Tuesday, October 27, 2020

MIXING RELIGION WITH POLITICS

 



Many serious Christians believe that Christians shouldn’t participate in the political arena or even vote. But just think of the implications of this.


Perhaps slavery would have remained in effect in the West had not the Christian parliamentarian, William Wilberforce and his group, battled tirelessly in the political arena for 32 years to end the slave trade.

Perhaps if Christians had raised their voices and cast their vote, there might not have been the Holocaust or the genocide of Christians in communist nations.

It is our Biblical responsibility to raise our voices against injustice and deception in all areas, because all these areas belong to the Lord, and He never designated any arena where the Light should not enter. This means that the Church should not abandon any aspect of this world to the darkness, even by not participating in the political process.

Our silence is guilt worthy. We are guilty when we don’t raise our voices and warn, as God had explained to His Prophet Ezekiel:

• “...I have made a watchman for the house of Israel. Whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. If I say to the wicked, O wicked one, you shall surely die, and you do not speak to warn the wicked to turn from his way, that wicked person shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. But if you warn the wicked to turn from his way, and he does not turn from his way, that person shall die in his iniquity, but you will have delivered your soul.” (Ezekiel 33:7-9 ESV)

We are all watchmen, children of the light. We are required to place our light on a hill to expose the works of evil (Ephesians 5:11). If we say that this isn’t our job, we are held to account:

• If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:10-12)

But aren’t we hated because of our participation in the political process! Yes, but Jesus told us to not hide our light:

• “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:12)

Jesus warned that even if we do not participate in the political arena and vote, we will be hated anyway:

• “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (John 15:18-20)

But won’t our political words cause division within the Church and turn people away from the Gospel? Truly, we are living in an increasing hateful and polarized world. We don’t want to unnecessarily add to it. However, there are times that we must speak:

• “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” (Isaiah 1:16-17)

In this world, we find ourselves between a rock and a hard place. We are condemned when we speak, but the world will also hold us to account when we don’t. We were justifiably criticized when we failed to raise our voices against “separate but equal,” and are still facing disdain because of this failure.

The German Church is still vilified for not offering sufficient opposition to Hitler, as in regards to the rise of communism, which slaughtered 100 million in a few decades.

Consequently, we cannot live for the approval of man but of God, as the Apostles had explained to the Sanhedrin:

• “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard...We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29)

Winning the approval of man must take second place behind the approval of God. When He is not our first consideration, we sin:

• So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17)

Won’t this make us seem like extremists? We will never be able to please the tastes of men. Instead, God has to be first:

• “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

Therefore, let us not fear the opinions of man:

• The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. (Proverbs 29:25)

But we cannot change lives by trying to legislate morality. However, all laws are attempts to legislate morality and define what is right and acceptable. They speak loudly. Even, if they don’t, they still exert a profound influence upon society. M. L. King well illustrated this principle:

• It may be true that a law can’t make a man love me, but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.

I also think it’s important to pass laws against the “lynching” of the pre-born. Mere social work is not adequate in either case.

It takes courage to follow Jesus and to love our Lord, through His teachings, more than our temporal lives. We will always be in opposition to the tsunami of public opinion and their threats (2 Timothy 3:12), but this must not silence our mouths or vote.

IS CAPITALISM THEFT

 


 

In 1776, Adam Smith explained the economic success of Great Britain:

• That security which the laws of Great Britain give to every man that he shall enjoy the fruits of his own labour, is alone sufficient to make any country flourish.… The natural effort of every individual is to better his own condition, when suffered to exert itself with freedom and security, is so powerful a principle, that it is alone, and without any assistance, … capable of carrying on the society to wealth and prosperity.… In Great Britain industry is perfectly secure; and though it is far from being perfectly free, it is as free or freer than in any other part of Europe.

In How the West was Won, Rodney Stark demonstrated how poor policy makes for poor growth: 

• ...taxes were so confiscatory in France that, as Smith pointed out, the French farmer “was afraid to have a good team of horses or oxen, but endeavors to cultivate with the meanest and most wretched instruments of husbandry that he can,” so that he will appear poor to the tax collector. Writing to a friend back in France during a visit to England, Voltaire expressed his surprise that the British farmer “is not afraid to increase the number of his cattle, or to cover his roof with tile, lest his taxes be raised next year.

Society grows when the shackles are removed and free enterprise is enabled, while justice ensures the safety of property and wealth against seizure. In many nations, corruption continues stifle investment and growth, if the investor knows that his business can be taken away if it is successful. Stark writes that because of these factors, the USA became the world’s manufacturing dynamo:

• By 1900 the United States was producing more than a third (35.3 percent) of all the world’s manufacturing output, compared with 14.7 percent produced by Great Britain and 15.9 percent by Germany. By 1929 the United States dwarfed the world as a manufacturing power, producing 42.2 percent of all goods, compared with Germany’s 11.6 percent and Britain’s 9.4.

America boomed because of the laws and values it had inherited:

• The early American colonies came under English common law. Therefore, individuals had an unlimited right to property that they had legally obtained, and not even the state could abridge that right without adequate compensation. Eventually that became the basis of American property law as well. Thus, the state could not seize iron foundries as had taken place in China, although it could purchase them should that seem desirable—as the socialist government of Britain did when it nationalized most basic industries right after World War II (until government control of these industries proved so unprofitable that they were transformed back into private companies).

All such “reforms” are unsustainable because they kill human initiative and dreams of a better life. However, many now erroneously equate capitalism with theft, but is it theft? If I invest in fallow land to grow tomatoes, hire two workers to plant and harvest, do I now become a thief? Have I abused my help? How?

 

SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND THE SUPREMACY OF THE SCRIPTURES

How should we respond to present-day prophecy? For one thing, we shouldn’t live in expectation that prophetic utterance (and other miraculous signs) will be a regular part of our diet:

 For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV ; Romans 8:24; Hebrews 11:1)

However, prophecies were not to be rejected but tested:

  • Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things. (I Thessalonians 5:19-21; 1 Corinthians 14:1, 31)

But how are we to “test all things?” The Scriptures must judge everything, even prophecies. They make us complete unto every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). How else could prophesies be judged? By other prophecies? This would simply result in a standoff. For example, what if five prophesied that Jesus would return in a week and one prophesied that He wouldn’t? Should the five carry more weight than the one? Certainly not! The five might have been influenced by political correctness or some other form of group-think.

 Instead, the Scriptures must be the supreme judge of all things (2 Corinthians 10:4-5). And nothing could be added to them (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32):

 Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. (I Corinthians 4:6)

Everything has to conform to the Scriptures, even prophesies. This is why the Book of Acts praised the Bereans for weighing everything that Paul had been preaching by the light of the Hebrew Scriptures:

  • These [Bereans] were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore, many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:11-12)

Paul consistently taught that the Word of God had to reign supreme over every other alleged revelation from God:

  • If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions. (I Timothy 6:3-4)

No one was at liberty to present a revelation that contradicted or added to what the Apostles were teaching. The Word had to take precedence over all forms of supernatural revelation:

  • And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19-20)

The Bible was always to be the ultimate judge. Israel was required to test prophets and their prophecies according to the Word:

  • “If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods’—which you have not known—‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the LORD your God is testing you to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him.” (Deuteronomy 13:1-4)

This prohibition also pertained to new teachings, which contradicted the Hebrew Scriptures. Prophets had to prove themselves, not only by prophesying according to what had already been written, but also by being 100% correct:

  • “But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’— when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken.” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)

These teachings put the kibosh on the practice-makes-perfect prophetic training of some churches. Instead, prophecy was either given by God or it wasn’t. Wrongly claiming to speak for God deserved death (Deuteronomy 13:5). By this threat, the Scriptures were protected.