CNN’s Belief Blog asked 10 religious leaders and commentators to make a faith-based prediction about 2011. Don Miller, the author of Blue Like Jazz, weighed-in with the following:
“As religious tensions grow over the coming presidential election and domestic cultural issues involving perceived legislation of morality, the media will find more zealous Christians reacting to the issues of the day whose extreme positions will further divide the evangelical church into radical positions, and turn away seekers looking for a peaceful resolution to the churning in their own souls. In other words, the devil will play a trick on the church, and the church will, like sheep, lose their focus on the grace and love of Christ and wander astray. Those who seek peace, then, will turn to liberal ideologies.”
Not only is this prediction overly pessimistic, but it’s also a bit unfair. It is unfair particularly to conservative Christians. Clearly, Miller thinks that conservative Christians will drive potential converts away from Christ because of their “extreme positions” on controversial issues, but he doesn’t define what he thinks those “extreme positions” are. Gay marriage? Abortion? Stem cells? To be sure, Christians must be careful not to confuse their prophetic voice in the public square with the priorities of The Tea Party (or any other party for that matter). That being said, Christians would hardly be salt and light if they stopped proclaiming what God’s word says about gender issues, homosexuality, and the dignity of human life. If Miller thinks that Christians need to go silent on those issues, then I couldn’t disagree more. I wish he would clarify this.
It’s overly pessimistic because God’s arm is not too short to save (Isaiah 59:1). In spite of imperfect Christians and their imperfect lives, God is going to get the great commission done. Just who will be a part of that work is another question. But make no mistake. God’s word will go forth and accomplish everything that He has purposed for it (Isaiah 55:11). None can stay His hand (Daniel 4:35). That means that no matter how bad things may look, there is reason for optimism because God will get it done.
Psalm 135:6 Whatever the LORD pleases, He does, In heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all deeps.
Psalm 138:8 The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever.