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Published on October 22nd, 2012 | by Gary DeMar

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A Pastor Speaks Out on Christians and Politics

More pastors are speaking out on the relationship between the Bible and politics. Unfortunately, some of them are creating a false dichotomy between the gospel and everything else, including politics. The gospel is the first step not the final step in regeneration. That’s why it’s called the “new birth.” The writer of Hebrews calls on his readers to leave behind “the elementary teaching about the Christ” and to “press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God” (Heb. 6:1). In the previous chapter we read the following:

“Concerning [Melchizedek] we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.” (Heb. 5:11–14).

As Christians we can’t be stuck in the gospel or new birth phase of being a “new creation in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17). Everything is to be new, including how we should engage politically not whether we should engage politically. When we were renewed in Christ, we didn’t abandon family and church government. We didn’t set aside the principles related to economics and education.

The latest is pastor to speak out on the gospel and politics is Perry Noble of NewSpring Church. Noble writes on his blog: “It’s never pretty when the church crawls in bed with politics. EVER!” It’s never pretty when government steals your money, supports the murder of pre-born babies, and overturns and redefines God’s design for marriage. These things might very well bring God’s judgment down on us.

If a government is doing these things, don’t you think Christians should get involved to stop them if they have the means and freedom to do so?

Using the phrase getting “in bed with politics” poisons the well. Most people I speak with on their interest in politics say they want to kick the politicians out of our beds, pockets, schools, and businesses. My goal as a Christian interested in politics from a biblical perspective is to insure that civil government — a government ordained by God like family and church governments — stays within its God-ordained jurisdiction. I don’t want to increase the power of government; I want to decrease it so it will do what is biblically and constitutionally required. [product id="1471" align="right" size="small"]

Pastor Noble continues: “I have a question for Republicans and Democrats alike . . . how is putting your hope in a political savior going for you?” Pastor Noble, can you tell me what Christians are looking for a “political savior”? I certainly don’t view either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as a political savior. The people I speak with on this subject do not want a political savior. We want to put a stop to political messiahism; that’s why we want Barack Obama out of the White House. That’s the first step. Will Romney be any better? Somewhat. But it’s because I don’t believe in politicians as gods that I will work until the entire political system is changed. That can’t happen from the sidelines.

There’s a lot more to be done at all levels of government, and in addition, families, churches, education, business, journalism, economics, international relations, etc. Civil government is the focus at this moment in time because it has too much authority and power over our lives.

I wonder if Pastor Noble tells parents in his very large congregation to pull their children out of government schools. Government schools are all about salvation through politics. I know he supports helping with tuition-free schools, but is he as adamant about government education as he is about politics?

Pastor Noble further writes, “Reality is that if the heart of a person is not impacted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ then…” He lists seven things that will continue. Here’s the seventh: “The sex slave trade is going to continue to flourish.” If we follow Pastor Noble’s counsel about not getting involved politically, then the sex slave trade will continue indefinitely. Let’s say that 90 percent of the world is Christian, leaving 10 percent that’s not. Who would be involved in government and making the laws? The 10 percent. They could keep the sex slave trade going while Christians piously sit on the sidelines waiting for the last 10 percent to be saved.

He continues:

“And these things will NOT be changed through an act of congress but rather through Christ! People who are on these paths are not going to change unless something (or someone) changes them…and no law or legislation can do that, only the POWER of the Gospel.”

Really? No law can stop people from stealing other people until everybody is a Christian? It’s true that not everybody can be stopped by a law, but a majority of people are. It’s the threat of punishment that does it, even for non-Christians. God doesn’t throw His law away for the Christian once he or she is born again, and He certainly doesn’t throw it way for the non-Christian. The apostle Paul writes:

“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.” (1 Tim. 1:8-11).

Notice the last phrase: “according to the glorious gospel.” Paul didn’t see a dichotomy between law and gospel as long as the law was not viewed as a way to earn righteosness.

It was the Christian William Wilberforce who worked to stop the slave trade in England. The new anti-slavery laws prohibited everybody from trading in slaves, whether they had a changed heart or not. Was Wilberforce wrong to work for the outlawing of slavery because not everybody had responded to the gospel? Ask a slave who had been freed.

Pastor Noble gets some things right, but he also gets some things wrong. Our goal as Christians should be to understand the proper role the political sphere (civil government) plays in the Christian’s life and to act on that role as we should do in every other area of life.

I always want to know what a person is supposed to do once he or she has embraced the gospel. The new birth requires repentance, a change of mind. This does not mean to stop thinking about other things but to apply a new way of thinking to everything, and that includes politics just like it includes the family, economics (of which the Bible has a lot to say, including the role of the civil magistrate: Isa. 1:22–23), law, and politics.

Let’s take a look at what Paul writes to his pastoral charge, the young Timothy:

“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” (1 Tim. 2:1–2)

Our prayers are to have a purpose. We aren’t to pray for those in authority so they will be successful in everything they do no matter what they decide to do. How can we live a tranquil life if we have to work two or three jobs to support our family because of an onerous taxing system that punishes employers and affects hiring and wages? [product id="1292" align="left" size="small"]

Politics affects family and property. The misapplication of civil authority can lead to abuses (1 Sam. 8:11–22). In what way should we pray for this type of political leader? I suggest that we should pray that he comes to his senses so “we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”

These prayers are more about us than they are about him. Family and church governments are just as valid as civil government. The role of the civil magistrate is to protect the freedom of both. If we aren’t praying this way, then we are not praying biblically.

In the case of the United States, the President, Congress, and Supreme Court Justices take an oath to uphold the Constitution. The Constitution was designed to protect a very specific set of rights. When politicians violate their oath, we are duty-bound to pray that they uphold their oath, and if they violate that oath then we are obligated to remove them from office using constitutional means. May of these oath-breaking laws that civil officials pass have a direct impact on our life (abortion, war, healthcare), property (excessive and unconstitutional taxation and eminent domain), and the fruit of our labor (debt and inflation). Again, there is a particular purpose in our prayer: “that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” This can’t be done if civil officials are violating their oath of office.

Did the people who hid Jews from the Nazis violate the mandate of 1 Timothy 2:1–2? Did praying for Hitler mean that his policies should not be questioned and worked against? I don’t think so. The president is an elected official who is bound by oath to uphold the Constitution. When he or any member of Congress violates that oath, we have a constitutional right, according to the wording found in the First Amendment, to petition the government “for a redress of grievances.”

Their governmental positions do not nullify the Constitution. We are not violating the instructions given in 1 Timothy 2:1–2 when we oppose some governmental policy since our governmental system allows us to disagree and work against unconstitutional provisions. We don’t live under Caesar, and even if we did, Caesar was bound to follow God’s limitations on his civil office because God’s image is stamped on him.

We have specific constitutional freedoms in the same way that elected office holders have constitutional limitations. Our rulers do not have a “divine right” to rule. They are “ministers of God” (Rom. 13:4). The Constitution is our “Caesar” (Matt. 22:21); it has our image on it — “We the people” — and we have God’s image stamped on us. We are rendering to the Constitution what is due to it as specifically stated in the Constitution itself. Civil authorities govern at our discretion. We can vote them out of office and oppose them when they are in office.

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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).



66 Responses to A Pastor Speaks Out on Christians and Politics

  1. Sara says:

    Once again, great article Gary.
    God Bless!

  2. Arrow says:

    I’ve noticed that, when pushed, the hermeneutic of some Dispensationalists begin to look similar to that of liberal theologians. “Genre” is important, but if mishandled can be an excuse to dismiss practically any biblical truth. The “pragmatic” can be used to say that “I’m going to the store” actually means “the Cardinals played a lousy game”.

    Biblical interpretation is sometimes difficult, but when we have a “camp” to defend it is sometimes taken far too lightly.

  3. Arrow says:

    Adam says:

    “Actually, due to the fall, economics and natural freedoms *cannot* be used to take dominion. The reason is that we are slaves to sin, and we use economics to suit ourselves. Unless that sin is done away with, there is nothing that we can do…after the fall, the gospel is the only hope that we have to change this society…”

    If the gospel spreads and people become Christians…let’s say 95% of Americans become true Christians…and they REJECT biblical economics, as you have, NOTHING will be improved.

    You say…the gospel works in peoples’ lives…transforming them…

    Well…transforming them into what, if they follow your model and reject the teachings of scripture as relating to civics, economics, culture and politics?

    What is the standard (hint…it’s not Sean Hannity).

  4. Arrow says:

    Deuteronomy 22:8 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.

    Some people would say that since we don’t build houses like this anymore this passage has become irrelevant.

    Others, looking fo rBiblical principles and precepts by which to live (and govern) would draw from it valuable and useful points.

    1. When building a structure, God wants us to take time to consider the safety of the people who will use it, and build accordingly.

    2. There does seem to be some place for building codes. Although this goes against my libertarian leanings, now that I have seen it it god’s Word, I must consider it when dealing with issues of civil government.

    3. God upholds the principle of property rights, and individual dwellings owned by those who inhabit them.

    There are hundreds of things like this that just get ignored, partly because our pastors have mis-trained and mis-taught, and partly because people want to justify voting for just any Republican hack who they damn well please regardless of what God says.

    • Adam says:

      Arrow,

      Good, now what about the principle of the gospel being of first importance? How does that play out in a setting where the kind of vote you are talking about would allow someone like Obama to continue to attack our freedom to proclaim the gospel?

      This is what I mean by interpreting laws according to the value system of the scriptures. This law concerning the railing around the roof must be understood in the light of the high value that the law places on human life. In the same way, the law cited in Deuteronomy 1 must be understood in the light of the high value the scriptures place on the gospel, combined with the fact that the intent of the law is to deal with people actually *choosing* there leaders, not merely influencing that choice. It is how the value system of the scriptures work together that allows you to conclude that we should not make railings around the roof of our houses, and yet, the law does have application to things like the upper decks of baseball stadiums.

      I am simply asking for consistency. If you are going to be careful to understand the intent of the law in the light of the value system of the rest of scripture, do the same thing with the law in Deuteronomy 1. No arbitrariness in your hermeneutic, as that is the sign that you have political philosophy that you are trying to protect, rather than simply allowing the text to speak in its context.

      • Arrow says:

        “…what about the principle of the gospel being of first importance? How does that play out in a setting where the kind of vote you are talking about would allow someone like Obama to continue to attack our freedom to proclaim the gospel?”

        The gospel of salvation is of “first importance” when we are dealing with peoples’ relationship with Jesus Christ and their eternal destiny. When we are resurfacing a cylinder head, the principles of machine work are more important; although the
        bible does not talk about cylinder heads, there are somewhere in the background at least, biblical principles that come to bear. When dealing with politics, there are political principles to draw from the Bible, especially ones bearing on civil government.

        Your insistence on a distinction between “choosing” and “influencing a choice” does not make sense, although I can see it can be a valuable excuse for voting for a man (Republican, of course) who does not uphold God’s Word. OBVIOUSLY God was speaking to those who were going to “influence” the choice. No one person made the decision. Same as now, except that some use the old “if you can’t beat them, join them” argument which is of course not a Godly argument at all.

        I see no consistency in your interpretation, but I suspect that you have very consistently voted Republican. I am a Republican, by the way.

  5. Arrow says:

    Good discussion. Much of is boils down to a conflict between two points of view:

    1) The Bible is authoritative in all areas of life and mush be searched for commands and principles by which to live and act.

    and

    2) The Bible is authoritative in “spiritual” matters. Issues of civil government are not comprehensively addressed and therefore are to be determined by each individual based on his political leanings and personal situation.

    The second can be clearly seen in ideas such as:

    “Until the hearts of the people of this nation are changed so that they love what is right, we will only, at best, be able to slightly *influence* the election. Hence, all of the passages people like to quote about Moses or others choosing leaders with certain characteristics are totally irrelevant.”

    • Adam says:

      Arrow,

      Sorry, that is a gross mischaracterization of my position. I believe these matters *are* addressed in scripture, and that is why I keep pointing people back to the importance of the gospel as outlined in passages such as Galatians 1. You don’t seem to recognize that I do think the Bible applies in this situation, but that it is a gross *abuse* of scripture to try to apply that passage in this situation, in the same way as it would be to try to start putting railings around the roofs of our houses simply because it is commanded in Deuteronomy 22:8.

      The issue is more *how* do the scriptures apply. Are we to take into account their value system, and their illocutionary force when we apply them? Or, do we blindly take an individual text that is not parallel in its intent to our current situation [such as what we would do if we forced everyone to build roofs around their houses], and apply it anyway. Commands and principles have intentionality, and if you completely ignore what those commands and principles are intending, you are abusing the text of scripture, and worse, are taking your own views and equating them with what scripture says and thus violating the ninth commandment against God himself. Such is very serious indeed.

      • Arrow says:

        In all the great principles and lessons of the Bible, I do not see justification for going with the times and promoting “lesser evil”. It just does not square with scripture. But if you are bent on doing something you will find a way to justify it.

        Go ahead, vote for Romney and all his godless socialism and humanism because the GOP media has you scared to death.

      • Arrow says:

        “I believe these matters *are* addressed in scripture, and that is why I keep pointing people back to the importance of the gospel as outlined in passages such as Galatians 1.”

        Well, I’m not saying that the following entirely characterizes you, but it is the line of reasoning that I find rampant, and that I see at least to a large degree in your posts:

        1. Question: What does the Bible say about our government’s foreign policy?

        Answer: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. If we could get people saved, we would not have so many wars, plus America is the greatest nation on the face of the earth.”

        2. Question: What does the Bible say about the economic policy of the Federal government?

        Answer: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. If we could get people saved, finances would not be such a problem, plus the Democrats spend too much.

        3. Question: What does th eBible say about taxes?

        Answer: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. If we could get people saved, taxes would go down, plus we are to render to Caesar.

        See? People SAY, and maybe THINK that they are applying scripture, but they are not applying it to the real and specific, actual situation. The Bible DOES address these things and most Christians do not even realize it.

      • Adam says:

        Arrow,

        And where do you get the notion that I am promoting the “lesser evil?” Again, what we are dealing with here is the value systems that are found in the scriptures, taking into consideration *all* of what scripture has to say. Tota scriptura is not something modern humanists have invented. It is simply does not square with scripture to vote in such a way that it will end up making the gospel and the freedoms that come directly from God illegal. That is, I believe, the most fatal objection to your position.

      • Adam says:

        Arrow, also, you seem to have a grossly simplistic view of the gospel. The gospel is not just about everlasting life in the here and the now. It is about how that change that is brought about affects even the way in which we act and behave in the present. I am redeemed, therefore, out of gratitude for what Christ has done, I will live according to his word.

        And BTW, I would be willing to take on all of those issues from the scriptures. My point is that you have to take into account what the Bible says on all of those issues in the context of its entire value system. It would be like saying that the wages of sin is death, and then going around killing everyone. When challenged, you can say “But the Bible says the wages of sin is death, and I am just doing what the Bible says.” Again, I am well aware of all of your arguments, as I have many theonomists in my church, and I also studied Hebrew law at school. The weakness in this hermeneutic is that it cannot explain the entirety of the value system as found in the scriptures. It has to read the laws you are alluding to in isolation from the rest of the law and the rest of scripture, and, as a result, it forces the scriptures into gross contradictions like this.

        That is why I said that the issue is not *whether* scripture applies, but *how* scripture applies. That is why I have been going after your hermeneutics of application. They are way too simplistic, and cannot even account for passages like Deuteronomy 22:8. Such hermeneutics, if taken to their logical conclusion, would require us to all build railings around our roofs, even though no one goes up there with any kind of frequency. When you cannot account for the application of such a simple law, it shows that you hermeneutics are way too simplistic.

      • Arrow says:

        Adam says: “And where do you get the notion that I am promoting the “lesser evil?””

        So, now are you saying that Romney is the greater evil, not the lesser evil? Well, in some ways I could agree. But if you think it’s tough siding with the LESSER evil, I think you will have a REALLY hard time when you come out for the GREATER evil!

        Why not just vote for a Christian, or at least someone who does not trash the Constitution as a matter of normal business?

        I know, OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA…he’s gonna getcha.

    • GentleDove says:

      Agreed, Arrow–well said.

      • Arrow says:

        Seems like Adam sets up some “value system” paradigm, which is flexible and ill-defined enough to fit anything into with a little work. Politicians with histories of godless rule, for example (as long as they are Republican, presumably).

      • GentleDove says:

        Yes, Adam has quite an elaborate and foggy system set up in his mind to rationalize supporting and voting for a polytheistic, anti-gospel, socialist, covetous liar, with a history of godless rule.

  6. David Smith says:

    The minimum – THE MINIMUM – standard for any candidate for any office is adherence to the Constitution. Yes, an imperfect document penned and ratified by imperfect men, yet nontheless codifying centuries of legal traditions in a fairly succinct format (at least in its original form, including the Bill of Rights). Furthermore, they all take an oath to support and defend it. How many voters understand the Constitution, its drafting, ratification, etc.? Therefore, how many will truly hold candidates’ feet to the fire when they violate said oaths? If you don’t believe me, take a look at all the name-calling and rancor against Dr. Paul and those who support him. “He’s a nut.” “He’s like a crazy uncle, and his Paulbots are just as bad!” (No, like Arrow, I agree that Ron Paul is far from perfect, but he is the ONLY candidate who articulated positions that were anywhere near in line with the Constitution!).

    I admit I much prefer Romeny’s style, his dignity, deportment, and that he doesn’t seem to show contempt for my people’s history and traditions (including the Rights of Englishmen improved upon in the Constitution!), unlike Obama (I have said elsewhere that regardless of where Obama was born, or his eligibility for office, I don’t regard him as an “American” in any way I or my folk who originally settled and fought for this country during the Revolution, understand that term). Still, Romney will continue to wage aggressive, meddlesome, nation-building, and undeclared armed conflict throughout the world; he will continue to support corporate welfare in the form of tax subsidies for favored industries; he will continue to support the continuance of entitlements, without any talk of phasing them out. All of this is patently unConstitutional!

    Again, we have prostituted ourselves to, among others, the short-sighted god of pragmatism, and the lesser-of-two-evils, guaranteeing our descendants will be saddled with debt, and future death in foreign wars that have nothing to do with legitimate self defense. “Conservatism” has come to mean something that its original purveyors in our tradition (e.g.Samuel Rutherford, Edmund Burke, Jefferson, Calhoun, etc.) wouldn’t recognize. The new “conservatism” is at best a reactionary adherence to the status quo (however objectionable that may be) and at worst a slightly slowed down slide into the very jacobin, leftist, and progressive evils our ancestors would utterly abhor.

    And we in the church, instead of taking seriously our duty as gadflies to the state, have done our part to allow this slide down the slippery slope of evil. I’m glad some pastors are waking up – may their tribe increase – but the rest of us need to get on the ball and learn the Bible, our history, and traditions in order to be responsible participants in this battle.

    I know, I’m largely preaching to the choir here at this website, but it’s therapeutic to articulate these thoughts nonetheless.

  7. Len says:

    Why doesn’t everyone who complains about how corrupt poloticians are run for office themselves? Maybe not start off running for President, but how about the school board or the city council? Or is it easier to simply complain and pontificate?

  8. Perplexed says:

    If Post-Milleniallists are right, then don’t we have a duty to rid the Nation of godless leaders? It seems to me that if you view each candidate as unfit, then at least you should vote for the lesser of evils!

    • Arrow says:

      “…rid the Nation of godless leaders?”

      “… vote for the lesser of evils!”

      ???

  9. Mark says:

    Another article from American Vision that uses the phrase, “poisioning the well…….”

  10. harmongott says:

    Gary writes, “As Christians we can’t be stuck in the gospel or new birth phase of being a ‘new creation in Christ’ (2 Cor. 5:17).”

    “Stuck in the gospel,” as opposed to what? Coming unstuck and moving past it? As opposed to upgrading the Gospel to a practical ideology for christianizing the real world of politics and education?

    “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession (Hebrews 4:14).” Presumably, Gary can cite other texts in the Hebrew letter which support Chapter 5:11-14 as a proof-text for not holding fast to the Gospel of Christ. Can he explain, for example, how a passage in the closing chapter encourages Christians _not_ to remain ”stuck in the Gospel” ?

    “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come (Hebrews 13:12-14).”

    Ah yes… we seek a proper, constitutional city which allows us to choose between a hollow Mormon cultist and an illuminated quasi-Christian, or to diligently propose a “write-in” shunned by an enormous majority.

  11. Adam says:

    Arrow,

    1. Again, take a look at what I linked to:

    http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2012/08/math-and-elections.html

    The point is, as you have rightly pointed out, no republican can win without the evangelical vote. That leaves one person to win: Barack Hussein Obama, the man who has attacked our religious freedoms more than any other president. That is why I said, you might think you are supporting Ron Paul by voting for him, but, in actuality, you are supporting Obama.

    2. Simple, do the math. Only Obama and Romney have any chance of winning, and your vote is one more vote that cannot be used to narrow the gap between Romney and Obama. Hence, Obama wins by default. As Ron Paul is so fond of saying: you can’t repeal the laws of mathematics.

    3. This sounds like fatalism. Yes, God is the one who raises rulers up, but he does so through means, including elections and the mathematics associated with them. Also, it is not a matter of prostituting yourself, unless you view Romney as our savior. The only reason I vote for Romney is because a vote for anyone other than him ensures that our religious freedom to proclaim the gospel, the only way in which this society will be saved, will not be eroded away by a president who has done more to destroy our religious liberties than anyone before him.

    4. Could you please address my exegetical argument? I made an exegetical argument that those passages deal with the determining of leaders, and not only having a small influence over who is determined. You never touched it, but merely said “I may as well rest my case at that point.” The issue is whether you are treating the scriptures correctly. If you are misusing the scriptures to come to this conclusion, than you loose the ethical ground. Worse than that, if you are misusing the text, then you are telling people to vote in such a way that a person will remain in power who would like to make it illegal to proclaim the power of God unto salvation. Hence, the ethical ground entirely shifts, as that is completely anti-biblical.

    • E Harris says:

      “Also, it is not a matter of prostituting yourself, unless you view Romney as our savior.”

      Right. I think this is where people get confused. They’re called public SERVANTS. In reality, they don’t represent us. They represent themselves. Jesus Christ is our REAL representative and authority. All we’re doing in any earthly election is nominating someone to be our servant in the corporation known as the state, and make decisions concerning the state. They can be good, evil, or ugly… but they are only a servant. And if we are GOING to have a “servant” we may as well pick the better one: the lesser of two evils.

      • harmongott says:

        Choosing the so-called “lesser of two evils” is a worldly choice loaded with the potential for horrifying disaster. If the “lesser” evil wins, you’ve given it the tools to become the “greater of two evils.”

      • E Harris says:

        harmongott, that is true. We’re touching on DEEP issues.

        EVERYTHING WE DO on earth is tainted when it comes through flesh. EVERYTHING WE DO has the risk of empowering flesh beyond it’s initial scope…

        Put yourself in the shoes of America’s Framers: they wanted to safeguard against criminals and against foreign empires. But they also wanted libertarian freedom (many of them). They couldn’t have libertarian freedom without some form of overarching (and coercive) government, which taxed, and had an eye out for defense.

        The American government is a ‘necessary evil’ (in the sense of natural evil, which even God is capable of). Anyone picking up a weapon in self-defense is using natural evil (or the threat of it) against a greater evil. (Natural evil: causing involuntary suffering, death, or coercion.)

        The American government is only meant to be a hold-over… until the time when saints are mature enough, and the gospel has spread enough around the world: to alleviate all major regional threats. In other words: our form of government under the Constitution, may just be the optimal arrangement until that day comes when people begin beating their weapons into plowshares (instead of continually beating their plowshares into weapons).

        Struggling to dismantle Uncle Same too soon (or the Israeli nation-state) will not speed up this time of peace. It will make the violence last longer, because the first people that will be attacked, are the weak and the People of God who stand up for freedom for the weak. Peace will come when God’s people are EMPOWERED to spread their message, and the message is spread into almost every heart on this planet. The thing that Ron Paul (and those who are too easily disheartened) do not understand: the gospel is our victory, the physical weapons will totally drop only after the gospel properly calms and orients the heart of men. (And even then, it won’t matter if any weapons exist or not: they will not be used in a coercive manner. There will be no need.)

  12. Dr. Duckenheimer says:

    Ok, let’s do math. (But, without numbers…because I don’t have numbers, but we can do logic.) Gary lives in Georgia. It is a red state. So, red Romney can’t lose. Therefore, Gary shouldn’t get the need to be compelled to vote for this man.

    Yes, he’s a famous dude, and has clout among us minions. However, most of his minions are so anti-government that we see government as the beast. And, the only reason why we see that we need to get involved in government is to take it down (without violence of course). The only people that liked his endorsement of the Beast Puppet #2 are the GOP zombies, and they don’t care about anything else he has to say. Therefore, what’s the point of endorsing Beast Puppet #2?

    If we cannot choose these men as you state, then why bother justifying them by voting for them?

    Did you really just say that parts of the Bible are irrelevant?

    • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

      ok this was @Adam. I boo booed somehow.

    • Adam says:

      No, what I said is that those parts of the Bible are being abused by people who are arguing in the way you are. All of those passages deal with believers actually *determining* who will be president, not only having a small influence as to that decision. Yes, if we had the ability to determine who the next president will be, I would say those passages would apply, but it is an *improper application* of those passages to try to use them in a context that is not parallel to our own. It would be like taking the passages talking about the death penalty, and using them to justify murder. It is an improper application of scripture, because the situations are not parallel. In that sense, they don’t apply.

      And BTW, that wasn’t what I linked to. I am not dealing with the state level, but with the national level as such, and the fact that only Obama and Romney have any shot at winning.

      http://teampyro.blogspot.com/2012/08/math-and-elections.html

      Also, lets do some logic here. Everyone thinks in the way you posted, no one in Georgia votes for Romney, and Obama wins, and one state that was a sure fire win for Romney goes towards a president who has done more to destroy our religious freedom than anyone before him.

      The problem with this position is the entire lack of wisdom, not only in the handling of election numbers, but also in the handling of scripture. We cannot abuse the text of scripture in order to ignore the obvious fact that there are only two men who have any chance at winning, and that one of them has done more than any other president to destroy our religious liberties. Hence, not only will we have to answer to God for abusing his word, but we will also have to answer to God for foolishly voting in a way that ends up making the power of God unto salvation something completely illegal.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        OK, where in those scriptures suggest that we ought only to apply them when we can make a difference? All scripture is for teaching rebuking, correcting, and training…in season and out of season. Therefore, why should these scriptures no be applied in this specific situation? That is, is here some specific guidelines we shouldn’t apply them? What if it were close and nobody could tell without a doubt that we couldn’t make a difference?

        You’re seem to be alluding to that I’m and others are abusing the scriptures by applying them to voting in this situation. Without contending the fact that you didn’t back up this claim by showing where in the Bible we ought not apply them, why is it us that are abusing them and not you ignoring them?

        As for the Gary in Georgia thing, I thought, according to you, Christians couldn’t make a difference? Or, are we not talking about Christianity anymore but just Republicanism?

      • Adam says:

        Dr. Duckenheimer,

        I think we are talking past one another here. Where do the scriptures say that these particular texts only apply in a situation where we can actually determine who our leaders will be? The problem with the question, and what it says about your hermeneutics is that you don’t seem to take into account that there is a level of meaning in a text beyond simply what is said. This is an area of linguistics we call “pragmatics.” Yan Huang gives an excellent definition of pragmatics in his textbook on the subject:

        Pragmatics is the systematic study of meaning by virtue of, or dependent on, the use of language. [Huang, Yan. Pragmatics, Oxford Textbooks in Linguistics. Oxford University Press.New York, NY. 2007. p. 2]

        I think it is also described well by the Ohio State linguistics department page:

        Pragmatics Studies the ability of natural language speakers to communicate more than that which is explicitly stated. [http://linguistics.osu.edu/students/grad/areas]

        Hence, when we deal with pragmatics, we are dealing with meaning that is based upon use that communicates more than what is explicitly stated. One of the areas of pragmatics deals with speech acts. It is this area of language you are missing. Let us take the following utterance:

        He is a big fat pig.

        Now, would we capture the meaning of that utterance if we analyzed it in the following way:

        He [third person pronoun] is [verb "to be"] a [indefinite article] big [adjective meaning "large"] fat [adjective meaning "obese] pig [noun referring to an animal that goes "oink, oink" with a curly tail].

        Such obviously misses the fact that the above statement is meant as an insult, and that it is a statement that causes offense. However, where in the text do you find the words “insult” or “offense?” The answer is that “insult” and “offense” are at the pragmatic level. The analysis I gave above [He [third person pronoun] is [verb "to be"] etc.] is part of what is called the locutionary force. “Insult” relates to what the text is trying to accomplish, and what the text is seeking to accomplish is the illocutionary force. “Offense” is what the speech act accomplishes, and hence, it is what is called the perlocution.

        Your question “where in those scriptures suggest that we ought only to apply them when we can make a difference” is parallel to the above question “where in the text ‘He is a big fat pig” does it say anything about an insult?” The answer is that it says so at the illocutionary level. What is the illocutionary force of this text:

        Deuteronomy 1:13 ‘Choose wise and discerning and experienced men from your tribes, and I will appoint them as your heads.’

        Is the illocutionary force of this passage to get Moses to choose, or to only slightly influence a choice? If you say that it is to get Moses to choose, then you are caught, because at that point the illocutionary force of this passage is choice and not a slight influence. Where the text says that it only applies in the context of choice is at the illocutionary level, since the illocutionary force is that of choice, and not mere influence of choice.

        BTW, this is how I believe the scriptures need to be applied. We need to understand what the illocutionary force is, and accomplish that in our context. The problem is, the illocutionary force here is one of choice, not one of slight influence of choice. It is that feature of language that rules out the application of the text to this context.

        All scripture is for teaching rebuking, correcting, and training…in season and out of season.

        Actually, what it says is that all scripture is *useful* for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training, and “in season and out of season” are nowhere to be found. Also, where does this text say that every individual scripture is useful for teaching on the exact same topic? Yes, the scriptures are useful for teaching, but they address different topics at different times, with different illocutionary forces. We must teach what they teach when they teach it, and not rip them out of context because we demand that they address an issue at this individual place that they simply do not.

        As for the Gary in Georgia thing, I thought, according to you, Christians couldn’t make a difference? Or, are we not talking about Christianity anymore but just Republicanism?

        Actually, what I said was that Christians cannot get who the want in office given the current political situation. Yes, we do have *influence,* but, given the numbers of democrats, our votes cannot *determine* who will be president, like Moses’ decision could.

      • Adam says:

        Dr. Duckenheimer,

        I think it might help to illustrate problems in pragmatics, and how they affect application and hermeneutics by considering this verse:

        Deuteronomy 22:8 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.

        Now, no one today has a railing around the roof of their house, and I am certain you don’t as well, because no one goes up to the roof of the house. However, the illocutionary force of the passage is clearly to direct someone to protect human life from high falls such as a house. Hence, it would apply to upper decks of baseball stadiums or railings at the edge of cliffs in national parks.

        However, I can take all your arguments, and use them to prove that we *should* have railings around the roof of our house. How would you respond to this?:

        OK, where in those scriptures suggest that we ought only to apply them when there is human life on the roof of the house? All scripture is for teaching rebuking, correcting, and training…in season and out of season. Therefore, why should these scriptures no be applied in this specific situation?

        You’re seem to be alluding to that I’m and others are abusing the scriptures by applying them to building a railing around the roof in this situation. Without contending the fact that you didn’t back up this claim by showing where in the Bible we ought not apply them, why is it us that are abusing them and not you ignoring these texts?

        Again, without pragmatics, and without speech acts, it makes it impossible to apply the scriptures consistently. In actuality, if we ignore intentionality, then there is no way to avoid going out into the wilderness, re-instituting ancient near eastern culture, and living in the same way that the ancient near easterners did with mud-brick houses, eating wheat, figs, and fish, wearing robes and sandals, and speaking in ancient Hebrew. If you cannot understand the pragmatics of language, that is what you are left with.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        Well, this is what Merriam-Webster says of pragmatic:
        relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters : practical as opposed to idealistic

        So, Steven, Paul, Peter, and everybody else that were killed and beaten should not have made those choices because they didn’t have enough influences?

        If the Israelites did not have enough influence, should they have not gone with the Godly men but the lesser of the two evils? Did God warned them just to keep the influences up?

        Yes, I do believe that is correct that there is more to it than just plain text. You say the “pragmatics” dictate that they were to choose Godly men because they had influence. I say we should choose what reflects Christ or, if have to, abstain as to not justify the evils that espouses from the government.

        [Season and out of season. I used the combination of the two verses to indicate that we should apply specific versus as needed. That was before you sprung the whole pragmatics thing on me. Before I thought you just considered the verses not applicable to the voting situation.]

      • Adam says:

        Dr. Duckenheimer,

        Well, this is what Merriam-Webster says of pragmatic:
        relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters : practical as opposed to idealistic

        So, Steven, Paul, Peter, and everybody else that were killed and beaten should not have made those choices because they didn’t have enough influences?

        Of course, pragmatics is not the same thing as pragmatic. Pragmatics is a field of linguistics, where as pragmatic deals with an individual situation. Also, the main difference between Peter and Paul was that they were commanded to *preach the word* in season and out of season. We are not commanded to vote for a particular candidate in season and out of season any more than we are commanded to build a railing for the roof of our house in season or out of season.

        If the Israelites did not have enough influence, should they have not gone with the Godly men but the lesser of the two evils? Did God warned them just to keep the influences up?

        Of course, the parallel doesn’t work as the Israelites could, indeed, determine their leaders. That has been my whole point all along.

        Yes, I do believe that is correct that there is more to it than just plain text. You say the “pragmatics” dictate that they were to choose Godly men because they had influence. I say we should choose what reflects Christ or, if have to, abstain as to not justify the evils that espouses from the government.

        No, I said that they should choose Godly men because they could *determine* who would be their leaders. And does it reflect Christ to justify the evil of the legal destruction of our freedom to proclaim the gospel? That is exactly what you are doing with your vote. The application of the scriptures requires far more wisdom than that. It requires understanding the value system of the scriptures, and recognizing the importance that it lays upon the gospel.

      • Arrow says:

        When the OT command was given, if the only outcome could have been a godly candidate, why would it have been necessary to give the command?

        As to the math, the numbers work out but the philosophy is thoroughtly humanistic, not biblical.

        But go ahead, continue to vote for godless government, I can’t stop you and neither can anyone else.

        Sad.

      • Adam says:

        Arrow,

        And you addressed those passages in Proverbs where?

        When the OT command was given, if the only outcome could have been a godly candidate, why would it have been necessary to give the command?

        I didn’t say the only outcome could have been a Godly candidate; what I said was that believers could *determine* who their leaders were, and thus, they should use this blessing wisely. I also said that we can’t today. Nothing I have seen from anyone refutes this exegesis of the passage.

        It is amazing to see people confusing their own views with what scripture says, even after it has been shown that this is not what scripture teaches. Rhetoric is no substitute for truth. These hermeneutics have been shown to be grossly simplistic, not only in terms of their interpretation of this passage in Deuteronomy, but also ignoring the entire value system that the Bible presents. I am on far stronger ground exegetically and hermeneutically to call my position “Biblical” then you are right now. Calling something “Biblical” does not make it so. You have to go on to *prove* your interpretations. You have to go on to *prove* the validity of your hermeneutics. I have not seen either.

      • Arrow says:

        “I didn’t say the only outcome could have been a Godly candidate; what I said was that believers could *determine* who their leaders were, and thus, they should use this blessing wisely. I also said that we can’t today. Nothing I have seen from anyone refutes this exegesis of the passage.”

        Your exegesis of the passage is correct. Your excuse for disobeying it is not.

      • Adam says:

        Arrow,

        If my exegesis of the passage is correct, then we are only dealing with choosing our leaders, and not only slightly influencing that decision. Hence, I am not disobeying it.

        Again, you are confusing your interpretation of the text with what the text says. It is an amazing thing to see this grossly arbitrary and inconsistent hermeneutic being used as an excuse to disobey the scriptures by voting in such a way that it makes the very proclamation of the gospel illegal. If Obama gets into office, and all of our freedoms are taken away, I think we know where part of the blame for this must go-to those who are reasoning in the way you are.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        With the Israelites I was being theoretical. I was more referring to the warning that God gave to them, which looked like Arrow already pointed that out. In another words, if God warned them to not do something or the consequences will be handed down, then how does the pragmatics work?

        I would be very careful with that pragmatics thing, as Arrow also pointed out, it looks like a liberal moral relativism. They say whatever is the biggest influence of a society or culture is the morally correct thing to do. Now, I understand that’s not what you’re into, but that’s where this pragmatics thing will lead to.

  13. Dr. Duckenheimer says:

    At least Noble questioned the “God-ordained” side as well instead of simply alluding to vote Republican.

    Obama believes in killing babies any time for any situation and giving aide to foreign countries for such practices. Romney believes in only killing babies for the “health of the mother”: which turns into any excuse for any time for any reason. So, yes, Romney is a wee bit better than Obama. That sounds like a fantastic reason to vote for Romney – $6 Million in foreign aide difference.

    Well, since we know that economics and natural freedoms were created by God as a method to subdue the earth and to worship Him. And, since Jesus stated that God will spit you out for being luke warm. And, the fact that God warned Israel to not mix with other nations – cultures, laws, practices. I wonder who is slightly better when it comes to the Chicago styled economics that both candidates advocate for.

    • Adam says:

      Actually, due to the fall, economics and natural freedoms *cannot* be used to take dominion. The reason is that we are slaves to sin, and we use economics to suit ourselves. Unless that sin is done away with, there is nothing that we can do. That is why we need the gospel, the very thing that the way your are voting will make certain is made illegal. I don’t agree with Romney’s policies either [but, then again, how much of this stuff is political, and how much of this represents his true views I don't know], but, nevertheless, after the fall, the gospel is the only hope that we have to change this society, and your advice on how to vote will make that entirely illegal.

      • GentleDove says:

        Nothing can make the gospel illegal–no, not even Obama. No matter how fearful he may make us feel, he CANNOT stop the gospel, anymore than the tyrannical caesars stopped the gospel that the early church preached. Due to the gospel, economics and natural (God-given) freedoms can be used to take dominion. It must be done in spite of our current civil gov’t or president, whichever socialist, gospel-denying, pseudo-Christian man is elected to be POTUS. In fact, we will continue to get these awful candidates until Christians start believing and preaching the comprehensive gospel (instead of the truncated gospel we may only preach if the civil gov’t approves of it, or if the math and numbers are in our favor, bleh) and start rejecting all but Biblically qualified men for civil office. Compromise, retreat, and more compromise is going to get us more and more tyranny.

      • Adam says:

        GentleDove,

        In an absolute sense, no, no one can make the gospel illegal, because Christ is king of kings and lord of lords, and it is he who ultimately determines what is right and wrong. However, Obama *can* make it illegal in terms of our national laws. That is simply a reality, especially since secularism is continuing to tighten its grip, and anti-Christian bigotry becomes more and more popular in legal settings.

        Also, I would like for Christians to be able to determine who becomes president too. However, the reality is that we are in the minority-the vast minority. The passages you are speaking of when you use the words “Biblical qualifications” are in the context of Christians *determining* leaders, not merely having a small influence. How do we proceed with wisdom when we are not in the majority, and can only exercise a small influence on leaders?

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        So, we are to leave government protection, providence, and justice to a bunch of full blown, unsaved sinners…over the people who are supposed to be subduing the earth and establishing dominion? Don’t you think this is, at least, an insult to the Holy Spirit?

        The biggest problem I have with the message of the constant Gospel 101 is that “there is nothing that we can do.” This should only imply to saving our souls. However, if you keep repeating the mantra over and over again, it tends to seep into other areas of our lives. Therefore, it becomes an imprisonment.

        Case in point: You had no idea what I was talking about in the last paragraph. The only thing you saw was how it didn’t coincide with your Gospel 101 message. Talk about misapplying things. Though the Gospel has something to do with it, Gospel 101 message is sometimes just not applicable as a solution. It’s like your applying water to firewood and declaring the firewood to be bad. The firewood is not bad; you’re just not using the correct solution.

        Sadly, this goes on all the time. They see something outside of their knowledge; they declare it bad. And, so the mad little circle of politics.

        Then again I digress. How you responded to the first paragraph it showed that you seem to adhere to the Republicanism message. Because the Gospel 101 only can go so far in your mind, the Republican message has more weight. It overrides the Gospel. Your presupposition is Republicanism or American Exceptionalism where you apply Gospel 101, but you’ll just end back at where you started. So, maybe even if you did understand what I was saying in the last paragraph, it just wouldn’t have mattered.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        What reality are you speaking of anyways? The one that you have already determined to be true or God’s? Don’t you notice that your rhetoric is implying that you know what the future holds or that you know how God is working things out? Really, I don’t think that’s the case. You’re just wanting your man to win.

      • GentleDove says:

        Christ determines the leaders and Christians are supposed to obey HIM (not try to figure out if we have the numbers to get the outcome we want). Neither unbelievers nor believers determine who is president; only Christ does. Christians don’t worry about outcomes; we obey Christ in His word.

        As far as our nation is concerned, the POTUS does not make laws. Congress does.

      • Adam says:

        Dr. Duckenheimer,

        The biggest problem I have with the message of the constant Gospel 101 is that “there is nothing that we can do.” This should only imply to saving our souls. However, if you keep repeating the mantra over and over again, it tends to seep into other areas of our lives. Therefore, it becomes an imprisonment.

        Where did I ever say that there is nothing we can do? There *is* something we can do, but it is so much more than grossly simplistic applications of scripture that totally ignore the intent, and expect a quick fix just simply by voting for one candidate who has no chance of making any impact at all. The reason I pointed to the gospel is because it changes people’s hearts. That is what we need right now. If you try to get a Godly man in office, and then force God’s word down their throats, they won’t vote you in again. It is only when people love God’s word that true change can take place.

        However, it to that end that we can be working, not only in our personal lives, but also in the political realm. We can continually show that this alleged gospel of Obama is no gospel at all, and leads to total slavery. However, all of this takes time, and it is not simply a matter of getting a Godly person in office. It requires personal reformation at all areas of life through the power of the gospel. This unwise “quick fix” doesn’t solve anything.

        What reality are you speaking of anyways? The one that you have already determined to be true or God’s? Don’t you notice that your rhetoric is implying that you know what the future holds or that you know how God is working things out? Really, I don’t think that’s the case. You’re just wanting your man to win.

        Well, considering your abuse of the scriptures, and your simplistic view of human language, I don’t think you are pointing to God’s reality at all. Worse than that, how many times in the Proverbs does the man look at reality the way it is, and make a decision on the basis of the acharit, or the end? Is he not looking at “God’s reality?” Again, God uses means, and the only way I can see your position holding together is if you become a hypercalvinist. If you don’t believe that God uses means, then fate will just simply take us to a certain place, no matter what we do.

        Secondly, Romney is not “my man.” As I said, I already disagree with Romney on many things. What I am concerned about is the gospel, which is the only hope of salvation in this society. The gospel is “my man,” and it is a gross insult to the gospel of Jesus Christ to claim that a mere man, no matter how Godly, can do what only the Holy Spirit of God can do, and that is change the hearts of the people of this nation so that the desire what is right. It sounds like you have “your men” that you have placed your trust in, while I have trusted in the power of God unto salvation. I guess that is the ultimately the difference between us.

      • Adam says:

        GentleDove,

        The problem is that this is not obedience. It is a gross misuse of scripture to confuse a passage about determining leaders to our situation of merely influencing that decision. More than that, to just say “neither unbelievers nor believers determine who is president; only Christ does” ignores the fact that God uses the means of believers and unbelievers to choose our leaders. Again, I don’t know how this position can be maintained without becoming a hypercalvinist. No means, just fate. That is not an orthodox view of God’s sovereignty at all. Why do we evangelize if God has already determined that a certain person is going to be saved? Because God uses means. The same thing applies here. Why do we look at the numbers of voters? Because God uses the votes of the people of this nation to raise our leaders up.

      • GentleDove says:

        Adam,

        You are not understanding me. Each one of us should choose who we vote for based on God’s word, not pragmatism. You are being pragmatic by using words such as “determine” and “influence.” They are words of OUTCOME. I am not speaking of outcome. Of course God uses means. That is my entire point. God’s will is done through His people who OBEY Him. Our understanding of the numbers is not the standard by which we choose for whom to vote; rather, God’s word is the standard. God works through faithful minorities as shown throughout Scripture and providential history as well. He brings more rightful glory to Himself that way; no one else can claim the credit due to Him.

      • Adam says:

        GentleDove,

        I don’t think you are understanding what Pragmatism is. Pragmatism is not considering an outcome. Pragmatism says that what is right is determined by the situation. I am not saying that.

        The book of Proverbs, for example, considers outcome many times:

        Proverbs 5:3-4 For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech; 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.

        Proverbs 5:10-11 And strangers will be filled with your strength And your hard-earned goods will go to the house of an alien; 11 And you groan at your final end, When your flesh and your body are consumed;

        Proverbs 14:12-13 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death. 13 Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.

        Proverbs 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

        Proverbs 20:21 An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning Will not be blessed in the end.

        Proverbs 25:8 Do not go out hastily to argue your case; Otherwise, what will you do in the end, When your neighbor humiliates you?

        Proverbs 29:21 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will in the end find him to be a son.

        In all of these instances, the scriptures themselves look to the “end” to find out what is wise and what is not. Are the scriptures being pragmatic here? No, consideration of the “end” is not pragmatism; it is one of the hallmarks of wisdom. A person who does not consider the consequences of their actions is a person who is foolish. In fact, it is part of growing up that we learn that our actions have consequences, and that we should consider those consequences when we make our choices.

      • GentleDove says:

        Adam,

        No, those Scriptures direct us in a means and give us the consequence (end) if we do not do it. They do not direct Christians to consider the ends and then decide the means for ourselves.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        Where did you say it? It was in the only posting where I can “Reply” to you. “Unless that sin is done away with, there is nothing that we can do.”

        No, we are not looking for a quick fix. Nobody here is looking to put somebody into office in order to “shove laws down people’s throats”. The only person that is is you…and Gary…with your man Mitt. If you vote for him, he’s your man. No pulling this Pontius Pilate thing. What we are seeking to do is take down government – and this is were folks like you are totally wrong about us – so as to not have any one man rule over the other. That doesn’t fit into your description of us.

        If it’s not up to mere men and only the Holy Spirit, then why “choose” at all – why bother getting involved in politics? So, Stephen didn’t have to get killed for the Gospel since the Holy Spirit was going to do all the work?

        Yes, God does have means. I choose to follow those means as it says in Deuteronomy even if it’s a long slow road with beat downs. You on the other hand chose the easier path by justifying a government regime. You see it’s not about the “lesser of two evils”. It’s about Biblical freedoms versus centralization (look it up). It’s about God, the source of good, versus evil.

        “Secondly, Romney is not “my man.” As I said, I already disagree with Romney on many things. What I am concerned about is the gospel, which is the only hope of salvation in this society. The gospel is “my man,” and it is a gross insult to the gospel of Jesus Christ to claim that a mere man, no matter how Godly, can do what only the Holy Spirit of God can do, and that is change the hearts of the people of this nation so that the desire what is right. It sounds like you have “your men” that you have placed your trust in, while I have trusted in the power of God unto salvation. I guess that is the ultimately the difference between us.” – Adam

        See Gary. Look who’s on your side. They don’t care what else you have to say. All they care about is that you’re voting for their guy. You’re throwing pearls…

      • Adam says:

        GentleDove,

        No, those Scriptures direct us in a means and give us the consequence (end) if we do not do it. They do not direct Christians to consider the ends and then decide the means for ourselves.

        Proverbs 14:13 Even in laughter the heart may be in pain, And the end of joy may be grief.

        How can that last section even be made to fit into that. “The end of joy *may be* grief.” The point is that we cannot do something that is always joyful, but joy now could lead to grief later. We must consider how a certain joy will end.

      • Adam says:

        Dr. Duckenheimer,

        No, we are not looking for a quick fix. Nobody here is looking to put somebody into office in order to “shove laws down people’s throats”. The only person that is is you…and Gary…with your man Mitt. If you vote for him, he’s your man. No pulling this Pontius Pilate thing.

        No, he is not my man, because I disagree with him on many issues. The issue is what do I value the most, and he is the only candidate with even the remote possibility of winning who will legally protect the gospel that we as Christians value the most, the gospel which is the only hope for this culture. Again, understanding application of scripture from the standpoint of its entire value system is far more consistent with how language works.

        What we are seeking to do is take down government – and this is were folks like you are totally wrong about us – so as to not have any one man rule over the other. That doesn’t fit into your description of us.

        And that is called anarchy. If there is no one ruling over someone else, then there is total chaos. Do you really think this fits with God’s implementation of the federal government in Genesis 9? No, a society where no one rules over anyone else is a society of chaos because of sin.

        If it’s not up to mere men and only the Holy Spirit, then why “choose” at all – why bother getting involved in politics? So, Stephen didn’t have to get killed for the Gospel since the Holy Spirit was going to do all the work?

        Simple. We choose because God uses means.

        Yes, God does have means. I choose to follow those means as it says in Deuteronomy even if it’s a long slow road with beat downs.

        Okay, then I choose to follow the means of protecting human life by building a railing around the roof of my house, even if I get ridiculed for it in the Christian community. What does that prove? It only assumes what is under dispute, and that is whether you have correctly applied that text in Deuteronomy!

        You on the other hand chose the easier path by justifying a government regime. You see it’s not about the “lesser of two evils”. It’s about Biblical freedoms versus centralization (look it up). It’s about God, the source of good, versus evil.

        Heh, if you think that it is easy to have to vote on the basis of our freedom to proclaim the gospel so that we can continue to work on changing culture slowly over time, you really don’t understand what I am saying. I am not even talking about the “lesser of the two evils.” I am talking about the value *system* that the scriptures themselves set up. You seem to think that you can just write off the importance of the gospel in your decision of who to vote for, even though the importance of the gospel is stressed over and over again, to the point where Paul anathematized anyone who would change the gospel! And yet, that gospel is central to the very restoration of dominion that we are talking about.

        Also, Biblical freedoms will only come about when people’s hearts are transformed by the power of the gospel. Limited government without a Christian base to a society is the blueprint for anarchy. That is why we need the power of the gospel alongside the taking away of the control the government has exercised because of the loss of the Christian consensus. With out Christ ruling and reigning in the hearts of the people, limited government does nothing but push us closer and closer to chaos. That is why we need *all* of the Biblical values to be taken into consideration when we vote, and not just rip one text out of its historical context, and use that as a reason to trample down all of the other values of the Biblical text. Such is a grossly unwise application of scripture.

      • Adam says:

        Dr. Duckenheimer,

        Also, I don’t care that they don’t care what I have to say. I will keep on bringing up the issue of their evil sin, and their need for the gospel. I will keep calling these men to repentance, because I believe that my God is big enough that he can even remove the hard heart of stone found even in men like Barack Obama. We dare not lessen the power of God to use the proclamation of his word in that way. As the scripture says, his will not come back to him void. When God decides to remove a heart of stone using the proclamation of the gospel, even hard hearted socialism and communism cannot stop him. That is why he is God, and we are not.

        Also, I even said that this is not the only area we should be working. We should be working in the private sector as well. We are to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, and as we see the gospel taking root in all of these areas, we will start to see real change.

        I find it strange that you somehow think that this is the “easy way.” It is not. It is a long and hard road working with people, and yes, getting involved in dealing with the deep dirt of the sin of our society, and dealing with the deep dirt of the personal sins of those around us. It is hard, but it is what Jesus meant when he told us to make disciples of all the nations.

      • Arrow says:

        Adam,

        One thing consistently shows up in your posts…you are badly misinformed on the candidates. You seem to think that Obama will somehow outlaw the preaching of the gospel, and the Romney will somehow protect it.

        Both are non-Christian men with unholy political ambitions. Obama tows a liberal line outwardly, Romney talks conservative one day and not the next; I guess the 50% is because he has to keep people like you on board his godless political bandwagon.

        If you turn off Rush Limbaugh and Fox News for one year you will see this. If you don’t you will continue to fall prey to the skillfully crafted brainwashing that they have given you.

        I think you have begun with an emotional response to the word “Obama”, which these people repeat literally thousands of times to you, and formed your theological ideas around it.

        I konw you don’t believe this; they never do.

      • Dr. Duckenheimer says:

        Is “Romney not being your man but you’re still voting for him” part of the pragmatics? Who said Romney will legally protect the Gospel? Why does it come down to him? I believe Gentle Dove already addressed to you.

        You need to understand what it means when people like me state such things as “men not ruling over another”. Of course there should be a justice system. Really, I think you don’t understand the truth of what centralized governments are. Again, the Gospel 101 message-only mentality is hindering you to understand things beyond the basics of government. Instead you would rather have men to not just rule over other men like tyrants; you would rather have men rule over the Gospel as tyrants. You may say I’m an anarchist (not to be confused with the OWS, lazy slackers, or progressives); I say you’re a statist.

        You say simple, God uses means. Well, what means is that since pragmatics is telling you to let a secular government protect the Gospel?

        I think a lot of this can be cleared up by understanding how the Bible views government (the beast) and knowing and admitting what the Republican party really is. Look up Menshevism or Mensheviks.

  14. E Harris says:

    Great article. Mr. DeMar, your arguments are geared toward how the church deals with the world. We have not yet (really) straightened out how the church is to deal within herself. Judgment begins at the House of God. Only when we are standing as we should (Rev 15), does permanent judgment fall on the world’s systems. So (in a way) when we work on ironing out the church, we ARE doing the long & hard work of (sooner or later) winning the political debate. It is because the church (for the most part) is pro-life, that the pro-abortion camp never got a real, permanent foothold. God help us if we ever stop teaching morality. Politics is the tail. It follows us. I’m not saying anything new.

    * “Paul didn’t see a dichotomy between law and gospel as long as the law was not viewed as a way to earn righteosness.”

    I know that this is slightly off-topic. But it does come back around to politics, because the tail inevitably follows the head. We must first remove the 2×4 from our own eye, before we can deal (with logical purity) with the world’s systems. Otherwise we will only repeat history, and make the same mistakes as the last thousand times we tried to “start over” (including the Mother of them all: The Council of Nicaea).

    This inner “dichotomy” between political involvement and our understanding of grace has perhaps never been so wide as it is today. I’m very familiar with this inner wrestling match. And I believe much of it stems from how we perceive our own relationship to the world and to others within the church body (and even the definition of the church body). Even those who preach grace are not truly as individualistic and libertarian as they pretend. The public image of the church (even how she sees herself) is broken. We must heal. And part of the healing comes from restoring NEW COVENANT word-definitions for the church terms that we use. We should restrict biblical terms that we use to their biblical context, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. I don’t think that most christians, even today, understand the damage that was done by the clergy/laity divide and by the Rome-centric system. Scholars had all the time in the world, apart from family and manual labor, to re-structure (re-construct) the connotations of A LOT of biblical words!

    One of these words is ‘law’. What does ‘law’ mean, in a New Covenant context? In nature, it means the way God’s law is expressed in raw material. Among men (externally) it means the norms that men are to conform to, if they want to get along peacefully with their fellows. But IN men, in the realm of Spiritual communion and growth in the Spirit: law means allowing God’s Spirit to have His Way and learning how to conform and stay out of the picture! In the Spirit, Law = Who God IS and How He Moves.)

    When the church gained a voice in politics in Nicaea it did help to spread the gospel. But it also allowed every erroneous idea established among the clergy to be foisted upon ALL who were “subjects” to this system! The church may have had some good effect externally in curbing the power of the emperor. But in the process, the public image of the church (and even her internal dealings) were increasingly corrupted! This is why the church has been weak toward socialism. It carried many of the seeds of secular socialism (statist legalism) within it. We cannot be content just to preach to the world and not heal ourselves. (There is plenty of healing to be done: the authoritarian denominational structures; the denominal sects; the clergy/laity split (proper NT & free-enterprise context of our gifts and talents); fixed-member-role congregationalism and the splits between congregations;… etc.) How can we tell the world to unify under God around Jesus Christ… if we cannot figure it out?

    There is room for both political engagement and healing in the Body of Christ. But the latter comes first. This isn’t a child speaking. In fact, it is spiritual infants who are most likely to follow the ways of the world and the carnal flesh. Many of the things of Christ ARE simple and profound (and elementary). But sanctification is not always easy to digest: because it would carry us far away from our normal traditions. When we follow Jesus’ ways, even our friendships may be strained or broken. If people have the world in them, they will think a child of God to be childish. God uses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise.

  15. Doug says:

    Christians must render unto Caesar, as well as the Lord. About 50% of church-goers have abdicated their duties as American citizens: that means about 30,000,000 church-goers are NOT registered to vote.

    • Arrow says:

      Worse, those who ARE registered have, for the most part, supported and voted for God’s enemies.

    • Joe Mudd says:

      Rendering unto Caesar is a REVERSE scripture when you study it.
      What was Caesars? that which he conquered and stole! Whose face
      is on that coin? The face of a man who demanded to be worshiped
      as god. Caesar got what was coming to (them) him, death and the
      overthrow of the entire system, conquered from within by Christianity.
      The real God’s word never returns to Him void.

  16. Arrow says:

    A wonderful, wonderful article that I am not able to use due to its endorsement of a thoroughly evil-minded political candidate.

    Too bad.

    • Adam says:

      Arrow,

      Actually, it isn’t possible to not endorse a “thoroughly evil-minded political candidate.” By simply taking simply mathematics into consideration any vote for a candidate other than Romney or Obama is a vote for Obama. Hence, you may think you are endorsing a third party candidate, but what you are really doing is endorsing a candidate in Obama who would like nothing more than to take away our freedom to continue to present the gospel, which is the *only* way which this society will be saved.

      Also, please remember that we cannot choose the next president. I wish Christians had the power to choose the next president, but we do not. Until the hearts of the people of this nation are changed so that they love what is right, we will only, at best, be able to slightly *influence* the election. Hence, all of the passages people like to quote about Moses or others choosing leaders with certain characteristics are totally irrelevant. In every one of these texts, believers are *choosing* and not merely having a small *influence* on what that choice will be.

      I don’t agree with Gary’s exegesis of 1 Timothy 1:8-10, as I believe that we are in the context of the use of the law in the church not the state, and the phrase “according to the gospel” should be constituent with the noun phrase “sound teaching.” In other words, the “sound teaching” is further described as what is “according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God.”

      Still, with that minor disagreement, Gary is correct that it will take a long time and hard work to change the evil that has been done in our civil government. Simply getting the right man in office will not change things, if the people of this nation will run him out of town because they hate the law of God. It has to be a change that is gradual over time, both in the political arena, and in the personal arena as we transform ourselves through the gospel, and applying God’s word to every area of life. Only then will we, as a nation, love God’s commandments enough that we will desire to see Godly men in office.

      Until that time, the best we can do is slightly *influence* the decision as to who will become president, and if we use our influence in such a way that it gets a man like Obama elected who, far more than any president, has been more than willing to step on our freedoms to proclaim the gospel, are we really doing what is Godly and wise, given the emphasis on the gospel as the power of God unto salvation?

      • Arrow says:

        Where do I start??

        1. “Actually, it isn’t possible to not endorse a “thoroughly evil-minded political candidate.”

        Yes it is. I endorse Ron Paul who is imperfect like all of us but in the vast majority of cases has (imperfectly) proven to (imperfectly) uphold Biblical and (imperfect) constitutional civil government (imperfectly). Did I say that I don’t think he’s perfect? Oh, yes, and I don’t think he’s a Savior, nor the answer to all our problems. Just an honest politician who understands and (imperfectly) supports constitutional government (imperfectly).

        2. Neither Obama nor Romney owns my vote, so how can you determine from whom it was “taken” if I vote for an honest person? In reality, a vote for Romney is a vote for Obama, since their policies are practically identical.

        3. Christians are not charged by God to control elections; in fact God says that HE sets up and takes down rulers. Having said that, numerically speaking, NO Republican can win a presidential election without the evangelical vote…so isn’t it a shame that we are willing to prostitute ourselves to the party bosses?

        4.”Hence, all of the passages people like to quote about Moses or others choosing leaders with certain characteristics are totally irrelevant…” Well, I may as well rest my case at this point.

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