It was about this time four years ago that I was on my way home from Passion, a conference where 40,000-50,000 young people, ages 18-25, gathered together for biblical teaching and worship. Despite the direction our country is heading morally, I was encouraged to see that so many students made an effort to come together to learn about God and worship Him.
Passion recently wrapped up its 2016 conference that is now offered in two cities: Houston, Texas, and Atlanta, Georgia (where it originated).
My experience at this event four years ago became a significant pillar of my spiritual growth. The worship and simple reading of scripture brought me to a place where I experienced the Spirit in a way that I can only count on one hand has happened in my life as a Christian. The teaching from pastors and apologists such as John Piper, Louie Giglio, Beth Moore, Francis Chan, and others was phenomenal. The theme of the 2012 event was to end modern day slavery in all its forms, to bring about prevention, freedom, and restoration, and to raise one million dollars for the cause. The goal was exceeded.
When I hear and see the passion Christian Millennials have for life when it comes to ending slavery, helping the poor, and caring for orphans, I am so encouraged. We are radicals for justice in these areas.
However, I am sadly discouraged by our lack of zeal for other issues such as homosexuality, immigration, and religious freedom. My point? If it is a controversial issue that needs our attention, we are likely to be silent and even content with our silence.
For example, I recently had a conversation with a Millennial who is gung ho about defunding Planned Parenthood. But he told me that fighting against the Supreme Court’s decision to legalize homosexual “marriage” is political and Christians should not be involved in politics. Do you see the contradiction here?
I do not expect or suggest that all of us fight every cultural issue; that is unrealistic. Each individual and ministry has its own area of expertise. I do suggest and expect that we as Christians do not pick and choose which cultural issues we address based on what is more comfortable and least controversial.
For example if you were to ask millennials in public if sex trafficking is ok, they would immediately respond “No!” Then without prompting them, they would likely passionately elaborate on such convictions. But if you were to ask them if homosexuals are wrong, many would hesitate and then respond: “I don’t judge them.”
So I ask you: As a Christian what compels you to fight against sex trafficking and poverty? What compels me? It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is His life, death, burial, and resurrection that brings salvation and compels believers to fight for justice. If such is true in our lives, then what keeps us from defending the family, protecting the boarders, and simply preserving our religious freedoms?
Fear? Ridicule? Persecution? Offending someone? … Perhaps it’s all of these reasons and more.
But what we need to realize is that calling for regulated boarders, defending the family, and fighting for religious freedom is not the most offensive stance Christians can take. Actually, the message of the cross is the most controversial; the gospel is the most offensive to those who don’t embrace it. It calls each and every one of us sinners; it demands us to deny ourselves and to serve God in all we do.
But God also calls us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15-16). With the help of the Holy Spirit and our trust in Him, we can speak truth seasoned with love, rather than one or the other.
Facing controversial cultural issues is never pleasant or fun. Instead of waiting around and hoping they don’t come up in conversation, let’s prepare like 1 Peter 3:14-16 commands us to do. Then when we have the opportunity, let’s speak the truth about homosexuality, immigration, and religious freedom in love. Let us not ignore issues like these because the same gospel that calls us to stand against sex trafficking should compel us to stand against homosexuality and other controversial issues.
Trust God’s Word, share God’s Word, and let the chips fall where they may.
There will be times where you fill like you are alone on an island or the only person in the relay race. But you’re not. The Holy Spirit is with you! The Gospel calls us to abandon our ego, comfort, and self. In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”