Monday, October 27, 2008

Keeping your eye on what is important

I am currently out of town on a business trip, and fortunately my hotel has free WiFi. I won't say exactly where I am so that I do not come across as "calling anyone out" and we can just keep our comments general.

As I was driving this morning, I passed a church with a sign out front, just like all those signs we use to announce when Sunday School and worship begin, or sometimes to put up cute little sayings designed to bring people through the front door. But this sign was different. This one said something to the effect of, "It is your Christian duty to vote against Sunday store hours." I may not have it exactly right. After all, I was driving at the time and couldn't write it down.

Now I assume that this locality still has some form of Sunday blue laws prohibiting at least some types of stores from being open on Sundays. I understand why Christians do not work on Sundays (I, for one, will not go into my office or do any office work at home on Sundays), and I certainly understand why an establishment like a Christian book store or even Chick-fil-a, many if not most of the employees of which are Christians, would not be open on Sundays. If your business chooses to do this, great.

But this sign appeared to be telling Christians that it was their "duty" to vote against allowing other, non-Christian businesses to be open on Sundays. Essentially, they are telling Christians that it is our duty to legally force others to observe our Sabbath.

I am not going to go any further into the merits of the position this church was advocating, but I am going to take issue with them telling Christians that they have a duty to vote a particular way on this issue. So now we will have some Christians saying we must vote this way, others saying we shouldn't, and before you know it we have divisions forming within the church. Are these divisions over the theology of salvation or over the true identity of Christ? No, they are divisions over blue laws.

We need to be careful where we draw the line when we are telling other Christians what they have to believe and what they don't if they call themselves Christian. Are Baptists going to tell Presbyterians that they are not Christians if they do not believe in full immersion or adult baptism only? Are we going to say a church is not Christian because it allows for Saturday evening services and Sunday, not Saturday is the Sabbath?

Be careful when you tell other Christians what they "must" believe, or what it is their "duty" to do. Our "duty" is to live as much like Christ as we can in this world, and to continue to grow more and more like Him. Part of that, as Paul tells us in Ephesians, is to live as one unified body, with Christ as the head. Let's not start down paths that could lead to division unless we are reasonably sure that whatever issue is involved really warrants it. I'd venture to say a Christian's position on blue laws doesn't rise to that level, so I will not be telling anyone what their "duty" is to vote one way or the other.

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