Question and Answer

Confronting the Political and Social Elements of Our Ungodly Culture

Question:

As a representative body of Christ on this earth and before the world, why doesn't the OPC actively engage, confront, and reproach the political and social elements in our society as they promote ungodly behavior as acceptable? I believe that many of the churches have been too silent too long and that the result is the vulgarization of our culture and the acceptance of sexual deviancy in many quarters. Few opposing voices have been heard from the church, with a few exceptions noted.

Thank you. God bless.

Answer:

You are perhaps aware that there are debates in Reformed circles about what is called the "spirituality" of the church, i.e., "How much does the visible church get involved in the world, speaking to the world and society, and how much does the church focus on advancing the kingdom through the ministry of the Word, the sacraments, and church discipline as they transform the lives of God's people causing them to be salt and light?" There have been different answers given by Reformed theologians over the years, but the Westminster Confession of Faith in Chapter 25 definitely focuses the visible church's effort on "gathering and perfecting the saints, in this life" (WCF 25.3).

But, of course, since the Word of God speaks to all of life, including the moral and social evils of every age, a faithful church will, through the preaching of the Word confront those evils. Martin Luther once wrote that "At the preaching of the gospel gates of Satan's prison fly open, and the walls of his kingdom are shaken; he finds himself in danger of losing his principality." Those who once had been committed to the support of abortion, for instance, have been transformed by the gospel, repented of that sin, and now work through crisis pregnancy centers to turn women from abortions. Christians also write letters, participate in the annual March for Life in Washington, DC, and around the nation, provide clothes for newborns, adopt babies, take in single moms, and so on.

The Orthodox Presbyterian Church understands very well the moral and culture climate in which we live. Pastors throughout the OPC address these things Sunday by Sunday as they preach the Word of God. On rare occasions the General Assembly of the OPC has issued statements addressing moral evils (you can find some of them on the OP website), but the denomination believes that the best way to address the evils you mention is to preach the Word of God faithfully and to call upon God's people to live as citizens of a heavenly kingdom. The ethical portions of the Bible (and they are many) are aimed at instructing God's people how to live holy lives in an unholy world. This is how we are salt and light here, by remembering that we are aliens and strangers whose citizenship is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16, Philippians 3:20, I Peter 2:11-12).


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