Civil Government and Civic Engagement: A Worthy Calling

Here are some thoughts on yesterday’s elections that I posted on Crossroad Junctions’ Facebook page:

I don’t want a central government that promises to solve all my problems by demanding the power to run my life. Such utopian schemes always lead to intolerance and tyranny.

It's fun watching millennials finally figure out, just like us old farts did in our day, that liberalsim is very attractive ... until you actually have to live under it. ~ www.CrossroadJunction.coomInstead, I want a central government which insures that the foundations for a healthy society are strong, so I then can build the kind of life that God wants for me, my family, my church and the community where I live.

A central government that promises to solve all my problems is a government that seeks to usurp the rights and responsibilities God has given to individuals, the family, the church, local communities, and voluntary associations of folks working together to make their lives better.

Progressive Hypocrisy and Religious Liberty

“Progressive Christians” seem to think it’s fine for government to:

Ban street preachers from public places, because open evangelism is “offensive”.

muzzle

Intolerant “tolerance”

Bar side-walk counselors outside abortion clinics, because pro-life activists are “judgmental”.

Prohibit a fourth grader from reading her Bible in class, because she might become “close minded”.

Censure God from a valedictorian’s speech, because he can’t be “disrespectful” of other view points.

Force a bakery owner to cater homosexual weddings, because he’s an “intolerant” fundamentalist.

Compel an evangelical adoption agency to place babies with unmarried couples, because “discrimination” against other lifestyles is wrong.

Penalize churches that support marriage integrity referendums, because they’re engaged in “hate speech”.

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Liberty and Christian Cynicism

I applaud my brothers and sisters in Christ who stood firm in Ukraine against oppression and earned with their blood the right to now rebuild their nation.

Cynicism and retreat are popular today among some Christians who have never suffered national tyranny, corruption and malaise, but enjoy the ease of privileged comfort because of past sacrifices by others.

They have not earned the right to criticize those – in Ukraine or elsewhere – whose faith is big enough to redeem cultures, affirm virtue, and establish liberty.

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Christ is All

I came across this quote from professor Karen Swallow Prior:

“Christ belongs in places outside of my heart, too – indeed, in all places.”

god_loves_the_world

Christ is all, because He’s Lord of all.

 
Yes, indeed -

Over every square inch of creation…

Over all nations, societies and culture…

Over all spheres of human endeavor…

Christ now boldly proclaims “mine!”

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Breaking Out

What is the church and it’s purpose, what is God’s grand design, and what is our calling in Christ?

Talking about those questions often is muddled by all the either/or, false dichotomies touted by various voices in the Body of Christ who want:

  • the Living Word without the authority of His written Word
  • grace without transformation
  • relationship without discipleship
  • fellowship without accountability
  • favor without sacrifice

It often seems that these either/or false dichotomies are rooted in the prevailing existential, post-modern perspective of this age – which heavily influences many Christians and seems to stunt us from growing up and reaching out.

This produces a very self-content, “I’m OK, you’re OK” mentality that seldom breaks out of its insular cocoons.

With them, Jesus seems little more than a friend with benefits.

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The Cultural Implications of the Great Commission

The Cultural Implications of the Great Commission

Rob Moley, in his blog Restore the Word, wrote yesterday on “The Great Commission: Discipling Individuals or Nations?”.

In it, he says this about the Great Commission:

Rather than being a command to influence nations with the principles and truths of God’s kingdom, the logic of the command in Matt. 28:19-20 is to make disciples from every nation. Then, as ambassadors of God’s kingdom, these disciples are able to influence all aspects of society, and God willing, even disciple whole nations.

His point is that the Great Commission is about transforming individuals into disciples who obey all that Christ commands, who in turn transform the world around them.

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Election Postmortem

Election Postmortem

Leading up to Tuesday’s elections here in the United States, I often used this blog and Facebook to urge Christians to vote. (See Does Jesus Want You to Vote?)

When I did, I always got heated push back – mainly from other Christians who oppose Biblical civic engagement.

Generally, they think God is only interested our personal relationships with Him, or that He is solely focused on the Church.

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Intercession and Repentance

Our nation’s continuing moral and economic decline, and the growing malaise of our increasingly dysfunctional churches, has caused a renewed focus on intercessory prayer.

Heavy Lifting

Intercession without Repentance Is Not Effective

But intercession without transformational repentance – which Biblically involves changing the way we act by changing the way we think – is seldom effective.

While desperately seeking to touch the heart of God through intercession, few seem willing to do the concurrent hard work of understanding the mind of God. The challenges facing our nation, and our churches, require both.

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I Confess: I Ate at Chick-fil-A

It hasn’t taken long for the Christian postmodernists among us to start accusing their brothers and sisters in the Lord of bigotry, intolerance and hate simply for eating yesterday at Chick-fil-A.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve seen several blogs and related Facebook comments along those lines.

My Favorite Chick-fil-A Meal

Really? Bigotry, intolerance and hate? I saw no evidence of that yesterday.

Have some become so trapped in their postmodern sensibilities that it now is wrong to stand up in a civil, respectful manner against those who want to use the power of government to silence a man of faith – and block his businesses?

And his “sin”?

Simply this: Affirming his personal support of marriage as God has ordained it in His written Word, while nonetheless being open and embracing of all who patronize his establishments regardless of their sexual orientation or differing views.

Let’s get a grip, folks.

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The Transformational Power of the Cross

Yesterday was the 123rd anniversary of Hitler’s birth. The fact that we do not celebrate his birth or the evil he did is a testimony to those who gave their lives to stop him.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

One such man was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a brilliant theologian and humble pastor who wrote two of the great Christian classics of the twentieth century, The Cost of Discipleship and Life Together.

For Bonhoeffer, his faith was not just a private matter or limited only to the church. As he saw firsthand the horrors of Nazi Germany, he resolved to stop them and became involved in a plot to overthrow the government. The plot failed and Bonhoeffer was arrested. He eventually was martyred by Hitler, who imprisoned him in a German concentration camp and then hanged him.

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The Great Commission

The Great Commission

The newly touted idea that “ekklesia” (the Greek word translated “church” in the New Testament) and the Great Commission are at odds is itself odd.

Jesus told His disciples:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:18-20 ESV)

The Great Commission applies, according to Jesus’ own words, through the “end of the age”. Any theology or view of “ekklesia” which ignores or somehow discounts that reality – out of reaction to real wrongs like man-centered discipleship or overwhelming external agendas that suck the life out of a church – is fundamentally flawed.

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Does Jesus Want You to Vote?

I may be a citizen of the Kingdom of God, but the precinct where God has me live and vote is here in Virginia.

Because of my citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom…

Because the Lord rose triumphantly from the grave and declared that “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me”…

And because of His concurrent command in Matt. 28 to therefore go transform all “nations” (the Greek word is “ethne”, which actually means cultures)…

I take the time to understand the issues and the candidates – and then vote.

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We Have Met the Enemy

Losing Our Way

While killing time waiting for an Apple tech to look at my trouble-plagued iPhone, I browsed the racks at an adjacent bookstore.

There was a section for “Philosophy/Humor”.

That was bad enough to make me feel sorrow at our cultural malaise.

But then I saw the section “Faith/Self Help”.

Sigh …

Double sigh …

We have met the enemy, and it is us.

Herman Cain

Herman Cain

I’m a generally conservative Republican, so it pains me to see presidential candidate Herman Cain stumble. But even more so, I am appalled at the blogs and comments supporting Mr. Cain from folks who, I suspect, were on President Clinton like white on rice when allegations first surfaced about him.

Herman Cain

As Christians, we must speak truth to power, but with integrity and without applying double standards!

I’ve seen this same phenomena in pastoral sex abuse cases that I’ve handled. Folks will defend a pastor who – under the Biblical standard of two or three witnesses like we now have with Mr. Cain – is a confirmed sexual predator, simply because they like him or he helped them in the past. The fact is, sexual predators of all stripes are the most charming, charismatic, and capable people I’ve ever met!

Let me repeat that: Sexual predators are the MOST CHARMING, CHARISMATIC AND CAPABLE PEOPLE you, too, will ever meet.

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Reboot

God seems to be laying a foundation for yet another of His periodic, history-changing interventions in the affairs of man. Over the last two thousand years there have been many such paradigm shifts, and it’s naive to think that our current, settled status quo will somehow be exempt from the unsettling but progressive advance of His Kingdom.

Paradigm Shifts

This newest paradigm shift is starting with pioneers who realize that God’s primary goal in history is to change not only individuals but also whole cultures and nations — as per the Great Commission.

Likewise, as with all prior interventions in history, His will is being applied to more and more aspects of His creation here on earth, just as it is in heaven — as per the Lord’s Prayer.

We also are coming to realize that the Kingdom of God — His will being done on earth (including all spheres of human endeavor) as it is in heaven — is bigger than the church. Nonetheless, we are beginning to understand that His Kingdom is not going to advance much further unless the church re-discovers her New Testament roots.

Admittedly, there is comfort in the familiar status quo of “church” as we’ve all come to know it. Some, however, are so hungry for God’s Kingdom — as it continues to progressively advance through history — that they’re willing hit to the reboot button and look afresh at God’ s purposes.

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Fashionable Scorn

Fashionable Scorn

The following is an op-ed I wrote and the Baltimore Sun published on December 3, 1986. I was in my late twenties at that time and leading the main pro-life, pro-family organization in Maryland, which I started six years earlier and had over 15,000 active members with offices next to the General Assembly in Annapolis. I like to say I’m now a refugee from Maryland living the good life in Virginia. I no longer describe myself as “fundamentalist”, at least regarding my attitudes, even though I strongly adhere to the essentials of the faith.

I’m re-publishing the op-ed because it’s interesting to see how much has changed, yet how much remains the same!

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