Here’s a thought-provoking post I missed at the Life Training Institute blog, about the new Wayne Grudem book on politics and the Bible.
I’m thoroughly enjoying Wayne Grudem’s Politics According to the Bible. Finally, here’s a Christian theologian who connects the dots: Christian belief is not just about John 3: 16, but transformed living which includeds the transformation of government. True, political success can’t save souls eternally (only the gospel does that), but it can promote a more just society for the weak and oppressed. To that end, Christians should exert significant influence on government.
Grudem begins by challenging five wrong views regarding Christians and government: 1) Government should compel religion. 2) Government should exclude religion. 3) All government is evil and demonic. 4) Do evangelism, not politics. 5) Do politics, not evangelism.
[...]Most helpful to the pro-life cause is Grudem’s refutation of #4—namely, the faulty view that Christians should do evangelism not politics. Sadly, well-intentioned leaders like John MacArthur and Cal Thomas have discouraged pro-life Christians from engaging the culture through politics.
I am not a big fan of John MacArthur and Cal Thomas for the reasons stated, and I don’t think that either is really much of an evangelist in any case, since I never see them referenced as authorities on apologetics, which is really the means by which evangelism occurs in the real world.
In his book, Grudem refutes MacArthur and Thomas:
I agree that one significant way that God restrains evil in the world is through changing people’s hearts when they trust in Christ as their Savior (see 2 Cor. 5:17). But we should not turn this one way into the only way that God restrains evil in this age. God also uses civil government to restrain evil, and there is much evil that can only be restrained by the power of civil government, for there will always be many who do not trust in Christ as their Savior and many who do not fully obey him.
Klusendorf also referenced this post by evangelical Joe Carter.
Consider that for more than two decades the number one issue on the agenda of the evangelical wing of the religious right has been abortion.
The bitter irony is that this is perceived as the “number one” political issue for evangelicals when it really isn’t one of our top priorities. If evangelicals–and Christians in general–truly cared about this issue, abortion on demand would not be the law of the land.
Imagine if every Christian in America vowed not to cast a vote for any candidate of any party for any office if they supported or condoned the killing of the unborn. Imagine if every pastor in America had the courage to stand in the pulpit and deliver the Gospel-centric message that God abhors this slaughtering of the innocent and that for the church to tolerate this sin is a fecal-colored stain on the garment of Christ’s bride.
But it will never happen because the evangelical church isn’t committed as the church to rectifying this grave injustice. We never have been.
I was having a talk with someone recently who was telling me that sometimes the religious left pushes policies that are inconsistent with the Bible, like wealth redistribution or encouraging Christians to condone sexual immorality instead of setting up boundaries on sexuality by making clear statements of what the Bible says and explaining why what the Bible says is true using real objective evidence. Yes, I support policies that are consistent with what the Bible says – but I don’t look to politics to push non-Biblical policies.
Grudem’s book is must reading for Christians looking for a comprehensive Biblical view of politics, including social AND economic issues.