Prophet or Evangelist?
“At what point would you "boycott" these corporations like Walmart, target, Disneyland for their ideologies of abortion, transgenderism and other things we Christian's stand against. Where do we draw the line between "living in the world but not of it" without being contributing to their agendas or being complicit?”
Such a great question, and so nuanced. I think the best place to start as we look to answer this question is to ask ourselves, “What is the role of the Christian in the world?”
For some christians we figure our primary role is to be the “prophet”. When we look throughout the Old Testament to the prophets, people like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, etc…, we see this message, “turn to the Lord”. They explain to others, “the day of the Lord is at hand”. They speak for God, and announce God’s coming wrath.
If this is how we see our roles as christians, then we should be doing and saying the same things. Our goal then becomes to warn others about the coming “day of judgement”. If this is our view of ourselves, then, yes, I believe we should get our signs and stand at the city gates declaring the wrath of God on the world.
On the other hand, if we believe our role as christians is to be the “evangelists”, well that looks different. An evangelist is someone “who spreads the gospel of Jesus Christ”. For example, John (an apostle and writer of 5 New Testament books), is regarded in some traditions as “John The Evangelist”.
Now, for us who see the christian role as primarily as an evangelist, our goal is simple, preach the gospel. Tell as many people as possible about who Jesus is, and what he came to do.
It would be amazing if we fit right into one box or the other, but the truth is most of us would be in the middle of this Venn diagram.
Understanding all this, and wrestling through the implications of knowing differences in role, the question now should move to, but what about what I asked?
Well there are really two different parts to the answer. The first part would be dealing with corporations. With companies like Walmart, Disney, Netflix, etc….we should allow our convictions as christians to lead the way. For example, my family canceled our Netflix subscription when they started producing shows like “cuties”. Once the programming became more than what I wanted to expose my children, or self to, we walked away from it.
Now, do I think Netflix is hurting because my $14.99/month is gone? Probably not. I only give this example because here we are not dealing with people, but corporations. In light of this, canceling my subscription allowed me the opportunity to have conversations with others about why I canceled my subscription. People would no doubt ask if I have seen a show, think Stranger Things, and I would explain, "I don’t have Netflix". Then they would ask “why not?”, and this was always my opportunity to be a light in the darkness.
I say that to move to this point, my goal is always “seeking what is lost”. If we look throughout the gospels how many times does Jesus rebuke the lost? In Matthew 17 we see Jesus rebuke the devil, In Luke 9 Jesus rebukes His disciples, in Luke 11 (among so many other places) Jesus rebukes the Scribes and Pharisees, but how many times does Jesus unleash on the lost?
The reason I ask this, is we should have the same heart for the lost Jesus does.
I am in no way saying do not call people to repentance. Sin is a terrible thing. Our sin is what caused Jesus to go to the cross, our sin is why Jesus had to die. Because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). However, Jesus didn’t show up here in the flesh and start calling out everyone’s sin. Jesus met people where they were.
When Jesus meets the woman caught in adultery (John 8), she is naked caught in adultery. Jesus didn’t look at her and say, “Whoring around like this will send you to hell!” Jesus showed her grace and mercy. Jesus showed her she is not her sin, and there is "no condemnation for those found in Christ” (Romans 8:1). Jesus was serious about saving the lost. That is what He came to do (Luke 19:10)
Now, Jesus does rebuke people throughout the Bible. As stated previous, Jesus rebukes His disciples, the religious groups, and the devil. Once Jesus even rebuked one of His disciples, calling Peter the devil! (Matthew 16). Therefore, who should we be rebuking? Our brothers and sisters in Christ. Those who should know better. Those who know the law, and choose to not follow it.
Now, as far as “being in the world but not of it”. What Jesus is referring to in John 17 is the same reason He called Israel to be separate from the world. Jesus in Matthew 5 tells his disciples, be a light in the dark, be a city on a hill”. Jesus calls His followers to be different.
To look different, to speak different, to sound different.
We are called to stand in contrast to the world. Does this mean cancelling subscriptions, yes. Does this mean not going to see movies produced by certain companies, yes. Does this mean not visiting certain theme parks, yes. Does this mean not shopping at certain stores, yes.
As far as where do we specifically draw the line? Well, this answer isn’t as cut and dry as the others. In 1 Corinthians 10, Paul states this, “all things are lawful, but not all things help”. He continues going it is ok for those who have been set free by Jesus to eat food sacrificed to idols. Because it is not what goes in that defiles a man (Mark 7:15)
Paul would finish this by saying, “so whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
The reason this question is more complicated to answer is this, it depends. In 1 Corinthians 10:33 Paul says, “just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.” Paul knows his limits, but he also knows the value of people being saved. Therefore, Paul knows he could eat food sacrificed to idols, knowing it is going to give him the opportunity to preach the gospel.
So where is the line, well that depends on you. Should there be christians at certain stores to be a light to those people, yes. Should there be christians visiting/working at certain theme parks to be a light to those people, yes. Should there be people that go see certain movies to be a light to those people, yes.
It is the Spirit that convicts the world of sin, not us. The question is this, how can we be a light in the dark, if we never go where it is dark? How can Jesus be called a friend of sinners, but we avoid sinners like the plague? Paul words this perfectly in Romans 10:14, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?”
Where is line? I say lines shouldn’t exist when it comes to reaching the lost. Use wisdom though, if you are a recovering alcoholic, then Jesus isn’t giving you the opportunity to go into the bars to reach the lost. But we shouldn’t rule out a place, unless the Spirit and wisdom rule it out for us.
Our goal is not to bring forth God’s wrath, His wrath was poured out on the cross of Jesus. Our mission is simple, seek and save what is lost.
"Father God we ask that you continually push us into your harvest. That Jesus we follow after the example you gave. That our hearts break for those who are lost, who are dead in their trespass and sin. That we see the world through your eyes, with your mercy, and your grace. Father we ask that you ignite in our hearts a desire to reach people for your glory. To talk with our neighbors, coworkers, friends, family, people at the store, that Father you place us on mission. Father we pray your Spirit move in the hearts of those we come in contact with, and Father we pray to make you known. We pray all this in Jesus name, Amen."
I hope this sufficiently answered your question, but if not let me know! I know there is so much more to go over, but go through all the scriptures listed and let me know if there is anything else I can do.
We thank you, we love you, and we can’t do this without you.