Thursday, October 05, 2006

Political Involvement

In a comment last week to my piece on exporting red Christianity, Derek referenced the IRS action against All Saints in Pasadena in his question and then Buz reminded me that Jesus rebuffed his disciples for expecting HIM to lead a political revolution.

The number of Christians and their leaders who don’t seem to understand the role of citizens in government or the role of Christians as citizens is appalling to me. I don’t include Derek or Buz in this group, so I am thankful for their comments and the opportunity to address this issue.

Throughout my daily reading, there seems to be an overreaction to the overemphasis of politics by some Christian leaders during the last few decades. The current wind and the current consensus seems to be that Christian involvement in politics has been a failure and it is time to get back to preaching the Bible without any political overtones. I’ve been to plenty of Churches the last few years which could use a dose of good Bible teaching, but I don’t think the Bible can be taught effectively without contemporary and relevant applications. Without appropriate applications of Biblical principles, a sermon would just be a history lesson.

Removing politics from the list of appropriate applications of Biblical principles is a misunderstanding of the Bible and American politics. Citizens of American, especially those of us who area also citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, do not have the liberty to stick our head in the sand like an ostrich and hope for the best. A turtle can withdraw to its shell, a Buddhist can sit in the corner and meditate, but a Christian is obligated to salt the earth. Salting the earth means involvement with society and involvement in making, changing, and enforcing the rules and regulations of our society. Citizens of the Kingdom of heaven must provide the salt because those who aren’t citizens of the Kingdom of heaven will be adding all kinds of other ingredients, most of which will have the opposite affect of salt.

The amount of involvement of the Church and the amount of involvement of the individual Christian in politics should be proportionate to the amount of involvement of government in the lives of believers. Smaller government would mean less involvement while larger government means greater involvement. Once again, the relationship between faith in God and freedom is obvious to those with eyes to see. Blue States with a lower percentage of believers like California, New York, and Massachusetts have high tax burdens and regulations compared to Red states like Texas and Utah with a higher percentage of believers and lower tax burdens and regulations.

I don’t agree at all with the message that was preached at All Saints in Pasadena which led to the trouble with the IRS. In fact, I may have more in common with Martians than I do with the members of that Church, but I do think it is the obligation of Pastors to include politics in a sermon when appropriate. I have nothing but contempt for any Pastor who would place their tax exemption above salting the earth.

3 comments:

William Taylor Sr said...

True Christians

Their need to be a biblical clarification of a true Christian since this title is so loosely used these days by, Mormons, Catholics, Jehovah Witnesses, Conservatives, Liberals, Modernists, Progressives, Calvinist, Armenian, Baptist, Charismatic, Reformed, Pentecostal, Masons, Shriners, New Age (Christ conscience), 7th Day Adventists, Sinners, you name it.

According to the Holy Scriptures there is only one voice that speaks the truth about Christianity, Jesus Christ the Messiah. All true followers (disciples) of Jesus speak the same thing he does. All other voices that proclaim to speak for Christianity are either another gospel, another Jesus, or another spirit. Jesus said in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If I may use the words of Adam Clarke commentary on this verse:

I am the Way - That leads so the Father: - the Truth that teaches the knowledge of God, and directs in the way: - the Life that animates all those who seek and serve him, and which is to be enjoyed eternally at the end of the way.

Christ is the Way:

By his doctrine, John_6:68.
By his example, Peter_1:21.
By his sacrifice, Heb_9:8, Heb_9:9.
By his Spirit, John_16:13.

He is the Truth:

In opposition to all false religions.
To the Mosaic law, which was only the shadow, not the truth or substance, of the good things which were to come. And
In respect to all the promises of God, 2Co_1:20.

He is the Life, both in grace and glory; the life that not only saves from death, but also destroys it. No man cometh unto the Father - By any other doctrine, by any other merit, or by any other intercession than mine.

Which brings me to my point and main comment: Who are "true Christians"? Many who are said to be Christians or call themselves Christians, or answer to the name of Christians are not “truly” Christians? Lets look to the Holy Scriptures for this most important answer for the Word of God has the answer to every question.

The Word of God says:

2Timothy 3:16-17: All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
2Peter 1:20-21: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.


The first mention of Christian in the scriptures is found in Acts 11:26; and when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.

In the original Greek it is: Christianos; that is follower of Christ: a disciple (pupil).

In order to follow Jesus Christ in His Kingdom a person MUST be born-again. Jesus said except a man is born-again he cannot see the kingdom of God. Being born again is a supernatural act performed by the Spirit of God. This takes place when a person submits to the drawing of the Holy Spirit, repent (turn from sin) and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ confess it with there mouth believe it in their heart, begin to rely on, trust in and have faith in the Lord God from then on.

This born-again Christian now relies on the Holy Spirit to teach and guide him/her in all truth as they begin to renounce self-dependence, and selfish pursuits; they deny themselves for the Gospel sake. They actually imitate Christ, being transformed to his image in word and deeds. Jesus declared that those who do the will of His Father, which is in heaven, are His.


Mark 8:34: And when he had called the people unto Him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Luke 9:23: And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

Luke 14:27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.


The “truly” born-again Christians follows Jesus who said: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. We live by the laws of God kingdom not this earthly kingdom. We love our enemy even to our own detriment even death. We love our brothers (these are those who do the will of the Father); we love our neighbors (who ever they may be). We bless them which persecute us, we bless and curse not, we recompense to no man evil for evil, we provide things honest in the sight of all men, we avenge not ourselves, but rather give place unto wrath, if our enemy hunger we feed him; if he thirst we give him drink, we overcome evil with good. (Note: the above does not neglect the commands from scripture to reprove, rebuke and expose sin and wickedness all in love of truth for the saving of souls: Luke 17:3, 1 Timothy 5:20, 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:13, and 2 Timothy 2:15).

“True” Christians look for a city, which hath foundations, whose builder, and maker is God. Now being fully persuaded to be a doer of the word of God by literally doing what Jesus said do.

There are many that confess to be Christians throughout history and even down to the present day that engaged in bloody wars of conquest, slavery, the Holocaust and cruel exploitation of the poor. The truth is they are not followers of the Jesus Christ of the Holy Scriptures. They are not” true” Christians they are hypocrites (pretenders) whom Jesus refers to in Matthew 7:21-23: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?

This earthly kingdom is not ours the same as it was not our Lord Jesus Christ when He walked this earth. Jesus utmost concerns were not political and economical issues during His ministry here on earth and shouldn't be ours either. His concern was His everlasting kingdom being established and manifested to his subjects now whereby we may by His grace and tender mercies serve Him here and forevermore. Our duty is to pray for those in authority of this earthly kingdom regardless of who they are: that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour. The Sovereign God gives kingdoms to even the abase of men for His Sovereign purpose. The Holy Scriptures declare that God is the origin of power, and the supreme Governor of the universe, he delegates authority to whomsoever he will; and though in many cases the governor himself may not be of God.

We that are "truly" born-again are to take up our cross daily fulfill the great commission. Preach the gospel in order that some men would repent, believe and be saved from an eternal hellfire. Be a doer of the WORDS of Jesus looking for and awaiting the new heaven and new earth. As we go forth we always keep in mind that the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us, which are saved, it is the power of God. We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

Beware of those who claim to be Christians but follow another Jesus, another spirit, and another gospel as the Apostle Paul was referring to in 2 Corinthians11: 4.


By, William Taylor Sr.
Bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ
www.actioncross.net



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David M. Smith said...

OK, Mr. Taylor.

Are you responding to something I wrote?

Is there something you wanted to discuss?

Or was this just a surf by Gospel tract?

I mostly agree with you, but I’m not really sure why you posted as a comment on my site. It seems very heavy handed and somewhat misguided because it is not the type of comment that allows for discussion.

Do you think others who don’t even know you are persuaded by such methods?

Buz said...

David,

I think there is a very fine line between preaching truth as it applies to our lives and preaching politics from the pulpit.

I strongly believe that it is the responsibility of the pastor to preach the word of God into our lives. Part of that is the practical aspects of how we have to live a Holy and righteous life every day. And how we need to be the salt of the earth.

Certainly a part of that salt is political action. Which not only includes voting, but which may also include PEACEFUL protest in some cases. But, those things are on the basis of God's movement in your life. If the pastor helps you to realize that eating at MacDonald's is a sin (just an outrageous example). Then for some that will mean that they quit eating there. For others it may mean that they write letters to the head of MacDonald's denouncing Quarter Pounders or Big Macs. Still others may be lead to picket and blockade MacDonald's, to the point of being haulded off to jail.

But each of those is taking his individual actions based on what the Lord has put in his heart. I strongly DISAGREE with the pastor saying that MacDonald's is sinfull, we should form a circle around the local one and scream and shout to drive away all the customers. At that point, the pastor, not God, has taken over the political action he wants to see.

Closer to home example: if my pastor wants to preach that homosexuality is condemned in the bible, and that we should pray for those trapped in a homosexual lifestyle, fine. Again, that is his job. But if he says, "vote against proposition 9B because it promotes the homosexual lifestyle", he has gone too far. If he personally wants to vote against it, that is his perogative, but he is overstepping the his authority to come out and tell people how to vote.

I realize that it is common to have certain religious leaders tell their congregations how to vote. It is also common to have some political leaders stand before the pulpit and spew their political views all over the congregation. I believe that in both cases they will face severe discipline for wasting the holy authority of the church for such mundane purposes (which is also why I bucked against your suggestion to spread the "red gospel"). I don't want to be the one to stand before God and try to explain why hundreds of people are going to hell because when they came to HIS church to hear HIS word, they instead heard the word of someone trying to divert their attention from the heavenly savior to an earthly man who says that HE can save them from all the bad stuff in their lives if they will just vote for him.

I don't even want to be in the same room when that crap hits the fan.

Buz