The Greatest Political Seduction of All?
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The Greatest Political Seduction of All?
Analysis. While doing a TV interview with James and Betty Robison on my recent book The Political Seduction of the Church: How Millions of Americans Confused Politics with the Gospel, James said to me, “Do you know what is the greatest political seduction of all? It is when Christians completely drop out of the political process and don’t vote at all.”
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With the midterms upon us, this is a mistake we cannot afford to make.
If we sit out the political process entirely, be it because of the worldliness of the system or because we didn’t get our favorite candidate or because of our “heavenly calling,” we have no one to blame when things turn in a worse direction.
We, on our part, did nothing to stop it.
We abdicated our privilege and our responsibility.
I addressed this in the Political Seduction book, emphasizing that “there is no question that Christians should be involved in politics, since we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.”
As I explained in the book (and as I reproduce here), as God’s people living in this world, we are called to set a standard of morality and equity and compassion and kindness and justice.
Put another way, we are called to be more like thermostats, helping to set the temperature, rather than like thermometers, which simply measure the temperature.
As expressed by Dr. Martin Luther King,
“There was a time when the church was very powerful, in the time when the early Christians rejoiced at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”
To quote King again,
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
This is a high and lofty calling, one which we often miss, going to one extreme or the other.
At other times, we get so fed up with the politics of this world that we simply abandon the political scene entirely.
That, too, is a grave mistake.
If we abandon politics, someone else will fill the void that we left, someone with a very different agenda than our own. This will mean suffering and pain and destruction for the nation.
In short, if we abandon politics entirely, we cease to be a moral witness, we cease to speak truth to power, we cease to plead for justice for the oppressed and downtrodden, we cease to stand against governmental tyranny, we cease to hold our leaders accountable, we cease to advocate for freedom of religion, speech, and conscience, and we cease to stand up for the rights of “the least of these.” (In past generations, “the least of these” in America would have been African slaves; today, it is the unborn and the victims of human trafficking, among others.)
And when we live in a Democratic Republic like the United States, if we give up our right to vote, we hand the nation over to those who differ with our values, if not despise our values. As a result, we will ultimately forfeit our right to preach the Gospel and to live by biblical values, even in our own homes and schools and congregations.
Of course there is an unhealthy marriage between politics and the gospel, and that is a major focus of my book.
Interestingly, in a February 1981 interview for Parade Magazine, and with reference to Rev. Jerry Falwell, leader of the Moral Majority, Dr. Billy Graham said,
“I told him to preach the Gospel. That’s our calling. I want to preserve the purity of the Gospel and the freedom of religion in America. I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. Liberals organized in the ’60s, and conservatives certainly have a right to organize in the ’80s, but it would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.”
This was a lesson that we learned the hard way, and it is a lesson we must take to heart.
But if we drop out of the political process entirely, something that Dr. Graham was not advocating, the very “freedom of religion” that he wanted to “preserve” will be lost.
So, it is a grave error to marry the gospel with politics.
And it’s a deadly error to abandon the political system entirely.
But if we keep our priorities straight, which means the gospel first, and then politics, also shining the light of the gospel into the political realm, we can see America changed.
I encourage you to seek God in prayer and to study His Word, to share the gospel with your friends and co-workers, to pursue godliness and righteousness in every area of life – and to get informed and to vote.
Together, we make a massive difference.
Will you vote this Tuesday? Share your prayers and scriptures for the election below!
(Used with permission. By Dr. Michael L. Brown from AskDrBrown. Photo Credit: Element5 Digital on Unsplash)
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About 5 years ago I had the opportunity to visit my Grandson’s elementary school. I walked up and down the halls enjoying the artwork of the students hanging on the walls when I came across the essays of a class that was probably third or fourth grade.
The assignment was to write a short story about Dr Martin Luther King. As I read on and on, I grew sad. Every paper had the same flavor and facts:
“Dr King was a preacher. He got married and had a family. He had a Church. He protested and got a lot of civil rights legislation passed…”
ONLY ONE of the essays mentioned one of the most beautiful pieces of American Literature – the “I have a dream” speech.
The local school board may be the most important of all the elections tomorrow.
Father, may we be wise and learn about the candidates in each election. May we not divorce ourselves from the life of politics but participate to be a voice for righteousness. Keep us from withdrawing in the name of faithfulness to you.
The article is correct; we need to get off the bench and vote. Its our duty as citizens ; render to Caesar what is his, to God what is His.
Its obvious that many have moved from a Christ centered body of believers to another focus. What can bring us back to our roots of long ago: I believe its answered in one particular verse:
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
(2 Chronicles 7:14)
4 IFs for God’s called people:
humble, pray, seek, turn
3 THENs from God:
hear, forgive, heal
After an 8 word declaration of judgment by a reluctant prophet Jonah, see what the Assyrians in Nineveh did i(Jonah 3: 6-10) and the result.
“The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he issued a proclamation and published through Nineveh, “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything. Let them not feed or drink water, but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and let them call out mightily to God.
Let everyone turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who knows? God may turn and relent and turn from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He had said He would do to them, and He did not do it.”
They humbled, prayed, sought, and turned.
They were spared then, but later in history, returned to their sinful ways and God’s judgment.
Father, may we do our civic duty but also help us return to You.
Get out and vote,
bring our heart back to God.
Lord, prompt Your children to take the time to research the candidates for who appointed them and who they are and may Your kingdom come and Your will be done as we vote responsibly according to Your Spirit. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
Whether or not there is a “marriage” between the church and the political Right today, there are unquestionably all the symptoms of a vicious and bitter divorce with the Left. As so often happens in divorces, the “party” who committed the most infractions is making the most accusations. Conservative Christians don’t have the time or energy to commit all the things we’re being accused of doing.
Father, we come before you on our knees for our beloved America…we pray that righteous leaders will replace the unrighteous and that YOUR WILL be done in our nation as it is in heaven
We thank you Father fir the VICTORY!