Archive for May, 2011

Christians are too Anti-American and Americans are too Anti-Christian

Are Christians too Anti-Government and too Anti-American? I can not speak for everyone, but I do think that it is a temptation that is easy to fall into. I have often heard dismissive sentiment toward government in general and of the American form of government specifically as if it is unholy or somehow not godly, but in doing that we neglect our most basic role as human beings.

The Bible says in Genesis1:28 “God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” This is rightly understood to give man his place as the highest created being and also to give him his job as ruler of all of creation. We were designed to rule over the natural order and, by inference, to rule and govern ourselves. In Romans 13:1 we find that God establishes government to rule: “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God”.

Our first charge as people is to rule the earth. It is a charge that supercedes the “Great Commission” to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit”. I would not and could not minimize the importance of Jesus’ charge to His disciples; it was after all one of the last things that He told them and it speaks of the most important decision that anyone can ever make. That being said this great charge to the disciples still comes under the umbrella of the first charge to mankind found in Genesis. We are to rule over the earth.

The American culture, by most observers, is deteriorating: drug and alcohol use, promiscuity, violence, broken families, financial crisis, corruption in business and government. While all this is happening Barna indicates that church attendance is falling and indicators of spiritual commitment are on the wane.America is turning away from God at a time when we most need to turn to Him. Would godly rule help?

The answer to this spiritual backsliding is almost always that we need to share the gospel with the lost so that they will repent and begin to live Godly lives – The Great Commission! I agree to a point; the ultimate check on any society is the internal check of the Holy Spirit. The scripture validates this by recognizing that the law was insufficient to change the heart of man andIsraelsinned and wandered far from God. However, saying that the law is insufficient is not the same as saying that the law is pointless or worthless or even of only secondary value. Romans 7:7 says, “What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law”. Paul sees the benefit of law and its ability to show us our shortcomings, but if the law is no law, then lawlessness abounds. It seems to me that the law must precede the Great Commission for the message of the G.C. to have the proper effect. 

This is where I think Americans and, specifically, American Christians miss a crucial part of our faith. We were made to rule. God was incredibly gracious in carving out of the morass of corrupt governments and tyrannies, a government of the people, by the people and for the people that held certain rights inalienable, given by God, including the rights of life and liberty. It was a government formed on law, not the rule of man, but on unalterable principals that applied to everyone from the richest to the poorest. He gave us a nation that espoused equal justice under the law. These are godly principals and we were the exception to the norm or standard of governments around the world. We of all people in the world were entrusted with something that was uniquely right. This type of government had never been attempted on this grand a scale and it was, and is, a great gift from God for which we have been left stewards. As people whose charge it is to rule, and as believers who should understand better than most what makes for good rule, how have we handled that stewardship?

Have we dismissed politics, governance and economics as somehow secular and irrelevant to the great commission, or have we embraced these areas as somehow part of the infrastructure that facilitates the Great Commission? I can’t answer that for you, but I can for me and I do not like what my answer is.

Just as the church is abandoning its place in the public square, the society increasingly turns its back on Christians and God, with disastrous results for society as indicated above. It seems pretty apparent that theUnited States of Americacould use some Godly wisdom in establishing rule.

It is time to ask God what we can do. I suggest it start with repentance of our neglect of a stewardship from God and ask Him to forgive us and give us grace to do what is right. If we don’t engage the process, if we don’t inform ourselves and inform our friends and family, how will we answer the stewardship question that Jesus will inevitably ask us about what did we do with the talents that we have been given?

It is a Shameful Day When We Support Terrorism

I don’t know about you, but I think today was a low point for our country. I haven’t felt like this since the day of the attacks on 9/11. It was a day that made me sick to my stomach. When I heard the President tell Israel that they must move back their territorial boundaries, I was aghast. I have disagreed with President Obama on many issues because I see his socialist and statist views to be antithetical to the founding principles of this country (forget the birth certificate, that is why I don’t believe he is an American) but his speech today on the Palestinian/Israel issue was tragic, misinformed, misguided, seriously dangerous and a terrible betrayal. The betrayal was not only towards the nation of Israel, but it was a betrayal of the principles of this country. In addition, it is a betrayal of the American people and every administration of the past 65 years.

I know there are some who look to Israel as the cause or originator of much of the violence in the Middle East, but it is important that we remember that Israel was established by a resolution in the United Nations (some would say “at the point of a gun”) but the main reason for the UN establishing a place for Israel at all, was the long history of Jewish persecution in Europe that culminated in Holocaust in the 40’s.

There are frequent and loud and virulent calls for the annihilation of Israel. Every time Iran, or Hezbollah or Hamas or any number of other Mid East leaders call for the annihilation of Israel, that UN resolution is defied. Since their founding and through the attack on Israel by Arab nations in 1967 they have been under the threat of attack or under actual attacks on their territory. It is ironic that although the UN established the nation, they now so often find themselves at odds with the Israeli position.

While Israel may be perceived by some to provoke the attacks, they are the only non-Arab nation in the region and they are the only Democratically elected government in the area. In addition they are the only nation that does not frequently pronounce or have significant parts of their population pronounce “Death to the Great Satan”. As a result they often find themselves under attack from surrounding terrorist organizations, organizations that are secretly funded by the likes of Iran and Saudi Arabia among others.      

All of that aside, today President Obama represented to the world that the United States is siding with terrorist organizations including Hamas, Hezbollah and the nation of Iran in calling for Israel to give up territory to set up a Palestinian state. Regardless of what you may think about Israel, it is absolutely unconscionable that we would unilaterally tell a sovereign nation that they need to give up territory to organizations that are committed to their total destruction. At one time Hitler was also committed to a final solution for Jews and we were shocked, horrified and strongly opposed to his plans. What has happened in the interim that we find ourselves allied with people and organizations that have the same ideas.

For the record, the President may have spoken with the collective “we” and the he may have said the United States, but he does not speak for me. I stand opposed to the terrorist organizations and the Arab Nations that call for Israel’s destruction. I stand with Israel. They have a right to exist and should not have to negotiate with pre-conditions with organizations that are committed to their destruction.

Ding Dong The Wicked Osama is Dead

Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the death of thousands as the architect of the 9/11 attacks in NY, D.C. and Pennsylvania and responsible for thousands of dead around the globe, Christian, Muslim and every faith and no faith in between, is no longer in the land of the living.

I was watching the Mets play on Sunday night in Philadelphia when the stadium started chanting USA! USA! and the announcers mentioned that the news of OBL’s death must be spreading like wildfire throughout the stadium. It was a very strange and surreal emotion that I felt. I was uncomfortable, but sympathetic with the Philadelphia fans. I then heard there was celebrating in front of the White House and I remembered how appalled I was to see the Arab street erupt in celebration over the events of 9/11 and wished we had been more sober in our response. I went to bed with such mixed emotions.

Scripture in Proverbs 21:15 states the fact that “When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.” In Matthew 26:52 scripture makes clear that “all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” Those scriptures not only state the facts they give a glimpse into why I was happy to see such an evil man brought to justice.

Even typing “brought to justice” brings to mind so many who think only God can bring justice and as such we are wrong to do anything to bring that about, but the fact is the prime instrument of God’s justice is government. In Romans 13:4 it says of Government “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” so I am not concerned that a government went and pursued justice for those families who lost loved ones on 9/11. I wonder how I would have felt if a family member or friend died on that day.

This does bring me to the emotions that I felt today as I saw many at ground zero holding a prayer vigil. There was a somber mood of remembrance for those who were lost. I think this came closest to my feelings. I remembered a more innocent time, now lost forever, when we did not deal with an ideology of hate that wanted to kill us just because we are Christians or Americans. It is true that God says in Ezekiel 33:11 “Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord GOD, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live” It certainly would have been better that OBL had repented and it certainly is sobering to think of where he is right now, but I have no deep sadness for his fate, he begged it. I do feel joy that many are free of his grip (although his influence has waned in recent years) just as I feel a sense of relief when any evildoer is apprehended and brought to account for their crime whether it be murder or rape or some other assault. It is just righteous. It is right to stop the evildoer. It is right to provide protection for the innocent. Remember, there are many in the Muslim world that are also trapped under his evil and hateful ideology.

I do feel a sense of gratitude as well for those who put their lives in harms way to protect us from evildoers and bring to justice those who would do us harm. Our military, our police and our intelligence community are part of God’s provision for us, “for it is a minister of God to you for good” and I do not want to be ungrateful to God for His provision, so while I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, at the same time I do want to give thanks to God for what He has done for us. He has done this for us in the United States, but He also overthrows the wicked to bring relief for the oppressed around the world. Judges 2:18 “When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.”

The bottom line is a deep sense of gratitude to God for His ongoing care for those who are oppressed by an ideology of hate and oppression and His deliverance from that. I am sad to see anyone go to hell, but God is sovereign and He rules in the affairs of men. I am always glad when good triumphs over evil. Thanks be to Jesus for your kindness to us.

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