Political Participation

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by gb93433, Apr 22, 2004.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    How would you respond to the following article?


    FIRST-PERSON: A theology of political participation
    Apr 22, 2004
    By Paige Patterson

    FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Government, according to the Scripture, is a divinely ordained institution. Its importance in society is secondary to the primary institution, which is the home. By the same token, government parallels the church. Whereas in the divine economy the church is primarily to order and discipline the affairs of born-gain believers, in society as a whole the government exists as a method of resisting evil on the one hand and promoting good on the other.

    “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” (1 Peter 2:13-17)

    Christians, too, are to be in subjection to these authorities as Jesus Himself made clear when He said, “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:21). The subjection to the powers that exist in government, even governments that are evil, is a matter of Christian example. As a result of this general deportment, it is not uncommon even for unsympathetic rulers to admit that Christians generally are the best of citizens creating the most peaceful conditions in any society. However, there are those rare occasions when Christians find themselves in a position where they must demure from that which a government demands, choosing to follow the authority of Christ when it is in direct contradiction to the authority of government.

    It is here that the Christian must tread with great care. In light of the Holocaust, Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s example of being a part of a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler certainly appears to have been not only an acceptable decision, but a commendable one. Based on Romans 13, governments clearly have the right to bear the sword; this seems to be biblical ratification of the right of a nation to defend itself against aggressors and also the right of a society to exact judgment in the form of capital punishment.

    But the question here is a different one. Does the Christian himself have the right, as in Bonhoeffer’s case, to become involved in a violent protest against one’s own government? It seems to me that this is where the Christian is obligated to move with the greatest care of all.

    The principal of Acts 5:29 that “we ought to obey God rather than men” does make allowance in rare situations for the Christian to indulge even in violent protest. Surely this was the conclusion of the American colonists at the time of the Declaration of Independence and the war for independence in this country. Once again though, American colonists faced a question not so much of Christian protest against an existing government. Instead theirs was a question of whether to seek independence from a repressive regime. The fact that some and perhaps many colonists were Christians means that individually they had to assess these matters for themselves.

    No particular form of government is prescribed in Scripture. However, the basis upon which a democracy proceeds is that a free and responsible people will always be the most productive people. Such freedom, as is provided in a genuine democracy, will inevitably produce those circumstances that make it possible for citizens to realize their full capacity to know, experience, and imitate God.

    Indeed, the principle of democracy seems to me to be embodied in the local church through the doctrine of the priesthood of believers. If the Holy Spirit of God genuinely indwells each believer, then each individual believer should be entrusted with the ability to make the right kinds of decisions to enhance his or her own life, the life of their family, and, indeed, of the world.

    Years ago, as a young preacher, I took the view that politics was one domain, and religion was an entirely different one. My responsibility as a pastor was to lead people to faith in Christ, teach them about Christ, and grow the church as a witness within a degenerate world. In that persuasion, I have not changed across the years. I am still convinced that the most valuable thing any Christian can do is to be involved in leading people to Christ and building up the church of God.

    Nevertheless, culture wars, politics, and government are areas to which we simply may not turn a deaf ear or blind eye. Eddy McAteer of the then well-known Religious Roundtable was influential in my life in taking me to Washington, D.C. for a briefing in which incontrovertible evidence of the devastation of pornography upon our society was set forth. When I viewed young women being kidnapped, raped and then literally murdered on screen in films prepared in South America for distribution through the underworld in this country, I realized that it was no longer enough for me to avoid the culture wars, politics, and government. Around 1978, I became involved in these culture wars and have not ceased my involvement since.

    The fact is that Christians must be salt and light. They cannot live in the world and fail to be both salt and light except at the expense of dishonoring the Lord. Nevertheless, it remains true that the most monumental change in the social order is always wrought in the heart of individual men and women when they are led to repent of their sins and place their faith in Christ. That has to remain the major emphasis of the church.

    Paige Patterson serves as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This article first appeared in the Southwestern News.

    http://www.bpnews.net/bpfeature.asp?ID=1386
     
  2. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    "Rebellion to Tyranny is Obedience to God"
    I believe it and will practice it as long as I am breathing. (I pray, by the grace of God) Are you a "tory"? Are you willing to admit that because a few picked up the sword and defied their King, you are part of an independant nation? What position would Mr. Patterson have taken during our war for independance? Where would you have found your preacher? Would he have been a part of the revolution or would he have been preaching at eight a. m. and having tea at the English Governor's home at four? This is just for thought. Maybe some of you will ask these questions to your church leadership. I hope you do.
    Thanks -----Bart
     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    What is the biblical basis for that line of thinking?
     
  4. blackbird

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    I had no idea that Bonhoffer participated in "underground" activity---I did know that he "got up in the face" of Nazi officials and lost his life because of that!

    Lots and lots of German Army officials walked around with bombs in briefcases---looking for opportunity to blow Hitler to "Smithereens"---only two had the guts to detonate their devices!
     
  5. mioque

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    "y McAteer of the then well-known Religious Roundtable was influential in my life in taking me to Washington, D.C. for a briefing in which incontrovertible evidence of the devastation of pornography upon our society was set forth. When I viewed young women being kidnapped, raped and then literally murdered on screen in films prepared in South America for distribution through the underworld in this country, I realized that it was no longer enough for me to avoid the culture wars, politics, and government. Around 1978, I became involved in these culture wars and have not ceased my involvement since."

    The following comes from snopes.com
    "All the fretting about it aside, not so much as one snuff film has been found. Time and again, what is originally decried in the press as a film of a murder turns out, upon further investigation, to be a fake. Police on three continents routinely investigate films brought to them, and so far this has always been their verdict. No snuff films. Some clever fakes, yes. But no real product. "

    http://www.snopes.com/horrors/madmen/snuff.htm
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    I would have been a tory during the Revolution. No question in my mind (even though I own "The Patriot"). I will seek to work every way legally to change my government (local), but think "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft . . "
     
  7. Bartimaeus

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    Bro Bob,
    You are right, "rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..." Considering the context of the verses you quoted and I am certainly surprised you would make this mistake, it is rebellion to God on point. In that we are playing the "if I were there game" what would you have done as one of Saul's mighty men should you have heard Samuels instructions from God and Saul would have asked you to go along with his scheme. Would you have rebelled against Saul the King or would you have carried a few goats and sheep back as you were told to do?
    Thanks ----Bart
     
  8. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    What is the biblical basis for that line of thinking? </font>[/QUOTE]Bro Dan,
    Let's suppose a woman comes to you and your wife and she states that she is being asked to participate in an immoral/illegal act by her husband. He has always maintained publically that he is a christian. She maintains that she is a christian and they are both members of your church. Would you tell her she must participate in obedience to her husband? Be careful now, the husband is the God Ordained Head of the Household. Thanks ----Bart
     
  9. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    Bro Bob,
    Let me quote from the Book, BAPTIST PATRIOTS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, By William Cathcart.
    Colonel Joab Houghton received news at Sunday worship of the British attack on Concord and Lexington. After the service, he addressed the people of Hopewell Baptist Church outside as they were about to disperse. Haviing told of the cowardly murder at Lexington by royal troops and the herioic counter attack that followed, he paused, then spoke with gravity: "Men of New Jersey, the red coats are murdering our brethren of New England! Who follows me to Boston?" At once, every man present shouted "I" and stepped out into line! That quiet Sabbath bore witness that there was not a single coward or traitor among the Baptist men of Hopewell. (Back Cover)
    I hope you understand what you are saying. Thanks -----Bart
     
  10. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    Hello ....anybody wanna talk here or what.....?
    Thanks -----Bart
     
  11. Bartimaeus

    Bartimaeus
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    Silence speaks louder sometimes than words.
    Thanks -----Bart
     
  12. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Bart,

    Lots of church folks have strong opinions about politics, and what needs to be done. But when you ask them to spend a lttle time or money to do something, they become "prayer worriors".

    -PA Jim
     
  13. Daniel David

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    1. If it is illegal, it probably needs to involve the authorities, that is, the God ordained authorities, depending on what it is. If you are talking about her husband demanding that she speeds through the interstate, I don't think I would report that.

    If the act was immoral, then as an elder, I would confront the man as an initial step to discipline.

    2. Then he is subject to disciple by the church.

    3. Same.

    4. If the act is contrary to God's word, she must obey God's word. It is never right to do wrong.

    5. Thank you. I know that.
     
  14. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    PJ, the world is continually getting worse. I have very strong oppinions on all kinds of issues. I have ZERO faith in the government though because it cannot save anything.

    The purpose of government is to protect the innocent and restrain the evil and bring to justice those who defy the laws evil.

    Christ said to spread the gospel, not participate in politics. Our citizenship is in heaven.

    When Christians become political activists, people on the outside will see Christ through the political spectrum.

    Example: I am against all legilation of gun control. I should be able to have whatever firearm I want to defend my own family. Now, if I witness to some liberal who hates guns, and he knows my feelings on guns, he might equate coming to Christ with my position on guns. Does this make sense?

    There are some issues which the Bible directly addresses which must be brought to the debate. Abortion is one.
     
  15. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Christ, Paul, and Peter all taught submission to the government. They all lived under a government that killed Christians, had slavery, allowed prostitution, allowed homosexuality, promoted idolatry, used painful and cruel capital punishment, and all kinds of other things.

    Bart, when you actually use Scripture instead of hypothetical situtations (you know, situational ethics), then this discussion can progress.

    Btw, I would have fought against the stinkin' Brits, and also fought on the side of the North.

    The Feds were right in both instances.
     
  16. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Yeah, I guess half of the NT was written from prison because they liked the food there.
     
  17. pinoybaptist

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    :D :D [​IMG]
     
  18. Bartimaeus

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    Bro Dan you are right. I Cor 11:3 reflects the God ORDAINED authority that I speak of in my example. The wife is not obligated to subject herself to her husband because he has willingly removed himself from that ORDAINED position through his rejection and opposition to God's Word, therefor the POWER is no longer "of God" Rom 13:1. I am so glad you said that you would have fought against the King of England, because he willingly removed himself from being a God ordained POWER when he rejected the principles of God's Word when he became a TYRANT and no longer protected the rights of his subjects but abused them. This is why our Baptist Brethren were able to fight "against the armies of the aliens" and it's King Heb 11:34 and still be right with God. Many of the Brethren quote I Pet 2;17. "...honour the King" That is right, yet the beginning of the verse says to "honour all men..." We do not honour all men when some men are not DUE honour. Rom 13:7, Nor do we honour all Kings. Sadaam Hussien was dictator and a "POWER" Rom 13:1. He was never subject to the Word of God and never an ORDAINED AUTHORITY. A "POWER (Rom 13:1) THAT IS AN ABUSER OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN IS NO LONGER AN ORDAINED AUTHORITY" and we are under no scriptural obligation to obey it. Our Colonist Revolutionary Forefathers were obeying God to throw off a tyrannical government. The Romans 13 government is not a tyrant it is a GOOD government, clearly seen in the text. I am so glad you agree with this.
    I do respect Bro Bob for being consistent. If pastors today teach unlimited subjection to tyrants from the pulpit then they should at least tell their congregation that they would have wore a red coat.
    Thanks -----Bart
     
  19. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Bart, I don't think you understand my point.

    You apparently think that a God ordained institution only has to be obeyed if they are good and/or righteous. That turns the entire meaning on its head.

    As I have already said, Christ, Paul, and Peter all commanded that we obey those over us. They lived under insane governments.

    A ruling authority doesn't lose its right just because they are wrong. You are promoting anarchy without realizing it.

    My reasons for fighting against the king are apparently different than yours.
     
  20. Bartimaeus

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    Bro Dan,
    A king operating outside the Law of God is already an anarchist in it's highest form.
    A ruling authority that is despotic in nature is no ruling authority, it is criminal. That is what the Nuremburg Trials were all about.
    I have given scripture to show you my position. You state Christ, Paul and Peter all commanded that we obey those over us, would you please show me where scripture mandates that, without inferring or reading into it? In fact Paul refused to be beaten because he was "freeborn" and his refusal was the same as insurrection in that day.
    So.....what would have been your reasons for fighting against the King? Do they pass the "test"?
    Who was Samuel to kill the King Agag right in the face of King Saul against his spoken law? Maybe Samuel should have done something else. The three Hebrew children resisted the King all the way to the firey furnace. Do you know how I know that? The Book says it took seven men to put three strappin' boys in the fire and they died. I am thankful to be in the crowd of the resisters of tyrants and despots. The scripture speaks clearly on the issue.
    Thanks -----Bart
     

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