Archive for the ‘ Christians & Culture ’ Category

Are Voters Foolish? (Part II)

Mankind is sinful. That’s the Biblical message. Consequently, we should not be surprised that voters will make foolish choices at times. Yet what do we mean when we say that mankind is sinful, and how does that connect with voting?

Let me try to explain how I see sin. First, all sin is foolish. What could be more foolish than to stiffarm the God who created you and who wants to free you from a life (both now and in eternity) separated from His love? Our rebellious hearts create a barrier. It’s not God’s fault; it’s ours. We are foolish.

Second, all sin is selfishness. We don’t want anyone else telling us what to do, and we don’t want to be held accountable to the standard God has set. Instead, we want to follow our own thinking, our own selfish desires, our misguided concepts of what is “good.” In short, we want to be our own god.

Combine that selfishness with foolishness and then apply it to voting. What is the result? We vote for whoever promises to give us more. We just want things to go better, so we pick someone who says he is all about “change.” Never mind what the change might be; we simply want “change.” We choose not to be truly informed on the issues. We don’t bother to think about foundational principles of life and government. All of this comes from sinful hearts.

I expect that from the world at large. What is distressing is when professing Christians do the same thing. We are to be the salt and light in this society. As Jesus noted, if the salt loses its flavor, what is it good for? The answer: nothing. If we hide the light, who is going to find the right path? No one.

We should be taking the lead in promoting Biblical principles in all of society, but particularly, at this time, in the sphere of politics and government. We should be the most informed on the issues and be able to explain why certain policies are right and others wrong. We should never vote for “change” without first examining what the change will be. Neither should we simply cast our vote for those who promise to give us more goodies. That’s selfishness. That’s sin.

Principle: God the Creator

Continuing with a review of Biblical principles, I want to focus now on the truth that God is the creator of all things. If God “is,” then it is not a great logical leap to conclude that He also “does.” We don’t really grasp the concept of how astonishingly creative He is. All that we see around us began with an image in His own mind. He then transformed that image into something tangible. The universe sprang from His creativity; all the features of this earth are the result of His desire to create; the material and animal creations manifest His imagination.

Then came man. This was a unique part of His creation. Man is separated from all other created things by one key ingredient. Within man was planted the image of God. Nothing else in creation has this gift. God reasons; man can reason. God displays emotions; man possesses identical emotions. God chooses; man has a will. God knows the difference between right and wrong; man is endowed with a conscience. God is a spirit who is from everlasting to everlasting. Although man has a starting point, he also is more than a physical being; he has a spirit, and he will live forever as well. The only difference is that there are two eternal locations for that spirit, and only one is in the presence of his Creator.

Perhaps Michaelangelo expressed it best in his painting of the Sistine Chapel.

How are we handling this most wonderful creation of God? Do we reason as God reasons? Feel what He feels? Choose as He would choose? Is our conscience informed by His truth or have we instead seared our conscience to avoid the truth? This is not a game; it determines where our spirit will spend eternity.

And do we attempt to influence our culture by speaking clearly regarding this truth? Or do we hide the truth in order to be accepted by the culture? The future of the nation depends on the answer to that question.

Chambers on God and Culture

Whittaker Chambers

Whittaker Chambers

I’ve been commenting on the fact of God’s existence and that Jesus Christ was God in the flesh. These are basic truths upon which all of our thinking should rest.

Those who have perused my website cannot have missed that one of the subjects I have been researching is Whittaker Chambers, a man who found the truth of God’s existence, but only after experiencing the failed god of communism.

Reflecting on God, man, and history in his seminal work Witness, Chambers commented on man’s rejection of God, and put his thoughts into words that have stayed with me ever since I first read them more than twenty years ago.

There has never been a society or a nation without God. But history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations that became indifferent to God, and died.

May America never be indifferent to God. Indifference is tantamount to rejection. If we reject God, He will reject us.

Principle: I Am Who I Am

As noted in the previous post, a foundational principle is that God actually exists. At one point, in Hebrew history, a man named Moses, a shepherd without any real status in society, saw a most unusual sight: a bush that burned but wasn’t consumed. Out of the midst of the bush, he heard the voice of God telling him to embark on a mission to free his people from Egypt. When Moses asks the name of the voice, he is told,

I Am who I Am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: “I Am has sent me to you.”

When Jesus later spoke to the Pharisees, and they demanded to know who He claimed to be, He responded, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am.” The connection was clear–so clear that they immediately tried to stone Him to death. They understood He was claiming to be God.

Not only does God actually exist, but He has made Himself known.

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

This is another foundational principle, the truth that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh. It is a truth denied by most of the world, but only through this truth do we find out what life is really all about. And it is a truth that needs to permeate our culture.

Principle: The God Who Is There

Christian Apologist Francis Schaeffer
Christian Apologist Francis Schaeffer

A few postings ago, I started writing about principles and how they should be the basis for everything we do. Principles are general truths, and they come from God.

And that should be the first principle we consider: the fact of God’s very being. One of the most influential writers in the Christian world, who speaks to us even after his death, was Francis Schaeffer. I’m reminded of the title of one of his books–The God Who Is There. Schaeffer stressed that God was a distinct being to whom we are all accountable, and in his books he continually argued that there is such a thing as objective truth, which has its origin in the being of God.

The Psalmist has told us, “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” The Apostle Paul, in the book of Romans, spends a considerable amount of time in the first two chapters setting out this one salient fact: we all know He exists; we are all accountable to Him, yet we try to suppress the evidence; we have no excuse for our disobedience. His words are strong:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools.

No matter how many doctorates one may possess, no matter how many books and articles one has written, no matter how many appearance on TV programs as an “expert,” if any person denies the existence of God, he or she is a fool. God’s existence is one of those general truths; it is foundational for comprehending the meaning of the world in which we live.

Principles Are the Foundation

Noah Webster: Father of Early American Education

Noah Webster: Father of Early American Education

Noah Webster defined “principle” in this way: the source or origin of anything; a general truth from which one can deduce many subordinate truths.

Christians need to make sure that whatever they do in society is based on God’s principles–His general truths–and not simply on whatever is expedient. When we discover God’s general truths, we can then identify other truths that flow from the general ones. Those subordinate truths will help us understand the types of policies that must be put into effect to ensure that a society operates the way God intended.

American society today is not very principled. We are more concerned with what “works.” The major problem with that approach is that we all have different definitions of “works.” Rather, we need to have God’s perspective on all things. When we start with His basic principles, we will have truth first, but also something that “works,” as He defines that term.

What I want to do systematically in this blog is to talk about those general truths, God’s principles, that should be the foundation of everything we do. I will continue to address current events, particularly in this political season, but will intersperse comments on principles along the way. I hope you will find this thread illuminating. Focusing on God’s truths has a way of providing the illumination we need. His Word is a light for our path.

Liberated Theology?

Obama & Wright
Obama & Wright

For some, the connection between Obama and Jeremiah Wright is old news. But I want to be sure we understand just how Obama views the Christian faith. Rick Warren, at the Saddleback Forum last Saturday, just assumed Obama was a Christian. Why? Because Obama says he is.

However, the brand of Christianity Obama believes comes from Wright’s version of what is known as liberation theology. What does that theology teach?

First: God cannot be understood through doctrine and He is not perfect or unchanging.

Second: Jesus is not God, but shows us the way to God; He reveals the way one becomes the son of God.

Third: Salvation is a process of liberation from oppression and injustice. Essentially, this is a Marxist, now-centered approach that puts all emphasis on the here and now, not eternity.

In an interview with a Chicago Sun-Times columnist in 2004, Obama stated, “I’m rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.”

He continued, “The difficult thing about any religion, including Christianity, is that at some level there is a call to evangelize and proselytize. There’s the belief, certainly in some quarters, that if people haven’t embraced Jesus Christ as their personal savior, they’re going to hell.”

The columnist then added, “Obama doesn’t believe he, or anyone else, will go to hell. But he’s not sure he’ll be going to heaven either.”

So, to summarize: he does not consider Jesus Christ to be the only way to God; he is uncomfortable with the idea that one should win people to the faith; he denies that one must embrace Christ as personal savior or spend an eternity separated from God; in fact, he doesn’t really believe there is an eternal consequence for living apart from God–no one is going to a place called hell. Why is he not sure he is going to a place called heaven? Probably because liberation theology doesn’t really believe that place exists either.

So what does all this mean? Obama is certainly free to believe what he wishes, but I don’t want anyone to be fooled by his expressions of faith. He does have a faith–everyone has a faith of some type. His faith, though, should not be confused with Christianity.

How will his faith influence our culture? It will lead to a more Marxist approach to life: the here-and-now is everything; the government is the solution for all problems; the poor are oppressed by the elites of society; envy of the rich will dominate public policy.

Christians are to influence culture and public policy, but a Biblically based worldview leads in an opposite direction than Obama’s. Let’s not be confused on that point.