Since Justin Taylor linked David French’s “An Open Letter to Young, ‘Post-Partisan’ Evangelicals“, chances are that you have already seen this. But this open letter is so well done and so worth the read, I want to link it here too.
I also want to add a hearty “amen” and “hear, hear” to what French is saying in this letter. The bottom-line is this. It’s hard to be cool in the world’s eyes when you’re a pro-life and pro-family Christian. Those beliefs have public policy implications that will not win you friends among the cultural elites. Here’s an excerpt:
As we fight the culture war, we’re going to make mistakes, we’re not going to agree with each other, and sometimes I still get deeply frustrated at my own side. But I no longer believe the lie that there is a path for Christians through this culture that everyone will love — or even most people will love. I no longer believe the lie that American Christians are “too political” and if we only spoke less about abortion we’d be more respected (the mainline denominations have taken that path for two generations, and they continue to lose members and cultural influence).
So, “post-partisan” Christians, please ponder this: First, as the price for your new path, are you willing to forego any effective voice at all for unborn children? Are you willing to keep silent when the secular world demands your silence? After all, that is the true price of non-partisanship — silence. Second, if you believe that a more perfect imitation of Christ (more perfect than the elders you scorn) will lead to more love and regard for the Church, consider this: No one was more like Christ than Christ, and he wound up on a cross with only the tiniest handful of followers by his side.
This letter deserves a wide-reading. Pass it around. Read the rest here.
Is the Republican party God’s party? Of course not. Should Christians expect them to solve problems only the gospel can solve? Certainly not. Only the gospel saves. Only the gospel changes hearts.
But, Republicans happen to be anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage (I prefer the “anti” label to the pro label). And we know that both of those are biblically based positions and to disagree with them is to disagree with God. We also know that Democrats are rabidly pro-abortion and pro-gay marraiage.
Therefore, there is no biblical justification whatsoever to vote democrat. However, while God is not Republican, voting Republican is fine and there is no sin involved in dong so.
Joe, you never cease to entertain me brother!
The fundamental premise of this article is deeply flawed. You assume that there is a biblical mandate to fight a culture war. That is not the case. There is a biblical mandate to make disciples, to serve the poor, and to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Politics, particularly as practiced by the “religious right” in this country, are not the answer. Our association with one party has rendered us much less effective than we should be, simply because it is assumed that one has to changer their party affiliation when one becomes a Christian. That is not only unbiblical, it is heresy. The early church did not spend it’s time fighting a culture war- and the culture it was in was as deeply flawed, or more so than ours- instead they spent there time among the people proclaiming Christ and leading men and women to faith. The Church has to stop being the shill for the Republican party- and has to stop voting for people just because they have an “R” after their name on the ballot, no matter their values- and we have to stop embracing politicians as our saviors. We only have one Savior, and He is not on Capitol Hill.
Our association with one party has rendered us much less effective than we should be, simply because it is assumed that one has to changer their party affiliation when one becomes a Christian. That is not only unbiblical, it is heresy.
Please support one of the Democrats positions with scripture. Prove how even one of them is ok for a Christian to vote for.
One of the main planks of the Democratic party is providing for the poor and impoverished. That is supported in both the Old and New Testaments Matthew 25:31-46 being Jesus’ words on the subject. The Republican party has consistently attempted even this year to cut funding for programs that serve the most in need in our country.
Is that enough of an example for you?
No, actually, it isn’t. There is not one verse that suggests or implies for even a instant that it is GOVERNMENT’s job to take money out of people who actually work to earn it and redistribute it to people who are able bodied, able minded, but refuse to do what is necessary to earn their own keep. So the left don’t actually give a rip about helping people. What they want is to take from people who they think have too much and give to people who don’t because it’s just not fair for someone to have more than another person.
The Republicans voted for fiscal responsiblity. We can’t possibly pay to take care of EVERYBODY. Not one verse in scripture suggests that we’re required to. Therefore, this “plank” is most certainly NOT supported by scripture.
Now, having said all that, the church should do more to help the poor. But it is not in the government’s realm of responsiblity to redistribute wealth.
Joe, you’re right. We can’t find a verse that specifically tells the government to tax it’s people this amount of money and give 13.3546% of it’s revenues to the poor.
But what about Psalm 72 where it asks God to give a love of justice to the King, to help the King treat the poor fairly, rescue the children of the needy and to crush their oppressors?
Or Jeremiah 22:16…
“This is what the Lord said to me: Go over and speak directly to the king of Judah. Say to him…help those who have been robbed…do not mistreat foreigners, orphans, and widows…”
Those are concrete examples of God wanting Kings to pursue His values. Values of justice, peace, civil rights, equal opportunity, compassion for the poor. And those are all values that most Democrats hold.
Now you could argue that most Republicans hold those values too. I’d agree. In fact, I think the majority of people in this country, regardless of party affiliation, want the government to protect civil rights, give justice to the oppressed, ensure equal opportunity, and to give compassion to the poor. There just happens to be some serious disagreements between all of us on the best way to define and achieve those values and goals.
God giving a command to the King of His people and the government taking money out of the pockets of hard working people to give it to folks that are able bodied, able minded but too lazy to work are not the same thing.
There is never, not once, ever a justification for voting Democrat. However, while God is not a Republican and the Republican party is not Christian, there is no problem with voting Republican.
Converse to Ryan’s sentiment, being a citizen of the U.S. and a citizen of the kingdom of Christ demands activity in both. We are free in Christ to champion Christian ideals (I am not speaking of doctrine particularly though we are free to do so) through the democratic process and party affiliation. Yes, political party platforms matter. Economic policy does matter. A party’s position on abortion matters. The leader of a party’s view on religious liberty matters. And these points should (moral imperative) matter to those with feet planted in both kingdoms. Must we be involved to a high level in these things? Of course not. Are we free to be if we so choose? Absolutely. To say evangelicals cannot is beyond reason; to intimate that a decision for party affiliation and support rooted in party plarform is anti-Christian has met the term.
If our aged convention has proven anything over the past 25 years, it is that binding over an entire denomination to a particular political party, in some vain attempt to curry their favor, does nothing but discredit the denomination.
Politics fails. It requires, by virtue of its design compromise; believers in Jesus Christ are called to be uncompromising. As we have seen in the failing American system, politics never accomplishes its promises and always delivers corruption. Politics seeks out the praise of the elite; Jesus came to the least of these.
To change the world we must abandon the pointless pursuit of politics and embrace an incarnational ethic of Gospel centered proclamation and presence among those who are forgotten and left desolate by politicians. Followers of Christ must realize our answer can never involve systems of this world to accomplish Gospel glorifying objectives. As our leaders seek to partner us with any political party they cheapen the Gospel and sell our eternal claim to the lowest bidder like harlots before a lot of thieves.
Am I “post-partisan” probably. I am definitely post-politics. It has and will always fail. In November evangelicals will be convinced they must choose between one copy of the same original corruption. We must move beyond this cultural captivity and liberate the Church from the clutches of the corruption of this world. Only then can revival flow freely.
So, Robert, should Wilberforce have ignored the plight of slaves in England, though he felt called as a Christian to abolish the practice and had the talents and connections as a politician to work within the system to bring an end to slavery in his country? Would it have been better for him to sit and wait and for a Great Awakening, when God had allowed him to be born into a country with a democratic system for working out political disagreements?
Should the early Americans have not written a Constitution, instead, hoping that men’s hearts would be sufficiently righteous to self-govern themselves with the Bible as a guide and no civil laws to govern the country? Just pray and hope for the best with a heathen citizenry?
Consider for a moment, the Amish, who have shunned modern culture and for the most part, avoid the government and politics and do not vote. They haven’t sold out to any political party and don’t have the reputation for mixing their religion with politics. However, though they live in a free country, they have given up their voice. The “world” and the culture around them has become worse and worse and in a way, they have contributed to the decline because they’ve neglected their responsibility as citizens to vote. As strict pacifists, with the wars going on, you would think this would be an especially troublesome time for them.
Just because you don’t feel called to participate in the direction our country goes, doesn’t mean it won’t affect your life. I believe a time is likely coming that the government will curtail our rights as Christians to share our faith freely. If you think it’s the Republican party that’s going to tell the Christian churches and schools that talking about homosexuality in anything but positive terms is hate speech (like it is in Canada and parts of Europe) you’re sadly mistaken. And when the time comes that proselytizing on city streets is verboten, it’s going to be a “political” issue whether we admit it or not.
Some people are called to try to stop that and to fight for laws that are more conservative (as surveys consistently show we are a right-center country). That some of those people happen to be Christians is no different than a Christian called to be a banker or a mechanic or a teacher. We should encourage men and women who want to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God as they work in politics and government rather than presuming they are all evil and corrupt.