As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
“Firmness, gentleness and humility” are needed, says Etienne Lhermenault, President of the National Council of Evangelicals in France.
Christians should have a clear voice in secular societies, but should keep their independent voice to be able to speak truth to power.
This is the message the President of the National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF), Etienne Lhermenault, shared with church leaders during the last General Assembly of the evangelical network.
In his speech “Prophetic interpellation, not the political power”, Lhermenault asked: “Should we say that the evolution of society is indifferent to us and that we have no role to play in it? I do not think so, but we should meditate on this warning from the Lord: ‘I send you as sheep among the wolves. Be careful as serpents and innocent as doves.’ (Mt 10:16).”
He continued: “In other words, the world to which the Lord sends us is dangerous and there are plenty of snares. I see one clearly emerging for world evangelicalism and to a lesser degree for French evangelicalism, that of the conquest of political power.”
It is “naïve” to think that “it would be enough for Christians to control the Supreme Court to change the face of a country in a lasting way” the CNEF Chair said. “Our struggle as a body of Christ is not to conquer political power, but to keep our hands free to assume our prophetic role in society.
Lhermenault called “to have the courage of truth and strive first to discern what is good, and then dare to expose our convictions peacefully and firmly.”
Christians in France should “resolutely take part in the collective debate (…) But our interventions cannot avoid the denunciation of the tragic reality of evil and the announcement of the judgment that comes (for example, James 5.1).”
“The exercise is obviously perilous and will surely win us solid enmities. For it to be truly effective, it will imply that we know how to combine firmness, gentleness and humility”, L’Hermenault said.