Power is not a Dirty Word

Jon Harris

Based on the title some might think this article is about politics and not Christianity. Actually, it’s about both. The social justice movement aggressively started attacking things like marriage and monuments simultaneously in 2015. This was not only a political move, it was very much a religious crusade designed to deconstruct the Christian identity that once existed in the United States.

The movement gained steam by appealing to language cultural Christians recognized. First, it was tolerance, then acceptance, then love. Anyone who’s ever gone to Sunday school thought these were good qualities to have – and in the right context, they are. But the architects of our present world wanted to apply them to degenerate behavior: Tolerate sexual deviants, now accept their identities as legitimate, now love their depravity, now celebrate it for an entire month.

Simultaneously inner virtue and the qualities that accompany it such as bravery, fortitude, and sacrifice gave way to support for outcomes that conformed to equality, diversity, and inclusion. While vice was normalized, virtue switched from what characterizes a person to how a person thinks society should be characterized.

This puts us in the odd moment where one does not need to interact with anyone diverse in order to be thought of as a “good person” so long as they publicly proclaim their support for diversity. Virtue is an abstraction we adopt, not a set of qualities rooted inside a person that inspires them to act for a greater good.

Where does this leave Christians who want to conserve virtue?

The answer is obvious but seldom recognized by any mainstream Christian organization.

Christians must recognize that these Leftist gains were made through political exertion. What was a fringe group of radicals only a few decades ago is now sitting in positions of influence throughout the country. The only recourse on a social level is to seize power from the warped minds who currently wield it.

Unfortunately, Christians are neutralized by vilifications of ambition and power. Most major Christian influencers invest their energy, not in opposing the enemies of their God, but in pacifying God’s people to not oppose them at all. Instead, the only acceptable Christian behavior is to compel their enemies to join them through “winsome” engagement.

Yet, scripture outlines multiple positive examples of opposing evil through the use of power: Moses challenged Pharaoh’s political authority, God expected Israel to enforce civil penalties to purge evil (Deut 19:19, 22:21), the military exploits of David and his mighty men, Elisha and Jehu seized the throne of Israel and using their power to punish evildoers (2 Kings 9-10), Jesus frequently asserted His authority to oppose evil, even using a whip at one point (Matt 21:12-17), Paul referred to magistrates as God’s servants to carry out wrath on wrongdoers (Rom 13:4), and Paul himself planned to overpower arrogant men with truth (1 Cor 4:18-21).

There are many more examples – some directly applicable to our current situation, and some not. The point is that power in itself is not a bad thing if wielded properly. Most objections to Christians pursuing power are concerned with the improper use of it. Christians should not take revenge, become arrogant, or use power as a means to vanity. Yet, in order to honor God and deliver the weak and needy from the hand of the wicked (Ps 82:3-4) sometimes power is required.

Most Christians understand that pastors should exercise authority. So should parents and husbands. Yet in the political realm, many of them are suspicious. It is impolite, too aggressive, or in conflict with the model they have in their minds of Jesus as a servant. But the same boundaries guiding the proper uses of power for pastors, parents, and husbands should also guide public servants. It is loving to one’s neighbor, even if they are not Christian, to defeat the evil that tempts and oppresses them. This is true whether they know they are oppressed or not.

In my experience, Christians generally encourage their young men who show leadership abilities toward ministry. This is good and Christians certainly need more solid pastors. However, there are other fields in which virtuous leadership is sorely needed. I find it interesting that Roman Catholics tend to occupy law enforcement and political positions in my area. Protestants tend to shy away from these professions perhaps for reasons already stated.

If 2015 did not teach us, 2020 should. If we want to take back the dictionary, reinstate virtuous standards, and see positive change in our nation, then more Christians should pursue powerful positions whether in business, law, media, medicine, academics, or government. They should do so for the right reasons and use their positions to oppose the evil in our midst. They should wrest power from those leading society toward perdition by replacing them. Good men are still out there and we can encourage them to act by changing the way we approach the topic of power. Power is not a dirty word.

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