Offend People With Clear Scriptural Principles, Not With Peripheral Issues

Bandwagon covered with multiple American flags -- tinted turquoise

Many evangelicals, even within the Reformed camp, have been influenced by worldly ideas and philosophies lately. That’s not good. At the very least, the causes they embrace distract them from the Gospel. And such distraction severely weakens their effectiveness for their kingdom.

The apostle Paul spoke to this point in his first epistle to the Corinthians:

For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. ~~1 Corinthians 2:3 (NASB)

Generally, these evangelicals espouse liberal ideologies: feminism, social justice, environmentalism and so forth. We do well to admonish these people (some of whom really do know Christ) that their causes usually contradict the clear teachings of Scripture. Lovingly, we should restore their focus to the Gospel, and to a proper handling of God’s Word.

In correcting liberal ideologies of other evangelicals, however, perhaps those of us with more conservative leanings should evaluate whether or not we also let our causes distract us. I know I’ve sometimes struggled with the temptation to let discernment ministry take my attention away from proclaiming the Gospel.

During the 1980s, evangelicals finally woke up to the horrific reality that abortion actually kills human babies. We greatly needed to see the tremendous evil of this practice, and I praise God that pastors still preach against it.

But during the next two decades, I watched several of my friends divert their passion for the Lord into an even more zealous passion about pro-life issues. From there, many of them immersed themselves in the full spectrum of conservative political issues. I see them posting more Facebook updates about politics than about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Yes, Christians have a duty to speak out against abortion, LBGTQ issues and socialism. All those issues strike at the various heart of the Gospel, showing contempt for both God and His creation.

But when Christians elevate other political concerns like illegal immigration, mask mandates or gun control to the level of essential positions for believers to argue against, I have a problem. Certainly, I lean towards conservative positions on matters like those, but I haven’t always. And so I feel disturbed when my Christian friends make huge Facebook posts about such issues with greater zeal and regularity than their posts about the Lord.

Similarly, I see friends on Twitter who are rightly concerned about the growing inclination towards feminism within Reformed circles. I share their concern. I mean, I’ve been criticized every now and again for not wanting men to read this blog, as if I have taken 1 Timothy 2:12 to an extreme. I definitely join my friends in seeing danger in so-called soft complementarianism.

But I’ve seen some tweets and blog posts reacting against soft complementarianism that, quite frankly, alarm me. While I certainly agree that Christians must celebrate the clear gender distinctions and roles set forth in Scripture, I feel uneasy when people add gender restrictions that the Bible never imposes. Furthermore, I feel troubled when women devote their entire online presence to promoting patriarchy (whatever that means) more than they promote the Gospel.

By all means, we must stand against the idea of wives taking authority over their husbands and women usurping leadership roles within the church. Too much compromise has been made on both fronts. And, while I confess my failure to submit to my husband as well as I ought, my daily prayer is that God would bring me to repentance in this area.

However, I object to people insisting on headcovering, frowning on wives working outside the home, or saying that only men should vote. All these things should be decided between a wife and her husband, not stated as a one-size-fits-all edict on Twitter. Inflating those details distracts from the Gospel. Actually, inflating those details runs the risk of adding to the Gospel.

It’s important to stand on issues that are central to Biblical Christianity. In fact, woe to us if we don’t stand on them. But we must also take care that we avoid causing unnecessary offense. If I offend people, let me offend them with the Gospel. Let me remember the apostle Paul’s attitude:

One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord, and he who eats, does so for the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Lord he does not eat, and gives thanks to God. For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall give praise to God.”

12 So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. ~~Romans 14:5-12 (NASB)

Ladies, issues like abortion and feminism are most assuredly important. We must address them boldly, standing firmly on the authority of God’s Word. But our commitment to addressing them has to be subordinate to our concern for the Gospel.

Let’s be careful, especially on various forms of social media, to address these issues in a manner that always refers back to Christ.

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