A familiar mantra comes from Billy Graham’s grandson:

“The core message of the Christian faith has been lost in the public sector because what we are primarily known for is our political ideology or opinion,” Tchividjian told The Christian Post.

Over the last 30 years, the Religious Right has replaced Christianity’s foremost message of the Gospel with that of a political movement, argued the current pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church.

One thing that gets lost in this debate is the simple fact that the New Testament church didn’t have political action as an option.  The only meaningful political action Imperial Rome knew about was violent overthrow of one kind or another, and the New Testament is consistent in closing that as an option too.

That made things a great deal simpler.  It doesn’t guarantee that being disliked by the government won’t happen; Rome eventually saw Christianity as an existential threat, and we see this in China today.  But no one could accuse the Roman church of trying to change the government until perhaps Constantine, and the Chinese church is similarly innocent.

Until recently at least we’ve had an electoral representative government where people were allowed to express their opinions in a public forum and act on those in the electoral process.  Christians had the bad taste to do this, and now they are disliked for it.  Looked at another way, they asked for our opinion, we gave it, and they got mad.  (Shouldn’t have asked for it to start with…)

Now our system is breaking down in intransigence and corruption and a creeping fear of debate of any kind over a variety of important topics.  So, shorn of the political option, perhaps American Christianity can revert to its New Testament idea.

One thing that is doubtless influencing Tchividjian’s thinking is that he’s in Ft. Lauderdale now.  There’s little danger of a “religious right” takeover in South Florida, and this has been the case for a long time.  But the land “where the animals are tame and the people run wild” has been a reality check for a long time, and that’s a tradition that continues.