March 07, 2019
Yesterday, I was invited to join pastors and business leaders from about 40 countries gathered for a meeting in Texas. The 10-year-old network that’s now active in 102 countries includes some of the most prominent Christian influencers in the world. Recognizing the necessity to engage in the political world which crafts the policies that shape the environments in which churches and businesses must operate, the network of Christian leaders had a session on The Intersection Between Faith, Politics, and Governance.
My message was direct and succinct; we have to see through the tares. Borrowing from Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13, I pointed out that we are naturally inclined to focus on the threat and not the promise. Yes, the moral, political and spiritual challenges that we face are more significant than any other generation. The level of religious persecution globally is precedent setting. Many of the pastors gathered from countries like India, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Lebanon, Kenya, the Philippines and dozens of others, know better than most the reality of persecution for openly following Jesus and sharing the hope that is found in Him with others.
But as Jesus pointed out, the tares – the evil – is the result of the servants sleeping. The church has mostly been absent from the broader culture to include government, and the outcome have been policies that make a mockery of truth. So, what are we to do? Again, Jesus provides the answer. He doesn’t say we are to ignore the realities of the tares but instead focus on the wheat, the growing good.
I assured them I was not trying to be partisan, so I asked them to look beyond the players to the policies that provide a present-day illustration of wheat and tares.
On one side you have an official who called for and participated in a celebration when a law was passed that pushes the United States toward the practice of infanticide. This is not the killing of babies in the womb, as horrific as that is, but the killing or intentional withholding of medical aid to a baby who survived an attempt on their life and was born alive.
On the other side, you have something that I never thought I would experience in my life, a president that speaks about the atrocity and scourge of abortion with more passion and urgency than most pastors. Again, while those who study and report on religious persecution say we are historic highs globally and even here in the U.S., the opportunities that are being afforded the church to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, with the protection of our federal government is unparalleled, at least in modern times.
Yes, we must be aware of the tares. We must not and cannot ignore what our spiritual enemy has sown in our midst while the church slept. We must not become preoccupied, and singularly focused on what’s wrong. Let’s put our energy and our focus on what is right: the unparalleled opportunities that God has given us at this moment.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.