Wednesday, January 14, 2009

THE TRUE BASIS FOR CHRISTIAN ETHICS
...sola scriptura - the Word of God

My friend and co-laborer in Christ, Dr. S. Lance Quinn who is the Pastor-Teacher of The Bible Church of LIttle Rock, forwarded me this quote below per my request. Lance and I have dialogued greatly over the years about the sea-change that has taken place in evangelicalism toward and in the political realm. I have labeled this movement Evangelical Co-Belligerence (ECB). 

We share a mutual concern for the many evangelical leaders, seminary presidents, authors, and pastors who have adopted a political "strategery" to try and turn-back the moral slippage and family demise taking place in our nation today. At the nexus of those concerns is that this is being attempted absent of the preaching and teaching of Scripture and the proclamation of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus). Unfortunately, some ECBers have chosen to wage battle in the culture wars through establishing key political alliances and championing "red letter Christian" principles to win the fight against essential cultural issues of the day. IOW, a social gospel.  And at the same time trying to appeal to the masses, whether Christian or not, to join them in their efforts through boycotting, petition drives, and picketing (their championed tactic) in reclaiming a societal morality to secure and uphold family values. Civility, not truth, is the new gospel for today's evangelical leaders.

All the while, encouraging partnerships with anyone without unity on the truth of Scripture or the gospel of Christ; and using the church-at-large as their own PAC or lobbyist group. While we agree with them on the condition of our cultural, we would disagree with our counterpart on the cure for our culture. We believe, as Calvin asserted, that the clear teaching and preaching of God's Word is the cure! It stands alone in being a "living and active two-edged sword..." bringing conviction upon the hearts and minds of people leading to salvation in Christ. I commend to you Lance's powerful words to keep to "the once for all delievered to the saints faith" in all we do for the Lord Jesus Christ and His glory in the field of Christian Ethics. May our brothers in evangelicalism be swift to return to the standard of Sola Scriptura in all their pursuits; and may we each keep our lives and ministries focused on the faith each day.  

Grace and peace to you, 
Steve
2 Peter 1:16-21

"Any attempt at defining or even understanding the basis for Christian ethics will by necessity be rooted and grounded in the Word of God, as contained in the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments. Far too often, those who purport to engage in Christian ethics, do so without a clear and proper understanding of the exegesis of the biblical languages themselves, a sturdy grasp of the Bible’s own history and timeline, and a keen observation of the various cultural motifs as shown in the Bible itself. It then becomes impossible to see how all of these crucially important tasks should apply to today’s ethical challenges. 
Since these present day challenges are legion, it is incumbent upon everyone who claims to be about the business of doing Christian ethics that they should seriously and diligently understand how Christian ethics must be properly constructed and then applied. Christian ethics then, by the very term must derive its unique and ultimate authority from the only truth-source available to the Christian—Holy Scripture. Christian ethical ideas, decisions, norms, and mores therefore simply cannot be validly understood or practiced without being constructed from the Word of the living God. 
Thus, Christian ethics itself must always and forever be informed, defined, understood, and practiced only by a correct knowledge and use of God’s Word. There simply is no true “Christian ethic” without the Christian’s own reliance upon the truths contained in the Sacred Writings which stretch from Genesis to Revelation."
Dr. S. Lance Quinn
Pastor-Teacher
The Bible Church of LIttle Rock


in light of the upcoming Inauguration of President-elect Obama, 
I thought this would be a timely and encouraging encore presentation

9 comments:

Breuss Wane said...

Does this mean Lance is going to be a regular contributor to this blog via Campi? Let's hope so!! Great quote!

SJ Camp said...

YES... I hope so. Lance is one of the best kept secrets in evangelicalism today. He' s an excellent teacher; a very good theologian; the best pastor (shepherd) I have ever known; and he's a pretty good golfer too :-).

I hope this encourages him to contribute more to this blog.

In the great tradition of the Reformed Baptist faith (biblical Christianity).
S.
Col. 1:9-14

loren said...

Hi Steve,

I agree that Christian involvement in politics is something we need to get a much stronger understanding about, and for us it has to begin with preaching the gospel. It is through Christ that the evils of this world will be addressed at their actual root:

“The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”
(Isa 32:17)

I agree that many Christian efforts in politics are often well intentioned but misguided. For example, when I hear that Christians want the 10 commandments and prayer back in school, I have to dig a little deeper and ask why. Basically, they want the government to provide a low-level outreach to the non-Christian kids. But, I may ask, Does that mean they’re not teaching their own children at home? Does that mean they’re not reaching out to their neighbors? I ask because Christians do not realize that these good intentions can become a two-edged sword.

Let’s say the Constitution is amended, and the 10 commandments and prayer are back in school. Over time, under the concept of the ‘evolving constitution’ (which liberal judges use to legislate from the bench), those laws would take on a new meaning. “The people have given the state the power to institute basic religious instruction; the people have given the state the power to organize basic religious activity.”

By that time, let’s say the religious outlook of our country has changed and Christianity is no longer the predominant religion. Judges will simply apply those rules to the new predominant religion, and consolidate a new power: “Whoever does not bow down to the image of the beast and worship, will be beheaded.”

Where would that power come from? Christians today are working very hard to give it to them. They may one day find that they’ve shot themselves in the foot, and that they’ve shot their kids in the head.

Personally, I think that Christians ought to embrace the separation of church and state and make the most of it in many ways. Such as “Don’t try to tell us how to run the church, or what we can or cannot preach; don’t try to tax us, because those funds were dedicated to the Lord. When we exercise discipline in the church, it does not concern the world – stay out of our house.” This is the way the separation should really work.

But on the other hand, the government is not entitled to the same pass. We have a dual identity, as citizens of heaven and as citizens of this country, so our voice may be heard in both worlds while their may not. We may openly speak on the moral issues of our day, for example, just like any other American citizen. They cannot say, “You reached your conclusions from the Bible so they are invalid.” It’s really none of their business how we reached our conclusions; as long as a consensus is formed, it is their duty to represent it.

This type of consensus becomes important in issues like abortion. We are the salt of the earth, the preservative that arrests their decay, so God would not want us turning a blind eye to this:

“Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter If you say, ‘Surely we did not know this,’ does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?”
(Prov 24:11-12)

Anyway, thanks for inviting a discussion, I know there is plenty more to be said on both sides of the subject.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you Loren for your post.

The basic problem with evangelical co-belligerence (ECB) are three things:

1. The lack of a biblical foundation. No ECBer ever provides a biblical, theological foundation for using political strategery to correct moral maladies. (consider: Psalm 19:7-11; 2 Peter 1:3-4; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; 1 Peter 1:16-21 on the sufficiency of the Word of God).

2. The lack of understanding what is the role and purpose of the church in the world? And, what is the role and purpose of the Christian to government? (Consider Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:11-17; 4:15; Jer. 29:1-12; 1 Timothy; Titus 3:1-8).

3. Partnering with non-believers, with anyone who is willing to engage on the right family-valued-cause to produce this cultural morality. And this, apart from the heralding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. (consider the following passage: 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1.

Thank you Loren,
Steve

loren said...

I'm sorry Steve, I think I missed your focus at first, especially on point 3. Thanks for the correction.

Darrin said...

Great focus on the Word. I wanted to add that I also greatly appreciate and recommend the book Dr. Quinn co-authored called "The Five Points of Calvinism: Defined, Defended, Documented".

cyd said...

Great!! Sola Scriptura, indeed!
Thanks for this post, Steve.

BTW - I appreciate the additional teaching you frequently do within the comment threads here at COT. It's biblical, thought provoking and always so helpful. Thanks.

cyd

johnMark said...

Steve,

I have to wonder if this approach also leads to the seemingly wider acceptance of Roman Catholics by Evangelicals.

It seems like writing well and being on the right side politically and morally trumps doctrine i.e. the Gospel.

Mark

Joel said...

John Mark, I've seen that happening, but then, I think it's a generally good thing. It's also worked the other way around; Catholics are taking Evangelicals more seriously and their attitudes toward scripture and evangelism are rubbing off on us.

Steve, this brought to mind a question I've been wondering about for some time. Being as pro-life as you are, and feeling as you do about Romanism, how do you handle pro-life events? With Catholics at the forefront of the fight (let's face it; we're bigger and more organized than any Protestant denomination), it seems like it would be difficult to avoid them. Or is working with us not the same thing as the ECB you have a problem with?

(That's not snark; it's an honest question.)