/ Features

Speculative Politics 4: Rebuttal By Marc Schooley


Sunday
Oct 28, 2012

That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in the next.

— John Stuart Mill

It’s quaint rhetoric that Kerry likens me to a Hobbit; however, I wholeheartedly accept. For the Hobbits are the children of faith, tending the fields, minding their own business, trusting in the great power that rules the world: And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one. Yet when evil arises, it is Frodo who is heroic, assuming the role thrust upon him, willing to sacrifice all to the ends of Middle Earth and the pits of Mount Doom.

Perhaps Kerry fancies himself an Aragorn, but this cannot be. For Aragorn is the reticent king, exiled far from the machinations of men, disentangled from the affairs of the world. Like Frodo, Aragorn assumes the heroic mantle, but only when the role is thrust upon him. Rather, Kerry is Boromir, actively pursuing the ring of power, that by it his enemies may be crushed. We all know how well that worked. Kerry’s metaphor is a very good one. 🙂 After all, who curses the name of Christ because of the Amish? Falwell, Robertson, Jackson, and, as much as it pains me, Calvin & Servetus — well, politics just has that special touch, doesn’t it?

In my first installment, I set forth two propositions: America is not a Christian Nation and the church should not be involved in politics. The latter was positively agreed to; the former was not disputed1.

Kerry’s use of the analogia fidei is admirable; however, to utilize this hermeneutic principle properly, he ought discuss like and similar passages first — 1 Pet 2: 13-20, for instance — before proceeding to passages that tangentially or abstractly, if at all, apply to Romans 13.

Ineffective are his appeals to publicans and other political officials. Arguments from silence are sound only if the arguer demonstrates reasons to assume what was not communicated was intended. There are no such reasons offered for the texts mentioned. Yet, why doesn’t Kerry reference texts and data that do suggest such problems with politicians and politics, such as John 18:36, the political involvement of the Sanhedrin, that the Jews desired a political Messiah, the howling of the crowd for the political dissident Barabbas, that friendship with the world is enmity with God, the ruler of the kingdom of the air and principalities and powers of Ephesians 2 and 6, the Israelites’ rejection of God in favor of a king, and Genesis 6:2, among many others?2

Historical Rebuttal Rebutted

I’m glad Kerry has invoked history. The Nazis were voted into power, and any Christian that voted for them shares somewhat in their sin. Why we think similar atrocities can’t happen here — when the Bible tells us what human nature is like, what the powers and principalities of this world are like, and for the simple fact that our own American history is riddled with atrocities equal to or exceeding Nazi Germany is beyond me.

Kerry claims it’s a good thing our founders didn’t share my sentiments. I disagree; my sentiments are not to exterminate a continent’s worth of indigenous peoples and to institute slavery. And this notion of the modern American Christian crusades? Should we have destroyed the Russians, who killed millions of their citizens? The Chinese, who killed forty million of theirs? Pol Pot? Leopold the II, Ismail Enver? The list goes on and on and on and on, and even occurs today in places like Rwanda and Darfur, not to mention the ongoing, ubiquitous stain of modern slavery. I return the question to Kerry twofold: are we supposed to attack the entire world as a holy Christian army, and isn’t it clear not only that the politics of the world fail consistently, but that they’re a bloody, dirty business the church, and Christians, should not stain themselves with?

I argue, conversely, that God “sets up kings and deposes them” (Dan. 2:21) and that “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord’” (Rom 12:19).

Konig's FireWith regard to Sascha König, it seems to me that Sascha follows the scriptural model: he is not political, but strives to act godly in the arena and position in which God deposited him. This is the biblical model: Joseph, Moses (after his failed political action — see Acts 7:25), the Judges, David (Hobbiting away in the fields), Daniel, Esther, Jesus …

Disguised in Kerry’s line of attack appears to be a principle that claims Christians who vote are better American citizens than those who do not. I do not grant this as remotely true, and I would ask the voting advocate to provide solid, positive reasons for their pro-vote stance with regard to the following premise:

If a Christian lends her voice and support to a candidate and a political party, she is complicit in their platform and actions once elected, has attached the name of Christ to their actions, and is complicit in any unintended consequences. If you deny this premise, then quit telling me you’re complicit through your vote when something good happens! As a practical illustration, just think how fast the bumper stickers come off once an elected candidate has proven himself a buffoon. 🙂

Given this, it’s easy to see how we’re culpable — somewhat — for our vote, and how we may drag the name of Christ through the political mud.3

  • The voter is party to the unjust foreign war and the carnage that ensues: bombing of civilians, torture, rape, starvation, privation, etc. Biblical principle abused: love thy neighbor; love thy enemy.
  • The voter is party to discrimination against the immigrant. “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the Lord your God.” (Lev. 19: 33-34)
  • The voter is party to complaints against taxes. If you owe taxes, pay taxes (Rom 13:7) Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.
  • The voter is party to the installation of foreign dictators and the empowerment of evil men, many of whom commit heinous atrocities, e.g. Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, Osama Bin Laden, the Shah of Iran, Taliban, et al. “For dominion belongs to the LORD and he rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28).
  • The voter is party to spending more than we take in and running up huge deficits and debt. “In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has” (Prov. 21:20).
  • The voter is party to the ruination of the environment. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” (Gen 2:15).
  • Ironically, a vote for a Republican is not good citizenry, as their passage of the Patriot Act, FISA amendments, and support for the NDAA removes certain rights American citizens are pledged to uphold. Time to speak up, Kerry Bonheoffer!
  • The voter is party to the oppression of Palestinians behind fences and in camps, many of whom are our Christian brethren, particularly when the voter is involved with certain Christian political ministries. Along with this, the idea that we would entice Jewish people to move en masse to Israel just so they can be slaughtered in the coming apocalypse is reprehensible politics, and theology, for that matter.
  • The voter is party to an inherent tribalism and animosity against the other half of the country, most notably displayed in offensive phrases such as Take our country back! “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Rom 12:18).
  • The voter is party to a failed war on drugs that has cost the lives of thousands of people, empowered drug lords and cartels, and resulted in the unjust sentences of hundreds of thousands of men.
  • The voter is party to the maintenance of the rich and powerful, Wall Street, corporations, special interests, and the military-industrial-congressional complex, rather than favoring the poor and disenfranchised. “If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but say to the poor man, ‘You stand there’ or ‘Sit on the floor by my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?” (James 2: 3-4)
  • The voter is susceptible to repeating party talking points that are half-truths.4

Kerry quotes Mill, but I’d adjust it a bit: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends than that good men should look on and do nothing but vote.” Certainly, we can do better as Christians, and I argue that the biblical model does just that. Each man, woman, and child should not rely on or entangle themselves fruitlessly and with bitter consequences (intended and unintended) in the political process, but act pursuant to the dictates of God’s Word in the circumstances in which God has deposited them. Far from being against action as Kerry suggests, my position says the Christian ought to be salt and light; I just claim, based on Scripture and the evidence, that politics are not saltshakers and flashlights.

I am pleased that Kerry is unsettled by my words. At worst, what I say here can just encourage Christians take a hard look at politics, as we should do with every sphere of life. At best, however, what I’m talking about is a freedom found in Christ while releasing the power and privilege of this world, and in the Author of our Faith, who is indeed sovereign over the affairs of mankind, despite our votes.

By the way, Paul indeed appealed to his rights as a Roman citizen, but isn’t Acts 26:32 interesting?

Kerry, you’re my good Christian brother, and I thank God for you…please remember we agree on so much more than this.

MS

Soli Deo Gloria

  1. Kerry reported that I used the backdrop of human history for this, but every event I listed was an American event.
  2. Note again that I am merely expressing my view of Scripture. The reader’s view on this is between her and the Holy Spirit. I thank Kerry for his spirit and for that of the commenters and return the same.
  3. Under the assumption that the audience here is largely center-right, I’ll confine my examples to Republican issues. I suspect most people (Kerry indeed mentioned it) here will argue that a vote for the Democrats is a vote for abortion, among other things, and therefore wrong. The unsettling thing — I hope I can show — is that turned around, it’s just as problematic.
  4. Since I work on contract to NASA, I personally received the announcement Kerry alluded to. The current administration has thus far fostered healthy space exploration, including human, robotic, and telescopic and has taken positive steps to promote it. No worries, Sci-Fi writers! 🙂
Similar articles

Join the conversation

50 comments on "Speculative Politics 4: Rebuttal By Marc Schooley"

Notify of
avatar
Member

In general, I think this is well said and the point well made.

Like Frodo, Aragorn assumes the heroic mantle, but only when the role is thrust upon him.

Those who hate having power over others — who tremble with fear at the ramifications and feel crushed by the burden of the responsibility — are the ones who should have authority. Those who enjoy being in control should definitely not be. In order to keep out the ones who wrongly want to control others, some people who hate participating in politics — who view it as a grim, heavy, evil burden — should participate. Granted, voting doesn’t help much with this, but I think it’s microscopically better than nothing.
 
Also, note that Frodo ultimately failed. In the end, he fell to the temptation of the Ring, and it was only Providence that saved the day. Whatever the Ring may represent, no one in the story was worthy to wield it. Not Gandalf, not Aragorn, not Elrond, not Galadriel — in the end, not even the humble Hobbit Frodo. I think this is relevant to the idea of a “lesser of two evils.” Yes, no matter who is elected, the government will do evil. We will fail, as a nation, as citizens, even as Christians. None of us can resist the temptation of power, and I don’t think complete non-involvement is victory against the temptation. But God is still sovereign, and I hope that Providence will save the day for America as much as it did for Middle Earth.

Disguised in Kerry’s line of attack appears to be a principle that claims Christians who vote are better American citizens than those who do not. I do not grant this as remotely true, and I would ask the voting advocate to provide solid, positive reasons for their pro-vote stance with regard to the following premise:

The political theory that I have been told was advocated by the founders of the United States, which I think does have some merit, is that all people are in some way responsible for the evil enacted by the government, because government is made up of normal people from the community. Ironically, the people who taught me that philosophy would probably agree with your argument. We’re responsible. The people are supposed to watch the government carefully, checking it whenever it becomes corrupt. Of course, that is an ideal that almost never happens in reality. We need to do something when evil falls. Voting is not enough, but one who votes with the right attitude is at least being observant.

Teddi Deppner
Guest

I just wanted to thank Speculative Faith and all the authors and commenters involved in this series for thought-provoking and respectful dialogue!

Today’s political climate has prompted much personal soul-searching and Word-searching not only about the issues themselves, but about how vocal and/or active I believe I should be.  The discussion here has given me a number of new approaches and things to consider, and I greatly appreciate all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts (and especially Marc and Kerry for taking point)!

MS
Guest

Thanks to you as well, Teddi. I’m sure hoping it remains respectful from here on out.

C.L. Dyck
Guest

Those who hate having power over others — who tremble with fear at the ramifications and feel crushed by the burden of the responsibility — are the ones who should have authority.

From where I sit, that disqualifies the American church and a vast majority of its population wholesale…just sayin’.  🙂 We’ve met y’all’s missionaries, on their quest to save the heathen Canadians and convert us to a proper Christian culture.

Along with this, the idea that we would entice Jewish people to move en masse to Israel just so they can be slaughtered in the coming apocalypse is reprehensible politics, and theology, for that matter.

 
I happen to agree, Marc…but I feel compelled to point out that wherever you’re getting that one from, it’s a peculiarly American tangent to the dispensational theology we hold. Same as the false notion of boxing the saved into Jewish and non-Jewish categories, all the way through to how the New Heaven and New Earth are inherited. I’m not sure whether politics caused the false theology, or false theology caused the politics.

In this context, however, I think it bears noting that the American penchant for reorganizing the world–the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East–is inherited from British colonialism, not spontaneously generated out of a vacuum by divine providence upon an exceptional nation. It was the Balfour Declaration, after all, that re-established Israel in its ancient homeland.

I suspect perhaps a misguided leap of reasoning has fueled American Christian ambitions there: Allowing that God used the British Crown for His purposes does not mean it follows that the Church should use the American government (or any other) for its purposes.

Canada is in the secular, anti-religious-hate-crime condition it is, because the institutional church collaborated with government to advance an earthly empire. Our society now suffers a lasting paranoia about returning to the abominations that occurred in the past.

MS
Guest

“because the institutional church collaborated with government to advance an earthly empire.”

Nicely put. I suspected I might have a chance at some point to reference Carl Teichrib’s work on this specific matter. Much of the things the American church has entered politics against–new world orders, etc.–are directly related to or even caused by to the church’s involvement in politics and world affairs.   

“but I feel compelled to point out that wherever you’re getting that one from, it’s a peculiarly American tangent to the dispensational theology we hold.”

Understood, and you’re cleared, but it’s not the tangent as I understand it; it’s the dominant strain.     

“We’ve met y’all’s missionaries, on their quest to save the heathen Canadians and convert us to a proper Christian culture.”

Maybe I’m wrong….maybe there’s a good reason after all. 🙂   

C.L. Dyck
Guest

“Understood, and you’re cleared, but it’s not the tangent as I understand it; it’s the dominant strain.”

I accept that to be true in your part of the world.

“Maybe I’m wrong….maybe there’s a good reason after all.”

You don’t really mean to suggest that Texans would be happier with even more Yankees to the north…

MS
Guest

Hey Guys,

Sometimes discussing politics takes a back seat. I had a near traumatic event yesterday involving a son, a flipped car, and an interstate, among other things. He walked away unscathed, God be praised. It’s set me back a bit, so I wanted to drop a quick line and thank you for your comments.  Hope those of you up East are through the storm with no worries…  

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

So sorry for that accident, yet so glad for God’s protection of your son, Marc. I’ll be sure to be praying for you.

MS
Guest

Thank you Stephen,

God brought him through it well, and he’s demonstrated many adult behaviors through the process. In the end, it’ll be a blessing as all things are. But I’m sure everyone knows the feeling when you first get the call and the hectic drive down the freeway to flashing emergency lights and totalled cars. Thanks again, and thanks for the opportunity here. God bless…  

Austin Gunderson
Editor

At its core, this line of reasoning appears to be as follows: Since politicians are fallen human beings guilty of both honest mistakes and deliberate tyranny, Christians should distance themselves from politics in order to keep Christ’s name unsullied by the world.  But this sentiment ignores many realities.

First, it ignores the form taken by contemporary government.  The United States of America is a democratic republic.  That means it’s quite literally a government of, by, and for the People.  American Christians don’t have the option to withdraw from politics.  Since every American is, by definition, a participant in America’s government, a withdrawal from politics is a political statement.  It’s a statement which effectually says, “I, being invested with the legal right and civic duty to vote for my representative lawmakers, do deliberately waive said privileges in order that those who do choose to exercise them may wield disproportionate influence over the governance of my nation.”  Since our form of government was undreamt-of during the ancient world, it’s pretty understandable that the Bible remains silent on the issue of voting.  Whether the land was ruled by an autocratic emperor (Caesar), a benevolent monarch (David), or God Himself (in pre-Saul Israel), one thing remains constant: the individual commoner had absolutely no voice in affairs of state.  But for the American citizen, the system works in reverse.  Participation in American government is non-optional, inescapable.  The only question is whether or not the form of one’s participation (i.e. whether one votes and, if so, for whom) proves counterproductive to one’s wishes.

Second, this sentiment of political fatalism/isolationism ignores the Biblical paradigm of Christians being “in the world but not of the world.”  When Christ specifies to His Father that He doesn’t want His disciples removed from the world (John 17:15), He’s making it clear to them that they are not to withdraw from society into some kind of “holy huddle” where they might remain “pure” from the blood, sweat, and grime of ordinary human existence, fraught as it is with imperfection and evil.  Rather, they are to participate in society in order to redeem society.  In America today, the refusal of individual Christians to cast their ballots constitutes an ultimately futile attempt to withdraw from society in the interest of preserving not the holiness of Christ’s name, but rather their own reputations – their own impregnable aloofness from that squabbling partisan rabble obsessed with temporal law and order.

Third, this sentiment of political fatalism/isolationism ignores the fact that mere association with a sinful individual doesn’t constitute complicity in the future sins he or she may eventually commit.  We’re all guaranteed to sin; Scripture makes this pretty clear.  Were I as a Christian to live by this motto – were I to totally abstain from “[attaching] the name of Christ to [potentially sinful] actions, and [from being] complicit in any unintended consequences” brought about by anyone I’d supported – then I’d have to exit the world entirely.  I’d no longer be able to either create or consume media, loan or borrow money, hang out with friends, join organizations, donate to causes, support missionaries, tithe to my church, get married, have children, buy or sell either products or services, or participate in the free market at all!  In fact, on the basis of this reasoning (that one should for the sake of Christ’s name eschew all support of people who might prove disingenuous or disappointing) one could easily construct a worldview in which the tally of appropriate human activities consisted of subsistence farming, self-led Bible study, and street-corner preaching.

This has been, I admit, an exercise in reductio ad absurdum.  But the premise I’m contesting invites such extrapolation.  Indeed it begs for it.  For if the mere fact that political power amplifies the sin of those who seek it leads me to conclude that any association with politics constitutes a sin in and of itself, and if the mere fact that I’m a member of Christ’s body means I must disengage from any human activity in which people are capable of making publicly visible mistakes, then I can’t artificially restrict such disengagement to the political sphere alone.  I must be consistent across all spheres of life.  Only then will I be able to present the world with a “pure” vision of my Savior: me!

Oh … wait a minute …

MS
Guest

Hello Austin,

Thanks for the comment. There’s a lot offered, so I’ll try to do it justice.

I disagree with point one, but the relevance of the point is not clear to me. If all you are claiming is that my refusal to vote reflects my views on politics, that’s fine by me.

Point two, then…if you read my essays and commentary, you’ll see I haven’t advocated a Christian withdrawal from society. I’ve argued that Christians are a positive and effective societal influencs when they engage outside the political sphere, but entangle themselves in horrids from things inside it, and are generally ineffective, especially in the long term.

Rather than a futile attempt, it is the only one that works…just look around, man. When your abstraction runs headlong into real life events that contradict it, it should give you pause. Moreover, if I were worried about my reputation, I wouldn’t be here. 🙂

Point three misses the point entirely. I’m not talking about mere association. I’m talking about throwing your hat in the ring, signing on to platforms, lending your voice and support (and oftentimes money) to an organization that delivers tangible results. An associate is not necessarily complicit; a participant is.

However, you do switch to the word “support” in your last sentence. Nevertheless, we’re not talking about purchasing food from farmers, here; we’re talking about support for organizations that have platforms and deliver tangible, measurable results. Regardless, I suspect that if a farm advertised that it was donating 10 percent of its proceeds from every dollar you spent with them to a cause abhorrent to you, you’d buy from another farm. 🙂        
   
“This has been, I admit, an exercise in reductio ad absurdum.”

I appreciate the ad absurdum; however, as demonstrated, you haven’t reduced any points of mine. Thus, it’s in actuality a reductio ad absurdum of strawmen.   
  
“I must be consistent across all spheres of life.”

I would certainly hope so, Austin. I sincerely hope you do not support and fund any such activities: churches that preach another gospel than that delivered to the saints, entertainment media that contribute to the moral collapse of society, organizations that promote immoral causes, and on and on. Granted, it’s difficult and none of us are perfect, but the fact that it is hard gives us no reason to throw our hands in the air and quit. Given that, I’d be more than happy to receive suggestions of groups I ought not be involved with.    
  
 “Only then will I be able to present the world with a “pure” vision of my Savior: me!”

Well, no…this certainly does not follow, logically. 🙂  

Austin Gunderson
Editor

Thanks for your response, Marc.

My first point is not only relevant, it’s essential.  As far as I understand it, your argument against voting appeals to the idea that Christians shouldn’t entangle themselves in corrupt political processes.  But the fact remains that American citizens are already entangled in politics simply by virtue of being American.  To not vote is to vote.  If the “greater of two evils” carries off an election, those who abstained from voting are just as responsible as those who voted for the victor.

tron3dfx
Guest

Austin,

I quote your post here: “To not vote is to vote.  If the “greater of two evils” carries off an election, those who abstained from voting are just as responsible as those who voted for the victor.”
==I completely and totally disagree. The politics of our fallen world are ruled completely and totally by Satan himself. Communism, Marxism, Fascism (all really variants of the same lust for power) have killed millions of people, the current estimate in the 20th century is 262,000,000. See this for the relevant and very detailed research on this number.
You cannot vote or not vote these tyrants of evil into power over others (which reason(s) I explain in more detail below).
A lamentable quote: “There is no better summation than that of Charlie Reese when he wrote years ago, “There’s no dishonor in being forced by a superior power into slavery, but it is an eternal disgrace to voluntarily surrender one’s liberty for a filthy bowl of oatmeal and promise of security by liars.”
Here is a short article summarizing (much better than I am able) here in such matters.
Here is also a short article I wrote myself years ago on a past blog, it outlays some particular thoughts on this matter of “voting” for the lesser of two evils:
Socialism is a Mark of the Beast.
 
Never argue with someone who knows they are right. This fundamental tenant of human society knows no bounds, is always correct in everything. When a human being knows they are right, you cannot talk with them. You cannot debate the truth of the matter. You cannot argue with them. You cannot give them facts. They will ignore such facts. You will find yourself again and again asked to justify behavior that is appropriate, but misconstrued deliberately, misquoted deliberately, twisted into sensationally corrupt dogma deliberately. You will be consistently accused of an underlying agenda that is only to your benefit. Your past will be examined, and if the right kind of dirt cannot be dug up, it will quite simply be manufactured. It does not matter if later you are vindicated, you’ve already been raked through the coals of public opinion and that is enough.
 
Does this description remind you of anyone? Does it strike eerily similar in your heart to a group or body of people in this world who identify with some particular doctrine? It is simply what the Master Teacher said in this most awesome axiom to describe: “They hear but cannot see the truth.”
 
6:60 many, therefore, of his disciples having heard, said, ‘This word is hard; who is able to hear it?’ The Gospel of John, YLT.
 
8:44 `Ye are of a father — the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar — also his father.’ The Gospel of John, YLT.
 
8:47 ‘he who is of God, the sayings of God he doth hear; because of this ye do not hear, because of God ye are not.’ The Gospel of John, YLT.
 
Consider John 8:47. Jesus implies very strongly here that those who are of Life, those who are of their Creator, will hear the truth, welcome it, understand it. Those who are not, those whose ideology comes not from the Father, but from the one rallied against him, they will not hear him; they will not hear the truth. They are incapable of it. It is beyond them. Their ears have been closed by the one who feeds their own fear laden agenda.
 
What is our King and Savior Jesus trying to tell us hear? Careful consideration of his words should lend a chilling effect for those who actually value the truth. Those who know they are right (when they are obviously not) cannot hear the truth because their souls have been cloaked in darkness. They are in a deep well, or chasm, and they know not what to do or how to get out of it. Perhaps for some, the desire to know the Truth (and therefore begin a relationship with the Father who made them) is not a priority, or even a concern. Perhaps even the existence of such a Maker is so terrifying in the face of this self-imposed blindness, that its conceptualization is never even considered, for to do so would be to expose one’s own hypocrisy, idolatry and bigotry.
 
Men of Truth operate in the light, for all to see their deeds and judge them just or not.
 
Men of non-Truth–men who lust for power–operate in the dark, in the shadows where few see and even fewer truly understand the depth of such loathsome, debilitating evil.
 
==and you would have us vote for such men Austin?

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

The politics of our fallen world are ruled completely and totally by Satan himself.

[Biblical citation required.]

tron3dfx
Guest

Hi E. Stephen Burnett,
I wish you had read my entire post, I provided multiple biblical references as to why politics are ruled by the evil of our world:
6:60 many, therefore, of his disciples having heard, said, ‘This word is hard; who is able to hear it?’ The Gospel of John, YLT.
 
8:44 `Ye are of a father — the devil, and the desires of your father ye will to do; he was a man-slayer from the beginning, and in the truth he hath not stood, because there is no truth in him; when one may speak the falsehood, of his own he speaketh, because he is a liar — also his father.’ The Gospel of John, YLT.
 
8:47 ‘he who is of God, the sayings of God he doth hear; because of this ye do not hear, because of God ye are not.’ The Gospel of John, YLT.
==Consider that over 50% of American citizens voted for Obama. The Russians are laughing at us, citing ignorance, read this editorial from an English/Russian site.
==The point I am making here, is very simply your vote will not make anything better. The American democracy is broken. Your vote does not matter, the majority are too ignorant to know any better, and furthermore, and even worse, the democratic process itself is broken. Consider that delegates who voted to have Ron Paul nominated for the Republican ticket were ignored/silenced. This information is available, if you look for it.

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

I wish you had read my entire post …

What makes you think I didn’t? I did. 🙂

I provided multiple biblical references as to why politics are ruled by the evil of our world

(Sets off annoying handbuzzer.) Au contraire. You actually said:

The politics of our fallen world are ruled completely and totally by Satan himself.

 

And I said, and now repeat:

[Biblical citation required.]

Prove from Scripture, not the sinfulness of men (agreed) or the fact that evil exists in the world (agreed) or that delegates didn’t want Ron Paul supporters to have their say (how does this relate again?), but the statement that you wrote: “the politics of our fallen world are ruled completely and totally by Satan himself.” By that I’m not asking for some single verse that states this directly, but Biblical evidence that Satan, and not God, is in charge of leaders and the processes that put them in power.

Thanks for reviving discussion in this already-fascinating series.

tron3dfx
Guest

Hi E. Stephen Burnet!

Agreed this is a worthy and fascinating discussion 🙂

Apologies for setting off your handbuzzer. Perhaps I have misstated my position in this matter. No, now it is readily apparent I have indeed done so.

It is my opinion that the demon Satan/Lucifer, call him what you will since he has many names, is in fact using politics to push forth his ideology of turning away from God our Father.

The comment about Ron Paul was simply a reference to a Godly man who is/has been shunned in the political arena because he is a man who stands for the humanity and freedom of our individual souls which God gave us, our very lives here in this world.

I will submit that I cannot truly state any biblical reference to my stance per se, however I believe the verses I have referenced strongly promote my stance that Satan is using the ideology of Socialism as a means to promote his agenda of turning as many of those as he can against, and even worse, not believe in our Father from whence we are created.
 

E. Stephen Burnett
Guest

(Puts away buzzer and pops out the batteries) 😀

That makes more sense — and let me clarify that I wouldn’t at all disagree with the notion that Satan uses politics to further his own end! In Matt. 4 we find that at least at that point, he is clearly under the delusion that he “owns” world systems and governments and cultures. When I read you saying that all politics and leaders belong to Satan, it sounded like you were agreeing with him. And many Christians do, to the point of shunning any political involvement whatsoever. That view, I believe, is un-Biblical, and not just because it lets potentially Satanic socialism and other false religions win. However, I also want to respect Christians who, because they have previously believed that politics will “save” us or culture, have put away political involvement at least for a while. Perhaps they need to!

Anyway, that’s what I heard, and I suppose I should have guessed better given your support for Ron Paul — which proves that you believe that some politicians are better than others. Paul, however, isn’t perfect, and I’m sure you wouldn’t endorse that view. So either way, either one of us would be supporting or voting for a non-perfect human being.

Elsewhere I’ve outlined some reasons for voting for the guy who has (or in this case, had) the best chance of winning against worst evil. I do not endorse the belief or phrase that this is “voting for the lesser of two evils.” Rather, I suggest that in voting a Christian is choosing the best of two possible goods. From a viewpoint that God is sovereign and that He uses even flawed government — such as the Romans; Rom. 13 — to accomplish His will, both majority candidates in this last election were “possible goods” — Obama and Romney. Don’t misunderstand. I’m not saying Obama was inherently “good.” His views are horrific, un-Biblical, and anti-Constitutional. But if God put him in office (and now we can say that God did), then he is in one sense God’s elected leader. Based on limited information at the time, I believe Romney would have been “the best of two possible goods.” Clearly God in His wisdom thinks otherwise.

Where does this leave Christians? In the uncomfortable but Biblical position of praying for our leaders. Really, we should feel some discomfort in this task only because so few of our leaders are redeemed Christians. Nevertheless God commands it. Yet I won’t deny that this is very hard when certain leaders are lecturing us incessantly about “safety” and “making sacrifices” when they are making none, and particularly when they are rebelling against the Constitution they’ve sworn to uphold!

Austin Gunderson
Editor

Thanks for your response, Marc.  I accidentally hit “submit” partway through my reply.  Please ignore the vestigial paragraph above; the following is my completed comment.

My first point is not only relevant, it’s essential.  As far as I understand it, your argument against voting appeals to the idea that Christians shouldn’t entangle themselves in corrupt political processes.  But the fact remains that American citizens are already entangled in politics simply by virtue of being American.  To not vote is to vote.  If the “greater of two evils” carries off an election, those who abstained from voting are just as responsible as those who voted for the victor.  In America, there’s no such thing as “rising above the fray.”  There’s only those who take responsibility for the rights entrusted to their care, and those who shrug off that responsibility.  Either way, the responsibility remains.  We ignore it at our own peril.

What bothers me about your political stance isn’t so much that it’s different from mine (and it is very, very different); it’s that you’ve attempted to spiritualize your political stance, to insinuate that voting itself is a kind of betrayal of the Christian ideal, and that the only way to keep oneself pure is to withdraw from politics entirely.  Well, let me ask you: when has such an approach ever “worked”?  That’s the word you use to describe your approach to politics, yet the only positive example presented in your post is actually a negative one: that nobody curses God because of the Amish.  Wow.  So there are some Christians out there who enjoy near-universal acclaim due to their non-involvement, their near-total withdrawal from the world, their passive invisibility (and – dare I say it – their rejection of the Great Commission’s implications).  Let’s see what the Bible has to say about that:

“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  (John 15:19)

The world’s supposed to hate us!  The name of Jesus can’t help being offensive!  As a Christian, I don’t flop into bed each and every night thinking “Whew!  Nobody cursed God because of me today!  I’m doing such a good job!”  That’s nothing for which to congratulate oneself.  What have the Amish ever achieved for the Gospel of Christ?  How’re they doing on that whole evangelism thing?  As Christians, our goal is God’s glory.  And that goal is unachievable in any sphere of life abandoned by Christians.

Is there any doubt that Hollywood’s depravity is due almost exclusively to its eschewal by Christians?  There’s absolutely nothing inherently sinful about filmmaking, yet your argument against politics requires no reformatting in order to apply equally well to the film industry.  Your argument, applied to Hollywood, would be the following: the film industry produces films that’re evil, evil, evil, and therefore Christians should have nothing whatsoever to do with Hollywood and shouldn’t even pay money to see good movies.  Don’t you see where this will take us as a society?  You’re advocating for a Christendom of indefinitely-shrinking influence – a Christian culture that celebrates retreat and irrelevance!  I’m not advocating some kind of top-down push for theocratic interventionism here; I’m just talking common sense.  If we as Christians don’t actively engage our culture – and politics, like it or not, constitutes a significant portion of our culture – that culture will become a sucking sinkhole which wastes people’s lives and devours their souls.

“Support,” “association,” “participation” – they all mean the same thing to my mind, and that thing is the fact that I’m willing to go on record as having made a decision.  I’ve stuck out my neck for something I believe in.  Perhaps it turns out that I’ve made a mistake.  Perhaps I turn out to have been wrong.  That’s just a risk I was willing to take.  It’s this way in all of life – hence my extrapolation of your political principle into other spheres.  According to your doctrine, I’d share in the guilt of a relief organization to which I’d donated were it caught embezzling its funds.  But even were I to grant that such an idea would be just (which I don’t), it wouldn’t change the fact that American politics isn’t rigid.  It’s not as though I, by choosing to vote for a particular candidate, am somehow binding myself to that candidate through an indissoluble pledge.  If the candidate disappoints, I can vote him or her out of office in two, four, or six years.  It really is that simple.  Politics is just like life.  We do what we can with what we have, and leave the rest to God.  But if we are found to have done nothing with the rights and privileges with which we’ve been entrusted – choosing instead to bury our discernment in the ground lest we run the risk that our decisions might anger our Master – then we cannot appeal for justification to the fact that God’s ultimately in control of who wins elections.  One might as well ask, “Why does [God] still find fault?  For who can resist His will?”  (Romans 9:19)  My response is the same as Paul’s: “Who are you, O man, to answer back to God?”

God’s given us the right and the responsibility to help choose our nation’s leaders.  Let us not spurn His gift in a futile attempt to avoid association with fallen humanity, among whom we live every day of our lives on earth.

In closing this comment, I feel the need to quote that politician Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”

MS
Guest

“To not vote is to vote”

Non-A is A. Hmmm.  

“If the “greater of two evils” carries off an election, those who abstained from voting are just as responsible as those who voted for the victor.”

Keep in mind, every proposition made about an electoral winner must be conjoined with the biblical proposition that the authorities that exist have been established by God.   

“There’s only those who take responsibility for the rights entrusted to their care, and those who shrug off that responsibility.”

I disagree. There are those who find none worth their vote or support, for instance.     

“That’s the word you use to describe your approach to politics, yet the only positive example presented in your post is actually a negative one: that nobody curses God because of the Amish.”

Maybe you came to the conversation in midstream. The Amish were invoked as a pejorative by Kerry. I merely stated that they have set forth a pretty good example for Christ. What I have meant consistently by the word “worked,” is that the church is effective outside the political realm, and ineffective or harmful from within. I mean, this should be pretty obvious historically, but if you want examples, I’ll take the time… 

“Don’t you see where this will take us as a society?”

Austin, my friend, look around…we’re already there and more….not that our past is a golden age of beauty. It’s not. Of this I’m certain, though; there is only one hope for stemming any tide of moral decline, and it’s not legislation. I’m fine if you disagree with me, but what I’d like you to see is that I’m not advocating Christian withrdrawal or infinitely shrinking influence. I’m saying that the way to influence culture effectively is through the church’s mission, not through politics.

““Support,” “association,” “participation” – they all mean the same thing to my mind”

Perhaps,  but you are demonstratively intelligent enough to ferret out the distinction I indicated.   
  
“I’ve stuck out my neck for something I believe in. Perhaps it turns out that I’ve made a mistake. Perhaps I turn out to have been wrong. That’s just a risk I was willing to take.”

You and me both. Do you think I enjoy what’s going on here? What I suspect many may think of me? What some have actually said of me ?:)

“According to your doctrine, I’d share in the guilt of a relief organization to which I’d donated were it caught embezzling its funds.”

No. According to my doctrine, you’d share in the guilt of a relief organization if you donated after it was a known embezzler, or if you knew beforehand it would embezzle.
   
“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena”

By what do you assume I’m not in the arena just because I do not vote?  I renew my aforementioned citizen challenge. 🙂

So, yeah…I appreciate the engagement Austin, and I hope I’ve given your comments at least part of the attention they deserve. I promise I read them intently. We can’t get to all of it here, so I’d invite you and Baines and Lauren and others to keep your eyes and hearts open as you go along the path. Feel free to drop me a dissenting opinion whenever the mood strikes you or even a positive example of the church in politics. Oh yeah…here’s my own TR quote: 🙂

“Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.”

   
     

wpDiscuz
Join our mission to explore fantastical stories for God’s glory.
Top