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June 20, 2019, 10:44 AM

Stuck in Neutral


  1. Switzerland is known for its watches, army knife, Alps, banks, and cheese among other things. It is also well known in history for its neutrality in regards to military conflicts. Paul tells Christians in Romans 12:18 to live at peace with others as much as possible. While I do agree with this as sound advice I fear that some believers have taken it to a degree of which Paul never intended. I don’t think the Apostle Paul, as passionate as he was for the Gospel, would be pleased with the way some professing believers and churches are using his words to justify their neutrality in things such as Biblical morals, theology, and evangelism. There is a difference between standing firm and being neutral. To stand firm is to resist or refuse to compromise or give in to pressure, kind of like a giant oak tree that stands firm through the storm. The danger of neutrality is that external variables determine the direction the object goes. Apply this to a professing believer and you have a person who allows a fallen world and broken societal views to determine their religious convictions and their actions based on those convictions. The Gospel is called living water and living water in Biblical times was known as flowing water. Neutrality is similar to a stream that has been dammed up and thus becoming stagnant. Because it is no longer flowing, it becomes more of a detriment than a blessing. What should be a source of life becomes a cesspool of bacteria and the risk of severe illness. Lukewarm might be another way to describe neutrality when it comes to the church and Christians. John records the words in Revelation 3:16 that because the church had become lukewarm it would be vomited out of the mouth of Jesus. I fear many churches and believers today have become lukewarm because of a desire to not offend or for self-preservation. In a nation that is increasing in liberality and tolerance toward everything except Christianity, the words of Mordecai to Esther should echo in our hearts. By remaining neutral, we may indeed keep ourselves safe for a while but we are foolish if we think that, in the end, we will somehow be allowed to live passionately for Christ and escape persecution. God is still victorious regardless, so let us stand boldly in our faith no matter what and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus clearly says there is no middle ground of faith. Luke records the words of Jesus in 11:23 as he is talking to the Pharisees that whoever is not with Him is against Him and whoever does not gather, scatters. Jesus gives the command in Matthew 28 for His followers to go and make disciples of all nations. If we are not doing this as individuals and churches then I say we are scattering instead of gathering, there is no middle ground. A lack of desire for church and kingdom growth in order to maintain the status quo or not risk offending someone should come with a reminder of the unproductive fig tree in Mark 11:12-14. Neutrality is not what believers are called to, passionately proclaiming the Gospel in truth and love while standing firm in our faith is.

Robert


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