As I have become obsessed with the idea that we Christians are a counterculture, I have become more aware of how much of the current Christian lingo is tied to politics. Some people today think one cannot be a Christian unless they are aligned with a particular American political party. Yet, I know people in both major political parties who walk with Jesus.
So, Yancey grabbed my attention with both hands yesterday. I assume you know how morally vile the Roman Empire of the 1st century was. Listen to Yancey:
"The apostle Paul had much to say about the immorality of individual church members but little to say about the immorality of pagan Rome. He rarely railed against the abuses in Rome -- slavery, idolatry, violent games, political oppression, greed -- even though such abuses surely offended Christians of that day as much as our deteriorating society offends Christians today."
He then mentions how Romans would give birth to full-term babies, and -- if undesired -- would leave them to die. He tells about the common practice of older men keeping young boys as sex slaves. Then he adds, "Jesus and Paul doubtless knew of these deplorable practices . . . Both concentrated not on the pagan kingdom around them but on the alternative kingdom of God."
"For this reason, I wonder about the enormous energy being devoted these days to restoring morality in the United States. Are we concentrating more on the kingdom of this world than on the kingdom that is not of this world? The public image of the evangelical church today is practically defined by an emphasis on two issues that Jesus did not even mention. How will we feel if historians of the future look back on the evangelical church of the 1990s and declare, "They fought bravely on the moral fronts of abortion and homosexual rights," while at the same time reporting that we did little to fulfill the Great Commission, and we did little to spread the aroma of grace in the world?"