Wednesday, January 31, 2018

"A Message For My Evangelical Friends"

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Yesterday, one of the most widely syndicated columnists in America, Cal Thomas, wrote an article that captured my attention.

Have you ever heard or seen something that caused you to say, "Yeah, that's what I've been thinking?

Well Cal, "that's what I've been thinking."


As President Trump gave his State of the Union speech last night, Cal Thomas' words came to my mind. I'll be talking more about the President's speech today on our daily live radio program. You can join me live at 9 AM PST from anywhere in the world. Here's how.

Although Cal was a repeated guest on our daily television program some years ago, I didn't then, nor do I now agree with everything he writes, but I certainly agree with this.

It's just what I've been thinking.

A Message for my Evangelical Friends

1/30/2018 12:01:00 AM - Cal Thomas

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13:1)

That verse, written by Paul the Apostle, is one of the most difficult for modern evangelicals to fully accept. It was written at a time when the Roman authorities were bad dudes. They actively discriminated against the early Christians, murdering some, imprisoning others, including Paul, who was among their most ardent persecutors before his conversion.

Modern Christians sometimes suffer from the notion that God is only active when someone they voted for wins an election and that He must have gone on holiday when the candidate they didn't vote for prevails.

My personal history with this attitude goes back to the days of Jimmy Carter, who openly proclaimed himself to be "born again," a phrase taken from the mouth of Jesus which caused many Republican evangelicals to vote for him in 1976 (but not in 1980 when he ran against Ronald Reagan, a divorced man who rarely attended church, but whose policies, like President Trump's, were lauded by evangelicals).

I attended church with Carter. He was an excellent Bible teacher and still is from what I hear. The problem for evangelicals occurred when it came to policy. Despite his fealty to Scripture, Carter enforced the "Roe v. Wade" Supreme Court ruling and was OK with same-sex marriage. He said Jesus never spoke against homosexuality, as if the rest of Scripture says nothing about it, or any other "social issue."

Some evangelical friends of mine are dumping on President Trump because of his personal history. Too many others are vigorously defending, even inexplicably excusing, his bad behavior.

Many conservative critics of the president prefer the image of a loving family exhibited by former President Barack Obama. And yet Obama's policies were antithetical to what many evangelicals believe. So are Hillary Clinton's, not to mention the "family values" portrait she and husband Bill have shown to the world. Some evangelicals have actually suggested they would have preferred Hillary as president, though Donald Trump is presiding over a roaring economy, naming solid constitutional conservatives to high courts, defeating ISIS, trying to control illegal immigration and putting America and Americans first, all issues with which they agree.

I like to ask Trump's evangelical critics if they ever pray for him, as Paul also instructed believers to do: "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good, and pleases God our Savior (1 Timothy 2:1-3, New Living Translation).

The question could also be asked another way and I have asked it of evangelical friends: "How many of you prayed for President Obama when he was in office?" Not many I have learned, except perhaps in a perfunctory way while we "bless all the missionaries of the world and all those in authority."

It is a familiar analogy, but one that should be stressed again. If I am about to have surgery, I care less about a person's religion, sexual orientation or lifestyle than I do about how many of the surgeon's patients were healed of their afflictions.

It might make some evangelicals feel better to have a president who is one of them while also displaying conservative values, but if one has to choose, I'll take the issues and listen to my pastor, who speaks of a kingdom not of this world, which is far better than a corrupt kingdom that is passing away.

Thus ends today's "sermon." We can now take up the collection.

******

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.



6 comments:

  1. Unless there is something obviously wrong, we should support the efforts of people in power. Some are so obviously wrong, we can not support what they do, but we can still pray. There was a time when God's people for the most part, forgot God and his laws, and their enemies ruled over them. The Lord's answer to this problem was to raise them up judges, and he was with the judge to deliver them from their enemies. (Judges 2:18) During the president's speech last night, so many things came to mind, how it so contrary to the way things had been done in the past 4-8 years, so many things. I found it odd how it brought up the pain of those things, just in remembering what they were, by hearing of a new direction, but it was healing. What I got out of the speech, was Proverbs 24:13,14. I could have wished it would have gone on all night. It was good.

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  2. Whether Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, Donald Trump, we must remember we are seeing them at points in their lives, and to the best of the information I have available, there was a point in Donald Trumps life his views more resembled Barack Obama's than Ronald Reagan's

    And it is my impression that had Barack Obama kept company with different people he would have had different views too because he did leave me with the impression he was trying to make decisions he thought best given the information he had and the values he weighed them with.

    He honestly thought he was doing the right thing

    Really think that is what happened to Donald Trump, he saw error in the views he held and sought better ones

    How did he come to see there were better views than the ones he held?

    Someone made the argument there is a better way

    So, in a way, we make the leaders we need to lead us by ourselves learning what is the better way

    While keeping in mind a saying of Milton Friedman, don't make the best the enemy of the good.

    There is a point where one gets maximum return for the least amount of energy, but there is no point where there is a free lunch. Everything has a cost

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  3. Concerning Romans 13, please know that with the founding of this country and our unique form of government, the "authorities" are each of us citizens who, through the voting booth, lend our authority to those we elect. When government does not perform as we hope it should, we have only ourselves, "the authorities," to blame.

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  4. Bravo anon.7:17am
    We bear the burden of responsibility, in how we vote and how we pray.

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  5. What a speech! A friend who also heard the President said, "Surely this man is being taught by the Holy Spirit!" I agree. This man is just as much a sinner as we all are, and yet, he seems to be rising to an amazingily adept leader of the most powerful, rich nation on earth. We must keep praying every day for him, as well as his many advisors, who by all accounts, are a very remarkable, gifted group. One man never does that job alone, that's for sure.

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