FROM R.K.’S CORNER
I always seek to remain faithful to the commission the Lord gave me in 1983 — “be a bridge, don’t build one” — be a bridge builder of relationships between God’s people here in the States and those living and serving among people yet unreached by the Gospel in other nations, that they also may hear the Good News and be saved. Every month, for information, edification, and encouragement to our partners, I present stories in The Bridge Report of testimonies from men and women who joyfully, sacrificially, and with great courage serve the Lord and His people in some of the most challenging and dangerous places in the world.
Once in a while, however, I take a sidestep to feature a story pointing in a different direction. In this issue, I will endeavor to shed light on an alarming cultural shift in the United States taking place before our eyes. It seems to be replacing liberty, safety, and peace — the hallmark of the American way — with a discourse and behavior from people in public places that comes close to anarchy and mob rule. “What is happening in America?” my friends abroad are asking. Please allow me to give you a perspective from being a foreigner who have made my home in the States for the last 45 years.
In the 2016 May issue of The Bridge Report, six months before the Presidential election, I presented an article on Christian Faith, Politics, and Culture from www.gotquestions.com. There, the issue was raised: Should Christians be engaged in politics and the current culture? As followers of Jesus, what are our responsibilities in this realm as citizens of God’s Kingdom, and the kingdom of this world? Read the full article:
Following are some excerpts from the article:
“It has been said that “religion and politics don’t mix.” But is that really true? Can we have political views outside the considerations of our Christian faith? The answer is no, we cannot. The Bible gives us two truths regarding our stance toward politics and government.
- The will of God permeates and supersedes every aspect of life. God’s will takes precedence over everything and everyone. What He has purposed, He will bring to pass, and no government can thwart His will (Daniel 4:34-35). In fact, it is God who “sets up kings and deposes them” (Daniel 2:21), because “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Daniel 4:17). A clear understanding of this truth will help us see that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His will. Even though evil men abuse their political power toward their own end, meaning it for evil, God means it for good, “working all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
- must grasp the fact that our government cannot save us! Only God can! We never read in the New Testament of Jesus or any of the apostles expending time or energy schooling believers on how to reform the pagan world of its idolatrous, immoral, and corrupt practices via the government. The apostles never called for believers to demonstrate civil disobedience to protest the Roman Empire’s unjust laws or brutal schemes. Instead, the apostles commanded the first-century Christians, as well as us today, to proclaim the Gospel and demonstrate lives that give clear evidence to the Gospel’s transforming power.
The church’s unique, foremost God-given purpose does not lie in political activism or reform. Our mission lies in changing hearts through the Word of God, The Bible. When believers think the growth and influence of Christ can somehow be allied with government policy, they corrupt the mission of the church. Our Christian mandate is to spread the Gospel of Christ and to demonstrate His standards through our daily living. Only as the hearts of individuals in a culture are changed by Christ will the culture begin to reflect that change.
Believers throughout the ages have lived, and even flourished, under antagonistic, repressive, pagan governments. This was especially true of the first-century believers who, under merciless political regimes, sustained their faith under immense cultural stress. They understood that it was they, not their governments, who were the light of the world and the salt of the earth! They adhered to Paul’s teaching to obey their governing authorities, even to honor, respect, and pray for them (Romans 13:1-8). More importantly, they understood that, as believers, their hope resided in the protection that only God supplies. (The same applies to our Bridge partners, most of whom at this very moment live under repressive governments).
Perhaps the best way to understand our responsibilities in the social/cultural arena is to look to Jesus as our example. Jesus lived in one of history’s most corrupt societies. He did not come to earth to be a political or social reformer. Rather, He came to make new creatures (His people) holy through the saving power of the Gospel and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. When people’s hearts are changed by Christ, godly governments and institutions will follow. What we need is not better government, but redeemed men and women who make better leaders in government!We are to be IN the world, but not OF it! Part of being in the world is modeling Christ-likeness to the world and Christian love toward one another.
SO – HOW ARE WE THEN AS PEOPLE OF FAITH TO UNDERSTAND AND RESPOND TO TODAY’S ISSUES IN POLITICS AND CULTURE?
There is no question that the Judeo-Christian worldview and values have been the underpinning of Western civilization, which means the common values shared by Judaism and Christianity, as expressed in the Bible. It was the bedrock for the three documents you see here, The Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776), The Constitution (June 21, 1788), and The Bill of Rights (December 15, 1791). These three documents, collectively known as the Charters of Freedom, have guaranteed the rights and freedoms of Americans for over 200 years.
“WE THE PEOPLE… We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.“
Most of the Founders were not what we today call “born again believers”. Some of them even questioned the deity of Christ. Nevertheless, they understood that their society’s values and conduct were derived from the absolute moral laws of the Bible.
They believed that humans are created in the image of God, which led them to design institutions and laws meant to protect and promote human dignity. Because they were convinced that humans are sinful, they attempted to avoid the concentration of power by limiting the national government to carefully enumerated powers. The Founders were committed to liberty, but a liberty restrained by absolute moral laws. They never imagined that provisions of the Bill of Rights would be used to protect licentiousness. And they clearly thought moral considerations should inform legislation.
WHAT DOES THE ABOVE HAVE TO DO WITH CURRENT EVENTS, YOU MAY ASK. MY ANSWER: EVERYTHING!
We have just completed the most ugly, bruising, divisive, and cruel hearings in the confirmation of a new Justice, Brett Kavanaugh, to the Supreme Court. To understand what happened, a movement still growing in intensity, we have to see beyond the ugly rhetoric and conduct during this process. It drew deeper battle lines between the two political parties in Congress, the Democrats and the Republicans, and deepened the divide in the population, which had become more evident in the last two Presidential elections.
An intense war is raging in this country and throughout the Western world at large between two ideologies—not between the two kingdoms Jesus spoke of, “…My Kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36), and “…Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Mark 12:17) — but within the kingdom of this world on views of governance. The battle is between the Judeo-Christian World View, governed by the rule of law based on the Constitution, and the Secular Humanist World View, also called the Postmodern Neo-Marxist ideology, governed by situational ethics. That means there is no need for God, man needs no outward moral guidance or restraints; he has the power, wisdom, and ability within himself to establish new laws as society evolves and changes.
What made the Kavanaugh hearings so brutal was that his confirmation would result in a majority (5-4) among the Justices who interpret the law in light of the Constitution — a situation the opposition vehemently opposed. Their main fear, among other issues, is that the Court with Kavanaugh as the swing vote, might strike down the controversial Roe vs. Wade law on abortion. Several states permit a woman to terminate her baby up till the day of birth. In their fervor to win, politicians ignored a cornerstone in the law – from the Bill of Rights, which declares that all are equal before the law, and that a person is presumed innocent till proven guilty. They accused the nominee of improprieties without any shred of corroborating evidence! Kavanaugh was tried and found guilty in the court of public opinion, while the left-leaning press cheered on! In the end, Justice Kavanaugh was confirmed to the Supreme Court.
As the midterm election is less than a month away, the question remains—What kind of America do you want… one where the Constitution is respected and followed, especially by Supreme Court Justices committed in their rulings to uphold the American individual’s rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; where you have freedom to take personal responsibility for your life, and where honest, hard work is rewarded? … Or, a society where the government is run by an elite group of leaders who define the moral codes of their citizens by their own situational ethics and enforce political correctness according to their own ideas, and one in which you are dependent on the government for sustenance and direction for your life?
Politics do not work the righteousness of God, but a benevolent government will help believers lead “tranquil and quiet lives in all godliness and dignity” (1. Tim. 2:2). Good citizens of both the Kingdom of God and this world, should strive toward that.
My American friends: This nations stands at the edge of a fault line!
YOUR VOTE COUNTS ON NOVEMBER 6!!