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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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Why I Believe Christians Should Be Politically Active

Many times I have heard people say that Christians should stay out of politics because it is so full of ungodly behavior. Let us examine the premise behind this position. What we often refer to as politics is actually a part of the process of our government. Government is an institution established by God in Genesis 9. The purpose of government, according to the Bible, is to restrain evildoers, as Paul points out in Romans 13. Political corruption, therefore, does not excuse the Christian to abdicate his responsibility as a citizen.

Others have said that the Bible nowhere mentions that Christians should participate in politics. They believe that unless the Bible clearly says we should – we should not. If this form of logic was followed to its end result, Christians could not fly on airplanes, play baseball, or enter any number of professions because they are not told to do so in the Bible. Scriptural integrity, however, demands that we acknowledge that the Bible nowhere condemns involvement in politics. In Romans 13:6-7, we find that Paul’s view of government was that it is a God-given institution for the promotion of good and the restraint of evil. St. Augustine thought of government as a necessary evil, which was necessary because of evil. Most theologians throughout history have believed that human evil is the reason we need government. Government’s purpose is to restrain evil and protect life and property.

I James 2:15-16, points out the hypocrisy of telling someone in need to go, be warmed and filled, when you have the means to meet the need and do not. It is just as wrong for Christians to say they will pray for God to give us good leaders but then not vote or participate in the process by which these leaders are chosen. Christians need to be involved in order to have a positive effect on the future of our nation. It is poor citizenship and poor Christian stewardship to permit our great nation to plunge into destruction by default.

All Christians can and should participate in the political life of our nation. This activity need not prevent you from evangelizing the world. Without this participation, there is no assurance that freedom of religion will remain secure. Can we keep the freedoms and liberties we enjoy while standing apart from the political process? The current political and social trends should offer clear warnings to the Christian community.

Consider a few reasons why Christians should be involved in the political process: duty to God, natural talents, freedom, and compassion for our fellow man. Submitting to our governing structure in the US requires participation. Americans enjoy certain rights and liberties that would seem foreign to early Christians. I believe that God offers Biblical provision even for the modern political state. Therefore, Christians should apply those principles.

American citizens are participants in the political structure set up under our Constitution. Political participation is not a matter of seeking power for the sake of power. It is simply important that people with a Christian worldview be fairly represented in our government. As we participate, we have the opportunity of voting for elected officials who will represent our values fairly. Participation means supporting candidates, issues, and voting. Therefore, the Christian should also develop an awareness of political issues.

History teaches us that civilizations break down and eventually disappear. No society can continue to function long in a moral vacuum. When people of good conscience fail to influence the culture with their values, other influences will fill the gap. This is happening in America. Many Christians have left the political arena, considering it “secular” and outside the legitimate realm of Christian influence. I believe that the primary results are being seen in our divorce rates, drug and alcohol abuse, abortion, and the acceptance of sexual perversions which will destroy our nation’s future. This includes growing corruption within the government and an increasingly hostile attitude toward Christianity..

Although many secular progressives want to rewrite it, our Constitution was not framed with a view toward excluding Christians from civil affairs. Instead, it was written to prohibit the Federal Government from forming a state church out of one Christian denomination (Methodist for example). Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story (1779-1845), considered one of the fathers of American Jurisprudence, explained: “The real object of the [First] Amendment was not . . . to advance Mohometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects.” Participating in the political process does not require people to put aside their Christianity. All individuals have an equal right to access of public forums, regardless of their religious viewpoint.

The Founding Fathers directed the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause against the Federal Government in order to restrain its power. The clause was never intended to shield individuals from exposure to the religious views of others. In other words, the government does not establish religion when it leaves religion alone. The church is to possess autonomy in matters relating to doctrine, its governance, church discipline, as well as its clergy and staff employment practices.

In President Washington’s Farewell Address on September 17, 1796 he delivered the following warning:

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness . . . Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert . . . ? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail, in exclusion of religious principle.”

Nor should Christians who fear political associations forget the admonition of Noah Webster:

“The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and his apostles . . . and to this we owe our free constitutions of government.”

Why should a Christian participate in politics? “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)

Why Colleges Don’t Teach

Is College Worth It? This is the question that Walter E. Williams poses in his article by the same name:

“Only 40 percent of each year’s 2 million freshmen graduate in four years; 45 percent never graduate at all. Often, having a college degree does not mean much. According to a 2006 Pew Charitable Trusts study, 50 percent of college seniors failed a test that required them to interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, and compare credit card offers. About 20 percent of college seniors did not have the quantitative skills to estimate if their car had enough gas to get to the gas station. According a recent National Assessment of Adult Literacy, the percentage of college graduates proficient in prose literacy has declined from 40 percent to 31 percent within the past decade. Employers report that many college graduates lack the basic skills of critical thinking, writing and problem-solving.

“Colleges are in business. Students are a cost. Research is a profit center. When colleges boast about having this professor who has won a science award or that professor who has won the Nobel Prize, very often an undergraduate student will never be taught by that professor. It is a “bait and switch” tactic and very often your youngster will take classes not taught by a professor but taught in large classes by a graduate student. Faculty who bring in large grants are more highly valued than faculty who teach well. Teaching excellence is so often undervalued that the late Ernest Boyer, vice president for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, quipped that, “Winning the campus teaching award is the kiss of death when it comes to tenure.”

“Parents and taxpayers cough up billions upon billions of dollars to the nation’s colleges and universities. Colleges make money whether students learn or not, whether they graduate or not, and whether they get a good job after graduating or not. Colleges and universities engage in “bait and switch,” confer fraudulent degrees and engage in other practices that would bring legal sanctions if done by any other business. There is little or no oversight of the nation’s over 4,000 colleges and universities that enroll over 17 million students.”

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