CALIFORNIA July 6, 2013 — Many ask what, if anything, the Bible has to do with politics. The more appropriate question should be: Why, after hundreds of years, is the Bible’s relevance to politics now ignored?
Clearly, Biblical truths describing the nature of mankind (Jeremiah 17:9) and defining the role of government (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-15) guided our nation’s founders when they designed our Constitutional Republic. These men also benefited from the development of western political thought on natural law (Romans 1:19-20; 2:14-15), the nature of justice (Exodus 20:1-17; 1 Timothy 1:8-11) and individual rights (Galatians 5:13-15).
The founders knew the Bible well, and understood our nation was dependent upon God for both its survival and any future blessings (Romans 9:14-18). They also understood that a saving faith in God could not be forced on anyone against their conscience. However, the timeless principles and wisdom of scripture provided the foundation for implementing a governance system with checks and balances mirroring the nature of God (Isaiah 33:22).
To initiate the grand experiment called the United States, only enumerated powers were granted to the federal government. On the other end of the spectrum the oftentimes fickle appetites of the citizenry were limited in making fundamental changes except through deliberative elective and legal processes.
In this construct, laws could be enacted by representatives that were consistent with the broad, Biblically influenced moral conscience of the nation. Major changes in national direction, however, would be rare since it required significant, widespread pressure over a long period of time.
With the federal government restrained in the breadth and depth of its power, and legal mechanisms in place to address grievances, a stable but challenging environment existed to support prosperity and allow aggressive promotion of new ideas in light of God’s truth, reason, experience and facts.
Now fast forward to the current generation. The Federal government has irresponsibly expanded far beyond its enumerated powers in every direction.
It creates new rights and calls them anything from entitlements to a woman’s right to choose. It exercises regulatory control on virtually every detail of the economy and chooses who should win or lose through subsidies and preferential tax treatment. It uses compulsory public education as a means to promote values-free social engineering. It redistributes the nation’s wealth by taking from the rich and giving to those it chooses. It seeks to control the entire health care industry in order to manage virtually every life and death decision. It denies individual states the right to defend themselves from cross-border invaders; uses tax revenue to subsidize regimes and ineffective social programs around the world; and it even acts as the world’s policeman in conflicts not of our making.
In other countries this type of power grab is recognized for what it is: a creeping tyranny that results from a statist, autocratic, ungodly worldview.
But wait, not only is federal power far beyond anything our founders intended, there’s a very disturbing second development: the creation of a huge, permanent government dependent under-class.
The number of people who expect the government to meet their needs has mushroomed. God’s common grace was once well understood as the source of blessings that result from hard work, personal responsibility, and moral virtue. But now the government has created widespread reliance on its benevolence for the price of unthinking, political loyalty. Although this trend has existed for many years, the sheer magnitude of people now caught in this web of dependency ensures the continued growth and abuse of federal power.
Since both developments are destructive to what made our nation prosperous, distinctive and exceptional, continuing down this path can only end in our collapse (Proverbs 14:12).
So, who are the real patriots and defenders of our national experiment? Is it those elected leaders who ignore their accountability to an almighty God (Psalm 53:1) and pander to mankind’s sinful, selfish nature? Is it those who want everything paid for by someone else? Is it those who want to throw away our Christian heritage and time-tested Biblical understanding of morality, economics, and justice?
Unfortunately, our nation is losing its desire for righteousness (Proverbs 14:34) and is suffering the predicable consequences (Proverbs 16:18).
As in the Biblical days of Issachar, and in our founder’s day, true patriots understand the evil of the times and know what to do (1 Chronicles 12:32).
True patriots are those whose worldview allows them to see and understand evil for what it is, not based on man’s fickle selfish desires, political gain, post-modernism, relativism or any other “ism”. It’s based on God’s timeless standard of right and wrong that’s ignored at one’s own peril (Proverbs 29:2; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
True patriots know what’s consistent with the conscience God has given to each of us, and won’t get caught up in the shallowness of our self-destructive popular culture or follow well meaning, but horribly misguided leadership.
History is on the side of the Biblical truth of God. But like any noble effort, it clearly takes time and wisdom to apply it to the practical political issues of the day. Have there been abuses in the use of God’s word in the past – of course there have. But that doesn’t invalidate its trustworthiness and applicability to all matters, whether public or private, as so many throughout the ages can attest to.
Follow Frank on Twitter @FrankKacer or #BiblicalPolitics
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