Friday, September 21, 2012

An Apology via Analogy

Imagine a terrible battle, a horrible fight.  Men lying wounded and dying - and you are a battlefield doctor.  Your duty is to tend to the broken, the dying, to strive to save their life.  And those broken, dying men are all around you.  What do you do?  You tend to them, you strive to patch, to cover, to heal and stablize.  Because that is your position.

So, what would you make of a battlefield doctor, wearing the red cross on his forehead, who said, "This fight is going poorly!  Look at how many are being injured, I must take up arms and try to slay the enemy!"  I suppose one could try to justify it -- I mean, after all, isn't he trying to serve the folks under his care.  But you can't justify it.  That isn't his task, that isn't his duty.  He is to save the injured, not inflict injury upon the enemy.

I know some people find me highly lacking on moral vigor - they find that I lack zeal to go out there and help to impose order on the fallen, chaotic world.  But here is the thing -- I am not a politician, given to rule.  I am not in public policy, I am not in law enforcement, I am not in the military, I am not a judge.  I suppose I am a citizen -- but first and foremost I am a pastor.  I am called not to impose order upon the world, but to take those broken and beaten in this sinful place and to give them Christ and life.

I do spiritual triage.  And I appreciate those who fight the fight of society for me.  But when I see pastors become moralists, primarily teachers of the law - more concerned with defining sin for society than absolving sinners crushed by guilt... well, I see folks who have abandoned their post.

So, no.  I'm not going to be the morality police.  If you wish counsel, I will give it - good, Scriptural advice.  But I'm not going to abandon my post - the preaching of the Gospel - for the task God has laid upon others. 

My job is to preach Christ and forgiveness, not change society.  That is not a cop out - it is simply recongizing what office one has been given, and that is no mean thing.

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