We live in a world of opposing ideas. When I think of the divisions that we have in America we see this coming out. We have the progressives who want social justice and that is their end game, but what does social justice mean to the progressives?
David Horowitz in his book BIG AGENDA says: “Progressives dream of a world of political correctness and politically enforced equality, where everybody is taken care of by taxing the rich (until there are no more rich), where universities and schools do not admit ideas that are hurtful or offending, where environments have no pollution, where countries have no borders, and where nations have no armies. Progressives are so enthralled by their dreams of a heaven on earth that they see those who oppose their dreams as evil, and which is why progressives hate anyone who opposes them.”
Progressives recognize what we call the ‘fall and redemption’ of mankind. They recognize that we live in a world that is fallen, but they see themselves as the redeemer and have taken the place of God. In this sense progressivism has become a religion and like most religions they work from the outside in.
However, with us who call ourselves born-again Christians we see just the opposite – which is the need to work from the inside out. Change the heart and you change the person; change the person and you change the culture. We read that “in Christ we are a new creation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Why is the ‘heart’ so important? Scripture tells us: “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” (Proverbs 4:23) The heart is the very essence of who you are. Out of it “come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what make a man unclean; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.'” (Matthew 15:19-20)
We also read that “as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7 KJV)
Yes, we live in a fallen world and there is only one solution and that is the Gospel of Christ. Paul told the church at Rome: “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 KJV)
What do the progressives see? They see the hostility of racism and sexism, but with the Gospel we see these barriers of hostility broken down. “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” (Ephesians 2:14)
Progressives see the haves and the have-nots, but those who have been redeemed and are a new creation see things from a different perspective. Apostle John told us: “Let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” (1 John 4:7) One main characteristic of God’s love is to give. “For God so love the world that He gave….” (John 3:16)
Some of the great benevolent works in the world have been done by those who have experienced God’s love in their life and many times it has cost them their life. In these acts of charity, of giving, many of the have-nots in the world have been touched and their lives have been changed so that they become one of those who have and out of love will give and help others.
Examples like the Dohnavur Fellowship in India where Amy Carmichael rescued Indian girls (have-nots) from being sold as Temple prostitutes, or where Mother Teresa who was known as the “Angel of Mercy” and also as the “saint of the gutters.” It was said of her that her life bore witness to the joy of loving the greatness and dignity of every human being – both the haves and the have-nots.
I preached in a small church in the “red light” district of Sao Paulo, Brazil where the congregation of the church consisted of the have-nots: prostitutes, homosexuals, the alcoholics, etc. In my travels around the world I have seen men/women who have been transformed by the Gospel reaching out to the have-nots.
One of the problems is that so many of those who call themselves Christians are not walking the talk. We so often want people to listen, but they want to look and what they see is for the most part not at all unlike the world around them.
The word “Christian,” like so many words today – has lost their meaning. Some years back I was preaching in Goa, India (a Portuguese colony) and asked a Hindu man what he thought a Christian was and he came up with three definitions. A Christian to him was one who got drunk, was immoral and ate pig meat (which is an abomination to a Hindu). I decided then and there that I would not call myself a Christian, but rather a follower of Jesus Christ.
However, the bottom line to the problems of the world is not the “progressive” solution of “taxing the rich until there are no more rich, universities and schools admit no ideas that are hurtful or offending, environments have no pollution, countries have no borders, and nations have no armies.” (From the book Big Agenda)
The answer is the Gospel of Jesus Christ going forth into all the world to change people from the inside out – one person at a time.