aloof from it ... in whatever form of whatever kind it may be." (Amplified Bible, I Thess. 5:22.)
"Abstain from evil ... shrink from it and keep
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good." (NIV, Romans 12:8.}
"'But solid food is for full-grown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil." (Monser's American Version Bible: Heb. 5:14.)
In case you have been visiting Mars or Venus the past few months, you might not be aware that it is, once again, "that time of year" in America. That's right, ELECTION YEAR. And as the political conventions occur, with the accompanying hoopla, balloons, and adults acting like pry-school children, all descending upon the American people, Christians begin to discuss, as they always do, "Who should I vote for. Four more years with Bush and Quayle, the new" Kennedy imitators Clinton and Gore, or the "outsider/resider" billionaire yes-but-no I'm not running, Ross Perot? For generations, American Christians have been told that it is the "duty" of every Christian to vote, for how else can "the church" affect change in society? Professional preachers, such as Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, and Billy Graham do not stop at merely exhorting "their" followers to vote, but spend "the Lord's money" on a vast assortment of organizations designed to fuse the Christian vote into a single block for their own. political cronies. Shades of the "Moral Majority" (which never seemed to me to be too moral on a variety of topics, including love and compassion for the Palestinian Arabs suffering from brutal oppression of the Israeli government.). Also I must have been out of the country when the "official" nationwide vote was taken and Falwell's group became the "majority" thus speaking for me and all Christians.
Many Christians I know are attempting to decide their Presidential choice on the basis of a single issue such as abortion. Clinton, Gore and Perot favor it, calling it "a woman's choice." They are silent on the possibility of the "fetus choice" to live. Bush and Quayle oppose abortion on demand, but continue to recall their "victory" in the Gulf War where thousands of children were blown to pieces by American weapons and technology. Bush wants to be remembered as "a man of peace" yet relishes his role in the attempted genocide of the Iraqi people. One-issue Christians give rise to speculation that they really do not understand the Biblical definitions and parameters of the Christian life, attitudes, and perspectives. Every Christian must first know what the Word of God does and does not say regarding the Christian life in this present world; and it is of no importance whatsoever what the political views of Falwell, Swaggart, Graham, or your "local" preacher may be! The real question to be answered by every obedient believer and follower of Jesus Christ is: What is the Christian's responsibility in a world of evil? Do Christians living in countries around the world, really have the "responsibility" to cast votes for political parties and their candidates? Is one a "bad" Christian if he or she doesn't vote or, God forbid, fails to even register to vote? Should churches" continue to register voters during the smoking break between the preliminary "warm up session called "Sunday School" and the major performance traditionally known as the "Morning Worship Hour"? For getting the basic question of the Biblical validity of "Professional Pastors", should these hired hands continue telling "their" members how to vote, and pursuing how to influence local politics in their own communities at the popular "ministerial alliance" meetings?
GOD HAS NOT SUBST1TUTED AMERICA FOR BIBLICAL ISRAEL! The truth is that our heavenly Father DOES NOT FAVOR AMERICA against and over the other countries and people of this world. The God of the Bible does not reside in Palm Springs, and He did not inspire America's "founding fathers" or the Constitution! He has not added an eleventh commandment to those given to Moses which states: "Thou shalt establish a democracy In all the parts of the world arid I will bless it and it shall be the sign of my people. In point of historical fact, when the Constitution was circulated to the States for ratification in 1787, it came under strong criticism from no less a stalwart Christian than Patrick Henry who rose and said:
"I look upon that paper (the Constitution).as the most fatal plan that could possible be conceived to enslave a free people." (Prank Donovan's "Mr. Madison's Constitution".)
Patrick Henry was joined in his opposition to the Constitution by George Mason and Richard Henry Lee. Only eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence even attended the Constitutional Convention.
A great statesman and hero of the Revolutionary War, Josiah Quincy put it thusly:
"We have grown giddy with good fortune, attributing the greatness of our prosperity to our own wisdom. rather than to a course of events, and a guidance over which we had no influence." (Corwin ... American Constitutional Law.')
America and our form of government were not first chiseled in stone in eternity by "the very finger of God" as were the ten words or commandments. Democracy, like all man-made forms of government, is immoral and degenerate without God and Jesus as the cornerstone. It has been correctly observed that our "great" Western Civilization rests upon two deaths ... Socrates and Jesus Christ. The crucifixion of Jesus was indeed a "democratic" event. The Scriptures are clear that when Jesus was brought before Pilate and said He was a witness to the truth, Pilate, a true agnostic, asked him "What Is truth?" But without waiting for a reply from Jesus, consulted "the people" or "vox populii" who unanimously condemned our Lord to death as it had Socrates three centuries earlier.
The real "father" of American democracy is the famous French deist, Jean Jacques Rousseau of 1789. In his famous treatise "Social Contract" he states that democracy is a contract or agreement between people and rulers, but sovereign power lies not in the rulers, or in God, but the general will of the community." Does this not explain how numerous immoral laws are passed and implemented in American society such as the rights of "consenting adults to engage in every type of sordid sexual depravity including homosexuality, and their right to adopt children, receive equal status in all areas of life as heterosexual couples and marriages? Does any Christian really believe that God honors such laws and attitudes because they are conceived in a democracy? And what of the laws of God which are routinely scrapped and/or ignored such as capital punishment? Are there really Bible believing Christians who still believe that this nation which murders more than one million unborn human beings each year is "God's special nation"? No, my friends, the one True God is a criminal and an outcast in any state or system ruled by the citizens who lift and equate themselves to the status of God by deciding what is right and wrong, and what is best for them and their society. The reality is that all of the man-made systems whether totalitarian, democracies, or monarchies, .all are doomed to failure for the only system, the only single structure that is absolutely pure and free from the hypocrisy and ego of men, is that system and structure found in the Word of God and embodied in the Christian life and daily living.
The term Democracy comes from the Greek word "demos" meaning "the people" and "kratos" meaning "power'. We fondly refer to it as "the majority rules'. But as Christians and a definite MINORITY in the world, we are in no way bound to any majority decisions made by Godless, immoral men. How many "church votes" have been taken inside buildings based upon "the majority wins" basis? What about those dissenting or opposed? Are their feelings and opinions Invalid because the majority won?
All matters of faith and practice are to be patterned on the Bible, regardless of and in spite of the whim or will of a majority. The old adage I have heard since childhood is indeed true: "If God says it, that settles it; end of discussion." Dear friends, GOD STILL SPEAKS FOR HIMSELF! His Word is final and it is the only authority in all matters for all believers for all time! Regardless of what a majority of people, especially Christians, may think or conclude, and regardless of what country they are living in, the Commandments, Teachings, Affirmations and Standards found only in His Word are not up for equivocation or approval by a "majority vote." In order to know what role a Christian is to play as a citizen of any country, we only need turn to the Scriptures which clearly set forth His Will, His Attitude, and His Commandments regarding life, our world, our fellow man and man made systems of government. These things God was concerned about in both the Old and New Testaments and His pronouncements relative to those concerns are, in sum total, to be the very objects and concerns of Christians today.
"Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites, because the Lord has a charge to bring against you who live in the land; there is no faithfulness, no love, no acknowledgment of God in the land. There is only cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery: they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children" (Hosea 4:1-2, 6).
Without the knowledge of God and thus His very real presence in the midst of any people, society, or political system, .the people will perish. Reading this ancient text as like reading the local newspaper or tuning in to the evening news. America is a nation in the throes of decay and dissolution, racked by crime, greed and indifference and the failure of Christians to carry out the commission given by Jesus Christ to witness to and evangelize the whole world. There is no knowledge of God an any society or country which murders its unborn, "legalizes" immorality, ignores the homeless and the helpless, and takes pride in its military slaughter of politically convenient "enemies" in foreign lands.
"This is what the Lord says: 'For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath. They sell the righteous for salver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed (Amos 2:6, 7).
If God would accept NO EXCUSES for the "chosen" Israelites for, among other things, not merely ignoring the poor but exploiting their hurt and pain for personal profit, how much less will He tolerate the same precise Indifference to the poor in our society? While "church members" spend billions of dollars to build extravagant and unnecessary "houses" in which to worship God, all the while claiming their ghastly buildings are "dedicated to the glory of God', yet millions of fellow Americans sleep over street grates, in alleys, doorways and parks: and while more than one and one-half million children under the age of five go to bed hungry every day of their lives, does any real Christian truly believe that the United States and democracy are "chosen" and blessed because they are of all men and nations, the most righteous? While the world, its people, and its vital and important ethical issues go begging for Justice and moral solutions, Christians in America continue to ignore their pleas! Are there really Christians in America who believe U.S. foreign policy, U.S. invasions, bombings and assassinations are "of the Lord" and acceptable in the sight of God? Any serious disciple (learner) of the Word will be directly confronted with the clear and irrefutable teaching as to what obligations every Christian has in any country or nation. As Christians, we MUST actively involve ourselves with every action, every policy, every injustice, every oppression of the poor and innocent!
"The Lord loves RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE; the earth is full of his unfailing love," (Psalm 33:5 NIV)
"The Lord works RIGHTEOUSNESS and JUSTICE for all the oppressed." (Psalm 103:6 NIV)
I ask you to pause and read these texts and those previously quoted from Hosea and Amos. Is there any question that the theme of all the writers and Prophets of the Older Testament can be found in the words RIGHTEOUSNESS, JUSTICE, and concern and compassion for the lost, the poor and the lonely. As one who majored in Old Testament Studies, I am forever amazed at the nearly identical attitudes and actions of the Israelites and so called "American Christians". Both majored in externalities such as Temple/Church buildings, aligning themselves on the sides of various politicians, professing with their mouths but denying with their actions, that they were and are, "God's People." I will never forget the evening news story announcing on the eve of the U.S. bombing of Iraq, that Falwell, Robertson, Graham and other self-appointed "Christian leaders" had met and granted their combined blessings and approval to George Bush and the U.S. Congress to commence the death and destruction. The ancient sect of religious externalists, called the Pharisees, that hounded every day of Christ's three- year ministry, survives and lives among us today. Mighty buildings and "ministries" supposedly built because of the love, mercy, and compassion of Jesus Christ, yet they are filled with prayers and petitions for military victory, rather than Justice, Righteousness and Compassion.
"Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect JUSTICE and the love of God" (Luke 11:42 NIV).
Like the fabled kingdom of Camelot and the at tending lines of the popular musical of the same name there was, for "one brief and shining moment', a place called "Christian America". To discover this America one must go back in time beyond the American Revolution and Bunker Hill and the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. One must enter the dark and cramped lower deck and hold of wooden ships anchored off Plymouth Rock. And the evening before that historic landing occurred, those brave souls called Pilgrims huddled together to draft and sign a document called the Mayflower Compact. This document, though hardly known in today's educational system, was based upon Biblical principles, and the Puritans who followed from 1630-1640 and re-established the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in the opening of their New England Confederation said:
"We all came into these parts of America with one and the same end, namely TO ADVANCE THE KING DOM OF GOD!"
All but the naive and dishonest would admit we live in a post-Christian era, as so eloquently stated by one of my favorite Christian writers named Malcom Muggeridge who said:
"The era of true Christianity lasted almost 70 years, and we have been living in the post-Christian era ever since. We also live, unaware, in a post-American era. America arrived on the Mayflower, but it had been dead quite some time by the signing of the Constitution" (Malcom Muggeridge memoirs "Vintage Muggeridge").
If communism was the god that failed the Lost Generation, then democracy, as the ideal form of government and the panacea for all the ills of mankind and the hope of the world, will prove to be the golden calf of this generation. Christians must be alert to the dangers of hailing any system, any men or country as "from God" and therefore the ideal pattern. True spiritual and Biblically literate believers know there are more important, more lofty things to believe in than any political system. For example, such things as family, ethics, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I often recall the statement by F. W. Schnitzler in an article entitled "The Deification of Democracy" when he states:
"Journalists and politicians have heralded the news of global democracy as if it were the triumphal entry of Christ. For the development of genuine freedoms we ought to be thankful, but when the praises of any political system are sung with the zeal and admiration due God alone, Christians and others ought to be concerned. The deification of democracy is a development worthy of our concern. Democracy, In and of itself, is a valueless form of government. It does not imply, suggest, or impart moral, ethical or religious values, blessings, or benefits. It merely proposes a political process whereby the actual feelings and demands of the majority can be determined and satisfied, right or wrong." (January Chalcedon Report)
We began this monograph with the Biblical texts of Paul in Romans, I Thessalonians, and the book of Hebrews. IN all three the Apostle does not "suggest" but rather warns and commands Christian believers to avoid even the very appearance or "first hint" of evil. Do not these and the myriad of other passages in both Testaments clearly, once and for all, do away with that most famous of lines used by most Christian voters to Justify their voting choices by saying, "I voted for the lesser of two evils"? The real Christian is TO AVOID EVEN A HINT OF EVIL, and most certainly we are commanded to abstain from ever voting FOR evil, despite the casual off-hand statement that we are doing the Christian "thing" by voting for a smaller amount of evil. I encourage the reader to get out the Bible Concordance and read all the passages referring to evil and believers. We are to be salt, that is an abrasive, penetrating agent in the fabric of society, agitating for moral change.
As mere Pilgrims and sojourners, this world, and therefore this nation, do not represent our final home. As the word of the old hymn states: "This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through." We are but mere "visitors" and thus, the Christian's responsibility in a world of evil is to oppose that evil wherever and whenever found, and to give allegiance to none but Christ and His Word!
"Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory." (Matt. 12:18-20)
The birth of Christ, God born into the world, brought to a head once and for all the issue of who has jurisdiction over man and believers ... the govern-meat, a political system, the flag, the Constitution, or God and HIS DOCUMENT, the Bible! True freedom is found in God and His Word, and His Son Jesus Christ. The solutions to all the problems of the entire world and mankind at large are provided and may be found in THE WORD! And those very solutions have always been, and shall always be, rooted in the Sovereignty of God. So it is come November, my vote will be recorded for no evil, no politician or party, for none of the above, but rather for the One above, even Jesus and He alone.
"To Jews who had believed him, Jesus said: If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:31, 32 NIV)