Ray Rooney, Jr.: Principled Liberals & Accommodating Conservatives
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 11:28 AM

The similarity between the plight of the Republican Party and evangelical Christians is striking.  Their lack of conviction and their fear of standing on principle is severely curtailing the impact both wish to have on culture and society.  The grassroots of both groups is overwhelmingly conservative in philosophy.  Yet both seem afraid to own their conservatism.  What an upside down world we have become!  Liberals stand on principle while conservatives yield in the name of cooperation.  Liberals who are supposed to champion intellectual freedom consistently refuse to negotiate insisting on complete acquiescence from conservatives.  Conservatives who are supposed to champion faithfulness are continually surrendering their core principles thinking that doing so is keeping them relevant.  Liberals are out of control and conservatives are under control. 

In my estimation the fundamental difference between liberals and conservatives is simple.  Liberals are concerned with fairness while conservatives are concerned with truthfulness.  For liberals what is best is determined by the number of people who benefit.  For conservatives what is most important is defending the truth no matter how unpopular that may be.  Liberals thirst for affirmation from their adoring subjects.  Conservatives know that truth can be extremely divisive and very unpopular and so are used to going it alone.

Or so it should be and used to be.  Liberals have won the culture war and they know it.  Nothing demonstrated that more in government than the recent government shutdown.  The liberal President made it clear that he would not negotiate and he didn’t.  Conservatives folded giving him exactly what he wanted and criticized their own who tried to stop him.  Harry Reid hasn’t budged an inch on anything in the Senate while John Boehner continually caves in the House. 

In Christianity the gay marriage issue has exposed the same reality in the Church between liberals and conservatives (progressives and evangelicals) that exists in society.  Despite the fact that the homosexual population is ridiculously small (4% of U.S. population) liberal Christians are adamantly demanding Church polity and policy accept gay marriage based on the rising tide of public affirmation.  And evangelicals are caving…in droves.  Progressives who champion tolerance continually reveal their intolerance toward evangelicals and evangelicals who stand for truth increasingly demonstrate they don’t have the stomach to stand alone on principle.

As an evangelical Christian I do not expect anything I say to persuade progressives but I sure would like to encourage my evangelical brethren with a word.  Stop worrying about how faithfulness gets twisted by progressives into intolerance making you look bad.  We are not trying to win a popularity contest!  We stand in faithfulness while everyone else bows in subservience (Daniel 3).  And we have got to stop believing that success is measured in number of followers.  Since when has truth required popularity?

Jesus did not speak or preach in order to gain followers and public support.  Have we forgotten Luke 14:25-33?  Luke says “great crowds” were following Jesus.  He “turned” on them and told them three times, not how much He appreciated their following Him but how they would disqualify themselves from being His disciples.  Those whose love for family competes with love for God “cannot be my disciple.”  Those who will not put God’s interests before their own (“bear his own cross”) “cannot be my disciple.”  And those who will not give God claim over everything in their lives (“renounce all that he has”) “cannot be my disciple.”  From its inception Christianity has been about following a narrow path; an unpopular path; a sometimes lonely path.  It’s not about accumulating prestige, power, cultural significance, or accommodation in the world.  Rather, it’s about relaying truth and standing in faith. 

If you are an evangelical Christian…don’t apologize for it.  And don’t grow weary of standing all by your lonesome self.  You aren’t.  God never promised popularity.  He guaranteed, instead, a cross.  He didn’t say that whatever most people approve of has the Divine stamp upon it.  Our job is not to save the world.  That was/is Someone else’s.  Our job is to stand for truth.  And if it means doing so by ourselves while being ridiculed by progressives and scorned by our own peers then rejoice, for Jesus says “theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:10). 

Ray Rooney, Jr.