Thursday, November 16, 2006

God Directs the Heart of the King
...and He isn't asking any help from Colorado Springs


"Ever since Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority began making headlines in the 1980s, it has served the purposes of certain conservative activists and their ideological foes to exaggerate the influence they wield among evangelical Christians. In fact, it is both a strength and a weakness of evangelicalism that the 'movement' lacks a center. Yes, a significant majority of evangelicals voted for George W. Bush. Big deal. At the moment, it appears unlikely that a Republican of any stripe will win the White House in 2008, though the Democrats may yet find a way to squander their advantage. So much for theocracy." —John Wilson, editor of the Christianity Today sister publication Books & Culture, writing in The New York Times Book Review.

Shut Up and Pray
In the midst of “evangelical co-belligerent ecumenical political moralism” where these days even a church service can be replaced by turning the Lord’s day gathering of God’s people into a political rally, it is good to turn our hearts toward heaven and ask the Lord to “open our eyes to behold wonderful things out of [His] law” (Psalm 119:18).

In the heat of religious political activism that is being thrust on the church in unprecedented and accelerated rates, we must ask the necessary question that is being overshadowed in this discussion so far: who is in control of our world and its leaders?

In the midst of scandal once again that has tarnished a testimony for the gospel, we need to go to school on political activism--and here's the lesson: when some evangelical leaders choose to make the sin issues of one group over the sin issues of themselves a political Armageddon (i.e. gay marriage) the church should just "shut up and pray." IOW, the church be the church and do what our Lord has commanded us to do in His Word, instead of being prestidigitators, recreating the gospel of sola fide to be one driven by political suasion and family values influence, representing Jesus as a Republican or conservative Democrat with a moral agenda to make men more civil for the mutual betterment of society.

When will the church in America learn that it is not through legislation, but through the means of grace that the battle is fought and won? Prayer rather than petitions; proclamation of the gospel rather than legislation; feeding the poor rather than welfare; preaching the Word of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ rather than motivation through fear-mongering; and most important, being salt and light by loving our neighbor rather than being a lobbyist group for the latest moral cause.

The church marches on her knees! The body of Christ, the church, are to be a people of prayer, not politics. This is not a call to isolationism; on the contrary - we are not to divorce ourselves from this world or those in the world. We are to be faithful, submissive, law abiding citizens of this earth; but we must also remember that we are citizens of heaven on earth that must keep eternity in view on all issues of life. "Be in the world--not of it." Love the Lord your God with every part of your being; and your neighbor as yourself The entirety of the Law and the Prophets are contained in them. Even the great commission is fulfilled when the church is living out the two great commandments. Even if your neighbor is gay, Muslim, of different ethnicity, or economic station. IOW, there is no qualifier on who our neighbor is; but whoever they are... love them, serve them, walk with them, enjoy them, share the gospel with them, live your life including them as a sign of our love for the Lord Jesus Christ. Be salt and light wherever God has "planted" you.

God Owns the Politicians on a Thousand Hills
To find the answer, we turn to the wisdom of Solomon. He says these enlightening words: “The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1). The great hope for Christians living in a fallen world under the rule and authority of any kind of government—is that the Lord is Sovereign! It is He who directs the heart of the king. It is He who turns it whichever way He desires. It is not a religious voting PAC; it is not a moral majority; it is not a Christian coalition who determines the turning of the king’s heart—but only God Himself.

It is God who sets up the magistrates of all levels of government to restrain evil, punish evildoers, and to keep order in society. They are His ministers. That is why Paul says beloved, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:1-2). Did you hear that? No authority exists except that they have been instituted by God; and if you resist those authorities, you are resisting what God has appointed! You might be thinking “does this apply to corrupt or godless governments and their officials?” Yes. God is still in control and in authority over them. No government institution or individual magistrate has a moral or judicial free will over the affairs of men save that God has granted it to them. Not even Satan can operate outside the sovereignty of our holy God, let alone a few liberal activist judges. Rest in that truth—God is sovereign.

He Who Sits in the Heavens Laughs...
Isaiah gives us a wonderful glimpse of God’s sovereignty over the nations when saying: “Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him, they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness” (Isaiah 40:15-17).

David, in his great Messianic second Psalm says these powerful words: “Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.’ He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision." (Psalm 2:1-4).

There is tremendous comfort in those truths. God raises up in power whom He chooses for His divine purposes and pleasure to accomplish His will throughout the whole earth. Even the wicked He will use to accomplish His divine purposes and if for no other reason to be glorified in His wrath against them (Romans 9:22). And to think otherwise, especially in the thralls of these politically religious co-belligerent hyped up charged times, denies the very sovereignty, rule and authority of God over the affairs of men.

Living Biblically; Not Politically
How then shall we live in a pagan world? The Apostle Peter says, “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:13-17).

And Paul encourages us to “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

Mind you, both Peter and Paul are penning these words under the reign of Rome’s most ruthless, immoral leader… Nero. If there was a culture that was ripe for political, moral, social, family traditional values reform, it was this one. Why didn't the Apostles ever fight that battle by partnering with anyone on their social cause that would agree with them, including nonbelievers, and harness the hearts of those moral few and begin their assault on Nero's nefarious culture code? Because they weren't about the temporal, but all about the eternal--the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Lord. Paul was never inclined to give up the faith, for the foolishness of men. "...woe is me, if I do not preach the gospel" (1 Cor. 9:16c). That is how real impact on the times occur--by the power of the gospel; not by Ecumenical Evangelical Cobelligerence.

Filibusters Schmilibusters... It's All About THE FAITH
We should be praying for our leaders in government; we should honor them by being subject to them for this is God’s will for us. “Honor the emperor; lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way;” keeping in view the preeminent work of the gospel; “for God desires all men to be saved.” When we “take on” an unbelieving world for acting like an unbelieving world, under the guise that “our religious liberties are being taken away” or “the moral decay and slippage in our nation demands that we strong arm politicians to create legislation that moralizes our land” is defeatist against the very purposes and plans of God. Why? Because we end up alienating the very ones we long to reach with the gospel by political divide.

Q - Do you trust the Lord will change the heart of the king and order governments and their magistrates for our good and His glory? And that our function as the church in society is not to fight by political means to preserve, maintain and bring about social cultural morality with anyone including nonbelievers, but to live to bring God glory in all things, in the body of Christ, according to His Word and to share His gospel? Listen, Senators; Congressmen; filibusters; even runaway judiciaries; are in the sovereign control and hand of God. This is not fatalism; but placing your trust each day in the Sovereign Lord for all things. Now I can hear some people say, “because God is sovereign, does that mean we don’t do anything?” Of course not! In a free society the Lord has given us a platform to make our voice known, possibly invoke change and still honor His Word.

Vote... Then Trust the Results to God
Here is how: Vote your conscience in local, state and federal elections; write your congressional leaders and express your opinions and concerns; be involved in neighborhood discussion groups, school boards and town hall meetings. Then, leave the results to God. The body of Christ is not to be rallied in mass to overthrow or strong arm certain politicians to achieve our own moral agenda. That is against the command of Scripture, beloved, and dishonors the Lord. We need to live biblically and trust the outcome of elections, judicial appointees, court rulings, and constitutional processes to our Sovereign Lord.

We need not live in fear on these things. Our nation did not go to hell in a handbasket under Clinton’s presidency and by comparison it is not rising to the heights of godliness under Bush’s. The Lord is accomplishing His purposes in the land; and even wicked godless authorities cannot thwart or alter His divine purposes—not one iota. May I encourage you today to focus on the Lord; focus on His Word; focus on the gospel; love your neighbor; pray for those in governmental power over you; fear God; love the brotherhood; honor the King; and know that all in authority in our political civil system are there, directed by God Himself, and nothing escapes His sovereign rule.

As the Day draws near,
Steve Camp
Romans 13:1-2


littlegal_66 said...

"....and He isn't asking help from Colorado Springs."

Brother, I love the subtitle you've added! It definitely gave me a laugh this morning. : )

I appreciate the caustic humor that shows up occasionally in your posts--it adds some good-natured levity, and, as you know, for a line or comment to be genuinely humorous, there has to be an element of truth to it (which your sub-title certainly contains).

Under His Love,


MTG said...

I found your blog this AM...thanks

Jonathan Moorhead said...

Steve, just wanted to say that I love Abandoned, particularly "My Sins, My Sins, My Savior." I miss hearing you at GCC years ago and we continue to pray for your family.

Dave said...

I don't quite understand why it is acceptable to vote and voice one's opinions, but not to hold rallies. Why is one acceptable, but not the other?

It seems to me that once you have conceded that voting and discussing are legitimate actions for a Christian, you have conceded the basic point of the activists.

Dave said...

Forgive me for "piling on", but I was thinking about the relationship between political action and the sovereignty of God and wanted to add my two cents worth, adjusted for inflation.

I do not think that by being politically active one is denying that God is sovereign over nations and the hearts of leaders. The reformed understanding of God's providence holds that He ordains means as well as ends, usually employing secondary creaturely causes to accomplish those ends.

If God never used secondary causes, you could argue that political activity is unbiblical, not to mention futile. However, the Biblical view is clearly that God providentially orders creation according to a cause-and-effect relationship in order to bring about his will. For example, we are expected to rely on God for our daily bread, but we are also expected to till the soil for it. There is no conflict between relying on God's provision and taking action because it is understood that God is at work behind everything.

I think the same can be said for political action in general. God is sovereign over the affairs of men, but that does not imply that political activity is illicit per se.

Ernie B. said...

Sorry, I'm very new to this and didn't know where to post any coments for the Mulligan Monday Post. Just "had" to add my two cents worth to such a well put article.

About your "Mulligan Monday" I couldn't agree more. Though I often have to question what some of what the "Evangelicals" are doing I feel we need to be more "politically aware" of our disappearing rights as Christians. Do to this, I sometimes find myself reading your articles with one eye closed. I keep the other one open because I do respect your opinion and often in the end have (yes I said "have") to agree with you. But, as far as "this" stunt is concerned, this was "look at ME" Christianity if ever I saw it. What where they thinking? If this were a group of Muslims, or Hindus praying in this spot no one would even question that the actions of the Park Officials where justified. Talk about reverse prejudges or backwards goals!
Next time they should try going into the restricted zone around a nuclear power plant and pray that we all don't get nuked, or how about...Oh never mind, I'm sure you get my point.
His Servant,
Ernie B.

Tom said...


It was great to read your blog this afternoon. Things like aligning ourselves with moralists or religious denominations that say they believe in “user-friendly” Christ for political gain is frustrating. When we politicize instead of evangelize as Christians we fail to do what we have been called to do. My question to those who attend rallies against abortion and other political ideologies is, have you presented the Gospel to your neighbor or even to your community lately? Steve you are right on when you say that we need to trust in the Lords will and not our own. Thank you for the wake up call.

steve said...

By Brian's logic, we shouldn't preach the gospel, since that would involve the use of means--the means of grace. Brian is so reactionary that he is now denying the providence of God.

Ronnie said...

I'm enjoying and benefiting from the banter, but I do have one embarassing question. What is ECB?

Ronnie said...

This may've been referenced before, but one really helpful resource on this topic is a book by Dean Merrill: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry Church". It definitely challenged my thinking in this area.

SJ Camp said...

Dear David:

You ask a good question: The answer is that voting is a lawful practice that we may enjoy under Rom. 13:1-7. It is a way in our society that God has sanctioned for our "voice" to be heard. Taking a worship service designed only for the worship of God and the preaching of His Word and then turning that into a political rally is never condoned biblically. The worship of God never takes a back seat to any other concern...amen?

For the sake of example: Could you imagine if the government would open up voting stations for national elections only on Sunday mornings and pass a law that all churches must “shut down” on that particular Sunday in order to hold elections? And if churches failed to comply with that standard they would be fined $10,000.00, have their non-profit tax status revoked, and anyone attending those churches would be prohibited from voting. Could you envision the outcry that would occur? What we should our response as Christians be in this hypothetical case? We would hopefully obey God rather than man; still hold our worship service(s); forfeit our right to vote; and preach His Word and herald His gospel.

But you see, we don’t have to come to the extreme of that scenario. We can now “shut down” worship services all across this land on the Lord’s Day by equating patriotism with biblical Christianity and turn a Sunday evening worship service into a political rally. Taking a recognized worship service on the Lord's Day as a time for the gathering of God's people to be instructed in His Word, worship the Lord, offer prayers, fellowship, etc. and turning that meeting into a political rally (which is the context here) is never condoned Scripturally—and is forbidden by what constitutes true biblical worship and the role/function of the church (John 4:21-24; Amos 5:21-24; Heb. 10; 1 Tim.).

I want you to know, that even members of Two Rivers Baptist in Nashville that is sponsoring this rally are very concerned and upset over this...

I hope this helps you understand a bit further this issue.

BTW, if it’s really only a political rally, why not have it in a local college or civic auditorium on a Thursday evening or such, and label it only as a political rally? Why substitute the worship of God and the preaching of God's Word on the Lord's Day in a Sunday evening service for a political rally?

Grace and peace to you,
2 Tim. 4:1-5

SJ Camp said...


Your comment was deleted not because of content, but because you failed to honor rule #5. You posted in "book form" that far exceded acceptable length. You may repost in a more brief/outline manner.

Thank you,
Steve Camp

PS - thank you to Steve Hayes for respecting this rule.

Dave said...


Thank you for your reply. When it comes to the specific issue of using the church building or worship time for political rallies, I wholly agree with you. I think that the worship service should be used for the ministry of the Word and worship. Mixing the two can be dangerous.

There is a longstanding tradition among liberals of both the political and theological variety of inviting political candidates into the pulpit during the worship service to address the congregants. I hope that conservatives do not follow suit.

As for the broader issue of political activism, it seems to me that in order for this discussion to proceed profitably, some things need to be clarified, things like:

1. To whom are the charges being addressed? Individuals? Churches? Movements? Para-church organizations? Consider: The appropriateness of leveling the same accusations at each one without considering what is each one's proper role.

2. What political or cultural engagement is off limits? All of it, or only some? You say voting is good. Is acting en masse off limits while acting individually is not? Why or why not?

3. Is political/social activism wrong only when it involves cooperation with non-Christians? If so, does cooperating in any way always imply fellowship and unequal yoking? Would it be okay if non-Christians were not involved?

4. Are men/churches/organizations being accused of abandoning reliance upon preaching the gospel because they engage in activities besides preaching the gospel? What is the right way to balance preaching/evangelism with other good works? Is any activity besides preaching the gospel a total waste of effort?

5. Are men/churches/organizations being accused of relying too much on political activity instead of God? If so, how can this be known? Since we cannot read hearts, we must read actions and words. What are its manifestations? If people are failing to trust God fully, should they then stop engaging in political/social activism altogether, or should they pray for grace while continuing to do what is right?


Rick said...

This is a very interesting issue- especially coming from reformers!

Luther, Calvin and the Puritans were all 'magisterial'- that is, their views held that the church was tied to the State and both were to act intimately together to carry out God's purposes in society. They were very much involved in legislation. Of course I know that doesn't make it biblical.

I, for one, am thankful that the body of Christ is diverse and that there is a part (i.e. Dobson etc.) working for good in politics. I am thankful for the radio conservatives as well. That is not my ministry, though.

Jeff said...

Can't agree. By your lights, it would be "dishonoring to God" to vote against an incumbent. I don't understand your distinction between voting and "rallying".

GeneMBridges said...

>>>We can now “shut down” worship services all across this land on the Lord’s Day by equating patriotism with biblical Christianity and turn a Sunday evening worship service into a political rally.

Campi, on top of this, adding insult to injury...and I don't know if you're aware of these 2 facts...

1. Tom Delay is now on the list of speakers. If he rants about the courts, he may do more harm than good, since Bush has worked hard for bi-partisan support for Judge Roberts. Delay is a very polarizing figure.

2. This isn't just any church. Two Rivers is also pastored by none other than the First Vice President of the Southern Baptist Convention. This concerns me as a Southern Baptist for two reasons:

A. It associates the SBC too closely with one political party. It's bad enough they are usurping a regular worship service, but it's also a worship service in one of the most visible SBC churches pastored by a man who may well become the next president of the SBC if the Good Ol' Boy Network puts him up for office next year. (They hold their own conclave each year..that's a bit of humor, but not far from the actual scenario). No thanks.

B. Numbers in the SBC are a charade. We're supposedly 16 million strong, but the average church has 40 % or less attending on any given Sunday morning. About one third, according to SBC stats, are visitors. Churches comparable in size to 2 Rivers have less than 1000 in attendance on most Sunday nights; in the summers less than 400 to 500. I've served in a church of 5000 members of like order to 2 Rivers, and we have about a tenth on Sunday nights in the summers. We assume the same vistor ratio. If more people come to this than Sunday night, what does this say about the church? The regeneracy of the denomination itself is an issue being discussed, even in Baptist Press. I have a hard time justifying the issues surrounding the topics of discussion regarding our membership and usurping a worship service in a large, high profile church. In a denomination where the membership's regeneracy is being questioned, to have a church this high on the food chain do this in this way is insulting. I think you can see why this event is of consternation to me as a Southern Baptist. Our denominational leadership is so focused on numbers, political rallies, and baptizing a million that we've lost our way.

Ben Blakey said...

Wow! What a post of refreshingly biblical thinking! Yes, Christians should vote and be involved, but when we start putting our trust in the GOP and not the God of the universe, we are in trouble. Also, I find it disturbing how Christian groups find themselves "unequally yoked" with Catholics and others who don't preach the same gospel for the sake of moralism. This only confuses the message of the gospel--the only real hope for America.

Jus Divinum said...

Hi Mr. Camp,

Your comment was deleted not because of content, but because you failed to honor rule #5. You posted in "book form" that far exceded acceptable length. You may repost in a more brief/outline manner.

This is of course your blog, so you are perfectly free to do what you like. I must say that your rule #5 puzzles me for three reasons. First, nowhere have you stipulated "acceptable length". Other commenters on this post (such as Brian) have posted about half of my length in a single comment. So is his length the maximum? Or is it one and a half times his length? Or what? Obviously, twice his length is too much, since that got deleted. I need some practical guidance here, I think. Second, some posters post more text here per day than I do, and yet they don't get their stuff deleted. So the issue can't be that I post too much in general. I'm down to one comment a day, I think. Third, and I do mean this seriously, if I broke up the lengthy comment into a series of separate one-paragraph comments, would they get deleted? After all, a single paragraph is obviously of "acceptable length," and many commenters post several comments on each of your posts without a problem.

Let's face it: you presumably have all of this blog space for free. What does it matter if some of the comments are long? It can't be because you think lengthy comments undermine intelligent discussion, or are impossible to interact with. After all, just look at many of your own blog posts. They are three to five times as long as any of my comments, and yet that doesn't preclude people being able to follow your argument and post intelligent feedback. Since therefore length doesn't preclude intelligent feedback, what exactly is the principled reason for rule #5?

Jus Divinum said...

Folks, the focus on Justice Sunday in this thread's comments is just bizarre. Mr. Camp never mentioned it in this particular post. His arguments are more far-ranging than Justice Sunday, and would exclude ECB in any form whatsoever. David's five questions above are excellent, and should stimulate discussion of the central issues here.

littlegal_66 said...

Jus said:

"Let's face it: you presumably have all of this blog space for free. What does it matter if some of the comments are long?"

Frankly, I began reading the post in question myself before it was deleted, and due to the length, I didn't make it to the end. You probably made some interesting points, but I, for one, didn't have the patience to read to the end. Perhaps you should have broken it up into separate posts, as you mentioned. The way the comment section is configured, it takes up only 1/3 of a computer screen, which (perhaps subconsciously) makes a long post appear even more long and narrow. In my opinion, your post was much too overwhelming to the eye, whereas Steve's blog posts, in the articles section, take up about 2/3 of a computer screen, making the text a bit easier on the eyes and easier to read. (BTW, this comment may even get deleted for being OT, [which I would completely understand] but it was my initial reaction when I read jus' post.)

SJ Camp said...

Ronnie: ECB is Evangelical Co-Belligerence. It is a label I have orginated to mark Christians who choose to use political remedies for moral maladies absent of the heralding of the gospel or the preaching of God's Word.

David: Five good questions here. I will answer them to the best of my ability biblically in a post over the weekend. Thank you.

To the rest of the faithful bloggers: All of your comments I read and am grateful for. They are affirming, challenging, thought-provoking, encouraging, and needful in my life. Though I don't post a comment after each one, please know that I do read all comments daily and appreciate the valuable time you all give to this blog and to the issues presented here for discussion.

I am honored to be counted among you.
Yours for the Masters use,
Phil. 1:3-11

Bhedr said...

Nagh I think you squeeked in little gal. Good points too.

Justified said...


Do you think it was wrong for Christians to participate in the Revolutionar War? Weren't Christians obligated to submit to the Crown?

2Tal said...

Jus- I hope your not too discouraged by being deleted. I, for one, would have liked to read what you said but I can also see Campi saying it is too long. If you ever wondered, I don't think he has any hidden agenda other than keeping posts to what he considers to be a reasonable length so as to not discourage other people from posting their blogs as well. I like reading your comments, They are clear, logical, and on the theme of the matter, so we all, including Mr. Camp hope to read more from you.

Let me also say I really appreciate Steve Camp's heart and his openness to be sharpened. It has become quite apparent he is greatly concerned about honoring The King of Kings. Speaking of which, my favorite song off Mr. Camp's latest "Desiring God" recording is "Kiss The Son". This is true intimate worship at it's finest!

Justified said...


No, I don't think it was right for David and Solomon to have all of those wives. What does that have to do with my question?

Jus Divinum said...

Mr. Camp,

You of course have the perfect right to delete my link (which was to a recent post of mine at Triablogue, in case any adventurous souls are feeling particularly enterprising in a search-engine-like-way ;-). But I still didn't get a direct answer to my question about length of posts. Is the acceptable length the length of Brian's longest post here, one-and-a-half times that, or what? This is not an idle question, seriously. Do you at least have the time to answer _that_? Thanks.

Bhedr said...

Jus buddy,

Go up to new rules of engadgement. I pray we both try to abide by them. Campi has been awfully gracious to both of us.
Love you brother,
There is probably no differance between us. You were just an object of his justice and for some reason he chose to be merciful to me.

general said...

Quote from Steve:
"ECB is Evangelical Co-Belligerence. It is a label I have orginated to mark Christians who choose to use political remedies for moral maladies absent of the heralding of the gospel or the preaching of God's Word."

When Jesus said that giving water to the thirsty, He wasn't talking about The Living Water...He was talking about a cup of cold water, given in His name. That's not the presentation of the gospel, it's Christlike charity. How is the extension of that charity, grown to include society in general, any less "doing it unto Him"?

The prevailing wisdom here seems to be that giving/working/doing is inappropriate for the Christian unless it's accompanied by The Jesus Film. I find that approach unacceptable, as any student of history should. Slavery wasn't abolished in America on Scriptural was abolished because CHRISTIANS OBJECTED to it on Scriptural grounds. But should we reinstitute slavery because Jews also objected to it on Scriptural grounds?

Doing good is doing good, period. There are two types of sin outlined in Scripture: sins of commission (doing what you should not do) and omission (not doing what you should). If I have the opportunity to give a cup of cold water to 10,000 people by lobbying Congress, but don't do it, how am I obeying Jesus Christ? How am I serving Him by ignoring the opportunity on the grounds that the venue won't allow a clear gospel presentation before giving thirsty people a drink?

SJ Camp said...

General said: "The prevailing wisdom here seems to be that giving/working/doing is inappropriate for the Christian unless it's accompanied by The Jesus Film. I find that approach unacceptable, as any student of history should. Slavery wasn't abolished in America on Scriptural was abolished because CHRISTIANS OBJECTED to it on Scriptural grounds."

A few clarifications:

1. I don't support the Jesus Film

2. I am all for biblical engagement with the culture on issues that Scripture would speak out against

3. You said it correctly, Christians with biblical convictions cried out for justice on this issue... God honored it.

4. That is not what is happening with ECB; there methods are not in accordance with Scripture and the issues they are taking on go beyond the perview of Scripture (judicial appointees, religious rights, etc.)

5. Biblically, the giving a cup of cold water in His name is not a promise to government, but to believers in Christ. Matthew 10:42 says, "And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

Philanthropic means are always appreciated for the betterment of helping others; but, giving helping others as a disciple of our Lord also means that we just won't give physical sustanance, but the gospel as well.

One of the most unloving things we can do as Christians is give dignity to someone's human plight without sharing the gospel of grace too. In my twenty plus years of work with the poor in third world countries and those with HIV infection we served both the immediate physical needs and the eternal soul needs as well. As a believer in the Lord, both are important--but not in isolation from each other.

I appreciate your comments...

God is sovereign
Grace and peace,

Beyond The Rim... said...

Whenever one uses the Nero example to speak against political action, they forget the context. Rome was no longer a Republic and its people were pagan. God's intervention has to be seen in that light, since it was obvious he chose to allow the blood of matyrs to fertilize the Church. It was the only political statement they could make - resist the damand to worship the emporer and accept the consequences of that decision. Isn't that political action?

We live in a Republic founded on bilical principals and inalienable (God given) rights. Our responsibilities are radically different from the early Christians in Imperial Rome. Those differences must be addressed in context and we are enjoined to be good citizens. We need to remember that the history of political Christian activism includes men like Wilberforce who was instrumental in speaking against both slavery and abusive child labor.

A Christian in a democratic republic is driven both by prayer and responsible action, and just as watchman were condemned for doing nothing, so too are members of our type of political system for not standing in the breech and sounding the siren.

We often forgot that in a government of, by, and for the people we are the government and because of that people have to act or be held accountable for not exercising their responsibility. Remember, when you should do something and don't you are like Eli not disciplining his sons and God holds you accountable.

MadTownGuy said...


I have been reading an enlightening book entitled "Changing Church" by C. Peter Wagner... enlightening in that it reveals some of the motivation for social and political action in some parts of the evangelical world these days.

The basic idea seems to be that the church must redeem society to prepare for the coming Kingdom of God which, of course, will be set up and be administered by the restored "apostles and prophets." They will start by reforming church government - and they believe that their efforts cannot begin to succeed until they have set up their governmental network in the churches - but a parallel goal will be to transform society.

Here is the outline of the New Apostolic Reformation approach to "kindgom building" as set forth by Wagner in his book:

1.We need to understand the Kingdom - the goal being the transformation of society.

2. We need to understand that there is a church in the workplace - the goal being the influence of Christian people in their workplaces (BTW I don't disagree with this one on its face, just in Wagner's application of it)

3. We need to understand that Christian ministry is not confined to the nuclear (local) church - the goal being the expansion of organizations outside the church, including PACs, Focus on the Family, Strang Communications, etc.

4. We need to understand that the church has a God-designed government - which Wagner deems to include apostles and prophets - and he promotes a move away from democratic church governance to what he calls theocratic governance, but which in my uneducated opinion sounds more like authoritarian rule.

5. We need to understand the full scope of the word "workplace." He believes it includes a variety of "spheres" (of influence) such as athletics, homemaking, transportation, business, and so on.

6. He sets forth two strategic "gates" for the advance of the Kingdom of God theough the ministry of apostles in the workplace - those being:
- The gate of social transformation
- The gate of the transference of wealth.

You can read about this in Chapter Four of the "Changing Church" book.

Is anybody besides me concerned here? It seems to me that the master plan is really all about money and power, when you distill it down to its very essence, especially in Wagner's point #6.

I think it explains a lot about why certain movements in our midst are headed in the direction Campi has described in his article. Finally, it shouldn't escape our notice that one of the organizations Wagner is closely affiliated with, the Center for World Prayer, is on the campus of New Life Church... in Colorado Springs. Hmm.


donsands said...

Nice post. God is either sovereign, or He's not.

The Scriptures are clear that He is. Thanks for an encouraging and edifying article. And for honoring the Lord, and His Word.

The Church is to be salt. If the salt has lost it's saltiness, then it's thrown on the dung hill, for it's good for nothing.

Lord give us a hunger for Your Word. Keep us salty. Make our hearts ache to know your Word. Amen.

Brian said...

"I don't support the Jesus Film."

What does that mean? You don't support it financially, agree with what its aim is, or what?

That said, I'm going to go put the Jesus Film into an Indian language so the Gospel can be spread and churches created in places that currently don't have the Gospel.

I appreciate so much of what I read here. I was very surprised to see the Jesus Film even mentioned (I don't see its relevance at all). Please clarify!

I'll check back in December when I return to see what was meant. In the meantime, pray for us and against the enemy that seeks to kill steal and destroy.

Happily relying on God's sovereignty for my trip,

Bhedr said...

Ah yes...who can forget Jus Divinum. I wonder what became of him?

Thank goodness someone took Jus' advice and deleted that other rambling madmans coments:-)

Terry Rayburn said...

I became politically active in 1964, when Barry Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson. I was only 14 years old.

I've campaigned, planted signs, made phone-bank calls, done door-to-door flyers, attended rallies, written speeches.

In the late 60's, while half the country was going Left and anarchic, I went Right and Republican. I attended anti-communist John Birch Society meetings, led by Fred and Ethel [not their real names], a husband and wife who became my good friends.

But politics can't satisfy the heart, and I was lost as lost could be, until 1976, when God reached down and opened my heart to Jesus Christ.

As a new believer, I still took an active interest in political happenings, but the rabid hand-wringing and fighting ceased. I began to see the sovereignty of God in everything. I saw that the history that was unfolding was God's history, and that He was raising up and bringing down men and nations at will.

I began attending a wonderful church in 1976, and lo and behold, there were my friends Fred and Ethel, Christians who had told me about the Lord, but not with the enthusiasm they had for fighting the Communist Conspiracy.

We became friends again, but Fred was always distraught about "the state of the Government and the World". I was now engaged in ministry, and politics took a seat way in the back by comparison.

Fred would have none of it. He seemed to truly love the Lord, but his crusade was a political one, seeking to save the world by politics, and it drove him over the edge. In the early 80's, Ethel went home one day and found Fred dead, hanging from a rope.

Devoid of understanding the sovereignty of God in nations, and not understanding that the Kingdom of God is not of this world, Fred thought things had gotten out of God's hand.

He couldn't have been more wrong.

"Seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness..." That's what's of primary importance to us. And that means that we not only witness of our Lord Jesus Christ, it means we rest in Him and His sovereignty, even while we support our candidates according to our consciences.

And it means that our faith should work itself out in love (Gal. 5:6) . . . Love for Republicans, and Democrats, and political opponents, and other ethnic groups, and immigrants (legal and otherwise), and Muslims, and even terrorists (though the Government doesn't bear the sword for nothing -- Rom. 13:4).

Otherwise, we're just clanging cymbals (1 Cor. 13:1), and our politics has become our God in practice.

CounterCultureJoel said...

What is it exactly that Mr. Camp has against Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family? Since the church is not fighting for families in Washington and other public squares, who else will? This is yet another ignorant and STUPID attack on an ally of the church.

This is as counter-productive as it gets. Keep the blinders on Steve. I wonder why we evangelicals get a bad rap? HMMM....

Marilyn said...

I happened onto this web site for the first time today. Only comment I have to add is this: Christians claim to follow Christ and walk as He walked. Christ did not engage in anti-Roman rhetoric nor did he endorse the Zealots who were fomenting the overthrow of Rome. Christ had a greater mission - to reveal the character of the Father & turn hearts to Him