own; it only retreats when confronted with a greater force. That means we cannot stand for Christ unless we spend time kneeling before Him.