Friday, May 29, 2009

Are Republican Policies Good as Gospel

My esteemed co-blogger might be in a better position than me to comment on this (since Joel is a LU grad). But in an article at CT, I found this description of Liberty Universities "distinctives" rather concerning:

"An uncompromising doctrinal statement, based upon an inerrant Bible, a Christian worldview beginning with belief in biblical Creationism, an eschatological belief in the pre-millennial, pre-tribulational coming of Christ for all of His Church, dedication to world evangelization, an absolute repudiation of “political correctness,” a strong commitment to political conservatism, total rejection of socialism, and firm support for America’s economic system of free enterprise."

Why would anyone put support for political conservatism in the same category as assent to a Christian worldview? Is it me, or has GOP political and economic policies suddenly become Christian orthodoxy? What is more, what do they say about most Christians in most of the world who do not share those GOP beliefs - are we heretics or caught in grievious sin and error? Those American Christians can be strange people!

Don't get it, just don't get it!


Rafael said...

My two cents here.

missionalgirl said...

Yes, unfortunately. For some strange reason, the evangelical--or rather should I say, the white evangelical community has an identity crisis and they want the rest of orthodox Christians to tow the line and vote Republican because it's expected. I've been complaining about the dangers of wrapping the flag around the cross of Christ because we inadvertently confuse patriotism with fidelity to the word and person of the Lord Jesus.
But a funny thing happened the last 8 years: we learned that Republicans--like their Democratic counterparts---have "integrity lapses."

Joel Willitts said...

While I will not try to defend LU's political stance, this is neither new or surprising to those of us who know the place.

Yet, I would be careful not to automatically equate "political conservatism" with the one particular party as MB seems to have done in this post.

The former is a much boarder category than party affiliation. Conservatism transcends party lines. It is true that in recent history (at least since the 60's) the party that has stood for conservative values has been the Rebs. However, the Bush years were no a triumph for conservative political values, as most conservatives would say that Bush betrayed conservatism at least economically.

To the point, LU will support parties whose platforms represent their values. That is a fair position. The major planks for LU have always been the anti-abortion (repeal of Roe v Wade) and family values (opposition to gay marriage) positions. If you have strong opinions on these two points you only have one party option in the US however unfortunate that may be. While you can be against abortion and gay marriage and be a Dem, that person is not in the mainstream of the party.

Finally, while I did attend and graduate from LU in the early 90's--and had, I might add, an very good experience there--, on many points, socially and theologically, I would wish to distance myself from them.

James said...

Basically, in America at least, as Dr Willitts said you have only one party option if you aren't going to support abortion. I think most American Christians would have a lot of trouble supporting a party that is responsible or at least supportive of 40 million plus murders in the last 35 years. Kind of like supporting the Nazis because you like their economic policy or something. That sounds harsh, but I'm not trying to be. I don't know how else to look at it.

If Democrats didn't support abortion than, I'm guessing, a large percentage of the currently Republican Christians would change parties.

danny said...

In fairness to Liberty, I suppose a church's doctrinal confession and a university's stance can be 2 different things. Because they are an educational institution, I don't think there's anything necessarily wrong with outwardly claiming that they are teaching from a particular political viewpoint.

I'm not saying I'd do it this way, especially since it can cause confusion as to what marks them as a Christian university.

bjr2000 said...

Hey, apart from the premil, pretrib stuff, what's not to like?

lauridsenl said...

Yes. There are many very good reasons, particularly including the abortion issue, for Christians to refuse to identify themselves as Democrats. Unfortunately, far too many white evangelical Christians support the Republican party without question on all issues (without even demanding that Republicans actually even attempt to enact their official party platform on abortion; where was the constitutional amendment to ban abortion during the many years they held the presidency and both houses of Congress?). It's all-too-true that most of us white American Christians (I'm white and consider myself very conservative theologically) would never dream of criticizing Republicans on any issue, ever, except perhaps to complain that some particular person isn't Republican enough. For example, the next time I hear a politically conservative Christian criticize Republicans on any economic policy issue, no matter how much the policy position is being advocated by the rich and powerful precisely because it benefits them, will be the first time.

A recent example: Democrats in Congress recently made a fairly feeble attempt to rein in some of the policies that credit card companies use to oppress and abuse the debtors, including the poor. My politically conservative Christians friends' reaction to that is anger that their annual fees will rise because "people who can't be bothered to read the fine print" of their contract will be "bailed out." Credit card companies charging usurious rates? No problem. Credit card companies unilaterally changing their customers' contract terms to allow for dramatic rate increases, so that a single mother who can't afford to pay off her balance simply has to accept the new rates and be forever in debt? No problem. How and dhen did it become true that the rich and powerful are always right and are never guilty of oppressing the poor?

It's a disgrace both that we American Christians refuse to make clear to all that neither party represents Christ. Our refusal to call both parties to task whenever they support evil - and our failure even to consider that Republicans sometimes do support immoral policies - does not bring honor to Christ.

Mick Porter said...

Hey Mike, great to meet you on the weekend.

I was pretty shocked to read about the publication of this bible:

From outside of the USA, it's definitely hard to understand some of their thinking.

I really like Derek Webb's song, "A King and a Kingdom", which says in part:
There are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him

I get the anti-abortion thing, but for the life of me I can't get the pro-gun thing.

lauridsenl said...

"I was pretty shocked to read about the publication of this bible:"

I remember attending a conference for evangelical Christians from around the world in the mid-1980s in Oklahoma. I was stunned and saddened that that most of the conference consisted of American flag-waving - literally. The entire conf seemed to be much more of a huge pro-America pep rally than a Christian conference. I remember seeing some fellow believers from South America and elsewhere who seemed shocked and bewildered. The organizers neither seemed to mind nor notice. I can't remember anything being said about Christ.

ros said...

The problem with focussing so strongly on the abortion issues, as one or two of your commenters have done, and as I know from experience is a common point of argument in favour of voting Republican, is that the Republicans have done, and can do, no more than any Democrats in actually outlawing and reducing the number of abortions happening. I am by no means in favour of legalised abortion - I agree with all the rhetoric against it. I just don't think that the political will and public support is there in the US (nor indeed in the UK) to change that at the moment. Eight years of Bush didn't do much, for example. So it seems to me that a vote for the Democrats isn't, practically speaking, a vote on the abortion issue at all. And it seems eminently sensible to me for Christians to want to cast their votes on the basis of issues that are likely to be influenced by the politicians who are elected.

James said...

Ros- doesn't the abolition of abortion come down to the number of Supreme Court justices against it? I believe it does so that being the case it is a matter of getting a majority of justices against it.

Michael said...

The so-called Patriot Bible is a good example of blasphemy in pursuit of a fast buck

The notion of US exceptionalism and all the associated political baggage as exemplified by the LU position is erally a most grievous heresy but thnakfuly not one those of us in the rest of the world are likely to fall for.

Geoff Hudson said...

Independent representation is the way.

bjr2000 said...

Don't get the progun thing? God recognizes the Family, the Church, and State. The modern family has farmed out the education and police protection to the state. All fascist states are in favor of Gun Control: See Hitler, China, Russia. Only cultures with weak families allow the state to remove their private guns. Most academics will hate the intrusion of this thought in their idyllic ivory preserves, but "God, guts and guns made America great." Take away God, and courage will be drained from men, and they they will hand in their guns. Americans, sadly, are in the process of doing just that...But no matter, with or without guns, Jesus shall reign in all the earth!

ros said...

James, that's true. But that still depends on the political will to appoint the appropriate Supreme Court justices. I don't see it happening, under the government of any political party in the US, any time soon. Until the nation changes, the laws won't. If Christians still choose to use their vote for this issue, that's up to them. All I'm really saying is that I think there is a good pragmatic argument for Christians to use their vote for other issues which are more likely to result in action.

Mick Porter said...


I'm really, really hoping you're not serious about that.

The link between gospel and guns would be... that guns can make a country "great"?

bjr2000 said...

Mick: Of course, guns don't make a country great. See Nazi Germany, Communist Russia, Mao's China. They hated God. Their guns made them monstrous.

The obedience of faith of a substantial number of a country's citizens make it great. Faith in God gives people courage to fight evil. In this fallen world weapons are necessary to do that.

Go read a biography of Joshua, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, the battle of Midway. As long as evil people exist, weapons will be needed to visit lawful retribution upon them.

bjr2000 said...

Mick, check this out...and study the history of the reformers relationships to the civil magistrate.

David W. Congdon said...


"Is it me, or has GOP political and economic policies suddenly become Christian orthodoxy?"

As an American evangelical who has since repudiated this kind of collapse of the gospel with political conservatism, I can say that this kind of union of church and state ideology is not new at all. Among American evangelicals, it is about 30 years old now.

Mick Porter said...

Hi bjr2000,

It would seem that our worldviews are quite divergent.

You seem to see some kind of inherent greatness somewhere in America's history. Whilst I see some admirable qualities in that history, I see America becoming "great" in a similar way to Israel under Solomon being "great" - peaceful and prosperous as a nation while becoming a consumer of an inordinate proportion of the world's wealth and becoming unconcerned about the rest of the world.

God's wrath is not deserved purely because we, in Western countries, allow abortion. It is deserved also because we are unconcerned for the marginalised and the poor. The history of Israel and the reasons for her exile should tell us that.

Maybe we could install Oliver North in the pulpits or, I don't know, go out and share meals with the marginalised and tell them the good news of a different kind of kingdom.