Apologetics Pulpits and Pastors

Published on October 2nd, 2012 | by Gary DeMar

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Are Pastors Finally Getting the Message about Politics?

In 2000, John MacArthur wrote a book with the title Why Government Can’t Save You.(1) When this book first appeared, I wrote that I didn’t know any Christians who believed government can or should save us. The subtitle led the reader to believe that getting involved politically was not an option for Christians. The book proposed to offer An Alternative to Political Activism.

While MacArthur did not “believe we should remove ourselves from the political process,” he did object to “the prevailing mindset that makes political and social activism the primary business of Christianity and reduces faith in Christ to just another political force.” If that’s the nature of today’s Christian political activism, then I will join MacArthur in opposing it, but that’s not why Christians are involved in politics.

MacArthur creates an either/or option for Christians: It’s either evangelism or political activism. Let’s position his argument using some analogies:

  • It’s either evangelism or changing the tax structure to put more money in the hands of consumers.
  • It’s either evangelism or working to overturn laws supporting slavery and racial discrimination.
  • It’s either evangelism or working to change laws that allow a woman to kill her preborn baby.
  • It’s either evangelism or stopping laws legalizing homosexual marriages.

Neither the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37) nor James (James 2:14–26), the brother of Jesus, made such a dichotomy. Our faith should manifest good works. If people are being hurt by bad governmental policies, we are obligated to work to change them. If people are being enslaved by programs promoting dependency and pre-born babies are being killed by the legalization of abortion, how can any Christian say we shouldn’t be involved in politics?

Why can’t we do evangelism and be politically active? We do evangelism and work. We do evangelism and educate our children. We do evangelism and a lot of things, so why not evangelism and politics, especially since the Bible describes a civil governor as “a minister of God” (Rom. 13:4)?

Isn’t part of the discipleship process teaching new Christians “the whole purpose of God” (Acts 20:27)? MacArthur writes that “believers are certainly not prohibited from being directly involved in government as civil servants, as some notable examples in the Old and New Testaments illustrate. Joseph and Daniel in Babylon are two excellent models of servants God used in top governmental positions to further His kingdom.”(2)

Pastor MacArthur is still uneasy about promoting politics as a Christian necessity. You can tell when he says that “believers are certainly not prohibited from being directly involved in government as civil servants.” The Bible requires Christians to be involved in every area of life, and that includes politics, because politics is about good and evil.

“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil” (Rom. 13:3–4).

How do rulers determine what’s good and evil so they can effectively “minister”?

Since writing Why Government Can’t Save Us more than 12 years ago, it seems that Pastor MacArthur has been more outspoken on what is going on politically. Consider the following brief introduction to a four-minute clip from Pastor MacArthur’s September 16, 2012 message titled “Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality” that’s posted on the Grace to You website. You can read and/or listen to the entire sermon here:

“If you’ve followed John MacArthur’s teaching for any length of time, you know he rarely says much about politics, culture, or society.

“It’s not that he’s uninformed on those topics. It’s that they’re often an intrusion upon the teaching of God’s Word. Evangelical Christians are already too easily distracted from the Great Commission in order to engage in partisan politics. Our corrupt culture will not be transformed for the better by political movements or pop culture anyway. That is the work of God’s Word — the gospel in particular. That’s what our ministry is devoted to (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:1–5).

“In this current campaign season, however, politicians have stepped — overstepped — into spiritual and moral areas, promoting horrific wickedness and blasphemous immorality.

“As John MacArthur made clear on a recent Sunday morning, these are not areas where God’s Word is silent or ambiguous.”

You can tell from the above that the folks at Grace to You are jumpy about the whole political thing. While Pastor MacArthur is said to be informed on politics, culture, and society, he rarely discusses them because “they’re often an intrusion upon the teaching of God’s Word.” It’s hard to imagine that anyone who is familiar with all of God’s Word would write such a thing. All one has to do is read Isaiah through Malachi to know that the prophets spoke almost exclusively about politics, culture, and society in terms of God’s law.

So for all the schizophrenia at Grace To You and their reluctance to come right out and say that the Bible has a great deal to say about worldview issues, Pastor MacArthur does a good job in evaluating the current state of politics.

The following is from the four-minute audio clip that was mentioned above. It’s quite good, although there is no action directive:

“While we were gone the last couple of weeks, we were exposed to the two conventions that were held: the Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention. And I know that politics is the topic among many people today, and I suppose that’s natural since it is such a huge part of media exposure. And as you know, I’m not one to talk about politics as such, but I was essentially amazed that one of the historic parties here in the United States adopted the sins of Romans 1 as their platform. This is a new day in our country. Parties which used to differ on economics now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.

“In an ideal situation, their platform would mean that the government passes out condoms so people can fornicate at will. For those who happen to get pregnant in the process, platform advocates that you kill the baby at the will of the mother, up and including the ninth month.

“At the same time, it advocates a homosexual marriage, which is an oxymoron, an utter impossibility, and a gross violation of the law of God. And then to add to that, the murder of abortion, and then a platform originally leaving God out. All of that’s Romans 1. Romans 1 says God will judge, God has judged throughout human history, nations that experience sexual freedom. Romans chapter 1 lays that out clearly: the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those who advocate sexual freedom, sexual conduct outside of marriage. And that’s an indication of the demise of a nation.

“And then Romans 1 also says that God will judge those nations that advocate homosexual behavior, men with men, women with women, doing what is unnatural. They are also haters of God, haters of God — leaving God out, advocating abortion, advocating homosexuality, advocating free sexual conduct and government-provided condoms so that everybody can do what they want. That is literally creating a platform out of what God hates.

“This is not about politics, although there are things we could talk about. You’re not voting for a pastor, you’re not voting for a spiritual leader, you’re voting for someone who has some sense of morality. Since the Bible says that the role of government is to punish evil doers and protect the good, you better have somebody in power who understands what is good and what is evil. And if you think homosexuality, abortion, sexual freedom, hating God are not evil, then you better go back and check your Bible again. How can people with that kind of agenda protect those who do good and punish those who do evil? That’s Romans 13’s definition of the role of government. We could talk about foreign policies, should we protect as many defenseless people from evil aggressors as possible? We could talk about economics, Is it right to get into irreparable debt? Is that responsibility? We could talk about that.

“We could talk about the economics of if you don’t work, you don’t eat, which is what the Bible says. But those things are not what concern me. And I’ve seen something happen in these conventions that is just stunning — the adaptation of a Romans 1 platform, sexual freedom, homosexuality on an equal level with marriage, the murder of infants, and the elimination of God.

“And by the way, I didn’t like it any better when they put God back in because that’s blasphemy. To connect God with that agenda is a horror, it’s a horror. It’s taking His name in vain. In fact, I don’t think God should be in either agenda (applause). But when you have an advocacy of support for the slaughter of infants and homosexuality, complete sexual freedom, you have a formula for divine judgment. If we have any sense of justice, if we have any sense of righteousness, if we want to make a little bit of a voice heard about what is right and about the role of government being to punish evil doers and protect the people who do right, then we better step up. I’m not sure what God has in the future, but I do know we can take His side and give Him honor.

“To me it is ironic that those who pride themselves on defending the rights of the weak, murder them in the womb when they are the most weak. What kind of hypocrisy is that? Self-congratulating pseudo-humanitarians advocate a deadly force of violence unleashed against infants that makes the Nazi Holocaust look mild by comparison. In our world, we’re slaughtering between fifty and sixty million babies a year. In the United States on record is 1.5 million abortions a year. Every third baby conceived is murdered in the womb. Four thousand a day plus, 170 an hour — Planned Parenthood alone kills one every ninety-five seconds.”

The following week Pastor MacArthur had to answer an objection that is common in Christian circles:

“I know from last week’s message that there was some response from people who said, ‘Why are you getting political?’ Romans 1 is not politics. The Bible is not politics. This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with speaking the Word of God through the culture in which we live. It has nothing to do with politics.”

Here we see Pastor MacArthur trying to mollify long-held theological concerns that are typical of dispensationalists. As much as Pastor MacArthur wants to deny it, Romans 1 is about politics if politicians are passing laws promoting and sanctioning homosexual marriage and abortion on demand. The Bible is about politics if politicians pass laws that debase our currency (Isa. 1:22). The Bible specifically singles out “rulers” (v. 23) since they have control of the money supply.

Pastors shouldn’t be afraid to mention politics. If Christians have an aversion to the word “politics,” then use “civil government” which is a God-ordained parallel government with “ecclesiastical (church) government.” God designed both of them to have limited jurisdictional authority.

Pastor MacArthur is caught between a rock and a hard place. He knows the Bible addresses these issues, but he’s reluctant to address them because it sounds like the “social gospel,” and the “social gospel” leads, some will argue, to liberalism. This is nonsense. I won’t take the time here to discuss the many objections that Christians have for not getting involved socially, politically, and culturally. I’ve done it already in my book Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: How Misreading the Bible Neutralizes Christians and Empowers Liberals, Secularists, and Atheists.

Pastor MacArthur won’t be able to “halt between two opinions” much longer. In fact, his two sermons indicate that he has hopped the fence and joined with those of us who have been teaching that even politics — civil government — is under God’s government and needs to be addressed.

I applaud Pastor MacArthur for treading on unfamiliar ground. We’re all better for it.

Endnotes:

  1. John MacArthur, Why Government Can’t Save You: An Alternative to Political Activism (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, 2000).()
  2. MacArthur, Why Government Can’t Save You, 8–9.()
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About the Author

Gary is a graduate of Western Michigan University (1973) and earned his M.Div. at Reformed Theological Seminary in 1979. He is the author of countless essays, news articles, and more than 27 book titles, His most recent book is Exposing the Real Last Days Scoffers. Gary lives in Marietta, Georgia, with his wife, Carol. They have two married sons and four grandchildren, Gary and Carol are members of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA).



34 Responses to Are Pastors Finally Getting the Message about Politics?

  1. Seth Keshel says:

    The fact remains that approximately half of Christians in this country didn’t vote in 2008. All of the blame lies on our shoulders for not doing our duty as citizens for many years now. Another thing that bothers me is when people thumb their noses at candidates and proclaim “the lesser of two evils” arguments or refuse to vote altogether. Yes, Ron Paul has great ideas, but he’s not going to win this election. What is the point of writing him in if only Romney or Obama have a chance to win the election? Thankfully, I feel very comfortable that Romney will win this election and that we will start to recover as a nation. In fact, I believe that a national recovery of sorts is already underway in the hearts of good people being awakened by the social chaos around us. It just may take years to see a measurement of this.

    • Arrow says:

      Worse than the fact that many Christians do not vote is the fact that most of them vote for humanists and committed socialists like Mitt Romney. Here are his positions, after seeing them, tell me why you think his presidency would cause us to recover:

      1. Expanding size and cost of government. His proposals will continue to balloon the federal monster. Paul Ryan’s budget plan INCREASES the budget by $1.3 TRILLION (T…TRILLION).

      2. Romney has every intention of fully socializing medicine. He has said so. “Repealing Obamacare” is doubletalk for people stupid enough to want to believe anything that the Republican party establishment says.

      3. Romney and Ryan were BOTH FOR the bailouts, with Ryan voting for them and pushing for them in congress.

      4. Romney says he would have signed the NDAA, which tramples the most basic liberties that are supposed to be protected by the Constitution.

      5. Romney has NOTHING to say about the problem of fiat money creation by the Fed. Of course not, he is one of those posing as “capitalists” who made themselves righ by manipulating fiat debt, producing nothing of value.

      6. Romney has NO plan of which I am aware, to do ANYTHING about abortion…just like Bush. Meanwhile the slaughter continues.

      And you say that he will win and things will get straightened out???

      I think neither is the case…he will lose, and neither he nor Obama, whose policies I have outlined above, will fix anything.

      • Seth Keshel says:

        So what’s Gary Johnson gonna do about all of those things when he’s somehow elected by 2% of the voters?

      • Arrow says:

        You made a completely inaccurate statement;

        I challenged it with specific evidence;

        You changed the subject without first either defending your statement or acknowledging that it was wrong.

        First, address my points, then I will answer your new question.

      • Seth says:

        Arrow,

        As much as I appreciate someone under an alias writing rude and imposing e-mails from behind a keyboard, I’ll still respond to you. I will be voting for Romney not because I think he’s perfect, or even great, but because he’s not Barack Obama. Obama’s plan for America is a disastrous and treasonous plan. When a platoon leader with a record similar to his is evaluated, he will always be replaced, regardless of the expectations on the incoming officer. You’ve got to get someone new in there. His plans will really impact the military, hurt business owners, unfairly tax our top earners, and shrink our influence in the world. Besides, we’re talking about someone that is a Romans 1 guy like described in the article with his views on twisted marriage and abortion.

        As the armchair politician that you obviously are, I’m sure you’ve believed that none of the presidents in recent memory were worthy of the office. This is the problem, and it is also the reason that I brought up Gary Johnson. Your choice is between Romney and Obama. On January 21, one of those two men will begin a four-year term as President. Our ability to impact this election directly comes down to one single vote. I believe a third-party vote is a wasted vote.

        Because this site shows a libertarian lean, I figured you were one of those disciples. You specifically brought up abortion: Johnson is pro-choice. He has no plan to impact that battleground either. I’ll tell you who is pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-values- that was Rick Santorum. By expressing any support for him, you get the same beatdowns from guys like you who are above voting for any valid candidates. I’m not saying that libertarians aren’t part of our future. I hope they are- but in 2012, they are not going to impact this election unless they vote for someone who can actually win.

        What is your solution? Are you going to sit at home and complain about America’s state for the next 4 years by not voting or by throwing your vote away?

      • Arrow says:

        Well Seth, you have provided some snarky comments, yet still have avoided addressing the points that I made about Romney. Why do you try to make this about me? I’m nobody, I’m just putting forth ideas that I wish you would address. I made points and asked you to address them. You didn’t; you can’t, I don’t think.

        So instead you throw out a bunch of nonsense about “platoon leaders”, and such.

        You have clearly stated, though, that the reason you are voting for Romney is because he’s not Barack Obama. Where did you come up with such high standards? No wonder we are losing our nation, when people have no higher standards than “he’s not Barack Obama”.

      • Seth says:

        Arrow,

        If you want to continue to discussion, first initial plus last name at gmail.com

        Thanks

  2. Dr. Duckenheimer says:

    While he bashes one group for being blasphemous because they’re confused and incompetent on their stances towards God, the other party tries to portray, itself, as a god. I wonder why he ignored, or maybe he just didn’t catch it, the whole American Exceptionalism thing, which in this context goes beyond just the meaning of the word. For, haven’t we all fallen short of the glory of……exceptional? Just like Mr. MacArthur likes to point out about Christianity 101 every Sunday or every time he speaks. I guess some blasphemy can be ignored?

    • Arrow says:

      The American exceptionalism thing is over his head, I think. He would likely be among those calling you un-patriotic for questioning it.

    • You are exceptional, because you are a Christian. This is not boasting; it is confidence in God. America is exceptional as long as it is the home of Christian people. Of course, if non-believers occupy and rule this land, we can no longer talk about American exceptionalism.
      “We all fall short.” True. But a Christian is not exceptional because he is better than other people, but because he is directed by a better worldview. In politics, we cannot expect perfection, because “we all fall short.” But we don’t want legislation contradicting Christian values. We want politicians friendly to Christianity. This is not too much to ask; is it?

      • Arrow says:

        “This is not too much to ask; is it?”

        No, but it is apparently too much for most Christians to vote for.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        Exceptional because you’re Christian and American Exceptionalism are two different things. Especially, when considering that at the RNC, they were not talking biblical law or principles; they were talking of something else. That something else was to expand the state. In fact, they had no interests in God.

        As for our country can only be exceptional when Christians are in office, then how can our country be just that when we vote for a Mormon? For that matter, how can it be right for them to speak being exceptional as a nation when they are promoting a non-Christian?

    • The RNC did not create American Exceptionalism. Even so, it recognizes that this country is exceptional, and its stated goal is to preserve the value system that made this country great. This is conservatism, and it includes preserving the general principles of Christianity. However, the Founding Fathers clearly stated that they were against the idea of a State Church, and the civil government must not prefer any one denomination over the others. Hence, we can vote for a Mormon.

      If Jesus was willing to compromise with a “Mormon,” why shouldn’t we? (Mark 9:38- 40, Luke 9:49, 50) “For he who is not against us is on our side.” In my opinion, he, whose policy it is to kill babies, he, who destroys the holiness of the family and promotes envy and animosity between different classes and races, is like a demon. Mormons don’t do these things.

      About the RNC (and DNC, for that matter), people make up political parties. If Christians want more Christian politics, they should “infiltrate” the political parties. If you are one of those who would like to create a powerful third party, maybe you will, eventually. But you won’t be able to do it in a few days, and this is no good reason to stand in the background and watch the destruction of this country.

  3. The Bible, the founding fathers, common sense and current events
    all dictate that Christians (who understand our Constitution and
    have the courage to stand up for what is right) should seek and be
    elected to political office. For more information please go to
    http://www.revivalseminar.org Lesson 3. Thank you.

  4. Should Christians be involved in politics?
    Let’s clarify something.
    Who decides what a political issue is? The government. If, for instance, homosexuality concerns the government, it becomes a political issue. If eating vegetables concerns the government, it becomes a political issue. Since our government decided to intrude in all areas of our lives, everything became a political issue. We are involved in politics whether we like it or not.

    But some say, the first Christians were not involved in politics! Then why did the authorities persecute them? Because they did not worship the Emperor. Was this a religious issue? Maybe the Christians thought so, but this was not the opinion of the magistrates. They thought refusing to sacrifice on the altar of the Emperor was treasonous. If the government decides that religious worship is a political issue, then it is. The only way we can prevent this is to get involved in electing the government. (The first Christians did not have this privilege.)

    In recent years, the government authority increasingly usurps the jurisdictions belonging to the family and religion. Let’s take the most important issue, education. Who decided that education is no longer a religious matter? The government. Now, religious people should not even speak out on the education of their children, because it is “politics.” Let’s speak about welfare. Let’s speak about business. Let’s speak about the direction of popular culture. One by one, the government took over the duties and responsibilities formerly belonging to the Churches and the family. Whatever the Pastor or Minister speaks about these days involves “politics,” because the government decided that it is politics.

    But some say only one thing is needed; Christians should be concerned about salvation. In my opinion, none of us go to heaven if we let our country sink back to the pre-Christian era.

    • Len says:

      “In my opinion, none of us go to heaven if we let our country sink back to the pre-Christian era.”

      Maria,

      Since when does my salvation depend upon how Godless America might become? I thought my salvationwas secured by Christ Himself, notthe spiritual condition of whatever country Imight be living in.

      Hopefullyyou don’t actually believe what yu said here!

      • Len,
        You ask, “Since when does my salvation depend upon how Godless America might become?” Ever since Jesus Christ told you to spread the Gospel. But then, maybe you are not called yet. You know the truth in your heart.

        If you have children and you care for them, you don’t want to throw them into a cesspool and let them struggle with the filth on their own. To come to think of it, I’m sure; you don’t want to throw your neighbors’ children there either!

        Christianity is destined to spread and grow. Certainly, we can function under persecution; history proved that. But we don’t think that martyrdom is the goal in itself, and we don’t want to change America to a Pagan, Atheist, and/or Muslim country. Presently, it is more and more difficult to raise Christian children because of our godless civil leadership and culture. I don’t think that is the way to spread the Gospel and please Christ, especially in a country where “We the People” supposed to govern. We are responsible for this!

      • Len says:

        It is God who decides who will be saved or not. It has nothing to do with where we live, when we live or the state of the country in which we live. Witness the rapid rise in the numbers of Christians in places like Iran. It is just as easy for God to save someone in North Korea as it is anywhere else. If God has chosen someone to be saved, He will also provide the means for that person to be saved; i.e. they WILL hear the Gospel. Again, the circumstances in which a person finds themselves has no bearing upon whether or not God will save them. Christ told us that all whom the Father has given to Him WILL come to Him. Salvation depends entirely upon God’s choosing and is secured by Christ Himself.

      • Len, you are confused. God decides who will be saved or not, but this is not the issue. The point is that Christians have the obligation to share the Gospel according to their best ability and with as many people as they can. Not doing so is negligence, and we have to pay for our disobedience. Do you think you need not teach your children to pray, because God will save them anyway if He wants to?

        Coming back to politics, the reason Christians must get involved, because by not doing so, they perpetuate an ungodly government. Our government is causing the younger generation to sin by legislating immorality. The younger generations are not raised to respect the Bible, and if they heard about the Gospel, they learned a twisted version of it. Our Christian heritage is stolen, wasted, and trampled upon. The Christians are mocked and forbidden to teach on the Public Square. Whose fault is this?

        If you open your doors and windows and invite the thieves in, you cannot be surprised that you are robbed and mistreated. You cannot blame the thieves, because your negligence enabled their crimes.

        In the large part, the complacency of Christians led us to our present sorry condition. It is time for Christian activism! Let’s throw the thieves and robbers out!

      • Len says:

        I stand by my first reply. If you take what you said at face value, that I can’t get to heaven if we don’t “prevent our country sink back into the pre-Christian era,” then my salvation is secured, not by Christ, but by the political and moral condition of this country.

      • I think you interpret this wrong. My meaning is that, as Christians, we are impelled by Christ to do something about the moral and social condition of this country. Our salvation does not depend on the outcome of our effort; that is in the hand of God. My focus is on my obligation only. Am I doing all I can for my neighbors and the future generation?

        For example, it took the political clout of the Christian Bishops in the British Parliament to abolish the slave trade and slavery. The first Act toward this end was passed in 1805, but it took many, many years until a real social change took place, and, as we know, the fight against slavery is not over. Nevertheless, in those days the Christians fulfilled their duty toward their fellow men according to their best ability. I think, this is what Christ wants us to do.

  5. Iconoclast says:

    Paul in his first letter to Timothy does help straighten things out a bit.

    “As I urged you upon my departure for Macedonia, remain on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain men not to teach strange doctrines, nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”

    The Scriptures clearly shows a cause and effect relationship in everything man does. A friend of mine came up with this analysis of the Ten Commandments.

    1-4. I am the LORD your God… You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol… You shall not worship them or serve them… You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain… Remember the Sabbath day …
    - The right to worship & serve God.
    - The responsibility to worship & serve God.

    5. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you.
    - The right to teach your children.
    - The responsibility to care for your parents.

    6. You shall not murder.
    - The right to life.
    - The responsibility to protect life.

    7. You shall not commit adultery.
    - The right to marry.
    - The responsibility to be faithful.

    8. You shall not steal.
    - The right to private property.
    - The responsibility to labor.

    9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    - The right to reputation and due process of law.
    - The responsibility to tell the truth.

    10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
    - The right to prosper.
    - The responsibility to be content.

    There are right and responsibilities. These work hand in hand. James also deals with the responsibility of the saints in his letter. When we as Saints are involved in government it is simply showing our faith by our works (a.k.a service).

  6. GentleDove says:

    I appreciate Mr. DeMar’s gracious attitude toward Mr. MacArthur, but I don’t think this recent sermon of MacArthur’s is indicative of any real change of his heart regarding the Christian’s role in politics or society or culture. He still has a compartmentalized, dispensational, cognitively-dissonant, double-minded, two-kingdoms mindset.

    MacArthur continues to take the position that politics, culture and society are “intrusions” into the teaching of God’s Word, mere “distractions” from the “Great Commission.” He continues to take the position that saved men cannot take or apply God’s prescription of cure to sin-sick societies and nations in accordance with God’s Word (Matt. 28:18-20; Rom. 8:20-22). He continues to preach a pietistic, truncated gospel.

    Take this quote: “In this current campaign season, however, politicians have stepped — overstepped — into spiritual and moral areas, promoting horrific wickedness and blasphemous immorality.” A few questions come to mind. Where were the politicians before they stepped into “spiritual and moral areas”? Were they were in the realm of economics, which is a morals-free area? For MacArthur states: “Parties which used to differ on economics now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.” He blatantly states here that “economics” is not a part of God’s realm.

    Another question: Why falsely state that these “invasions into God’s realm” have only happened “now” and “in this current campaign season”? Out-of-the-closet sodomites and the murder of unborn children became commonplace with the tacit approval of pietistic Christians, such as MacArthur, 40 years ago.

    Now, after decades of cowing Christians into retreating from culture wars by telling them the lie that any attempt to assert God’s gospel and law in politics, culture and society is tantamount to humanist idolatry of the same (when the truth is that it is just engaging in the Great Commission, that is, asserting Christ’s dominion over politics, society and culture), MacArthur now says in one sermon that perhaps Christians might “want to make a little bit of a voice heard about what is right.” I guess it has become obvious even to MacArthur that preaching, teaching and counseling Christians to retreat from culture, to refuse to be salt and light, and to go AWOL from Christ’s army wasn’t such a great idea after all.

    But has he repented of it? No, I don’t see any evidence of that. Instead, he still claims that in voting, Christians are “not voting for a spiritual leader, you’re voting for someone who has some sense of morality.” This is nonsense double-talk, and I am tired of hearing it. If you are voting for a leader who will think, act and speak (which necessarily entails making moral choices), then you are voting for the morals (law) of his god, be it the Spirit of Christ, or “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.”

    “O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.” Isa. 9:16

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    Gary DeMar,
    As someone who loves John MacArthur, I would have to agree with you on this assessment and you hit it right on the nail of how I feel in regards to MacArthur’s book and messages on “Why Government Can’t Save You.” I was involved as a campaign manager for a local election years ago and some Christians I knew from his church actually said we Christians should not be involved in politics because government does not save you. I brought up the same point you made here, and they told me to listen to a message by MacArthur. As I just said, I love MacArthur but the audio CD I listened to on “Why Government Can’t Save You” was not his best message. I think he caricature most Christians involved with government as believing that government can save people. Then he also complained why people in our Evangelical landscape has not given as much attention to his book as it should be recieved. I thought that was the most strangest MacArthur message I heard. Nevertheless, I owe a lot to MacArthur in my growth of my spiritual life. I’m somewhat amazed to find on GTY that Dr. MacArthur does address the political sphere with the Word of God. Perhaps it will bring about more balance among some (not all) who have gone hyper knee jerk response that I have seen over the years.

  8. Arrow says:

    MacArthur may be speaking about more political involvement, but is clearly without biblical foundation, evidenced by his contention that there is a big difference between the major parties, and/or their major candidates.

    This kind of “teaching” we are better off without. It sends Christians to the polls to elect God’s enemies.

    • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

      Yeah, I was going to say the same thing, too. Because where is the refutation of the RNC? It’s as if 1. keep the Church’s mouth shut and docile 2. if 1 doesn’t work or times are desperate, then bad mouth the other side and don’t say anything about our side.

    • Len says:

      Why not encourage concerned Christians to run for office? Then we COULD elect God’s people. Why don’t you consider running for some office? Even winning a “minor” position such as a school board member would be a step in the right direction, wouldn’t it? Aren’t we Christians supposed to be influences for good in a fallen society? Or do you believe the idea that one person can’t accomplish anything in a corrupt system. If you believe that, aren’t you limiting the work that God can accomplish through one person? Or are we to be only concerned with proclaiming the Gospel? Even there, if one lowly school board member responded to the Gospel, would it not have an effect on the way they conduct their actions with regard to their duties to govern? Wouldn’t their actions, if done in accordance with Biblical values, have a positive effect on the rest of the school board, if only to confront them with their need sor salvation? Or maybe, when they become a Christian, they should resign their position in the government since government is unsavable and is no place for a true Christian (as many professing Christians believe and loudly proclaim).

      Have you contacted any of the political parties or their candidates to confront them with their sinfulness and then explain the Gospel to them? Or do you believe that politicians can’t be saved? Is God’s arm so short that someone like the president can’t be saved? How do you know that God might not use you to bring that about by you proclaiming the Gospel to him?

      Or is it easier to just complain and pontificate?

      • Arrow says:

        Good points, good questions. On a related note, when a Christian, who really grasps the biblical principles of civil government and takes a stand, runs for office, most Christians say either “he’s too radical” or “I won’t vote for him because he doesn’t stand a chance”.

        Faithless Christianity is not Christianity at all.

    • Al Smith says:

      When both candidates are enemies of God, are you not are faced with a choice of picking the lesser of two evils? Which one is least likely to speed up the decay?

      I can’t vote in this election, but if I could I’d reluctantly vote for the Mormon.

      When Pastor McArthur says, “you have a formula for divine judgment,” I think he’s missing the mark slightly. This is not something that will bring God’s judgement. This is God’s judgement. This is how he is judging the USA for spiritual adultery and apostasy, and it’s a judgement that’s been going on for a long time.

      • Arrow says:

        You are correct, I think, about judgement.

        In light of that, I have to wonder why you would vote for an evil man, when that is what has brought the judgement in the first place.

      • Reverend Bluejeans says:

        When Pastor McArthur says, “you have a formula for divine judgment,” I think he’s missing the mark slightly. This is not something that will bring God’s judgement. This is God’s judgement. This is how he is judging the USA for spiritual adultery and apostasy, and it’s a judgement that’s been going on for a long time.

        Al, I agree wholeheartedly. We’ve been living under divine judgment for over 150+ years, now. So long that it seems normal and people can’t conceive of it being any different.From America’s inception we’ve been on the downside. God will bear long with us until He reaches His limit, then, the full force of His wrath will hit, just like it has for so many nations in the past.

  9. Len says:

    While Paul, and Christ for that matter, did not preach the Gospel in order to change or reform the existing governmental institutions, thet did preach the Gospel to people within the governments who would then, out of necessity, if God had chosen them to be born again, change the area of government for which they wewre responsible. That evangelism would also start with a confrontation with the individuals sins and their failure to govern in accordance with God’s laws.

    While no one in the early church openly advocated the overthrow of the existing governments, the Gospel was, none-the-less, a seditious Gospel as it condemned magistrates, governors, kings and emperors for their sinful governence and revealed to them their condemnation before theHoly God.

    The Gospel proclimation must begin with the confrontation of evil in the sinner, no matter where that person is, whether sitting in a pew in our churches or sitting in the halls of governance. Hopefully, Dr. MacArthur is beginning to realize this.

    • I agree that the Gospel was “seditious” and still is. The Bible is instruction for a certain kind of living pleasing to God. Christianity is salt and yeast. This means that Christians must “infiltrate” everything, but most of all, the corrupt organizations, and make them better. Political involvement is not restricted to voting for the President. In fact, we are not voting against a certain man; we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against wicked satanic forces. (Eph 6:12)

      If we want to win the political war, first we have to make an effort to win the culture war. Christian politics is confrontation and martyrdom. Pastors are afraid of losing their tax advantage, employees are worried about their promotion, and students are afraid that their professors will give them low grades. These are not good reasons to avoid political involvement. “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed…” (Mark 8:38)

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