By Dr. Mark H. Creech
Christian Action League
In recent days, we have been focused on the infant Jesus. But we must remember that His sweet nativity is just a small part of the whole story. The infant Jesus is not a mere mythology of angels, shepherds and Eastern kings (known as the Wise Men). But the Scriptures also point out that the baby grows into the Cosmic Redeemer Jesus, the Commander of eternity, the King of Kings and Ruler of the nations.
The apostle Paul said of Him,
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 1:9-11)
How strange that so much of the church today seems to feel redemption is simply about getting as many people saved as possible so that they might be whisked off to glory at death or the second coming of Christ. There is no real redemption for this world in their proclamations unless it has to do with a future eternal state or Kingdom.
Yet the Bible teaches that as Christ’s subjects we are to bring redemption as He did to the here and now. Christ’s Kingdom is not just something future, but also something present. Salvation is not just for the soul, but for society. It’s not just for another generation or another time, but for this time and this life.
Buddy Hanson in “The Christian Civil Ruler’s Handbook,” expresses similar sentiments in this way,
“Sadly too many of our brothers and sisters have lost sight of the stone cut without hands that became a mountain that filled the earth (Daniel 2:35). For some reason we just can’t believe that Jesus, through His redeemed people, is the fulfillment of that prophecy (I Peter 2:5). Too many of us have convinced ourselves that defeat is the only option for the Church; the only hope is to retreat in the face of a creeping secularism. Maybe if things get real bad, God will rapture us out of this mess.”
But this perspective is in no way consistent with the promise Jesus made regarding His church that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Unfortunately, many Christians today have been so bombarded by the bad news, brainwashed by the doomsayers, and bewitched by the naysayers, that they have unwittingly turned this precious verse of hope and optimism upside down to say, “Hell will not prevail against the gates of the church.” They contend the passage means that whatever the church may endure from the hordes of hell, it will still survive.
However, look at the verse carefully. Gates are what an army would attack to overcome a city. In this text it is not the gates of the church that are under attack, but the gates of hell itself. In other words, it is the gates of perdition that are being relentlessly pounded by the church and its message of redemption in Christ, and the promise is that all the fury of hell is unable to stop the church’s advancements for Christ’s sake.
This is not only the testimony of the Bible, but also the testimony of history. In fact, it is not in the least hyperbolic to contend that every major progression of mankind has its roots in Christianity and the influence of the church? Its message of redemption, which covers every sphere of life, has radically changed, and is changing the whole world for the better.
What is more, quite to the contrary of those who may be discouraged, this is also the testimony of the present. Granted, there are set-backs that endure for periods of time. Still, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is moving forward around the world as never before.
Even though ungodly actions are increasing, let us note the impact of Christian influence in America has never been greater for quite some time. The number of people who say that they believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God and try to share their faith with other people has grown from about 22% to approximately 45% in the last three decades. Abortion is losing support and is slowly becoming a dying industry. This is why liberals desperately need the President’s healthcare plan to shore it up and help save it. Moreover, never has there been a time when evangelical Christianity was so much a part of the Presidential campaign as the present. Almost all the Republican candidates associate themselves with evangelical Christianity and even President Obama often tries to sound Christian.
We’re also seeing this same principle being played out in North Carolina. The year 2011 was certainly one of the strongest years for advancing Christian principles in this state that has been seen for a long time.
Consider the lobbying successes of the Christian Action League in 2011,
Pro-Life Bills Passed
- The Woman’s Right to Know – legislation that ensures that women are provided with information that thoroughly explains all the alternatives available to receiving an abortion.
- The Choose Life License Plate – authorizes the production of a specialty license plate to benefit crisis pregnancy centers.
- Ethen’s Law – a measure that establishes that when a pregnant woman is murdered or seriously injured enough to lose her baby, there are two victims and not just one.
(Note: A provision of The Woman’s Right to Know bill that requires a woman be given the option of viewing an ultrasound of her unborn child has been enjoined by the Court and remains in litigation. The Choose Life License Plate has also been enjoined and remains in litigation. But the Christian Action League is confident that both of these initiatives will ultimately prevail. )
Preserving Marriage and Parental Rights Secured
- The Marriage Protection Amendment – after more than eight years of unsuccessful attempts to get this legislation heard, lawmakers approved a constitutional referendum for May of 2012 that allows the people of this state to define marriage as one man and one woman.
- In the area of family law, the Christian Action League successfully pushed back a Grandparents measure that would have undermined the rights of parents to make decisions regarding their own children.
Alcohol Control Protected
- As is the case each session, a number of bills were introduced this year that would have weakened the control of the sale of alcoholic beverages. Thankfully, the Christian Action League was able to help keep many of these at bay, including two bills that would have allowed ABC stores to open on Sunday and offer liquor tastings, and a third that would have extended both alcohol sales hours and locations.
- The Christian Action League fought back budget measure that would have eliminated the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement Agency.
- The League was also instrumental in helping community leaders in Trinity, N.C. and Robbins to defeat alcohol referendums.
Dangerous Drugs Banned
- Passage of a bill that bans so-called spice drugs, synthetic marijuana sold as incense but smoked by users, and mephedrone, a product marketed as bath salts but also used for a quick and dangerous high.
- Passage of a bill that tightens controls on medications containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient used in the production of methamphetamines.
Odds Kept against More Gambling
- The Christian Action League successfully beat back bills for legalized video sweepstakes, full-fledged charity Casino Nights in hotels, as well as a push for Las Vegas-style gambling at Harrah’s Casino in Cherokee.
Hanson also writes,
“[I]t is beyond doubt that Christians are on the winning side and will be the winners in history. Since the government is on His shoulders (Isaiah 9:7, Psalm 22:28). He is the Governor among the nations. The need today is for the Church to press the crown rights of Christ the King, confident that His government will succeed in time and space.”
Let us put away all erroneous notions that we are less than conquerors through Him that loved us – that the object of Christ’s mission is simply changed hearts and not a changed world.
As December now fades into January, we can’t just leave our Lord as that “sweet little Jesus boy”. A fresh New Year demands a fresh new look at Christ – the Sovereign King – as the victorious Captain of History.
Come and go with us as we follow Him into 2012 – go with us as we follow Him to an inevitable triumph of redemption for the entire world.