I was looking through the most recent issue of Christianity Today and saw a full-page ad for an organization called Speak Up. It read:
The doors of the church are being bound. The growing intrusion of government into the affairs of the church poses a profound threat to church autonomy and even to our most basic religious liberties -- freedom of speech, freedom to exercise religious beliefs, and freedom of access. Pastors must be willing to speak up to reclaim and secure the right of the Church to be the Church.
It then gave its website link for people to visit.
I'm not sure what to make if this. I am a pastor, so they are speaking to me. They say I "must" speak up to secure the Church's rights. And yet my first thought on reading this was, "The Church's autonomy is being threatened? Should I care about this?"
It's not that I don't care at all, but I am much more concerned about the Church's purity and witness than I am about it's autonomy. And I could certainly be wrong, but it seems to me that the Church in America might not be so impotent and conformed to this world if its autonomy was threatened even more. I don't see government being the biggest threat to the Church; I think nominalism is by far the greater danger.
The more the Church is oppressed and hindered by the government, the more nominal, unregenerate Christians will be compelled to leave the Church, and thus the Church will be a more pure witness to our Savior and King, Jesus Christ.
But those are just my first thoughts. Leave a comment and help me to think it through some more...