Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Christians and Politics

A friend of mine had a letter published in the Star Telegram. I thought it was so excellent I got permission to publish it here as well.

Columnist Cal Thomas appears to believe that Christians should abandon politics and instead be just about the business of doing "good works." (See: "Christians may have learned the most from the election," Nov. 9)

Even though some valid points were made, some of the opinions were, I believe, misguided.
Many Christians have an incomplete picture of God’s plan for his people in society. We stray from one extreme to the other: retreating or becoming like the culture.

Thomas’ answer is the former extreme: retreat — at least in politics. I heartily agree that Christians should do good works, but to abandon the institution of civil government that was established by God is not only unscriptural, but foolish.

"Are we to sit back and expect the ungodly to produce the fruits of godliness?," asked the Plymouth Rock Foundation. "That would not be faith, that would be folly. It would be handing the nation to humanism by default."

Does it not make sense that Christians would want civil government to be filled with godly men who understand godly principles?

There are reasons that some Christians do fail in politics and in efforts to transform government.
One is that they have little or no understanding of what God’s design for government is supposed to look like.

Secondly, we believe that we must vote for the lesser of two evils when it comes to choosing civil magistrates (i.e., president of the United States) instead of voting according to the clear qualifications in Scripture. We fail to realize that God can easily take care of the results when his people are obedient.

Thirdly, we, as Christians, must take back the authority of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation and understand that the word of God, in principle when not explicitly, is applicable to every area of life.

Finally, although not exhaustively, churches must stop worshipping at the altar of their 501(c)(3)’s and stand up and be heard. What a shame to us all that we too often fear to let our voices ring out today.

A clear reading of Scripture and knowledge of history leave no doubt that Christians should and must be involved in civil government in whatever capacity God calls them.

— Kerri Jackson


Wickle said...

Very well said.

I can understand Cal Thomas' cynicism. He's been right in the middle of efforts by the big names like Falwell, and he's seen the corruption everywhere.

We don't need to leave politics, but we have to get out of the game of politics. Uncompromising, loving, and whole-hearted commitment to our values is the way to go.

Great post.

Applied Christianity said...

Thanks Wickle. I can't take any credit though (except maybe for having good friends like Kerri Jackson).

Anonymous said...

I agree and disagree. That helps, doesn't it? :)
I just blogged about how God did *not* at all "invent" politics - we asked Him for it and He sadly conceded to us.
I'm debating voting in Jesus for president every election here on out.
(Plastic Politics)

(Book Review Jesus for President)

Raymond V Banner said...

This is not the first time I have read admonitions from Cal Thomas that appear to call on Christian conservatives to withdraw from politics. But is Cal Thomas being consistent with his own advice? I believe that Mr. Thomas still defines himself as a Christian and the occasional columns that I read under his byline can generally be classified as espousing conservative political philosophy.
Just this very evening I read in the November 17, 2008 issue of The Washington Times National Weekly a column in which Cal Thomas makes a reasoned political argument against a federal bailout of the American auto industry. Should Mr. Thomas follow whole heartedly his own advice, get out of his career as a political writer commentator and turn his attention to something more purely Christian in message and deed? Like fervent prayer for a great spiritual revival, personal evangelism, or doing deeds of Christian charity among the poor and downcast?
I would hope that he, myself and multitudes of other professing Christians might be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and have a dynamic impact for righteousness and good in our society that goes beyond mere politics. But meanwhile I am willing to assume that the political efforts of Cal Thomas in his profession as a political writer (from which I assume he makes a good salary) is a proper function for his life. Meanwhile, many lowly Christians
are making political and cultural and spiritual efforts as volunteers who are sacrificing their own time, energy, money and in some cases reputations and careers for causes they believe are right and important.

Whether it is an Old Testament Joseph and Daniel that are working within the political system or prophets like Elijah and Jeremiah
and John the Baptist that are calling down repentance and judgment on the system, there are certainly easier and more retiring ways to go through life.

Scott Weldon said...

I agree, especially regarding the "worship" of the tax exempt status. I told our church the Sunday before the election that if this exemption is all that stands in the way of our speaking out according to God's Word, then let's dump it! I'm not sure churches should have ever even gotten into the tax exempt business to begin with; just makes us beholden to the gov't.

Applied Christianity said...

Thanks for commenting everyone.

I am always glad to hear contrary oppinions as long as they are cordial. (Which of course you are.)

It seems that many evangelical leaders seem to have trouble putting their money where their mouth is.

I am honored to know (even via the internet) a church leader willing to advocate against 501(c)(3)s from the pulpit.