|Fighting for that City on a Hill|
by Joe Murray - (AgapePress)
September 8, 2006
Category: Christian Living
|T IS WRITTEN in Proverbs that "[w]hen the righteous increase, the people rejoice, [b]ut when a wicked man rules, people groan." In a day where unborn children are reduced to a personal choice and images of a crucifix dipped in urine substitute as art, many Christians have hung their heads in shame -- shameful of the nation we have become. Their groans can be heard from miles away.|
In response to America's slide towards Sodom and Gomorrah, Christians have fallen to their knees to pray for our nation; so that men and women elected to positions of power would follow a biblical compass. These Christians, rightfully so, understand the command of Paul in 1 Timothy, when Paul proclaimed, "[f]irst of all ... I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." Thus, for a faithful Christian, prayer is integral in attempting to rescue a government that been placed on the slippery slope to the sewer.
It is clear that Paul understood prayer was always the first step for a Christian seeking to confront the demons that plague his earthly life, whether they are public or private. But does a Christian's responsibility in creating a government that reflects natural and biblical law stop at prayer? Is it enough for a Christian to pray for a Godly government and then go about his business? Put simply, is it acceptable to have prayer without action? Not a chance.
While it is true that Christians are called to a prayerful life, they are also called to engage the culture in which they live. Prayer is the beginning of a Christian's role in public life, it is not the end. Christians do not have the luxury of sitting on the sidelines of history and watching the cultural conflicts that ensue. Christians cannot retreat into subculture sects where the right to live under a Godly government is surrendered to a political movement that knows no God and undermines, if not rewrites, the natural laws which all men are bound. Christians are called to actively, not passively, engage those that surround them.
This author has talked to many Christians in 2000, 2004 and 2006, and when the topic of politics arose, many of these Christians took on the face of a person who has just ingested a gallon of sour milk. To many Christians, politics is a product of this world; thus it is stained with sin, compromise and scandal. In other words, they run from it like Paramount Pictures ran from Tom Cruise.
Because of the nature of the political beast, these folks are scared -- scared that if they become to involved in politics, the fate that almost befell Lot when he got to close to Sodom, will befall them. Due to this fear, many Christians, specifically pastors, have adopted the mindset that the battle for the soul will be reserved for the sanctuary, and the battle for the mind will be reserved to the marketplace of ideas -- a marketplace, thanks to our Supreme Court, conducted outside the purview of the Church. In other words, give the Church her role and secular society its role. The only problem with this strategy? It is doomed to failure.
The Church does not exist in a societal bubble; it is connected to our government, our schools, our museums, and our media outlets. While many on the other side have gone to great lengths to separate the Church's ties to these institutions, the fact remains that the ties are present. As written by Pat Buchanan, "morality is the basis for all religion and religion is the foundation for the law." The Church cannot remove itself from a society it is so intimately connected with.
The Church is charged with preserving the Gospels of Christ, and the Christian is charged with the responsibilities of spreading the Good News and advocating for a world that abides by the biblical principles. If the Church separates from the marketplace of ideas, just how can a Christian effectively fulfill their charge?
Make no mistake, Christians and church leaders are called by God to be active in civic life. They are called to vote in elections and educate the public. It is an abomination to God for a Christian to surrender his civic duty out of fear that he will be tainted or no one will listen. It is wrong; it is cowardly.
"Son of man," proclaimed God, "I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me" (Ezekiel 3:17). God continued:
"When I say to a wicked man, 'You will surely die,' and you do not warn him or speak out to dissuade him from his evil ways in order to save his life, that wicked man will die for his sin, and I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you do warn the wicked man and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his evil ways, he will die for his sin; but you will have saved yourself."
God's charge is a simple one -- a person of faith has a responsibility to reach out to those who do not know Jesus Christ, lest the blood of the wicked be on his hands. Among the ways of reaching out to the wicked? Active participation in civic life through voter education and registration.
This author understands that Christians have many reasons to be weary of civic/political activism. Christians have been burnt by many a political party and candidate; they have been wooed by the siren song of the "Christian" message and after Election Day has come and gone, traditional Christians wake up to a one-night stand with a political leader who has since forgotten their names.
While this is discouraging, it is not an excuse to raise a white flag. As dirty as politics is, it provides a perfect venue to warn the wicked of the errors of their ways. By actively engaging in politics and voting, Christians can use the public soapbox to inform America of the ghastly realities of partial-birth abortion, the toxic implications of pornography, and the need to protect all life from the moment of conception until the last days of death.
Politics, warts and all, provides a venue for Christians to express their ideas, spread the Gospel message of Christ's love, and fulfill their role as the watchman. It provides Christians an opportunity to vote their values and elect men and women who will lead by principle, not polls.
And when those men go south on the issues, as so many do, Christians must not run into the corner and hide their heads. They must turn around, give that politician a pink slip, and work to find a suitable replacement, being careful not to have party loyalty blind a Christian from biblical principle. Thus bringing us to the moral of this article -- Christians only lose in politics when they voluntarily remove themselves from the political process and ignore God's charge in Ezekiel.
In 1974, a soon to be President Ronald Reagan told a story over 300 years old. Reagan explained:
"Standing on the tiny deck of the Arabella in 1630 off the Massachusetts coast, John Winthrop said, 'We will be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us, so that if we deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken and so cause Him to withdraw His present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world.'"
Today our charge is pretty much the same -- we must fight for America, fight for our freedoms, and fight to save the misinformed from the clutches of hell. Christians are the last bastion of hope for our nation, and if we resign our charge to influence and impact the culture in which we live, we will, as Winthrop stated, have dealt falsely with our God.
Joe Murray (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a civil rights attorney residing in New Jersey. Murray is a former staff attorney for the American Family Association and has also served as national director of correspondence for Patrick J. Buchanan's 2000 presidential bid. Murray has been a guest on numerous radio and television talk shows, including the O'Reilly Factor.
More guest columns.