Masquerades #4: Activism

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Tim Lane and Paul Tripp, in their book How People Change, have a chapter in the beginning called The Gospel Gap in which they identify Christian externalism as a false replacement for gospel-shaped, Christ-confident, and change-committed Christianity.  There are 7 things that surface which deceptively replace authentic Christianity that the next few blog posts will share as I quote from them:

4. Activism

Shirley stands on the right-to-life picket line wondering why more Christians aren’t there. Of course, Shirley feels the same about protests at the adult bookstore and her work on the coming local election. These causes define what it means to be a Christian. Her constant refrain is, “Stand up for what is right, wherever and whenever it is needed.” There is something admirable about Shirley’s willingness to devote time, energy, and money to stand up for what is right.

But on closer examination, Shirley’s Christianity is more of a defense of what’s right than a joyful pursuit of Christ. The focus of this kind of Christian activism is always on external evil. As a result, it can take on the form of a modern monasticism. The monastics essentially said, “There is an evil world out there, and the way to fight evil is to separate from it.” But monasteries failed because they forgot to focus on the evil inside every monk who entered their walls!

Whenever you believe that the evil outside you is greater than the evil inside you, a heartfelt pursuit of Christ will be replaced by a zealous fighting of the “evil” around you. A celebration of the grace that rescues you from your own sin will be replaced by a crusade to rescue the church from the ills of the surrounding culture. Christian maturity becomes defined as a willingness to defend right from wrong. The gospel is reduced to participation in Christian causes.

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One Response

  1. Great quote! thanks.

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