Al Mohler: Can Christian Organizations Remain Christian in a “Tolerant” Age?

From AlbertMohler.com, comes serious questions that should be asked in light of the upcoming SCOTUS case, CLS v. Martinez.  The most poignant question is that posed by the title of his piece and this blog entry, but the rest are worthy of consideration and contemplation.  Here’s the critical section of Dr. Mohler’s latest:

The case pitting the Hastings College of Law against the Christian Legal Society presents the nation — and its highest court — with an inescapable question: Are Christian organizations to be allowed to remain Christian, or must they all morph into secularized associations?

Must the Christian Legal Society surrender its biblical convictions in order to remain a recognized campus organization? Does religious liberty now stop at the law school door?

Obviously, much is riding on this case. The same logic used against the Christian Legal Society in this case can be used to argue that any Christian organization, school, or institution no longer serves the community’s welfare if it holds such policies. How long before similar arguments are made against churches and Christian schools?

Can Christian organizations remain Christian in an age of ideological “tolerance?” All eyes will soon be on the U. S. Supreme Court as the Christian Legal Society’s appeal is heard. Far more than one CLS chapter in one law school is at stake here.

via www.AlbertMohler.com.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Al Mohler: Is Social Justice Forbidden Territory?

Al Mohler recently offered commentary against Glen Beck’s hyper call for men and women to leave their church if they hear the words, “social justice” anywhere therein.  Within his comments, Mohler makes an excellent case for why we are to be faithful in both the presentation of the gospel and its societal (or social) implications.

Do you agree with Mohler?  After you read the quote below, post a comment to share your thoughts.

The church is not to adopt a social reform platform as its message, but the faithful church, wherever it is found, is itself a social reform movement precisely because it is populated by redeemed sinners who are called to faithfulness in following Christ. The Gospel is not a message of social salvation, but it does have social implications.

Faithful Christians can debate the proper and most effective means of organizing the political structure and the economic markets. Bringing all these things into submission to Christ is no easy task, and the Gospel must not be tied to any political system, regime, or platform. Justice is our concern because it is Gods concern, but it is no easy task to know how best to seek justice in this fallen world.

And that brings us to the fact that the Bible is absolutely clear that injustice will not exist forever. There is a perfect social order coming, but it is not of this world. The coming of the Kingdom of Christ in its fullness spells the end of injustice and every cause and consequence of human sin. We have much work to do in this world, but true justice will be achieved only by the consummation of Gods purposes and the perfection of Gods own judgment.

Until then, the church must preach the Gospel, and Christians must live out its implications. We must resist and reject every false gospel and tell sinners of salvation in Christ. And, knowing that Gods judgment is coming, we must strive to be on the right side of justice.

via Glenn Beck, Social Justice, and the Limits of Public Discourse – AlbertMohler.com.

About Jeremy Dys

Jeremy Dys is the FPCWV's President and General Counsel. In addition to his duties of providing strategic vision and leadership to the FPCWV, Dys is the chief lobbyist and spokesman. Dys is regularly featured in local, state, and national print, radio, and television outlets. He lives close to Charleston with his wife and growing family.

Compromising in the Political Realm: How Christians can Compromise in Policy, not Conviction

From Reformed and Reforming:

It has been alluded to that faith and government are mutually exclusive.  That is, you have to have one or the other.  Phil Johnson - Executive Director of Grace to You – had the following to say:

Because in order to work in the realm of secular politics, you have to make certain compromises.  Politics is built on compromise.  Anybody who’s involved in politics will affirm that for you.  There are some things you cannot talk about in the political realm and the gospel is one of them.  James Dobson’s political allies in the realm of moral reform include multitudes who would not share his commitment to the gospel of the New Testament (The Foolishness of Preaching the Gospel)

I’m not sure what definition of compromise that Mr. Johnson is using.  However, for a person to compromise is to settle a dispute by accepting “less than they originally wanted.”  So, this means that to compromise in the political process does not mean that a person has to compromise their convictions when working with others – who may or may not be Christians – on any matter.  A person is very well capable of compromising on tactic or policy without having to sell their soul to the Devil. 

Stephen Monsma and Mark Rodgers label such compromises: “half-a-loaf.”  That is, “someone who is working for a certain goal is willing to compromise and accept the partial achievement of that goal on the basis that half a loaf is better than none, as it is often put” (Toward an Evangelical Public Policy, pg. 334). 

For example, “Practical policy making is a craft, and it is more often the art of the possible.  Trade-offs are common.  Should the minimum wage be increased to $10/hour, thereby providing a ‘living wage’ for low-income workers, or will a more modest increase ensure that fewer employees are laid off because they are no longer affordable to business.”  This is just one of many such examples. 

On another note, why does Mr. Johnson believe that a person cannot live thier faith in the political realm and/or share it with others?  Does this just go for government, or does this position include all areas of society?  

Getting back to my point.

For the rest of this post, click here.

Political Leaders do not have the Final Say: The Limited Role of the Government is Affirmed in both the Old and New Testament’s

From Reformed and Reforming:

In my last post, I ended by saying:

Not only does Romans 13.1-7 reveal to us that all governments and government officials possess a delegated and limited authority, but the entire corpus of Scripture, both Old and New Testament’s suggest this. 

So, at this point, I would like for us to briefly consider these points from both the Old and New Testament’s.

The Old Testament

The limitation of government was not a new concept developed by Paul.  Rather, this concept was inherited from his Jewish heritage and understanding of the Old Testament (Douglas Moo, Romans, pg. 794). 

John Stott commented on these writings – Romans 13.1-7 – of Paul that he “inherited a long-standing tradition from the Old Testament that Yahweh is sovereign over human kingdoms…” (Romans, pg. 340).  Let us briefly consider several passages from the Old Testament that point to God’s sovereign rule – which is His independent and self-governing rule – over the nations.            

From the Book of Job, we read that God “makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away” (Job 12.23; also see Isaiah 26.15). 

In Jeremiah 25.7-14 we observe that God has used one nation as a means of judgment against another (also see Isaiah 10.5-11). 

We read in three different portions from Daniel, “That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men…the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes…the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes” (Daniel 4.17, 25, and 32).

Finally – yet not conclusively – we read that Solomon declared that by God “kings reign, and ruler’s decree justice” (Proverbs 8.15). 

What these few passages indicate, as well as the general teaching of the Old Testament, that God sovereignly rules and reigns over the nations, both good and evil.     

The New Testament

Romans 13.1-7 is not a standalone passage in the New Testament Epistles apart from the Gospels.  In fact, this passage, as well as several other passages outside of the Gospels, derive their meaning from Jesus’ teaching on the state.    

The Gospels

In Matthew 22.17-2 1 we read:

Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?  But Jesus, aware of their malice said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites?  Show me the coin for the tax.”  And they brought him a denarius.  And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?”  They said, “Caesar’s.”  Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that area Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (also see Mark 12.12).

Jesus was not establishing a new political order or party.  Jesus was simply giving the government a legitimate role and function in the here-and-now by affirming the payment of taxes and obedience to civil laws. 

This brief, simple, and powerful teaching by Christ was readily embraced and elaborated on by His followers.  Consider the following examples from the Epistles.

For the rest of the post click here.

Faith and Government are not Mutually Exclusive

From Reformed and Reforming:

Faith and Government are not Mutually Exclusive

It has been alluded to that faith and government are mutually exclusive.  That is, you have to have one or the other.  Phil Johnson, who serves as the Executive Director of John MacArthur’s ministry Grace to You, in responding to James Dobson and Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, had the following to say:

Because in order to work in the realm of secular politics, you have to make certain compromises.  Politics is built on compromise.  Anybody who’s involved in politics will affirm that for you.  There are some things you cannot talk about in the political realm and the gospel is one of them.  James Dobson’s political allies in the realm of moral reform include multitudes who would not share his commitment to the gospel of the New Testament.

For a person to compromise is to settle a dispute by accepting “less than they originally wanted.”   Compromising in the political process does not mean that a person has to compromise their convictions when working with others – who may or may not be Christians – on any matter.  A person is very well capable of compromising on tactic or policy without having to sell their soul to the Devil (Toward an Evangelical Policy, pg. 333).

Stephen Monsma and Mark Rodgers label such compromise “half-a-loaf.”  That is, “someone who is working for a certain goal is willing to compromise and accept the partial achievement of that goal on the basis that half a loaf is better than none, as it is often put” (ibid., pg. 334).

For example, “Practical policy making is a craft, and it is more often the art of the possible.  Trade-offs are common.  Should the minimum wage be increased to $10/hour, thereby providing a ‘living wage’ for low-income workers, or will a more modest increase ensure that fewer employees are laid off because they are no longer affordable to business.”  This is just one of many such examples.

[Read more...]

The Government’s Authority is Limited, not Final

From Reformed and Reforming:

Since the American government is like all other governments, in that it is “established by God” (Romans 13.1) the government and its officials posses a delegated and limited authority by God (John 19.10-11).  Therefore, all governments and government officials are to represent and act on behalf of God in all of their undertakings.           

From our current passage of study – Romans 13.1-7 – there are two reasons why we can draw this conclusion.  First, after Paul encouraged his readers to subject themselves to the governing authorities in verse 1, he explained to them that there “is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”  Thus, any and every form of government derives its authority from God and is therefore limited in scope.  All governments are to exercise their authority under God – not separate from Him.    

The second indication that the government’s authority is limited is found in Romans 13.4 and 6, where we see that government officials are considered “ministers” and “servants of God.”  What is of extreme importance is to draw your attention to the fact that under the inspiration of God, Paul carried along a continuous religious category given to government authorities from the Old Testament by identifying government authorities as ministers and servants of God (Greg Bahnsen, By This Standard, pg. 257).

In applying this to Democracy in America

Speaking more particularly about America, our nation and government officials derive their authority first from God and then the constitution.  It is for this reason that God and then the constitution serve as the basis for judging the specific acts and spheres of influence of our American government.

Yes, our representatives in both the Federal and State level represent our desires; however, their representation is to be submitted first to the authority of God and then the constitution. 

For the entire post, click here.

Christians have an Obligation to be Involved within the Democratic Process

From the blog of Pre-em-i-nence:

For Christians to be submitted to the government is the same as placing ourselves under its authority, acknowledging its role and purpose in our lives as established by God (Douglas Moo, The Epistle  to the Romans, pg. 798).  Just as God called for everyone to submit to the Roman government that forced its will upon the people, so too is God calling for everyone to submit to our form of government in the United States of America, a government that lives and thrives on the will and involvement of the people. 

The well being and survival of our government depends upon the involvement of its citizens.  For us to be in submission to the Constitutional Republic of America necessitates that we – as Christian citizens – are involved within the political process.  In the words of Charles Colson, “as citizens of the nation-state, Christians have the same civic duties all citizens have: to serve on juries, to pay taxes, to vote, to support candidates they think are best qualified (Kingdoms in Conflict, pg. 278)

For the entire article go here.

Christianity and Democracy: Submitting to the Existing Form of Government, Part 2

The following article is another installment of Christianity and Democracy.  This is the second installment to Submitting to the Existing Form of Government which briefly addresses the form of government in the United States of America and how Christians are to relate with it. 

Our Constitutional Republic cannot exist without the participation of American citizens or our obedience to its laws.  If we neglect our role and responsibility then we run the risk of allowing our government to develop into a totalitarian regime without opposition.  It is said that “widespread participation in politics – including voting in elections, contacting public officials, working with others to bring matters to public attention, joining associations that work to shape government actions, and more – is necessary to ensure not only that responsive representatives will be chosen, but that they will have continuous incentives to pay attention to the people.  Because widespread participation is so central to popular sovereignty, we can say that the less political participation there is in a society, the weaker the democracy” (Struggle for Democracy, pg. 9). 

This is why Tom Minnery, author of Why You Can’t Stay Silent, said:

Unlike the Roman Empire in the first century, our country is a participatory republic.  We have the obligation to make our views heard and to get involved in dialogue.  Our government asks us, as citizens, to participate, not merely to shut up and obey.  “We the people” means Christians as well as non-Christians.  Submission in our political system includes being willing to contribute to the political process, not withdraw from it (pg. 100).

American citizens possess an awesome and historically unique privilege and responsibility to be involved within our democratic political process.  Those who shy away from and even scorn our political process are committing an injustice against themselves and their neighbors and ultimately they dishonor God.

For the entire article go here.