Christian schools in California are about to feel the full impact of what more than a half century of preaching that Christianity and politics don’t mix has done. Some of the biggest churches in California made it clear that they “don’t do politics.”
Rob McCoy, Pastor of Calvary Chapel and the newest City Councilman for Thousand Oaks, California, had this to say about the anti-Christian political climate in California:
“As a result, by focusing only on the Gospel and avoiding politics, California has deteriorated as a state. Now, after 50 years of political retreat, California has gone from the 5th largest GDP to now having the 8th largest GDP. California leads the nation in sales tax, gas tax, energy costs, income tax and corporate tax. It is the author of no-fault divorce and transgender bathroom bills. California leads the entire nation in abortion. Our children can no longer afford to live here, and they are leaving the state in droves; as fast as our businesses.”
For decades liberals kept telling us there’s a separation between Church and State. Of course, this only meant that the church had no say in the affairs of the State (civil government), and those representing the interests of Christians believed that the State would not interfere with the operation of the church and its beliefs.
Pastors of some of California’s biggest churches got snookered. Their dualistic and end-time theologies are about to be weighed in the balances and found wanting. They’re about to pay a heavy price:
“A threatening and overreaching bill (Senate Bill 1146) is working its way through the California legislature. If passed as is, this bill would strip California’s faith-based colleges and universities of their religious liberty to educate students according to their faith convictions.”
These Christian colleges will appeal to religious freedom and liberty as a way to nullify the new law. It won’t work as we’ve seen with bakers, florists, and now pharmacists. Dr. Gary North wrote the following in 1982:
“To what use will humanists put the Christian version of religious liberty? The answer is obvious: to carve out an ever-widening sphere of influence for the construction of an anti-Christian, pro-humanist commonwealth. This is being done in America today, and has already been done in every Western European society, except Spain (so far).” (Gary North, “Intellectual Schizophrenia” (Spring 1982), 32. Italics in original.))
The advance of secularism didn’t matter in the 1980s since Christians were assured that Jesus would return to “rapture” them before that decade ended. Consider what Hal Lindsey wrote in his book The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon: “I believe many people will be shocked by what is happening right now and what will happen in the very near future. The decade of the 1980s could very well be the last decade of history as we know it.”1
If that was the case, an increase in secularism was a prophetic inevitability. Why waste time on politics?
It didn’t help that in 2000, John MacArthur wrote Why Government Can’t Save You.2 (I don’t know anyone except liberals who believe that government can save anyone.) The subtitle led readers to believe that getting involved politically was not an option for Christians because there was An Alternative to Political Activism. MacArthur never told his readers what it was.
Since writing Why Government Can’t Save Us, Pastor MacArthur has been more outspoken on what is going on politically. Consider the following brief introduction to a four-minute clip from his September 16, 2012, message titled “Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality” that’s posted on the “Grace to You” website:
“If you’ve followed John MacArthur’s teaching for any length of time, you know he rarely says much about politics, culture, or society.
“It’s not that he’s uninformed on those topics. It’s that they’re often an intrusion upon the teaching of God’s Word. Evangelical Christians are already too easily distracted from the Great Commission in order to engage in partisan politics. Our corrupt culture will not be transformed for the better by political movements or pop culture anyway. That is the work of God’s Word — the gospel in particular. That’s what our ministry is devoted to (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1–5).
“In this current campaign season, however, politicians have stepped — overstepped — into spiritual and moral areas, promoting horrific wickedness and blasphemous immorality.
“As John MacArthur made clear on a recent Sunday morning, these are not areas where God’s Word is silent or ambiguous.”
You can tell from the above that the folks at “Grace to You” were jumpy about the whole political thing. While Pastor MacArthur is said to be informed on politics, culture, and society, he rarely discussed them because “they’re often an intrusion upon the teaching of God’s Word.” It’s hard to understand that anyone who is familiar with all of God’s Word would write such a thing. All a person has to do is read Isaiah through Malachi to know that the prophets spoke almost exclusively about politics, culture, and society in terms of God’s law.
After finally addressing in a sermon what had been going on politically, the following week Pastor MacArthur had to answer an objection that is common in Christian circles:
“I know from last week’s message that there was some response from people who said, ‘Why are you getting political?’ Romans 1 is not politics. The Bible is not politics. This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God through the culture in which we live. It has nothing to do with politics.”
Here we see Pastor MacArthur trying to mollify long-held theological concerns that are typical of many Christians who are spiritual Gnostics. The Bible is about politics if politicians pass laws that debase our currency (Isa. 1:22). The Bible specifically singles out “rulers” (v. 23) since they have control of the money supply. It deals with murder, theft, abortion, same-sex sexuality, and so much more. There is no escape from politics.
Millions of Christians are going to find out the hard way that there won’t be a “rapture” to rescue them, and there’s no escaping politics.
Hal Lindsey, The 1980’s: Countdown to Armageddon (King of Prussia, PA: Westgate Press, 1980), 8. ↩
John MacArthur, Why Government Can’t Save You: An Alternative to Political Activism (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 2000). ↩