The western world is now ruled by a new ideology: political correctness. We’re told to watch our words closely, so we don’t offend anyone. No longer can we wish someone a “Merry Christmas,” wear fur, or criticize a lifestyle choice (in some countries that can get you arrested). We must tolerate other faiths, affirming the universality of their truth claims.
I’m okay with some of the tenets of political correctness. For example, we must continue to fight the pervasiveness of racism in our country. But at times I wonder if we’ve gone too far. The commercial above shows political correctness taken to its logical end.
But have you ever wondered how this ideology will affect us?
Join me today as we look at the original politically correct king—and how his inclusive practices affected his country.
INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS
1 Kings 14:1-15:24. Jeroboam became the prototype of an evil king, the anti-David or sorts. From his reign forward, prophets pointed to this leader as an example of what not to become.
The irony of chapter 14 is that by taking the life of Jeroboam’s son, God was taking away Israel’s one glimmer of hope.
On the Judah side, Rehoboam followed the example of his father Solomon by allowing the people to worship other gods. As a result, God sent Egypt to invade the country.
While reading, the phrase O how the mighty have fallen kept running through my head. Within 5 years of Solomon’s death, Egypt had ransacked the newly-built palace and temple. The deterioration of Judah took only 5 short years.
So what made Jeroboam more evil than Rehoboam? Jeroboam encouraged the people to worship other gods. Rehoboam allowed it to happen. “Judah did evil in the eyes of the Lord. By the sins they committed they stirred up his jealous anger more than their fathers had done” (1 Kings 14:22).
Acts 10:1-23. Peter’s vision—with confirmation by Cornelius—was a turning point in the history of the early church. Similar to Saul/Paul’s vision, the story is repeated several times in the book of Acts. Previous to this event, new Christian converts were taught how to live as good Jews. In other words, Gentile converts were taught to live as Jews in terms of their lifestyle, which included the narrow food restrictions.
The implication of this episode in Acts is enormous. Christianity was loosed from its Jewish cultural roots, freeing it to take on the characteristics of any culture. This is quite a divergence from other religions like Islam, which maintains that Arabic culture is the culture of its faith.
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THE WORD MADE FRESH
Rehoboam was the prototype of modern-day political correctness; he was the first inclusive king. In 1 Kings 15:3 we read the transgression of Rehoboam and his son Abijah: “[Abijah] committed all the sins his father had done before him; his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his forefather had been.” The father-and-son team made worshiping God a part of their lives, but he wasn’t the focal point of their lives.
Asa, on the other hand, followed in the footsteps of his great-great-grandfather David. He expelled the male shrine prostitutes and even removed his grandmother from her role as a spiritual influence.
As we read in the Insights and Explanations section, Jeroboam encouraged the worship of idols. Rehoboam, ever the inclusive king, allowed the worship of idols to take place. He was an equal opportunity worshipper.
I know this isn’t a politically correct statement to make, but the moment Jesus becomes a teacher, the moment Christianity becomes inclusive, it loses its power.
Why? Because our faith is built on the exclusiveness of Jesus. “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). Our faith isn’t built on the teachings of Jesus, it is built on Jesus.
When Jesus’ uniqueness—his role as the only son of God and savior of the world—becomes unimportant, our faith will disintegrate. Fortunately, God is greater than our misguided pursuits.
While the respect of other religions is extremely important and Jesus calls us to love everyone, he hasn’t called us to water down our beliefs so they are acceptable to the people around us.
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
When we forfeit our saltiness, we rob the gospel of its power.
- What spoke to you in today’s reading?
- How does political correctness help or hinder the way you live your faith?
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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado.