No, Political Parties are Not All the Same

supreme court

Politics can be ugly business.  And there are things that happen (on both sides of the aisle) that are unfortunate and disturbing.  But, unfortunately, the standard evangelical reaction to such a reality is to declare that no political party is better than any other.  It doesn’t matter how you vote as a Christian, we are told.    

During last year’s election, I challenged this notion in a post entitled Postmodernity and Politics. A few excerpts:

Even if both parties are flawed to some degree, the real question still remains, namely which political party is the closest to the principles and ethics laid out in Scripture?  After all, at the end of the day, the Christian still has to go to the polls and vote for someone. And surely he wants to vote for the party that is closest to the teachings of Scripture.

I think the claim that both parties are equally flawed is highly problematic when one considers that Democrats and Republicans have near opposite political platforms on almost every major issue.  Is it really likely that there would be two parties with nearly opposite values and ethical positions and, at the same time, neither would be closer to the teachings of Scripture?  I suppose it is possible.  But, is also very unlikely.

One wonders how the “Jesus is neither a Democrat nor Republican” approach would have worked for Dietrich Bonhoeffer as he navigated the frightening political landscape of Germany in the 1930’s or 1940’s.  Would he have been compelled by the idea that the Scripture was neutral about whether Christians should vote for Hitler’s socialist party?   The sad truth is that many Christians and many churches in that day went along with Hitler’s politics and offered no protest.  Bonhoeffer disagreed and argued that it was the Christian’s duty to oppose the National Socialist party.  I doubt Bonhoeffer would have been persuaded by the argument that “good Christians are on both sides of this issue.”

In light of the sad events of the last week, I am hopeful that this “all political parties are the same” misconception can be put to rest once and for all.  In both the SCOTUS decision in support of homosexual marriage, and in the abortion debate in Texas, there was loud cheering on the one side and deep sadness on the other.  It’s hard to imagine a deeper divide.

Indeed, when one looks back over the last period of time and asks which political party has been the one promoting, endorsing, and encouraging two of the most serious anti-Christian positions—abortion and homosexual marriage—the answer is not hard to find.  

And these are not minor issues.  One has resulted in millions upon millions of lost lives.  And the other has redefined one of the most central and enduring institutions in human civilization.   

Evangelicals have some serious soul searching to do when it comes to how we vote.  The recent 5-4 split on the Supreme Court, and Obama’s endorsement of the majority decision, shows that all political parties are not the same.

I wonder what Bonhoeffer would say if he were living in America today.   Would he say, “It doesn’t matter which party Christians vote for”?  After this week’s events, I doubt it.  

Comments

No, Political Parties are Not All the Same — 35 Comments

  1. Dr Kruger:

    You said “After all, at the end of the day, the Christian still has to go to the polls and vote for someone. And surely he wants to vote for the party that is closest to the teachings of Scripture.”

    What would you say to the Christian who views their vote as to not vote at all because to do so is to essentially choose between the lesser of two evils? Take for example this last presidential election. I don’t need to describe the winner. However the loser may have potentially been even more dangerous spiritually than our current president. The loser, if he had his way, would woo as many people into hell through his cult teachings as possible. No doubt MANY would be more thoroughly investigating the claims of the religion he endorses and especially if he was doing well in office! His success would be attributed to his faith and his beliefs which would gain them credibility and public interest. Then there would definitely be many who would be trapped by this cult. I personally would have a hard time explaining to my Lord why I voted for a man who most distinctly matches a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and denies the Lord who bought me. And I would have an equally hard time explaining my vote for the current office holder…

    • Thanks, Chris. Appreciate the comments. Every vote we make is a choice between the lesser of two evils. Given that all are sinners, there is no other way it could be. In the 2012 election we had a choice between two non-Christians. When faced with such a choice, I think a Christian should vote for the candidate whose policies most closely approximate the Christian worldview. Although Romney was a Mormon, his policies were by far (in my opinion) the closest to the Christian worldview. Note carefully: I am not saying his religion is closest to the Christian worldview, but his policies. I don’t agree that his victory would have led countless people into Mormonism. That didn’t happen when he was governor of Mass. As for Obama, yes he claimed to be a Christian (as does just about everyone). But his worldview is about as non-Christian as one could get.

      • I completely understand what you are saying, no misunderstandings. I have to disagree with you regarding the interest in Mormonism as I think the popularity of a Governor is not even comparable to that of a President, however all we have is speculation…
        So, I guess I would just appreciate your personal opinion, well actually, your pastoral opinion (as I myself am a believer of about 3 years and heading off to TMS in Los Angeles soon) on the position I hold; that it is acceptable to express your “vote” by a no-vote? As a pastor, to a young believer, I would appreciate any thoughts.

        • Thanks, Chris. As for the “no-vote”, I assume you mean just not voting at all. So far, I see little reason for Christians to not vote. On the contrary, in the last election there was a great divide between candidates and Christians had a good opportunity to make a positive difference for our country. Put differently, if a Christian has an opportunity to vote against a candidate who is pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage, and for a candidate who is pro life and pro marriage, they why would they not? Silence does not seem to be a compelling option when given that choice.

      • “As for Obama, yes he claimed to be a Christian (as does just about everyone). But his worldview is about as non-Christian as one could get”.
        wouldn’t that be a no true Scotsman fallacy? i mean he isnt a “real” christian…. just like Catholics aren’t “real” Christians

  2. I guess my answer to your question

    “if a Christian has an opportunity to vote against a candidate who is pro-abortion and pro-homosexual marriage, and for a candidate who is pro life and pro marriage, they why would they not”

    would be that I believe that by voting for Romney I am tossing in my lot with someone even worse than Obama, a true wolf in sheep’s clothing who given the chance would deceive many because he follows and even promotes the teachings of Christ, yet teaches a Christ that is another gospel, a Christ that cannot save, and because his policies match up so closely with what one would expect from a “Christian” he will likely gain much interest from those on the fence about Christianity and those who may get sucked into the cult by their intentionally deceptive and and somewhat secretive beliefs. I think that looking from a strictly spiritual perspective and trying to block out any and all secular humanism (which I’m not saying is always the right thing to do) Mr Romney is as dangerous as they come and he is the very definition of THE enemy of the Christian, whereas President Obama is clearly not Christian, nor does he have any interest in getting people into his religious cult (as far as I know). So while President Obama is truly acting like a monster, I think Romney is even more dangerous, from an eternal perspective.

    • I hear what you are saying Chris, but I disagree. Yes, Mormonism is a cult, and a dangerous one. But, I think you overestimate the affect of a Romney president on spreading mormonism. Also, you say Obama is better because he has no “interest in getting people into his religious cult.” On the contrary, Obama does have a religious system he wants people to get into. It may not be an identifiable cult, but it is religious nonetheless. It is humanism, tolerance, and postmodernism. In the end, these things are destroying our country. These things have been much more effective in destroying our country precisely because people don’t realize they are religious. People are more likely to resist Mormonism than these things.

      • “On the contrary, Obama does have a religious system he wants people to get into. It may not be an identifiable cult, but it is religious nonetheless. It is humanism, tolerance, and postmodernism. In the end, these things are destroying our country. These things have been much more effective in destroying our country precisely because people don’t realize they are religious.”

        Touche Professor !!

  3. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.”

    • Right, which is why we are to obey the Great Commission and make that the purpose of our lives!

  4. Just one example to make my point – even the BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) completely removed their references to Mormonism being a cult from their website after meeting with an endorsing Mr Romney! Now if that is not compromising the Gospel then I don’t know what is! I mean, in our current climate, with things like the ECT document and such, standing for, defending and fighting for the Gospel is our absolutely primary concern and that should NEVER be compromised for the (temporal) good of a people. And if such a large ministry was willing to compromise the Gospel for Mr Romney, I’m truly terrified to see where things would have gone had he won. Mr Romney would be an excellent point-man to start and lead the great apostasy.

    • I agree that a Romney presidency would have some negative effects (and you mentioned one). But, you still have to show (or have good reasons to think) they would be worse than Obama’s! That I cannot see…

  5. I have to agree with Mr. LeDuc. It is imperative Christians realize we live in a cancerous society and only a radical surgical procedure can offer any hope for this generation. In my mind, I think there is no hope for this generation. There is hope for our posterity, but this generation must focus on laying the foundation for that hope. God’s hand of judgment is upon this country and only fervent repentance and a turning back to His ways can alter that outcome. Remember the righteous suffered right along side the wicked when God sent the Israelites out of the land. He did preserve a remnant and He did keep His promises, but only many generations later. The current system will be broken asunder and a new system built upon the wasteland unless dramatic changes take place. In my humble opinion, it is imperative the church begin to teach God’s law and how to use it in the construction of a society. I am a PCA member and quite frankly, my patience is growing weary by the lack of attention given by that body to the systematic teaching of God’s law and how to apply it in the construction of a society. The PCA is the most solid theological expression of the church I know, but their inattention in this matter just demonstrates how far evangelical America has drifted with a full orbed teaching of God’s word.

    We have been deceived by a great lie involving the Constitution. Our country was founded in the 1600s on Biblical principles so much so that it would have been difficult to differentiate between the functioning of the civil magistrate and that of the ecclesia. Those ideas were abandoned by 1787 in favor of a humanistic, polytheistic system. Virtually every clause in the Constitution is antithetical to Biblical principles. For example, the first amendment is touted as the great foundation of religious freedom. The truth is that it puts all religions and philosophies on equal footing. An atheist or a Muslim or a Hindu or a Jew have equal validity. We know that is the furthest thing from the truth. The net effect of the first amendment is to level the playing field between the various world views held by man and declare them all equally valid. We have devolved to the point where each man does what is right in his own eyes and we no longer agree on any form of objective truth. Our system is relativism on steroids.

    Another example is Article 6 of the Constitution. It did away with religious test oaths as a means of qualifying aspiring leaders to office. That’s why we are offered perpetually the choice between the lesser of two evils in candidates rather than the best of the best. It works in tandem with the first amendment to create conditions ripe for breaking the First Commandment.

    The Constitution either is the cause of our current plight or it has been powerless to stop it. It is time for the axe to be laid to the root of that heretical document and replace it with a system designed to live under God’s law with Him as sovereign, rather than “we the people” and where He is King, lawmaker and judge. He gave us a system of commandments, statutes and judgments, but we have rejected them just like Israel thinking we know more than He and insisting on our autonomy just like Adam and Eve. There is nothing new under the sun, so says the preacher. God’s law is perfect and it’s time we live like we believe that.

    The best analysis I am aware of on this malady is found in the book “Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution” by Pastor Ted R. Weiland. You can learn more at http://www.bibleversusconstitution.org/

  6. So if you’re right, why is it that African Americans Christians (who believe the same core principles as do white Evangelicals) voted overwhelmingly for Barack Obama? And John Kerry? And Al Gore? And Bill Clinton? I think you’d find among many African American congregations that the “Christian” way to vote would be to vote Democratic! And why is that? Because some people don’t have such a myopic view of politics that abortion and gay marriage are the only issues that actually matter!

    I am a strong Christian (evangelical, if you prefer the term) who attends a prominent orthodox Protestant church in New York City. I voted for Barack Obama twice, and while I don’t agree with all of his positions, I’d make the same decision at the polls in a heartbeat. I’m hardly anomalous in my congregation, and in fact, many of my fellow members are even more liberal than I. Why do we vote with the pro-choice, pro-gay marriage party? Is it because we agree with homosexuality and want women to have abortions? By no means!

    To the contrary, we seek to redeem this world—not through the creation of Christian-centric laws forced upon a pluralistic society, but by recognizing that the virtues of compassion and justice are far more explicitly defined in the Bible, and today’s Republican party wants nothing to do with either of those ideas (outside of justice in the punitive sense). We recognize that the issue of abortion is hardly black-and-white, so while we may oppose abortion, we may not seek a complete ban. We also recognize that in the gay rights movement there is little reason to create laws to confine people to imprison them within the cage of Christianity.

    We may wish for a country that adheres to a single religion, but we don’t live in that country anymore. Our laws must reflect that reality, and our actions as Christians should be not to create laws to reflect a bygone era but to redeem the world through the institutions that we manage in society.

    • Thanks, Jon. Appreciate your comments. You say that you voted for Obama because abortion and homosexual marriage aren’t the only issues that matter. I agree, they are not the only issues that matter. But, they are arguably some of the most important. For instance, I am struggling to think of an issue that trumps the killing of millions of unborn children. It is telling that you said the issue of abortion is “hardly black and white…we may not seek a complete ban.” This makes we wonder how seriously you really do take the abortion issue. It is black and white. There is nothing grey about killing babies in the womb.

      • I’ll deal with comments in turn. @Michael first. The pro-life movement requires two fundamental principles, both of which seem blindingly obvious to the pro-lifer, but are not so clear (thus it no longer is black-and-white) to me and to nearly everyone on the pro-choice front:
        1. Life begins at conception. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of trouble with this, because the Bible never says this explicitly. (Jeremiah 1:5 would suggest that life–in the sense of being known by God–exists before creation!) From an epistemological sense, I have tremendous difficulty understanding that a blastocyst is the moral equivalent of a living, breathing human being. The fact that you strongly believe something does not mean that it’s black and white. The fact that many people–Christians included–disagree on this matter does, however, mean that it’s *not* black and white.

        2. Killing a fetus via abortion is the moral equivalent of killing a living, breathing human being. I sympathize with this a bit more, but I don’t think this argument is necessarily prima facie. We make life value judgments all the time (enemy combatants can be killed, we do not pour every expensive into extending life, criminals receive the death penalty, etc.) and instinctively value some lives more than others. Not all abortions fall into the category of being purely elective, and because the pregnancy inherently affects the mother as well, the two cannot be separated. (Thus, if the mother’s life is in danger, demanding that the mother be ready to give up her life for her child is, in my opinion, outside the realm of what law ought to do. Alternatively, if the woman is forced into pregnancy via rape, that’s a tough thing to force a woman to go through with the pregnancy.)

        I say this not to approve of abortion (in general, I don’t approve of it), but to try to demonstrate that abortion is not the black-and-white issue that is so often implied. Should Christians have abortions? No, I don’t believe so (but not because a fetus is a life per se, but because caring for the potentiality of life is, I believe, a uniquely Christian concern). But should we force non-Christians to follow our strictures when the parameters that are determinative of what makes abortion right or wrong are unclear? I think not..

        I think there’s often a third implicit principle that I also disagree with:
        3. The only way to stop abortion is to make it illegal. We’ll set aside the fact that abortions would *not* stop if you made them illegal–they would simply go underground and become more dangerous and more despicable. (Think of it as a nation of Gosnells.) There are other ways to reduce the number of abortion–increasing education levels, the availability of contraception, and reorienting the workplace to make it more tolerant of working mothers. Yet I don’t see Christians on the front lines of those areas!

        I respect the opinion that abortion is always wrong, and I understand it. Logically, it follows from the the two propositions I made. Unfortunately, I find that the propositions themselves have some difficulty standing up to scrutiny.

        • What you have written here, Jon, is the standard liberal pro-abortion arguments that have been used for years–and that have been refuted for years. You even appealed to the tiresome back alley abortion argument, namely that it is better to make it legal in order to preserve good medical care for women. This argument is beyond ridiculous and is morally confused at every turn. If abortion is taking an innocent life, then why make it legal in order to protect the person who is taking it? Gosnell is not the exception to the abortion culture, but the embodiment of it. He shows how far our respect for human life has fallen in this country. I don’t doubt whether you are a Christian. But, after your statements above, I seriously doubt your discernment and biblical wisdom.

          • Well, I appreciate your honesty, and I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here!

          • Well, I appreciate your honesty, and I think we’ll have to agree to disagree here!

            The only other thing I’d mention is that your premise “abortion is taking an innocent life” is not one that I buy right off the bat (see points 1 and 2). I think people intuitively understand that life begins at birth (we celebrate birthdays, not conception days), but there is also a recognition that the potentiality of life exists in a fetus that makes it fundamentally different from, say, an arm or a leg. (In other words, it’s not merely part of the woman’s body.)

          • This is in response to Jon’s reply to me. The only thing I can think to say is Wow! You must really have an intense desire to justify infanticide in the womb!

        • The Greek word “brephos” employed in the New Testament for infants already born is the same word used for infants in the womb (Luke 2:12 and Luke 1:41), without specifying the precise moment they became a “brephos.” Therefore, our only option is to then accept that they became such at conception. Thus, intentionally killing a brephos at any point is “brephocide” or, more properly, infanticide.

          • I assume there’s a Greek word for fetus that is not used? Because in Greek they obviously had the same range of linguistic choices to choose from as we do in English. And as a result for some reason in the ancient world, any woman (Gr. gynē)—regardless of whether she was married, widowed, or a virgin—was also a wife. You know good and well that the same word can have different meanings depending on its context. Your argument relies on the assumption that because it has the same meaning in Greek there is no distinction. But that, of course, is the very thing you’re trying to prove. So…prooftexting via circular reasoning?

    • Jon,

      Thanks for the response. I’d like to clarify a few things for my understanding.
      You say that you are (Christian “evangelical”) and so I’m wanting to make sure we both hold the same definition(s).
      My understanding of a Christian is someone who has been “born from above” and “born of water and The Spirit” as John 3 states and has received the Holy Spirit in which God describes the evidence of what that looks in Ezekiel 36 as “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.”

      And so that same Holy Spirit who caused John the Baptist to be imprisoned because as Matthew 14 says “Herod did this because of Herodias, who had been the wife of Philip, Herod’s brother. John had been telling Herod, “It is not lawful for you to be married to Herodias.”

      So my question for you begins here… the Holy Spirit who had John at the penalty of being put to death for speaking about ungodly marriage, the same Holy Spirit does not convict you about approving a President who not only approves of homosexual marriage, but even goes so far as to use the money that God gave you and me and that we are forced to pay in taxes to give asgovernment benefits to these people BECAUSE they are spitting in God’s face and getting “married”?

      My understanding is that the Holy Spirit is God and that God does not change…but with you it seems like maybe it’s a different Holy Spirit? Or maybe we have different definitions of what it means to be a Christian?

      And if we have the same definition, then you are saying that the same Holy Spirit lives in you, who caused Paul to proclaim in Acts 17 “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.”?

      But that same Holy Spirit in you gives no conviction about voting for a president who uses the money God gave you and me to pay for unborn babies to literally be torn limb from limb, have their brain literally crushed up and pulled apart while they are still alive, feeling the pain, and then their bodies burned up as “medical waste” like in Auschwitz? He’s given you no conviction on that at all? That’s really interesting because my experience, and the experience of millions of others is that once I got saved, I went from being apathetic about the issue to literally being disgusted and saddened and angered to know and the millions LITERALLY BEING TORTURED to death. And yet you are saying the Holy Spirit in you has no problem with you voting to keep it happening?

      Also, the same Godhead who said in Matthew 28 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” now lives in you, yet, I am wondering how you go about obeying that Great Commission by voting for someone who’s approves the murder of millions of innocent babies under his regime? Would you say that voting for Obama falls under obeying all He commanded and teaching others to do the same?

      How about the same Holy Spirit who had Paul write “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”
      Do you find that by voting for Obama you really are an “ambassador for Christ.” Is that how you would describe your calling in life?

      I really like what John said in 1 John “And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him
      Would you say voting for a man with “positions” like Obama’s demonstrates that you “keep His commands”?

      Or how about a few verses later when John says “whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked ” do you really think Jesus would have voted for a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marriage leader?

      I am sure you are all about social justice, and Jesus of course fed the poor, healed the sick etc. But was that the sole purpose of His life on earth? No. Was that what He commanded us to be concerned with first and foremost? No. Were the earliest Christians most concerned about social justice issues, or spreading and Gospel?
      How about a few verses later where it says “Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”
      Im wondering Jon, do you think it’s loving to vote to have babies murdered? Do you think it’s loving to NOT tell people that if they do not repent they will go to hell? Remember Jesus was the most loving man who ever lived and he talked about hell more than heaven. Actually almost ALL the scripture we have about hell is from Jesus. Would you say you “walk in the same way in which He walked” in that regard? Would you say you “love your brother” the same way He did in that regard?

      I also had a few questions about some points you made. You said”
      “We also recognize that in the gay rights movement there is little reason to create laws to confine people to imprison them within the cage of Christianity.” Let me ask you, where do believe “rights” come from?

      You also said “Our laws must reflect that reality, and our actions as Christians should be not to create laws to reflect a bygone era but to redeem the world through the institutions that we manage in society.”
      Again I’m sorry for the all the questions, however I just have 1 more. When you consider the “issues that matter” do you feel that it is appropriate to tell people of different faiths that their money is going to be used to pay for abortion and “marriage benefits” to homosexuals to “marry? And do you feel that it is proper to literally take people’s money by way of taxation, even if they don’t agree, so that the government can provide welfare for other people? I guess what I mean is do you feel it is proper to force all tax payers to give up more money for the welfare of others, whether they want to or not? And assuming you feel it is OK, where do you draw the line on what you force private citizens to have to pay for, against their will?

    • My approach is a little different Jon. I would be interested in hearing your criteria for what makes one a Christian, even as you describe it, a “strong Christian?” I find much of the conversation to be the by-product of this more basic question as to what is it exactly that defines a Christian. What really makes a Christian, a Christian? Thank you in advance for your reply.

      • “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9) What does that mean? “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” (I John 2:3-4) How do we obtain salvation? “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

        To clarify this, there is the method of salvation, the sign of salvation, and the substance of salvation. The method is by grace and not by works, per the Ephesians passage. The sign of salvation is to keep his commands, per the I John passage. The substance of salvation is profoundly simple—belief in the resurrection and open confession of the Lordship of Christ.

        Where do I fall short? I am confident that while I am a sinner who falls short (as, I’m sure you do as well), I am clothed in righteousness imputed to me by the grace of God through Christ’s sacrifice. I have voted my conscience, and do not believe my political choices to be inconsistent with my faith.

        (I think it important to note that while I may support the legalization of something, that does not mean that I think it right. I do not, for example, believe that extramarital sex ought to be legally prohibited. I do, however, think that sex outside of the marriage between a man and a woman is biblically prohibited. Conversely, while I believe that one could make a biblical argument in support of capital punishment, I believe capital punishment in its current state to be highly objectionable, and I think it should be completely abolished in the United States.)

        What I hear from this conversation is, “You can’t be a real Christian if you don’t believe abortion should be absolutely illegal and if you think gay marriage should be legalized.” Or, put more bluntly, “If you’re a Christian, you can’t be a Democrat.” (I might note that the only publicly-affirming Christian presidential candidate since the 2004 is, of course, Barack Obama. But we’ll leave that aside!) I confess that growing up as a Republican, I too intuitively felt that way. But after meeting countless Christians who also happened to be Democrats, that changed for me. (My political views changed for related, but separate, reasons.)

        Perhaps it helps to think about it this way. In many ways, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama because of his position on abortion and gay marriage, but in spite of them. Now, with that said, I’m considerably more tolerant of the pro-choice and pro-gay marriage views than almost anyone else reading this blog post, but that does not mean that I believe either elective abortion or homosexuality to be congruent with biblical principles. I voted for Barack Obama because of his views on a whole host of other issues (gun control, foreign policy, economic policy, civil rights, education, climate policy, health care policy, etc.) on which I more closely align with Obama than I do McCain or Romney.

        Question my political views all you want—I admit that I may be wrong, and am open to correction. But to question my faith is to question whether grace alone is sufficient for my salvation, you’ve written a new Bible, which I’ll call the Modern-Day Evangelical Version: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, and always vote for the pro-life and anti-gay marriage political candidate, you will be saved.” (MDEV) I would advise against adding such legalism to Scripture :-) .

        • Jon, to be clear, I am writing this after posting my very long response to you. I am posting this because you have really proved my point for me in this post and so I want to make that clear.
          You said:

          “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom 10:9) What does that mean……To clarify this, there is the method of salvation…..”

          Ahhhh, good ol’ American Evangelicalism AKA easy-believism.
          Jon you don’t really believe that the Apostle Paul’s intent in Romans 10:9 is to declare “the method of salvation” do you? Given the context of the verse and chapter you really don’t think this passage is prescriptive rather than descriptive do you? If you do you are surely wrong. If you want to quote scripture that is explaining the “method of salvation” as you call it, you should quote a text that is truly teaching that such as:
          Acts 2:38 ““Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

          Or Acts 17:30 “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent….”

          Or Acts 16:31 ““Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved”

          Or, we could get it straight from John the Baptist:

          Matthew 3 ““Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

          Or we could get if from the Lord Himself:
          Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.””

          Do you see a common theme there that is missing what you say? I’ll point it out – repentance. Take that how you will….

          Now you may say ” I know that I know I am saved” to which scripture replies 2 different times: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
          and you may reply: ” I know in my heart that I believe” to which scripture again replies in Jeremiah “The heart is deceitful above all things,
          and desperately sick;
          who can understand it?”

          You said:
          “I have voted my conscience, and do not believe my political choices to be inconsistent with my faith.”

          I understand that, however what is the basis of that belief? How exactly does scripture support your ‘political choices’ ? You’ve not once demonstrated how Scripture is your source of authority and informs your opinions and beliefs.

          You said:

          “I think it important to note that while I may support the legalization of something, that does not mean that I think it right. “

          Do you think that the Scripture teaches we should vote for things to be legalized that God has condemned? If so, what scriptures do you use to support that? And if you choose to cite scripture that uses words like ‘love’ that are commonly thrown around today, could you please make sure to explain your definition of those terms? I ask only because most people’s definition of common biblical terminology is very different from the author’s intended meaning so I want to make sure we are all on the same page. If on the other hand you really haven’t taken the time to examine what God has said He finds acceptable and unacceptable, then its OK to just confess that.

          You said:
          “I do not, for example, believe that extramarital sex ought to be legally prohibited.”

          Again, WHY do you believe this? Is it because the Scripture has informed your opinions? Is it because you are acting as an ambassador of Christ? What in the word of God has led you to hold this position? What does your understanding about what the Scripture declares to be God’s purposes for government, and His intentions for how His people are to represent Him, affect your “belief”?

          You said:
          “Conversely, while I believe that one could make a biblical argument in support of capital punishment, I believe capital punishment in its current state to be highly objectionable, and I think it should be completely abolished in the United States.”

          Again, could you explain how the Scripture informs your beliefs? In loving the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength, how does what He has revealed about His will for mankind bolster your “belief”?

          You said:
          “I might note that the only publicly-affirming Christian presidential candidate since the 2004 is, of course, Barack Obama. But we’ll leave that aside!”

          Again, Jesus Himself said “Not everyone who says to me Lord Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven…” And He also said “You will know them by their fruits” and if you honestly think that man is being lead by the Holy Spirit then you obviously do not know the Holy Spirit.

          You said:

          “Perhaps it helps to think about it this way. In many ways, I didn’t vote for Barack Obama because of his position on abortion and gay marriage, but in spite of them.”

          Ok so now you’ve at least said that you acted in sprite of what you believe is right. That’s a start, however when someone says one thing but then does another….
          Does a man really believe something and then do the opposite, habitually?

          Then you said:

          “Now, with that said, I’m considerably more tolerant of the pro-choice and pro-gay marriage views than almost anyone else reading this blog post…”

          Jon, How can you call yourself a “Christian”, an ambassador of Christ, a disciple, and then confess to be so tolerant (and even vote to maintain the legality) of things God has called an abomination and are contrary to everything God called “good” in the beginning? Things so heinous that He wanted people instantly put to death for! Now I notice that you have not mentioned a single word about what. Can I remind you of Proverbs 8:13 again “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil” and yet you seem to be quite indifferent to sin and evil. How about Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” I think that makes things pretty clear don’t you? What is the context there Jon?

          Again you said:
          “I voted for Barack Obama because of his views on a whole host of other issues (gun control, foreign policy, economic policy, civil rights, education, climate policy, health care policy, etc.) on which I more closely align with Obama than I do McCain or Romney.”

          Again I think it’s important to note that you have made your standard very clear and it’s not God’s Word. And not only do you admittedly vote against God’s laws, you even vote against what the founding fathers intended for this nation! So when it’s all said and done I once again have to quote Jesus “for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” and you have continued to speak with your vote and made it clear that you do not factor in what God has said when you vote. What God designed government to do, you either do not know or do not care. What God has designed His redeemed people to do in representing Him, you either do not know or do not care. Your main concerns are “gun control, foreign policy, economic policy, civil rights, education, climate policy, health care policy, etc.” and yet none of your opinions seem to be based on what God has said, or the founding fathers of this nation!
          You said:

          “But to question my faith is to question whether grace alone is sufficient for my salvation, you’ve written a new Bible….”
          No Jon, to question your faith is to echo Paul when he said “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
          Or the Apostle James
          “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! 20 Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”

          Please, take Paul’s advice and examine yourself. See if Jesus Christ is in you. See if your “beliefs” are being informed by the continuing transforming work of the Holy Spirit and then you are becoming more and more Christ-like and less and less like everyone else in this world….
          Jesus Christ Himself said “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God”
          You you say that that describes your life? That you are looking through every word of God to see how you should live your life?
          As you are becoming more like Christ does it look Christ’s own description of Himself?

          “For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak.”

          Jon when you speak, do the righteous decrees and precepts of God come out of your mouth?

          How about when Jesus said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise”

          does that describe you? You are so in love with Him because of what He did for you that you search the scriptures to be like Jesus and represent Him accordingly?

          I cite these scriptures not because any of us are perfect, or even can be, but because there are MANY Jesus’ being taught and I really want to make sure that you are growing into the likeness of the only one who can. Because all other Jesus are idols and per scripture, no idolator will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And Jon, as I’ve already said and say again, I don’t want you to go to hell. Jesus is so worthy of your obedience. He is so worthy of your repentance. He is so worthy of your worship and I hope that we will someday worship Him together.

  7. Okay, @Chris. I had trouble following all of your questions, but I’ll try to address them in turn.

    First, I find it a bit sad that you question my faith, because I think it’s indicative of a larger problem the church faces–the problem that we fail to live up to the calling to be united in Christ. That doesn’t mean we always agree, but it does mean that we do not hold litmus tests for one’s faith that aren’t in the Scripture. I believe it to be sufficient to say that I believe in a Christ who died and was resurrected for the redemption of this world, and that salvation obtained solely through him (and by grace alone) imputes to me the righteousness allowing me to stand before a holy God. I believe that my calling as an ambassador for Christ is to bring the redemption of Christ into the institutions to which God has called me.

    I do not think I need to do a Pauline-style defense of my faith, but I am a member in good standing with the same denomination that the author of this blog is a member of. The pastoral staff is fully aware and supportive of my political positions, and I don’t think that outside of the internet has there ever been any question regarding my status in Christ. That does not mean I am perfect (far from it), nor does it mean I’m always right (I’m not). But I claim a Savior who is bigger than my faults, and I have a Holy Spirit who is continuously working in my heart to sanctify me until the glorious day when I enter my final rest in the everlasting kingdom of God.

    So let us now move on to the heart of your discussion. I think we differ fundamentally on what government ought to be, and so I’ll lay out my position in hopes that it answers your questions!

    First of all, government is not a culture-making institution. That’s important, because while we are, I believe, called to bring Christ’s redemption into our culture (both into the institutions and also the lives of those who inhabit them), we need to recognize what government can and cannot do. Government is important, and it facilitates law and order, but because of its centrality, its ability to actually change culture is quite limited–it nearly always merely reflects culture.

    There are relatively immutable facts about our government that we either accept or leave. First, it’s a democracy. Second, it exists in a pluralistic society. Third, it exists within a two-party system. If you don’t like that, you can move to China (authoritarian government), Iran (theocratic government) or Somalia (no government). The fact that our government is not theocratic is hardly unbiblical. Neither Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, nor Daniel ever sought to change a pagan government into a theocratic one, and neither Jesus nor Paul ever demanded that we not obey a pagan government. In fact, we are called to do precisely the opposite–God has ordained our government to exercise authority, and we owe it both our taxes (Jesus) and our submission (Paul).

    Does that mean that I agree with everything our government does with my tax dollars? Of course not. I don’t like the fact that money continues to be funneled into the industrial-military complex while investments in education and the arts (institutions which do contribute to human flourishing) are cut. I don’t like the fact that tax dollars to the state of Texas aided in the execution of their prisoners. And I don’t like the fact that a billionaire managing his money right pays less of his income than I do in taxes. But I still pay them.

    Regarding the issue of abortion, in the last 40 years, Republican presidents (who were president for 60% of that time) have appointed eight justices to the Supreme Court. Democratic presidents have only appointed four of them. And yet women still have a constitutional right to an abortion via the privacy clause. Was electing Mitt Romney going to change that? (No.) Was electing John McCain going to change the fact that Obama’s first year saw the biggest drop in abortions since the Clinton administration? (The answer, again, is probably not; and yes, you read that correctly.)

    A president isn’t going to overturn Roe v. Wade, and he’s not going to be the difference in whether women have abortions or not. He will, however, make a big difference in terms of policy that can reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies (improved education and contraception availability being two ways the president *can* make a difference). So one might argue that in terms of reducing the number of abortions, Barack Obama is actually a *better* choice than any Republican candidate!

    Lastly, let me address the issue of pluralism. As Christians, the proper way to spread the gospel is not by plastering the Ten Commandments over our public buildings, reciting long-winded prayers in state houses, or by using Leviticus as an appendix to the U.S. Constitution. No, our calling is spread the gospel message! And how do we do that? We tell people the gospel, yes, but we also demonstrate it through our actions. We do to others exactly what Christ did for us–we love them unconditionally. We love them regardless of whether they’re Muslim or atheist, regardless of whether they’re gay or straight, regardless of whether they’re Democrat or Republican, black or white, young or old, urban or rural, rich or poor. We love them by respecting them, by letting them know that they matter as human beings.

    Creating laws doesn’t inherently love people. The great thing about democracy is that you can establish norms (which we turn into laws) without religion. This allows Christianity to flourish without the encumbrance of also being the state. (This way we avoid the Constantinian problem of allying political power with religion. Alexis de Toqueville says that, “…by allying itself with a political power, religion increases its power over some and loses the hope of reigning over all.” He’s right.) There are, of course, deviances between cultural norms and Christian norms, but the solution is not to legislate through those deviances. Why? Because if you do, you force people to change from the outside in. We force people to assume the veneer of Christian living, but laws aren’t going to tell what the condition of one’s heart is going to be. The state can’t do it, and we shouldn’t try to force it.

    If we as Christians can influence this culture through the institutions we’re a part of (whether that be the arts, academia, finance, business, or government), we can demonstrate the love of Christ to those around us, and we can in fact contribute to a general flourishing, fulfilling the creation mandate and the Great Commission. If we are the primary cultural makers, we establish those norms that end up becoming laws.

    And the last thing I’ll say is this. Christians often focus on government as the object of effort for cultural change. (Change the laws and you’ll change people’s hearts seems to be the approach.) But if I’m right and the government is merely a culture-reflecting institution, what are the culture-making institutions? Academia, the arts (high and low art), journalism, literature, business executives, etc. Are Christians present in those institutions? Do they focus on working through those institutions just as much as they do government?

    • Jon,

      I am going to quote you and respond.

      “Chris. I had trouble following all of your questions, but I’ll try to address them in turn.”

      I am sorry my previous post was a bit scattered. It was late and I was rushing to type it out but what really caused some issues was that I was really excited. I know that sounds odd but I’ll explain. In the short amount of time I have been saved, I have had the opportunity of meeting believers from all over the globe. Ive met believers from North America, Central and Southern America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. What excited me so much about responding to you was that in meeting all these believers who come from every different ethnic background, every religious upbringing, every socio/economic background, every political background, I have been amazed, humbled, encouraged and edified to learn that what the Bible says is true! My experience has been that when God saves someone and gives them His Holy Spirit, a work of sanctification begins. A work of giving them new heart and writing His laws upon it and causing the recipient of that new heart and Spirit to not only obey those laws, but to also proclaim them, as Proverbs says “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life” and Jesus himself said “What comes out of a person—that defiles him. For from within, out of people’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person” basically meaning that our speech and our actions declare the condition of our hearts, just as Jesus said you would know people by their fruits. So what I was so excited about was that after meeting believes from Egypt, China, India, literally all over the globe from every possible background, I keep seeing God doing the same work in all of their lives. Ive never met someone from anywhere who clearly loved the Lord with all the heart, mind, soul and strength, who would vote to get a leader into office who so clearly contradicts God’s revealed will for mankind, as Obama does. Everyone Ive had the opportunity to speak with HATES abortion and the legalization of homosexual “marriage”, kinda confirming the scriptures again where it says in Proverbs “All who fear the LORD hate evil.” So I was really excited to be able to talk about the way the Holy Spirit is working in your life, since it is so contradictory to the way He is working the lives of believers all over this globe. So I will make a better effort to be a bit more clear on this next response, which should be this evening. Thanks for your response.

    • Jon, you said:

      “Chris. I had trouble following all of your questions, but I’ll try to address them in turn.”

      Ive read through your response several times and I do not see where you have answered any of my questions. Most of them were direct scripture quotes, and then asking if you think your professed beliefs and actions match what scripture teaches. Really they were pretty simple “yes” or “no” questions and you have dodged every question I asked..
      I’m going to continue to quote you and then respond.

      You said:
      “First, I find it a bit sad that you question my faith..”

      First, I never explicitly questioned your “faith.” I simply asked you why you think the Holy Spirit is operating in you so extremely differently than He did in the lives of those in scripture and the early Church. I asked you if you thought your actions agreed with the scriptures I referenced. You did not answer any of these

      Why do you find it “sad” that when a Christian has listened to your positions and because they contradict everything that that Christian has seen in the Scriptures and everything he has seen the Holy Spirit doing in the lives of the people he has met from many different continents, nationalities, socio/economic backgrounds and religious upbringings that that Christian has encountered, he then asks you why you think your experiences are so different from those in scripture and if you really think your actions agree with the teachings of the NT? To me, this should make you the opposite of “sad.” This is exactly how we “live up to the calling to be united in Christ” that you mentioned “we” are failing to do in your response to me! For me personally, if a brother came to me and was asking me questions based upon Scripture and how my actions and beliefs line up, I would not be “sad”. I am trying to understand how and why your being united to Christ looks so vastly different from that of the rest of the regenerated world, which should help us to be united! And this makes you “sad.” I cant help but have many proverbs racing through my mind now:

      He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth. Proverbs 10:17

      Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. Proverbs 12:1

      The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15

      Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured. Proverbs 13:18

      Wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsel. Proverbs 1:5

      The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

      Your response to what you believe is me questioning your faith is quite troubling to me to be quite honest. In justifying yourself and giving me your definition of what it takes to be a Christian you said:
      “I believe it to be sufficient to say that I believe in a Christ who died and was resurrected for the redemption of this world, and that salvation obtained solely through him (and by grace alone) imputes to me the righteousness allowing me to stand before a holy God. I believe that my calling as an ambassador for Christ is to bring the redemption of Christ into the institutions to which God has called me.I do not think I need to do a Pauline-style defense of my faith, but I am a member in good standing with the same denomination that the author of this blog is a member of. The pastoral staff is fully aware and supportive of my political positions, and I don’t think that outside of the internet has there ever been any question regarding my status in Christ. “

      Jon let me explain why this is so concerning to me. I do a lot of evangelism. I do it on college campuses, beach boardwalks, city streets where are the bars and restaurants are etc. I go and talk to people from all different walks of life and I’ve had the privilege of doing this mostly in the Miami, Ft Lauderdale and in the greater Philadelphia area. After literally thousands of conversations with people I have noticed a particular trend. I meet lots of people who can recite to me the protestant view of the gospel of salvation by faith alone through Christ alone. Many of them have been raised in the church and are members in good standing of a church. However, they have no idea of what scripture actually says. They can’t tell me what God has said about particular topics. They can’t tell me about how the Holy Spirit is currently working in their lives. Their appeal to being a Christian is that they know the lingo, and they are a member in good standing at a “church.” Now this is exactly what you have done – you have appealed to your intellectual assent to the protestant view of the Gospel and you have stressed your church membership. Unfortunately, this, as evidence and defense of one’s faith normally raises many red flags. Why? Well I think both James and Jesus made it pretty clear. Jesus himself said in Matthew 7 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

      I believe this may be the scariest passage in all of scripture. Jesus is saying that not a couple, or a few, or some, but MANY will emphatically declare that He is their ‘Lord’. Now let’s just consider who He is talking about. Who declares Jesus as Lord? Well, professing Christians of course! And out of the professing Christians, MANY will be cast into hell! That’s pretty scary. Many who are emphatic that Jesus is their Lord are not really His! That is really scary. And what do they appeal to as the evidence that they are His? First they declare He is Lord. Then they appeal to themselves. What we don’t ever see them mentioning is the work He has been doing in their lives. And the final word from Jesus is they are “workers of lawlessness.” So these are people who do not obey God’s law. What is He teaching here? Works righteousness? No! He is reaffirming the teaching throughout the scriptures that someone who truly loves God loves His laws, His decrees, His Word and in the New Covenant, God even goes so far as to write those very laws and decrees on the hearts of His people and He causes them to not only want to obey them, but to actually obey them as well! So per Jesus, a simple declaration that Jesus is Lord is absolutely worthless.
      Then James goes on to say “You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder! Do you want to be shown, you foolish person, that faith apart from works is useless?”
      Again, is James teaching a salvation by works? No! He is declaring that a profession of faith is worthless if your life does not demonstrate the evidence that God is sanctifying you. And remember what Jesus prayed in John? He said to The Father “Sanctify them in the truth; Your Word is truth!”
      So we have a clear teaching that the work of sanctification will also agree with the truth, aka The Word of God. This is exactly why when I asked you all the questions that I asked you, every one of them was a reference to the Word of God. In the end, my opinion does not matter. Your opinion does not matter. Only what God says matters. My profession of faith does not matter and your profession of faith does not matter. All the matters is that we have received the Holy Spirit and that there is growing evidence of this. And this is exactly why much of what I wrote to you is from 1 John. You probably know this but John gives us the reason for writing his epistle in the 13th verse of chapter 5 when he says “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.”
      So I, as a Christian, in speaking to you, a professing Christian, upon seeing that everything you say contradicts what scripture says about the work of salvation and sanctification and contradicts the way the Holy Spirit worked in the Bible and the way He is working in His people today, I left my opinions out of the conversation and I went right to scripture and I asked you to examine yourself in light of those clear teachings. Instead, you pointed to your intellectual assent to the protestant position on salvation and your church membership, and you literally ignored every question I asked in regard to scripture and how it applies to you.
      The reason that your response is so concerning to me is that your response is just like many, MANY people whom I have met and they say almost the same thing, but upon further examination, they do not really love the Lord. They do not have a Biblical worldview. He is not truly their Lord. The do not even try to love Him with all their heart soul mind and strength. They cant talk about how they are growing in holiness. They can’t talk about their views of the world and how things “should be” that have changed and are continuing to change after receiving the Holy Spirit.
      So whenever I get someone who gives a response like yours, I can get 50 to 1 that there is no evidence of a supernatural work going on in their lives. And about 50 to 1 is probably a fair ratio. So that gives me great concern over your soul.

      You said:
      “So let us now move on to the heart of your discussion. I think we differ fundamentally on what government ought to be, and so I’ll lay out my position in hopes that it answers your questions!”

      No Jon, as I’ve made clear, the heart of the discussion is how the Holy Spirit is working in your life.”

      Let me also go to some of your other comments so I can make my point. You said:
      “1. Life begins at conception. I’ve always had a tremendous amount of trouble with this, because the Bible never says this explicitly. (Jeremiah 1:5 would suggest that life–in the sense of being known by God–exists before creation!)”
      Jon if this is all you know about the pro-life movement beliefs, then you are continuing to prove that you not only have ignored the arguments but far more importantly you have no clue what the Bible actually says, cover to cover. You have no interest in trying to put together a systematic theology of this topic because you love the Lord your God will all your heart mind soul and strength! There is so much more to it than just that!
      Then in response to the quote of Ted demonstrating the use of the word translated as infant you say:
      “I assume there’s a Greek word for fetus that is not used? Because in Greek they obviously had the same range of linguistic choices to choose from as we do in English.”
      Do you really not see this? First you assume something without doing ANY research to support your position. That surely does not demonstrate that you really want to know God’s heart on the matter. Plus, if what you are saying IS true, then its even more evidence that the writers of Scripture saw no distinction ! But ultimately what this again demonstrates is that you have no desire to wrestle with the texts as a whole in order to try to get to the heart of God on this topic.
      When I was first saved I had a pastor talk about “grey areas.” Now you yourself keep saying that abortion is not black and white and I’m assuming you mean there are some grey areas? The teaching I was given was that yes, there are many grey areas in Scripture. But how we treat and react in those grey areas demonstrates our love for God. If you are in one of those areas, somewhere, there is clear Biblical teaching relating to the topic. So you have 2 or 3 options. You can wander around and declare that God has not made it clear. You can see how far you can push the line and still be in the grey, or you can run towards God’s Word and error on the side of caution at worst and demonstrate that you do not want to be in a grey area. Which of these demonstrates that you truly want to obey God in all aspects of your life? Which demonstrates you are seeking to make Him Lord of every decision you make? Is it by pandering in the grey area or running to where He has made things clear?

      Jon you talk a fair amount about government and the role of the believer. You make some other statements as well that I want to address:
      You say “so I’ll lay out my position..” The problem is that you never once, literally not once do you ever cite scripture as a reference for the purpose and job of government. Your “opinion” has NOTHING to do with scripture! And some of the things you say actually clearly contradict scripture. You do paraphrase that we are supposed to submit to government, but you never actually address the role and purpose of government according to scripture.

      “To the contrary, we seek to redeem this world—not through the creation of Christian-centric laws forced upon a pluralistic society, but by recognizing that the virtues of compassion and justice are far more explicitly defined in the Bible”
      Jon you have 1) Stated this as fact without supporting it in any way.
      2)What are you definitions of “justice” and “compassion” based on the teachings of the OT and the NT, and based on the role that God has given government and the Church? Let me ask you, do you think that approving of homosexual marriage and even promoting it and calling it good are by the example of Jesus “just” or “compassionate” ?
      Jesus told people to “go and sin no more.” He NEVER approved of their sin. Matter of fact, 1 John 3:8 says “The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of devil” Is that what you are doing, as His ambassador, when you cast your lot in with someone who promotes, with your money, 2 of the things that God instituted the death penalty for in Israel? Are you helping to destroy the works of the devil (sin)?
      Do you seriously believe that you are honoring God by making legal what He has called an abomination? You might call it love, but He calls it sinful lust and fornication and no fornicator will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and yet you want to legalize their “marriage” Wow…
      Again you say “and our actions as Christians should be not to create laws to reflect a bygone era but to”
      But when you say “should”, you need to support this with the Scriptures, if in fact you are truly seeking God’s will and HE is your authority…

      You say:
      “First of all, government is not a culture-making institution. That’s important, because while we are, I believe, called to bring Christ’s redemption into our culture (both into the institutions and also the lives of those who inhabit them), we need to recognize what government can and cannot do.”
      Jon you never once mention what God has to say about the purpose and role of Government! Could this be because you really don’t know, because you really don’t care? Your own agenda and opinion trumps all? This is scary because it demonstrates a complete lack of a biblical worldview. You are making sure propositions about what government can and cannot do, as if they are laws of physics. Now to give you some credit, when a government is not acting according to God’s revealed purposes, the government is virtually worthless when it comes to matters of eternity. But to say government cannot change culture is pretty silly if you have ever read the Bible, especially the books of Judges, Samuel, Kings and Chronicles.
      Next you then go on to totally re-define what the word “biblical” means!
      You said:
      “The fact that our government is not theocratic is hardly unbiblical.”

      Jon just because something appears in the Bible does not make it “biblical”! According to your reasoning, sacrificing children to Molech is “biblical” because it’s mentioned in scripture. I really hope that’s not what you meant? “

      Then you said:
      “Neither Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, nor Daniel ever sought to change a pagan government into a theocratic one, and neither Jesus nor Paul ever demanded that we not obey a pagan government. “
      That’s because they did not live in a democracy! They did not have an opportunity to vote for their leaders. Do you really think that if they had, they would have voted to make the worship of Molech legal? Would they have voted that homosexuals can marry and get money from tax payers “BECAUSE” they are “married”? Would they vote to make things that God declared that people should be put to death for, legal? Would they do ir for the sake of “compassion” and “justice”? I would ask you about if you think they would vote pro-choice, but its clear you have absolutely no understanding of the teaching of the Bible. Just the basic teachings that it is the LORD who open the womb and that children are a gift makes it clear that GOD is the author of life, all life, and that at even 8-weeks it’s a HUMAN LIFE that GOD has Providentially caused to exist and therefore man has no right to terminate that life, just because it was conceived in fornication and people do not want to bear the responsibilities and consequences of the actions. Now of course that is not the reason for all abortions, but you and I both know how high the percentage is that this is true for!
      Have you ever considered why the punishments for crimes differ in the Old Testament? Why is it that murder and homosexuality were worthy of the death penalty? Why was defrauding your neighbor not worthy of death? The fact is that murder and homosexuality are some of the most heinous sins in God’s eyes because of the impact they have on society. They are extremely destructive to society because they seek to undermine the most basic principles of His creation. Murder and homosexuality are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what He created and called “good” and in God’s opinion those who do such things should be immediately put to death. Do you really not understand this? So when you talk about “compassion and justice” to whom are you referring?
      Now when you vote for government, which topics do think are most important? You mentioned some of them when you said:

      “I don’t like the fact that money continues to be funneled into the industrial-military complex while investments in education and the arts (institutions which do contribute to human flourishing) are cut. I don’t like the fact that tax dollars to the state of Texas aided in the execution of their prisoners. And I don’t like the fact that a billionaire managing his money right pays less of his income than I do in taxes. “

      So it appears to me that money is what’s important to you? Fiscal policy is important? Taking money from the wealthy and re-distributing it to the poor is important to you? I have to think yes as you have expressed your preference of the demonocratic party. But could you support this scripturally? Could you support that monetary policy is more important that God’s moral law? How about “mercy” and “justice” – can those be separated from God’s moral law? No! In approving abortion and homosexual “marriage” you have swallowed a camel while trying to strain out the gnat! You have no biblical worldview with which to support your positions. You have no understanding about the whole counsel of God regarding the topics you vote on and you have demonstrated that you have no interest in gaining such, and you will automatically argue against any argument that contradicts your position, even if it is scriptural, and you will refuse to support your position with scripture. This is what you have demonstrated.

      What this all comes down to Jon is – What is your source of authority? I could go point by point with you are refute most of what you’ve by just plain reading of scripture, however if you are not a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, if you do not have the Holy Spirit working inside of you then I am wasting my breath. And to be completely honest, I am very worried for your soul.
      When the topic of what it means to be Christian is addressed, you point to your intellectual beliefs and your church membership.
      When you are addressed with scripture, you completely ignore it.
      You have demonstrated clear evidence that your position on abortion is based on a willfully ignorant understanding of what the scriptures say as a whole about the basic creation of life, personhood and abortion.
      When presented with scripture opposing your position you have expressed opinions only and sought only to justify your position, without using any scripture or addressing the scripture being used, or cited any other scripture.
      You have expressed opinions of what the role of government is, yet it is not scripturally based and ever contradicts scripture at times.
      You have perverted the biblical meanings of justice and compassion.
      You have perverted what it means to be “biblical.”
      You have made it clear that your source of authority is NOT the scripture and you refuse to make any attempt to reconcile your positions and actions with scripture that has been presented to you.
      So when it is all said and done, The Word of God is not your source of authority. Your source is your opinion and fallen human philosophy. Now I cannot see your heart, but Jesus said we would know men by their fruits. He said not to give what is holy to dogs, thereby indicating that we can have a pretty good idea of where a person stands. And Jon I am very concerned for your soul. If God and His Word are not your sole source of authority then you need to be very worried. If the Holy Spirit is not convicting you and leading you and conforming you the way He is with believers all across the globe and all across time, then you need to be very concerned. If when people present you scripture and you just immediately reject it and argue it away and don’t honestly examine it and compare your actions, again, you should be very worried. These are all trademarks of the “fool” of the Bible and the false convert, the one who cries ‘Lord, Lord’ and will ultimately be cast into hell. Jon I do not want that for you. I do not want that for anyone. Not for you, not for abortionists, not for homosexuals, not for anyone. I want everyone to come to a knowledge of the truth and repent and believe the Gospel and be born again and give glory to God by the way they think and talk and act. I want that for you. So please, PLEASE, examine yourself in light of scripture. Stop looking at those around you in your “church.” Stop looking at other broken sinners. Look at Jesus Christ, and not idol that so many have made up in their heads but the One of Scripture who existed in both the OT and the NT. Please, get away from all the teachings of your “church” and do your best to identify your presuppositions that you bring to the Bible and if you need to, take a class on hermeneutics. Jon please compare your conclusions from Scripture with what the global church is getting from scripture. Jon I know my tone has a times been harsh but I truly care for your soul and just as a physician would be in dereliction of his duties and ultimately evil if he saw very serious signs of deadly cancer in someone he was speaking with and did not warn them, I too am obligated to cry out to you and tell that you I am seeing some very concerning signs and I pray that you will examine yourself in light of Scripture. And remember what Solomon said “Better are the wounds of a friend, than the deceitful kisses of an enemy.”

  8. I am a Christian. I did not vote.
    Others are free to do so (and encouraged to do so.) But I did not.
    My reasons are myriad though they are only mine.
    One of which: the ultimately similar foreign policy of both candidates…
    which results in the death of Christians across the pond.
    I attend the preaching of the Word and the ordinary means of grace regularly.
    I live a quiet life, I pay my taxes, and I pursue vocational faithfulness throughout the week.
    I did not vote, though others are free to do so (and encouraged to do so.)
    I am a Christian. My conscience is clear.

  9. Anyone can claim to be a Christian. Barack Obama voted against a bill banning infanticide when he was a state senator, and he is for gay marriage. Anyone can claim to be a Christian. But that doesn’t make them a Christian.

    People who didn’t vote refused to do anything to stop abortion and gay marriage. They can claim to be Christians, but they are obviously not very intelligent about their Christianity. Do they really believe that God exists and made the moral law if they sit on the sidelines when they have the chance to promote the good and restrain evil?

    • I confess, Wintery, I am quite unintelligent by your standards. Thankfully, however, I am bound by Scripture, and as a member of a Reformed church, by the Reformed confessions I subscribe to… neither of which set voting as the criteria for “christian-ness” or even intelligent Christianity. People are free to vote, of course, but the requirement does not exist (even in societal law.) If a member of a confessional church were to take part in an abortion, that person would (and should) come under admonishment and church discipline if need be. It seems (and this is an assumption on my part) that these ordinary means (Word, Sacrament, Discipline) are not enough for you. How come?

    • “People who didn’t vote refused to do anything to stop abortion and gay marriage. They can claim to be Christians, but they are obviously not very intelligent about their Christianity. ”

      That’s a pretty bold claim Wintery!

      I just spend 4 nights with 6-10 other people sharing the gospel to people on the boardwalk on the Jersey Shore for 4-6 hours per night. 80% were teenagers and 80% had NEVER heard the Gospel!

      Would you say that because I did’t vote, I “refused to do anything to stop abortion and gay marriage” Would you say I am “obviously not very intelligent about their Christianity.”

      So in reality, I was doing exactly what Jesus commanded His Disciples to do. And I can guarantee you that going out and sharing the gospel to hundreds of people is pretty effective.

      What are you ultimately more concerned about – imposing morality on people or seeing them regenerated and worshipping the Savior because He is worthy? Which do you spend more time doing? I could just as easily argue that you are the one who “obviously not very intelligent about their Christianity” Let me ask you – who did Jesus constantly warn people about? False Teachers.
      Who received His harshest condemnations? False Teachers. What was the topic of the book of Jude? 2 Peter? False Teachers. Jesus warnx extensively about the most dangerous thing on earth from the eternal perspective – false teachers. What is Mitt Romney? A False Teacher. His teaches a Jesus that is an idol, that cannot save and is himself Anathema and if he had his way would make everyone to be just like him. And because he proclaims Jesus and his morals are so similar it makes him all the more dangerous. Just how dangerous is he? Well, one of the absolute biggest proclaimers and defenders of the faith once delivered to the saints – The BIlly Graham Evangelistic Association – they actually completely compromised their entire ministry by intentionally scrubbing their website of any record of them saying the Mormonism is a cult. Now THAT’S dangerous! You will know them by their fruits said our Lord and look at the fruit Mitt produces – the BGEA completely compromising the Gospel – the one thing of eternal value they a ministry to defend. So I would contend with you that Mitt, as a false teacher, and he is just that, is far more dangerous for the people of this country, from an eternal perspective that Obama.
      Don’t agree with me? You tell me how much harder it is to share the true gospel with a Mormon that with a Secular Humanist. I can assure you its MUCH easier for the humanist to receive the Gospel than the Mormon who has already is certain who knows the real Jesus and has a relationship with Him.