Politics and the Christian

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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
The emphasis of this thread is not politics, therefore I have chosen the general forum to post in.

A brief scan of the politics forum will reveal a deep divide between members of the PB. I am not as concerned as to why Christians have different political views as much as I am concerned with the manner in which these views are expressed and the emotional responses that follow. Let me start by saying that the discussion of politics brings out passions in me that I have no problems expressing. By reading a sampling of the posts in the politics forum I would dare say that my fellow PB'ers have no such problem either. But why is it that our political differences seem to divide us more than our theological differences? Could it be that deep in our heart of hearts we hold our political opinions higher than our theological convictions?

I have witnessed (and been guilty of) a lack of charity when discussing politics that seems, for the most part, to be present when having a theological discussion. In fact, once our political leanings are expressed they may define us more than our understanding of God. For example: Like Bush-Hate Bush. I have seen this topic divide believers and stunt fellowship. I know believers that will actually avoid one another because of opposing views. Brethren, this ought not to be!

I do not what this thread to turn into a political debate! If you feel the need to debate, go to the political forum. I wonder whether we can express opinion on politics without losing our love for one another. What say you? Why does it seem that our political views define us more than our theological views? What does that say about us? This is not about Iraq, Bush or the economy. In twenty years the subject of the debate will change but the passions won't. Why is that we can seemingly agree to disagree on baptism but not on politics?

Interested in your comments.

:worms:
 

Anton Bruckner

Puritan Board Professor
I believe in the differences between Christians in the arena of politics, primarily rests with several factors

1. The American Political landscape syndome, has primarily sucked most Christians into being victims of fighting the war of Liberals vs Conservatives. Fact is, none of the camps have a franchise on the truth, whereas none of the camps have a franchise on lies. The truth that is the most important, depending on which camp holds it, ""(liberal or conservatives), that's where Christians tend to be. For white Christians in the suburbs and in the south, these issues are mostly abortion, and homosexual marriages. For a black christian living in the urban areas, their issues mostly rests on employment discrimination, and racism.

2. Then there are the transcendental christians. These are the christians that cannot bare the thought of either conservatives or liberals, or republicans or democrats, therefore they casually condemn the republicans when they are wrong. By doing this they are labelled as American haters, and unpatriotic and liberal sympathizers, they even feel the wrath of christians that are in the republican camp. Then when these christians condemn the liberals when they are wrong, they are condemned as narrow minded and of the militant right. The urban christians that fight for social equity condemn these christians are being unsympathetic to their plight.

3. The money grubbing pragmatists. These are the powerful evangelical leaders that have control over millions of Christians. These are the Haggeites, Falwells and the Dobsons. Because they are heavily invested in the issues of abortion and against homosexual marriages, they broker deals with the republican parties, thereby ignoring all the wickedness of the republican party for favor on the issue of abortion and homosexual marriages. Likewise in the urban areas, many black pastors, who are heavily invested in the issues of social equity, i.e employment discrimination and racism, willingly broker deals with the democratic parties, thereby ignoring the wickedness of the democratic party for favor on their issues of discrimination etc. It is the leaders of these two camps, that heavily innoculate their followers against the truth, thereby keeping christians divided and unable to come to a proper concensus. And make no mistake, these leaders are not ever going to give up their power.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I believe in the differences between Christians in the arena of politics, primarily rests with several factors

1. The American Political landscape syndome, has primarily sucked most Christians into being victims of fighting the war of Liberals vs Conservatives. Fact is, none of the camps have a franchise on the truth, whereas none of the camps have a franchise on lies. The truth that is the most important, depending on which camp holds it, ""(liberal or conservatives), that's where Christians tend to be. For white Christians in the suburbs and in the south, these issues are mostly abortion, and homosexual marriages. For a black christian living in the urban areas, their issues mostly rests on employment discrimination, and racism.

2. Then there are the transcendental christians. These are the christians that cannot bare the thought of either conservatives or liberals, or republicans or democrats, therefore they casually condemn the republicans when they are wrong. By doing this they are labelled as American haters, and unpatriotic and liberal sympathizers, they even feel the wrath of christians that are in the republican camp. Then when these christians condemn the liberals when they are wrong, they are condemned as narrow minded and of the militant right. The urban christians that fight for social equity condemn these christians are being unsympathetic to their plight.

3. The money grubbing pragmatists. These are the powerful evangelical leaders that have control over millions of Christians. These are the Haggeites, Falwells and the Dobsons. Because they are heavily invested in the issues of abortion and against homosexual marriages, they broker deals with the republican parties, thereby ignoring all the wickedness of the republican party for favor on the issue of abortion and homosexual marriages. Likewise in the urban areas, many black pastors, who are heavily invested in the issues of social equity, i.e employment discrimination and racism, willingly broker deals with the democratic parties, thereby ignoring the wickedness of the democratic party for favor on their issues of discrimination etc. It is the leaders of these two camps, that heavily innoculate their followers against the truth, thereby keeping christians divided and unable to come to a proper concensus. And make no mistake, these leaders are not ever going to give up their power.

Keon - good analysis. But bringing it down to the individual, why does it seem that many of us are more passionate about our political views as opposed to our theological views? That is the crux of my question. What does this say about us when we divide over politics? If we must divide let us do so because we are parting from heresy. To divide over politics obfuscates that which is most important...Christ and His kingdom.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
My visceral reactions in the Politics forum usually has to do with a sense of the way in which statements are made that impugn the motivations of people or even make very mean-spirited or uncharitable comments about people.

There is a very sinful tendency on the part of some to make very sweeping generalizations about people. As an example, I react viscerally to ignorant statements about military personnel that are ill-informed. Now, for me, it is quite alright to debate the relative merits of a containment or engagement policy with respect to foreign policy. It is quite another when ad hominem attacks are made about the quality and motivation of the people who are, in the fidelity of their consciences, choosing to serve the ends of policy.

To me, the consequences are very personal for very loud-mouthed and ignorant comments. It tears me up inside when I think of the people I know who have lost their lives. Beyond that, I think of the men I know who are missing months of their kids' lives that they can never get back. When people talk about them, as a byword, it is extremely personal to me in the same way if someone were to spout off some racist comment that was a mere opinion.

Part of my frustration also deals with alarm at the willingness of those who are charged to rejoice with truth at how gullible some of them are. I expect some nuttiness from places like DailyKos.com but Christians are called to be more sober-minded than the world. It literally blows me away that there are some apparently intelligent people that so readily believe fantastic fairytales and vast conspiracies. It wouldn't shock me anymore if some here believed The Da Vinci Code was a work of non-fiction. Some of its assertions are more plausible than what passes for political dialogue in some corners of the Internet.

Actually, I've purposefully avoided the Politics forum for a while now (except over the last day ironically) because I'm frankly tired of the reactions it produces in me. I believe there is a place to call folly what it is but it wearies me and I don't like actually reading what is crossing the mind of some people that really ought to take more time to learn about the complexities of governance before they assume they are in the position to advise. Many are those who Luther would have preferred the "Wise Turk" to.

It also occurred to me today that some of those who make the most outlandish statements in the Political threads rarely, if ever, contribute anything substantive to theological discussions but seem to post almost exclusively in political threads. Politics is one of those things, you see, that everybody thinks they're qualified to speak about. Perhaps some might have been revealed as less than Reformed by now had they posted in like manner in Theological forums...

In summary, it's not the Political opinions that bother me. It's the vitriol. It's the credulity. It's the folly and brashness of youth that "knows better". I also don't believe that it's okay to be hateful and mean just because we're talking about pagans.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Perhaps it's that politics are relevant to just about everyone while only Christians debate theology. It's easy enough for a non-believer to end a debate with a Christian by decreeing the Bible to be merely one religious scripture among many - that doesn't happen with politics, it is always relevant to everyone at some level. We are still living too much in the world in this way, choosing a secular venue for argument rather than the Word.

It also allows us (we think) to get outside of the 'love one another' realm and into the secular political realm where the gloves can really come off. Also, there's no need for "chapter and verse" backups when talking about politics - you can just haul off because you don't like the color of the other guy's socks.

:2cents:
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Actually, I've purposefully avoided the Politics forum for a while now (except over the last day ironically) because I'm frankly tired of the reactions it produces in me.

Rich - that is precisely why I avoid the politics forum. You and I participated in a thread there recently and you can see the side of me that won out. When I disengage from a thread like that I am often frustrated and angry. I don't believe in the ostrich approach to politics. I do believe in being informed and active. I see nothing unbiblical about a Christian participating in our political process. But when political participation is articulated better than the word of God, well I have a problem with that. One system will perish, the other will last forever.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Perhaps it's that politics are relevant to just about everyone while only Christians debate theology. It's easy enough for a non-believer to end a debate with a Christian by decreeing the Bible to be merely one religious scripture among many - that doesn't happen with politics, it is always relevant to everyone at some level. We are still living too much in the world in this way, choosing a secular venue for argument rather than the Word.

It also allows us (we think) to get outside of the 'love one another' realm and into the secular political realm where the gloves can really come off. Also, there's no need for "chapter and verse" backups when talking about politics - you can just haul off because you don't like the color of the other guy's socks.

:2cents:

Kevin - I agree. But here on the PB we all profess to be believers.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich - that is precisely why I avoid the politics forum. You and I participated in a thread there recently and you can see the side of me that won out. When I disengage from a thread like that I am often frustrated and angry. I don't believe in the ostrich approach to politics. I do believe in being informed and active. I see nothing unbiblical about a Christian participating in our political process. But when political participation is articulated better than the word of God, well I have a problem with that. One system will perish, the other will last forever.

I agree but so will many of our neighbors and enemies that we are called to love. I just cannot stand the hateful atmosphere that pervades our political process that is duplicated here and I cannot sit idly by when I see it on display.

So I generally try to avoid it.
 

Abd_Yesua_alMasih

Puritan Board Junior
I think it is on a practicle, felt level. Stay with me on this one...

There is a big difference in practicality. Often politics affects you more on an every day level. Theology does also, but not in such a tangible way (I feel I am digging myself a hole). Do people understand?

Take this for a graphic example: when New Zealand legalized prostitution there was a split through the country. You can imagine it. Those against the bill imagined brothels being out in the open, laws about where a brothel could be put did not exist - even residential areas have become sites for them (and a court ruled that they could be built outside schools). Mothers imagined their children growing up with this influence, men worried about the temptation this would force upon themselves. These was a real and foreseeable threat to our way of life. When someone who was against the new law then met someone who was all in favor of it there would of course be a very angry exchange. They were in effect 'ruining my life'.

If this was a theological issue things would be different. Are you an independent or a Presbyterian? EP? Credo? Paedo? Unless there is a strong emotional connection (maybe emotional bitterness to how you have been treated in the past) these positions have very little affect on you as a person (unless you are in the same church and it is a major splitting issue then things get hot).

Does this make sense?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I think it is on a practicle, felt level. Stay with me on this one...

There is a big difference in practicality. Often politics affects you more on an every day level. Theology does also, but not in such a tangible way (I feel I am digging myself a hole). Do people understand?

Take this for a graphic example: when New Zealand legalized prostitution there was a split through the country. You can imagine it. Those against the bill imagined brothels being out in the open, laws about where a brothel could be put did not exist - even residential areas have become sites for them (and a court ruled that they could be built outside schools). Mothers imagined their children growing up with this influence, men worried about the temptation this would force upon themselves. These was a real and foreseeable threat to our way of life. When someone who was against the new law then met someone who was all in favor of it there would of course be a very angry exchange. They were in effect 'ruining my life'.

If this was a theological issue things would be different. Are you an independent or a Presbyterian? EP? Credo? Paedo? Unless there is a strong emotional connection (maybe emotional bitterness to how you have been treated in the past) these positions have very little affect on you as a person (unless you are in the same church and it is a major splitting issue then things get hot).

Does this make sense?

Sure it makes sense. Of course, I'm the kind of person that reacts more viscerally to theological damage done to people.

I am actually much more active in pursuing and putting down theological error in my Church than I am in the political process. I also am grieved more by the fact that my family is Roman Catholic than the fact that my Step-Mom is a flaming liberal. :)
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Yes, we're all professing Christians, and we're all sinful creatures. We often follow the path of least resistance, even when we should joyfully be taking up a heavy cross.

Abd has a good point - to many, politics are more tangible (and relevant) to everyday life, sadly enough.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, we're all professing Christians, and we're all sinful creatures. We often follow the path of least resistance, even when we should joyfully be taking up a heavy cross.

Abd has a good point - to many, politics are more tangible (and relevant) to everyday life, sadly enough.

THAT is part of the problem. Maybe we need a theological lesson instead of political insight. All of life is God. He gives life. He sustains life. Maybe the problem is that some do not live a life of dependence on God? That would explain the actions of those who are more concerned with other things. Again, not that we should ignore social concerns or governmental excesses and abuse. Those things need to be addressed, but not at the expense of what is most important.

Luke 10:40-42 40 But (a)Martha was distracted with (1)all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me." 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, "(a)Martha, Martha, you are (b)worried and bothered about so many things; 42 (a)but only one thing is necessary, for (b)Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
By mostly keeping away from the political forums, I am just trying to live my creed--to live my life with as little reference to the whole business as I can.

Not that I don't pay attention,
"A prudent man seeth the evil and hideth himself,
But the simple pass on, and suffer for it." Prov. 22:3 & 27:12

But if I think something is immoral, or praiseworthy (since when?), and if I think it might make a difference to say something, maybe influence someone to think biblically about something, then I might be persuaded to say something.

But don't expect me to get into a back-and-forth in there. It's not worth my energy. My attitudes are not the same as they were 20 years ago, or even barely 10. I recall expressions made years ago by men 10 years younger than me that I now think evidenced more biblical reflection than I had, with a government degree from a Christian college. I now believe things that as a high-schooler I thought were crazy talk. But I remember them.

So, rather than argue a point, I'm content to express my mind, state biblical justification for it, and leave it to percolate in the mind. In 20 years, you might agree with me. But I'm not going to bludgeon you into giving in to me.

Peace, out.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
By mostly keeping away from the political forums, I am just trying to live my creed--to live my life with as little reference to the whole business as I can.

Not that I don't pay attention,
"A prudent man seeth the evil and hideth himself,
But the simple pass on, and suffer for it." Prov. 22:3 & 27:12

But if I think something is immoral, or praiseworthy (since when?), and if I think it might make a difference to say something, maybe influence someone to think biblically about something, then I might be persuaded to say something.

But don't expect me to get into a back-and-forth in there. It's not worth my energy. My attitudes are not the same as they were 20 years ago, or even barely 10. I recall expressions made years ago by men 10 years younger than me that I now think evidenced more biblical reflection than I had, with a government degree from a Christian college. I now believe things that as a high-schooler I thought were crazy talk. But I remember them.

So, rather than argue a point, I'm content to express my mind, state biblical justification for it, and leave it to percolate in the mind. In 20 years, you might agree with me. But I'm not going to bludgeon you into giving in to me.

Peace, out.

Bruce, I can respect your position. Actually it seems to be a sane and reasonable approach to political issues. We have cause to be involved in the political arena when warranted. Paul certainly utilized it for God's glory. But I would rather be in the business of kingdom work. I fail so miserably at it though. But thank God that He picks me up, dusts me off and uses me again.

Another interesting facet of the PB is that we get a taste of global politics, not just American. With the current state of world affairs that is a dynamic that adds spice to most political discussions.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
That is the inescapable conservatism which eventuates from taking and bearing responsibility. :)
True, except that I'm more like a paleo-conservative now. ;) The conservatism of my youth was quite naive.

Some folks' conservatism is nothing but a retreat to security from their youthful carelessness. They aren't really principled conservatives; their principles really haven't changed, just their circumstances; or they don't even know what real principles are.

I really think that my views have changed to more closely reflect the deepest principles I believe in. I'd like to think they've become more God-honoring over time.

If you have the book, read J.G. Machen's Selected Shorter Writings, the articles that reveal bits of his philosophy re. politics. I always knew I admired the man for having created the theological/ecclesiastic world I grew up in. For contending for the faith, a faith that I embraced with similar passion, and profound agreement. But what I found in his other, lesser known words, was a personal portrait that revealed more of the man to me. I discovered something of a kindred spirit, separated by time. I did not adopt his principles; I found out my hero held mine before I did, in his time, on his issues.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I just had an epiphany as to why I get amped up on things at times.

I was sitting in a one hour meeting with Senior Officers and we were preparing for a brief. We were checking our facts and being brutally honest with one another about articulating things properly because the people we're briefing tomorrow needed condensed and accurate information.

It then occured to me that in my profession, and in any work in general, you either know your facts or you lose all credibility. You are eaten alive if you shoot from the hip.

It is un-natural for me to be charitable to people who are sloppy with their facts or spout off opinions and represent them as being authoratative. You can get away with it on the Internet but don't make it a life habit.
 

Timothy William

Puritan Board Junior
I've noticed this on a few different Christian websites, than politics can be as heated as theology or more so. Even on an ecumenical website I used to frequent, with Protestants, RC, EO etc, politics used to divide as much as theology.

Some possible reasons, first, as a trained economist I have to say that a large proportion of the economics analysis and reasoning that gets used in politics debates is simply rubbish. Yes, there is debate between economists, but so much of what is said, even by intelligent, educated Christians, could be refuted by a competent high school or first year economics student. I do not think that it reflects well on either individuals or the church for Christians to make such ignorant statements, any more than it would reflect well if they made scientifically ignorant or false statements in a politics debate. To quote Murray Rothbard,
"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."

As a result, I tend to have difficulty in showing restraint when debating political topics which impact economics.

Second, while most of us realise that vehement arguments, name calling and insults are counterproductive in theological debates, sometimes in political debates we think that these kinds of methods will be effective. No matter how angry a theological position makes me, I know I am unlikely to change someone's mind by insulting them, in politics I sometimes think I can.

Third, while church leaders are, hopefully, men who exhibit humility, gentleness and teachability, among many other qualities, these would seem to be negative traits for one aspiring to political office, in practice if not in theory. If we take our cue from the public leaders of the debates we are likely to be far more nuanced in theological than political discussion.

Fourth, at least among those of us who believe in sola scriptura, it is possible for a doctrinal position to be shown to be clearly wrong. No one likes to vehemently argue a point, then have to publicly back down, and those who suffer the humiliation are unlikely to repeat the offense. In politics, by contrast, it is rare for a position to be demonstrated beyond doubt to be incorrect; we may have to admit that we have changed our minds, but we rarely have to admit that our position is logically false or that the evidence makes it completely untenable. We can always find some benefit to a particular policy, some positive feature of a candidate relative to his rival, which we can be pointed out as a face saving measure; in politics one rarely has to say, without reservation, "I was wrong".

Fifth, in real life, if I disagree with a church or denomination I can always just walk away*, in politics if someone I dislike is elected I can't escape, other than by emmigration. Debates are always more heated when the other side is advocating using the coercive force of the State to enforce their views. Theological liberals are mostly useless individuals whom I can ignore, political liberals and warfare state enthusiasts are advocating using armed force to take more of my money from me and spend it on their goals and fancies.
 
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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I've noticed this on a few different Christian websites, than politics can be as heated as theology or more so. Even on an ecumenical website I used to frequent, with Protestants, RC, EO etc, politics used to divide as much as theology.

Some possible reasons, first, as a trained economist I have to say that a large proportion of the economics analysis and reasoning that gets used in politics debates is simply rubbish. Yes, there is debate between economists, but so much of what is said, even by intelligent, educated Christians, could be refuted by a competent high school or first year economics student. I do not think that it reflects well on either individuals or the church for Christians to make such ignorant statements, any more than it would reflect well if they made scientifically ignorant or false statements in a politics debate. To quote Murray Rothbard,
"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a "dismal science." But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."

As a result, I tend to have difficulty in showing restraint when debating political topics which impact economics.

Second, while most of us realise that vehement arguments, name calling and insults are counterproductive in theological debates, sometimes in political debates we think that these kinds of methods will be effective. No matter how angry a theological position makes me, I know I am unlikely to change someone's mind by insulting them, in politics I sometimes think I can.

Third, while church leaders are, hopefully, men who exhibit humility, gentleness and teachability, among many other qualities, these would seem to be negative traits for one aspiring to political office, in practice if not in theory. If we take our cue from the public leaders of the debates we are likely to be far more nuanced in theological than political discussion.

Fourth, at least among those of us who believe in sola scriptura, it is possible for a doctrinal position to be shown to be clearly wrong. No one likes to vehemently argue a point, then have to publicly back down, and those who suffer the humiliation are unlikely to repeat the offense. In politics, by contrast, it is rare for a position to be demonstrated beyond doubt to be incorrect; we may have to admit that we have changed our minds, but we rarely have to admit that our position is logically false or that the evidence makes it completely untenable. We can always find some benefit to a particular policy, some positive feature of a candidate relative to his rival, which we can be pointed out as a face saving measure; in politics one rarely has to say, without reservation, "I was wrong".

Fifth, in real life, if I disagree with a church or denomination I can always just walk away*, in politics if someone I dislike is elected I can't escape, other than by emmigration. Debates are always more heated when the other side is advocating using the coercive force of the State to enforce their views. Theological liberals are mostly useless individuals whom I can ignore, political liberals and warfare state enthusiasts are advocating using armed force to take more of my money from me and spend it on their goals and fancies.

:up:
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I just had an epiphany as to why I get amped up on things at times.

I was sitting in a one hour meeting with Senior Officers and we were preparing for a brief. We were checking our facts and being brutally honest with one another about articulating things properly because the people we're briefing tomorrow needed condensed and accurate information.

It then occured to me that in my profession, and in any work in general, you either know your facts or you lose all credibility. You are eaten alive if you shoot from the hip.

It is un-natural for me to be charitable to people who are sloppy with their facts or spout off opinions and represent them as being authoratative. You can get away with it on the Internet but don't make it a life habit.

Rich - now you're heading off in a entirely different area. If folks practiced in real life their habits on the internet they may find themselves unemployable. This is one reason why I appreciate the PB. You can't make a theological assertion without backing it up. The scholarship on this board will challenge you if you are out of step with sound biblical teaching. Certainly it harkens to what James wrote: James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
BaptistInCrisis

But why is it that our political differences seem to divide us more than our theological differences? Could it be that deep in our heart of hearts we hold our political opinions higher than our theological convictions?

Or it could be our theological convictions are stronger than our political opinions.

Do I as a Christian, living in a country where I have the privilege of voting a person into an office that decides which direction this country will go in the future vote for someone I believe would lead this country futher into the abyss? Or should I vote for someone who at least holds some of the same beliefs I do?

When I look to the OT, I see nations destroyed because the direction the leaders took them, I also see nations being spared at least for a time, because the leaders repented and called on the people to repent and turn to God. (Ninevah comes to mind)

Granted I don't see this nation being called to repent by our leaders, however, I would be remiss in my calling as a follower of Christ, not to at least vote for someone who says they will take a certain stand. Do I know whether they are lying to the people or not? No, unless they have been in office before and their voting record (actions) speaks louder than their words.

God says when His people humble themselves and call upon His name, He hears their prayers, and as Christians, living in America we have the unique opportunity to vote our convictions, to vote our Biblical values, to take a stand for God and against evil.

To maybe hold off God's judgment for a while, if we recall Abraham prayed, and asked God if he could find even so many righteous men would God spare the city, God said He would. I see where that could apply today, how many righteous people are there who will stand up and vote which direction this nation will go? Will it continue the path it is going, or will we stand up and say lets try and hold this off as long as we can?

Again, we are given a unique opportunity as Christians, living in this time, we get to vote and decide which direction we want this nation to go.

Should we vote for those who have no desire to take a stand against evil, or should vote for those who are at least willing to try and make that stand, even if they sometimes fail? They are at least willing to try, they are willing to go onto the front lines and fight.

Granted we know Everything is within God's timing and not our's, but if God could delay judgment on Ninevah, couldn't He also delay judgment on various nations today? And in that He can, shouldn't we as Christians pray for and vote towards that end?
 

smhbbag

Puritan Board Senior
It also occurred to me today that some of those who make the most outlandish statements in the Political threads rarely, if ever, contribute anything substantive to theological discussions but seem to post almost exclusively in political threads.


Politics is no less theological than doctrines of baptism, salvation, apologetics, etc.

Would you have a similar rebuke for those who post almost entirely in the baptism section?
 

Abd_Yesua_alMasih

Puritan Board Junior
Could democracy be somewhat to blame? Our entire political culture is about competing and playing a numbers game. The more people who agree with you the better and we all hate to loose. We are all encouraged to make up out minds on issues and dwell upon the facts. We turn up on voting day and we state our mind on the voting paper. After this if enough like-minded people as you voted for what you wanted then the whole world could change. If not then you are stuck with a government you hate.

I have been in authoritarian countries before and it interested me how, even on minor issues which the government did not care to persecute you about, people had no strong feelings. Every now and again someone would have a passionate topic but on the most part the view of 95% of the people was that it was not their job to have opinions – and somehow they lived with this. You could discuss the smallest of issues like local tax, roading etc… and the people would just shrug and pull the party line. If someone disagreed with the party line then they would state their opinion but no one would shoot them down or disagree.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
BaptistInCrisis



Or it could be our theological convictions are stronger than our political opinions.

Do I as a Christian, living in a country where I have the privilege of voting a person into an office that decides which direction this country will go in the future vote for someone I believe would lead this country futher into the abyss? Or should I vote for someone who at least holds some of the same beliefs I do?

When I look to the OT, I see nations destroyed because the direction the leaders took them, I also see nations being spared at least for a time, because the leaders repented and called on the people to repent and turn to God. (Ninevah comes to mind)

Granted I don't see this nation being called to repent by our leaders, however, I would be remiss in my calling as a follower of Christ, not to at least vote for someone who says they will take a certain stand. Do I know whether they are lying to the people or not? No, unless they have been in office before and their voting record (actions) speaks louder than their words.

God says when His people humble themselves and call upon His name, He hears their prayers, and as Christians, living in America we have the unique opportunity to vote our convictions, to vote our Biblical values, to take a stand for God and against evil.

To maybe hold off God's judgment for a while, if we recall Abraham prayed, and asked God if he could find even so many righteous men would God spare the city, God said He would. I see where that could apply today, how many righteous people are there who will stand up and vote which direction this nation will go? Will it continue the path it is going, or will we stand up and say lets try and hold this off as long as we can?

Again, we are given a unique opportunity as Christians, living in this time, we get to vote and decide which direction we want this nation to go.

Should we vote for those who have no desire to take a stand against evil, or should vote for those who are at least willing to try and make that stand, even if they sometimes fail? They are at least willing to try, they are willing to go onto the front lines and fight.

Granted we know Everything is within God's timing and not our's, but if God could delay judgment on Ninevah, couldn't He also delay judgment on various nations today? And in that He can, shouldn't we as Christians pray for and vote towards that end?

Bobbi - I have absolutely no problem with your reasoning for being active politically. Whether a Christian should be active politically was not the point of my OP. My question surrounds the division that occurs within the church over politics. Why is it that saints may agree theologically but differ politically? And not only that, why is there often venom in the disagreement? Let me share a "for instance."

I have a Christian friend that I see from time to time who honestly believes that President Bush not only knew about the attacks of 911 but helped plan them behind the scenes in order to justify going to war. I am incredulous that he would think such a thing. It has damaged our ability to have fellowship with one another. Sad, isn't it? The irony is that he is an Arminian-Charismatic and I am a cessationist-Calvinist. Those latter differences have never stopped us from enjoying each others company and talking about the things of the Lord. Unfortunately our different political views became so heated that we haven't spoken in months. THAT was the purpose for my post.

My personal political convictions have not wavered. But I am re-thinking making them public discussion material. I would almost rather debate Calvinism-Free will than politics.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
BaptistInCrisis,



My question surrounds the division that occurs within the church over politics. Why is it that saints may agree theologically but differ politically? And not only that, why is there often venom in the disagreement? Let me share a "for instance."

I don't know, I am just as passionate about both. And I have had relationships end because of my faith, but I've never had relationships end because of politics.

Now, if someone else chooses to end a friendship with me based on political differences, well, then I'd have to question the friendship to begin with. But even if/when I saw them I would speak to them, they may not speak to me, but I will still speak to them.

Sometimes we have to take that first step of talking to them, and letting them know that even though we don't agree on certain things we can still be friends, and there are no hard feelings. Just a disagreement.


I have a Christian friend that I see from time to time who honestly believes that President Bush not only knew about the attacks of 911 but helped plan them behind the scenes in order to justify going to war.

And I understand your view on this, as I know people who believe the same thing, and no I am not one of them.

I am incredulous that he would think such a thing. It has damaged our ability to have fellowship with one another. Sad, isn't it?

Yes, it is sad, but why are You so incredulous that he has this view? In the grand scheme of things does it matter? If it were true, would it change your convictions?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Politics is no less theological than doctrines of baptism, salvation, apologetics, etc.

Would you have a similar rebuke for those who post almost entirely in the baptism section?

No, of course I don't know anybody with those particular profiles, but even if I did the issue is different. The political discussions do not reveal, necessarily, unorthodox beliefs. It is is easier to find out if somebody is Reformed by their contributions in theological discussion. This is no an open board. Posting in the Members-Only forums is a privilege to those who have met a minimum post count and have demonstrated theological orthodoxy. While orthodoxy can sometimes be measured by certain political beliefs there is wide liberty in beliefs about governance. Both a Mormon and a Presbyterian might be politically aligned almost 100% but their views of Christology, Ecclesiology, and Sacramentology will be profoundly different.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Rich - now you're heading off in a entirely different area. If folks practiced in real life their habits on the internet they may find themselves unemployable. This is one reason why I appreciate the PB. You can't make a theological assertion without backing it up. The scholarship on this board will challenge you if you are out of step with sound biblical teaching. Certainly it harkens to what James wrote: James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

I don't know if you mean that it is an unrelated direction. I think we just said the same thing. It reinforces my point actually and is the reason I believe folks should be spending more time posting in the theological forums than in political forums because the nuances of political science and economics and world events are not the focus of this board. We're permitted to be sloppy there and nowhere else on the board. I agree that the theological portions of the board are theologically challenging. The politics section is dissonant with the rest in that regard.
 
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