Wednesday, July 07, 2010

...time to act

Cal Thomas is easily one of the most articulate political commentators ever to grace American soil. He is the most syndicated journalist today and what sets him apart from the rest of the pundits is not only his brilliant and insightful “uncommon sense” to the issues of the day; but his ability to see things clearly through the lens of Scripture. He is a consummate biblical thinker and I for one am grateful for the daily contribution he makes on behalf of the gospel in the marketplace of our culture.

His razor sharp analysis is spot on about the political sea change that has occurred among many evangelical leaders: “On the right and on the left, ordained and self-proclaimed "reverends" and honorary "doctors" appear to spend more time trying to reform a fallen and decaying world through politics and earthly power than they do promoting and proclaiming the ultimate answer [the gospel] to that fallenness.

While these apostles of political parties and personal agendas have every right to make fools of themselves, they are enabled in their foolishness by millions of people who blindly send them money.”

His thoughts distill so much of my ongoing concern for the ecumenically charged ECB movement that prescribes political remedies as the cure for moral maladies. These “political preachers,” as Cal so aptly names them, not only deliver a misleading duplicitous message (i.e. Pat Robertson’s latest faux pas) but also do unwarranted “harm” to the testimony of Christ. I have recently received several emails from missionaries from all over the world who have said that their witness for the gospel has been made increasingly more difficult because of Robertson’s careless remarks. That is tragic.

However, by far Cal’s most devastating and stinging rebuke to those in the ecumenical evangelical camp of political co-belligerence are these powerful words: ”Too many Christians think if they shout loud enough and gain political strength the world will be improved. That is a false doctrine. I have never seen anyone "converted" to a Christian's point of view (and those views are not uniform) through political power. I have frequently seen someone's views changed after they have experienced true conversion and then live by different standards and live for goals beyond which political party controls the government.” That is astute and bold analysis ladies and gentlemen that I agree with wholeheartedly. When evangelical leadership is diverted to reducing the importance and impact of the gospel of sola fide in society by relinquishing that God-given duty to politics, then the only “good news” that can bring lasting change in peoples lives for eternity is marginalized and made impotent.

What is the solution to these preachers turned social/political commentators? Once again, Cal Thomas provides the word of wisdom: “[Pat Robertson’s] penance should be to retire and to take his bombastic conservative and liberal colleagues with him.” Instead of Justice Sunday we need a series of Reformation Sundays that will preach the Word, proclaim sola fide and call the church in America and the current evangelical pontiffs to repentance. Until then, we’ll have to tolerate the benign gospel of political preaching—which is really no gospel at all.

The cross waves higher than the flag,
SJ Camp
Jer. 29:4-9

this is an encore presentation - originally posted 6/2/2005


Bhedr said...

Amen! Would to God that a day in America would come where the cross would indeed wave higher in our hearts than the flag or citizenship to the Vatican as most of our senators and Judges have.

Pat Robertson is a man who marvels at the Vatican as well. I pray he one day wakes up as Satan has beguiled his mind.

Bhedr said...

Notice I put the blame on Satan and...the Pope offered great hummanitarian aid as does Lucis Trust(formerly known as Lucifer Trust-the seat of the world goodwill organization) God never absolves guilt by good works. having said that I am thankful to see that God uses both organizations in spite of their intentions to bring relief. O give glory to God alone people! It is He that hath made us and not we ourselves.

Denise said...

Amenn Steve. Politics isn't the answer, only a changed heart by God's power.

Sparks said...

I never said I "approved" of Pat Robertson's actions and theology. Nor do I feel that his good works through Operation Blessing in any way justifies the errors he makes in the Kingdom of God.

My comment said simply that during this disaster that I am willing to drop my stones and walk away from the crowd gathered around Pat Robertson crying out for his judgement. The hurt in my heart for those people along the Gulf Coast is too great right now to stand and condemn another who professes Christ as Savior as he provides assistance.

When we, as Christians, will let nothing stand in our way of criticism and condemnation of fellow Christians, we are no better than the mainstream media, the politicians and all those who have demonstrated nothing but criticism toward the government for its response to this disaster.

Now, if you will excuse me, I must go and see if this a speck or a plank in my eye.

Bhedr said...

Sparks, I do understand your heartbreak as mine is broken over this as well. We will agree on this. let us pray for those people in hopes that YHVH will be merciful and heal.

Tim said...


Thanks so much for your comments. I have often lamented too many of those who have promoted their ownselves and in my opinion have not been the most sound people to name the name of Christ in the political arena. However, let us not back away from desiring leaders who will lead righteously. So far, we have not seen such men as of late. Oh that God would turn the hearts of our leaders the way he did with the king of Ninevah and that we would be turned of God.........then truly we would be turned (Lam. 5:21). This will only be accomplished when we do as you stated and spread the gospel to the great and the small.

Canbuhay said...

I'm a little perplexed by your comments.

At first you praise Thomas for being a great "political commentator" but then criticise the political involvement of other Christians.

If meddling into political affairs waters down our witness, then Thomas should just stop writing about it and you should stop praising him for his comments.

No Christian says politics will save people. But Christians can't save people anyway - only God does. Our job is to be ambassadors for the Kingdom to the places and people God brings us to. That includes speaking God's truth even in the political arena -something even Thomas does.

SJ Camp said...

To Canbuhay:

Let me clarify 4 U:

Cal Thomas by profession and gifting is an excellent journalist and political commentator. He is an individual Christian using his gifts writing from a biblical worldview, without compromise, in that arena. I am grateful for his wisdom and insights into the issues of the day as his voice is being heard in the marketplace.

He is very different from the ECBers trying-wishing- they had his platform to influence public opinion and be taken seriously as well versed pundits on the issues of the day (which they are not). The ECB agenda is quit different: to amass the body of Christ into a voting PAC to sway politicians through intimidation by threatening re-election of governmental officials; thnking that they can create legislation to forward the vaneer of morality absent of the gospel. This, as you know, is an effort in futility and at best a political "magic carpet ride." ECB can summed up this way: championing political remedies for moral maladies absent of the gospel and the authority of God's Word.

Cal Thomas is 180 degress from that unbiblical ideology. His whole point is that evangelical leaders, pastors, seminary presidents, etc. should pursue that which was their calling initially - to be proclaimers of the gospel and preachers of the Word of God. Cal isn't saying that Christians shouldn't have a voice in politics or on the news issues of the day; but he is clearly saying the hope to turn the tide of moral decay in our nation is through the gospel--not through governmental suasion and not through Christians being "loud enough" through the political megaphone stemming from Colorado Springs.

Sadly, what we are seeing today, is a new kind of eschatological hybred... a watered-down dominion/theonomist/recontructionism in Southern Baptistic rags (i.e. Russell Moore's book on "The Kingdom of Christ").

Thomas is spot on target though: we need desperately today for the church to just be the church once again. ECBers are trying to reinvent the church's mission without biblical precedence. This continues to be a deepening concern among many reformed evangelicals and protestants. Arminians by nature and conviction are pragmatists at heart and will embrace virtually anything - as long as the numbers, influence and money keep coming in.

Hope his helps a bit... I appreciate your comments and questions.

Grace and peace,
Col. 1:9-14

Eddie Eddings said...

"Instead of Justice Sunday we need a series of Reformation Sundays that will preach the Word, proclaim sola fide and call the church in America and the current evangelical pontiffs to repentance."

This made me literally shout out "AMEN!" accidently waking the wife.

donsands said...

"ECB can summed up this way: championing political remedies for moral maladies absent of the gospel and the authority of God's Word."

That's our fine line we walk, staying fired up for the Gospel, more than for our political views. I have to stay in the Word, and sit under my pastors in order to help me keep our Lord's kingdom and righteousness first in my seeking.

Have a terrific Lord's Day Campi. Thanks for re-posting this. It's one of the most important issues in our day.

James Hunt said...

Amen! Steve, your perspective on this issue is refreshing, as usual. Thank you for your boldness and biblical clarity.

Now then, I just wish there was a way to create a link to facebook of this fine article.

Protoprotestant said...

I frequently read Cal Thomas and for years heard him on the local radio station. He says he doesn't believe in political power as the solution but then he turns around and always seems to side with the most extreme of the Christian Right Agenda.

It's like he speak with a forked tongue.

Politics aren't the answer but then he spends all of his time talking about politics. And somehow....the Republican side always seems to be his.

Amazingly he's viewed as some kind of retreatist who has thrown in the towel.

I wish he would! His comments are not only grossly inaccurate but often quite wicked and utterly out of accord with Biblical doctrine.

John A.

Protoprotestant said...

I agree with Eddie. We don't need Justice Sundays. Al Mohler and Dobson should re-think the Kingdom.

But when Cal Thomas virtually calls for Israel to exterminate the Palestinians...I certainly call that activism.

John A.

donsands said...

"..the Republican side always seems to be his."

He must be a Republican. That's alright, isn't it?

You also have the far left followers like Brian McLaren, Donald Miller, and others, who supported Obama, and even made videos for him to be elected. And not just those far right Christians who were for Bush, and McCain.

So it's both sides.

Like I said, there's a fine line for Christians to walk as Americans and Christians.

Cal Thomas is journalist, not a pastor. Brian McLaren says he is a pastor, and that we should vote for Obama, who thinks it is a good to have a law that allows babies to have their brains sucked out, and even left in closets to die.

There's something wrong about that most of all.

Protoprotestant said...

Republican and Democrat are both pretty repulsive to me.

I'm not supporting McLaren, Wallis, Campolo or any of those men either. All forms of Constantinianism left or right represent an error.

I agree on abortion, but I find it just as offensive when pro-life Conservatives support the murder of children in other countries by F-16.

Not much difference.

John A.

donsands said...

"Conservatives support the murder of children in other countries by F-16."

There may be some so-called conservatives who want to kill children. I wouldn't think any Christian would want to kill children.

"Republican and Democrat are both pretty repulsive to me."

For the most aprt, me too. DC is corrupt for sure. But there are some who have not bowed the knee to corruption.

I am praying for a Constitutional Congress once again. Perhaps this Novemeber it will begin.

But, God is sovereign nevertheless.

"He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”" Psalm2

Our Lord Jesus has all authority and power in this world. He is longsuffering, but He does need to be feared. The USA has no fear for the Lord.
May the Lord bring us back to fear Him, and love Him. Amen.

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Amen, thanks for sharing.

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Amen and Amen; well said.

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Lorne Roberts said...

Hi Steve-- As a non-Christian and non-American, someone who stands outside this debate to some degree, I find your words quite refreshing. The alliance of Christianity with mainstream politics has become a tool that promotes a political and economic empire of "Christendom", rather than the Kingdom of God that Jesus taught. ---- I work with people from 25 countries, including a number of conservative Muslims, and I can tell you that the almost universal image of a Christian is of someone like Pat Robertson- someone who appears angry, close-minded, full of war rhetoric and condemnation. For many people in the world, this is the only image of Christianity they will see. It's sad that a religion of love, peace, sharing, and community has been co-opted in this way. And for what? For personal power. The money-changers, it seems, are still making a good business outside the temple walls. ----- Finally, a point most Christians miss in the story of the Good Samaritan is that 21st-century U.S.-style Christianity has become the scribes and pharisees who scorn and pass by the wounded man. They might do well to remember it was the racial *outsider*, the one who was hated and rejected by mainstream (and religious) culture of his day, who stopped to help, while the respected and robe-wearing "men of God" left him there to die... --- Be well Steve!... Cheers, lr

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Beacon2Light said...

I think there is a role in politics for us to have as believers. However, I agree that too much emphasis is placed on it, money invested in it and hope placed in it to the subversion of the Gospel. Slavery wasn't ended by conversion alone. It took political action by brave believers. So, I think balance is key.