If you look at history, whenever the Church had the greatest impact on culture, they were not focused on affecting the culture. Instead, they focused on the mission of the Church: loving God and loving people. The gospel was shared, not as means for making a better society, but to cause dead people to find life.
When our primary focus is on passing laws or electing people who will make society a nicer place to live*, we have a misdirected focus. See, if tomorrow everyone in the nation suddenly started being nice to one another, we would certainly have created a more pleasant atmosphere, but the real war – the one for men’s souls – would still be raging underneath the veneer. If every politician, bureaucrat and lobbyist suddenly recognized the long-term moral and financial implications of their decisions, and then acted in accordance, the U.S. might be a better place to live, but the vast majority of its citizens would still be on a path to hell.
The early Church, though persecuted mercilessly, flourished under the oppressive hand of Nero. Christianity eventually was the most important factor in the radical culture change that took place. Yet, it didn’t happen by them fighting against Nero.
Or I think of the many stories from various nations that were a part of the Soviet Union, where Christianity had grown and blossomed, and ultimately helped cause the fall of the communist leadership. Consider that even today, the Church is flourishing in China. It will be of little surprise to me when the government topples – and it will topple at some point – not because Christians fight against Beijing’s leadership, but because the Lord has been quietly using His people to change the lives of the citizens.
What if we, as the Church, really had our primary focus where it should be?
*I am not suggesting that we should not be involved in politics. I am clearly stating that politics and/or cultural change should not be our primary emphasis.