Minister's Corner: Did Christianity play a role in recent events?
I, perhaps like many of you, have been trying to process the events of Wednesday, Jan. 6. I have read and observed many different angles and opinions on the protest in Washington D.C. and the subsequent breaching of the Capitol. As a follower of Jesus Christ and a minister, I had immediate thoughts of bewilderment, anger, and regret. I had many questions: How did it get this far? Why did this happen and what does this accomplish? Is this Christianity’s fault?
It is that last question that I am still processing the most and would like to address here.
In response to the question of the role of Christianity in the protest, and more specifically the breaching of the Capitol, I in no way speak for the entirety of Christendom or even the entirety of the church I pastor. This is my influenced reflection through my personal, Christ-following lens.
Jesus said to His disciples that it is truth that brings freedom (see John 8:31-34). He said this in the context of a conversation about His true identity. He is the Son of God, the Son of Man, the promised Messiah sent from God. It is the truth of His identity that brings freedom from sin and an eternal relationship with God. His critics, many from the religious elite, were trying to make Him less than his identity and sought to use Him for their own means. When signs proclaiming, “Jesus Saves” and “God Bless America” accompany violent rebellion and deceitful rhetoric, then the same thing is occurring. Christ is co opted as a means to an end for our opinion and a justification for violent abuse. This is true for any political party or ideology. Jesus is the savior of the world, the Lord, the Son of God, thus He is above our opinion, our affiliations, and our party platforms. So, it is Christianity’s fault inasmuch that we individually and collectively would allow a false gospel to be preached and represented.
The following from Dr. Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, says it far better than I can: “If the world rejects us because of Christ and him crucified, so much the worse for the world. If the world rejects us because they think Christ is just a mascot for what we would already be supporting or doing even if Jesus were still dead, then God have mercy on us.” (https://www.russellmoore.com/2021/01/11/the-roman-road-from-insurrection/)
To those reading who do not have a relationship with God through Christ, what happened last Wednesday does not represent Christianity and I encourage you to talk to a trusted friend who is a believer or seek out a local Christ-centered church. You may also contact me; my contact information is listed below. To those reading who share the same faith that I do, if you disagree with how I have expressed this, please let me know and we can have a fruitful conversation. Please, please let us seek Christ above all things, let us receive His mercy, and give it all the same.
Justin Dunn is pastor at University Baptist Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.