Recent political successes could spell disaster for the church’s mission.

In the White House, the moral forces are strikingly friendly to most theological conservatives. As for the Supreme Court, hope flows like a freshet in anticipation of a new majority that will change the onerous Roe v. Wade decision. Nativity scenes on public property are, officially, no longer a sinister threat to the Constitution, and high school students may now study the Bible in classrooms after school. Prominent televangelists are emboldened as never before to speak up on public affairs. They are generating high voltage awareness about public issues among their mass congregants, and because of that they are becoming a potent force on the political power spectrum.

Clearly, conservative moral forces are having more influence in the councils of government than in a generation. Why is this so? Those who closely follow the changing “power curve” point to several influences: a general conservative swing in the United States; religious radio and television personalities who have captured huge audiences (this giving them unprecedented publicity in the national news media); and evangelical lawyers who have used the courts intelligently to advance the cause of religious freedom.

We are pleased by these advances, but we see potential for trouble ahead. Gospel values triumph ultimately when they are victorious in the hearts of the lost, not when they advance in the courts and the halls of Congress.

Fired by the fuel of righteous moral anger, the Christian political lobbies are sure to prosper in skill and stamina. As they grow, the tendency will also arise to equate legislative accomplishment with spiritual victory. We trust this will not happen, ...

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