In the Image of Christ
Colossians 3:8-11

Politically Correct or Biblically Correct?

        Throughout the nineties and into the new millennium we have become acquainted with a term that has changed our behavior in certain circumstances. A new phrase was coined: “politically correct”. It means we no longer do or say certain things because it may cause discomfort to some individuals. The media have caught on to this idea very well and have learned to use it to perfection, especially when it helps them put a spin on a story that can sway public opinion one way or the other. Politicians are perfecting the use of “political correctness” for their needs and best interests. They are now masters at taking a situation and putting it into a “politically correct” format, to portray to the public the image they desire us to have. This kind of thinking has even filtered down to the average citizen in our country.  This is unfortunate because frequently, just as in the media or the political arena, people chase some buzz-word or faddish idea and the truth is left by the wayside. Why? Because it isn’t fashionable to oppose or to support something that goes against what others may think. This is a shallow way of thinking that leaves the truth of an issue hidden and obscure.

        We have all seen this played out over the last three months in the surge of patriotism. After the September 11th  attack on America, patriotism swelled to new heights in this country. It has swelled to a level that I have never seen in my lifetime. People are again wearing clothing with national symbols on them. Flags were hard to find at one time because everyone wanted to fly one and show they were in support of our president and our troops. Patriotic songs and the pledge of allegiance have once again gained a foothold in our schools where before September 11th  they were outdated and unnecessary.

            Unfortunately it didn’t take long for the “politically correct” group to raise its ugly head. If you remember some companies wanted to ban small flags at work stations or the wearing of patriotic symbols. They claimed that patriotism was beginning to intimidate certain people groups. They were trying to hold patriotic behavior at bay because some people didn’t feel the same as those who wanted to show support for their country. In other words, there were some who didn’t want people to take such a hard patriotic stance because it made others in this country stand out for not supporting of our government or our troops. Thankfully, the cry of patriotism was so great in this country that the voice of the politically correct group didn’t last long.

        We have a similar situation today that has caused more problems than can be imagined. It has caused damage that may never be repaired. No, the problem I am talking about is not with our media nor with our politicians. It is much more serious than that. The arena I am alluding to is that of the church. Somehow,
“political correctness” has infiltrated the church and caused many to alter the way they approach certain biblical truths. Tolerance for all has taken the place of what were once firm stances on biblical doctrines. Truths of God’s Word that once were firmly believed and preached from the highest hilltop have become nothing but watered-down doctrines or practices that are no longer even mentioned. Sin and sinful behavior have been allowed into the holy Bride of Christ.  To confront it would intimidate or expose many who are openly involved in ungodliness. The “politically correct” among evangelicals often accuse those who want to stand for “biblical correctness” of rocking the boat or splitting hairs. But there is no place in the church for political correctness! Sin, no matter what form it takes or who in the congregation is involved, needs to be confronted and dealt with until either the individual repents or is expelled as the man in 1Corinthians 5. Perhaps many will think this is cruel and unchristian behavior. But for those who desire to obey God and earnestly contend for the faith, it is a must.

        So the question must now be asked, “How does the church get away from being “politically correct” and back to being “biblically correct?” I believe it is a three-fold process. "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves." (2 Cor 13:5)*. This is probably the most difficult of the three steps which needs to be taken in the church today. What makes this step so difficult is the conclusions that one must reach when examining himself before God’s Holy Word. His Word has the ability to clearly point out sin in one’s life (Heb. 4:12) and reminds us that we are only sinners saved by His grace alone. The book of 1 John presents a clear test to see if you are in the faith. These are the types of self examination we must do before the Lord. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth." (1 Jn. 1:6). How often do we see people claiming to be children of God, yet the things they do and say go are exactly the kinds of things from which Christ died to save us? Can a person who only gives lip service to the Lord truly be His child? "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1 Jn. 1:8). Deception is one of the greatest tools the devil uses. He gets a person to believe that he or she is saved, whether by childhood baptism, going forward during an altar call, or some other emotional moment or “prayer to receive Christ”  that afterward showed no fruit. The experience had no lasting effect on the person, because he or she did not in fact come to Christ. Sometimes such people who try to live a godly life. They are religious, they pray, read their Bibles and attend church every week, but have never come to the saving knowledge of Christ. They have never surrendered their lives to Him.  "He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1 Jn. 2:4). Obedience to Christ and His Word, out of love (Jn. 14:15) is clear evidence of truly knowing Christ. We could go on and on in the book of 1 John to examine ourselves. Self examination is a must in one’s life and must take place before one can ever go on to step two. Even Socrates, who was not a believer, said “the unexamined life is not worth living.” According to him many church-attenders may be living vain lives.

        "Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matt. 7:5). Only after self-examination with humility and repentance can one go to a brother who is in sin to correct him. This also is a necessary step that must be taken to correct the condition of the church. We call it accountability to one another. This also is very difficult to do, and must be done with gentleness and in meekness. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." (Gal. 6:1). The text clearly shows why we must first examine ourselves before God. Only the spiritual man is able to go to one who has erred and correct him. This is so difficult because we never know how the one being corrected is going to act. If he, too, is a spiritual man, he may acknowledge his sin and repent. Unfortunately, this usually is not the case. Most people attack the one coming to correct them and ask, “What right do you have to correct me?”  Then a personal assault is inflicted upon the one who is trying to obey God. If one refuses to acknowledge his sin, church discipline must take place until he repents. If he refuses to repent, he must ultimately be expelled from the church. The church is God’s pure Bride to Christ, and leaven must not be allowed in the church.  "Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:" (1 Cor 5:6-7). Allowing sin to go unchecked in the body is an affront to Christ, and is one of the main reasons the church is in such poor condition today. “Politically correct” churches are afraid to confront sinners because it might offend them. They may be accused of rocking the boat, splitting hairs, being judgmental or legalistic, but the plain fact is, sin is sin, and it’s time that it was dealt with as God commands. Sometimes that may mean sinking the boat if necessary.

        The third step is just as important as the first two. If we had not neglected it we wouldn’t be in the situation we are in today.  "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober." (1 Thess. 5:6).  Many in the church have been lulled to sleep while psychology, false doctrine, and sin have been allowed to creep in and ultimately run wild in what is supposed to be a holy and separate entity before Christ. The church needs watchmen today. Those who are alert and care enough to protect that for which Christ died, and are willing to sound the alarm when sin and deception threaten to creep in. Watchmen are those who keep vigil and contend for the faith regardless of the cost. Many times the cost may be high! The verse calls for a watchman who is sober-minded. He cannot be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. He must have a handle on the Word of God so he can spot false doctrine and expose it for what it is. He must not be afraid to examine himself and repent of his own sin to keep the fellowship that only a born-again Christian can have with the Lord. He must be one who in meekness and gentleness will go to the one in sin and lovingly correct him. This is the only way to become a “biblically correct” church. "But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer." (1 Pet. 4:7). This is not an option; it’s a command! If you love Him you will obey His commandments. * Scripture quotations are from the King James Version unless otherwise noted.

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