DanaBonhoeffer posted a comment · Oct 20, 2018
And, if we believe the world is too powerful for us and we need the government to fight for us, then the Word seems to lose its power. I believe in stepping out of my comfort zone to play my part in Christ's body. In doing so, I have gotten to see miracles. God is powerful and faithful!
DanaBonhoeffer posted a comment · Oct 20, 2018
Alan Dodd and Daniel434 both make good points. Our nation is suffering. I would briefly say that the health of the Church is more important than that of our political system. If the Church is not practicing love, justice, compassion, kindness and humility (Micah 6:8), we should not be working so hard to make sure that the government does it for us.
Alan Dodd posted a comment · Oct 20, 2018
Too long for a comment, Dana. Your many words end up neutering any action. I read a quote once that went something like, “If you can see all sides of an issue you are ineffective because you get lost in a maze of fine distinctions.” Our survival as a decent nation is at stake. One can be decisive and take quick action, even drastic action if necessary, without compromising values.
Daniel434 posted a comment · Oct 19, 2018
Excellent post, Dana. However, I do feel we need a bulwark to slow the raging torrent of secular liberalism and the Trump administration is doing a great job. I love the administration, I do not love Trump. I wish he would change, and I will continue to pray for him to do so, but it doesn't seem likely. I do think the dog catcher analogy is a bit flawed, but I understand Dr. Brown's point. As a Christian I still find it hard to root for Trump, so instead I just root for his administration, not necessarily him as an individual. He has put some great people around him, too bad they all keep leaving! I will sorely miss Nikki Haley. As Christians we all should pray for Trump but make sure we are not so invested in politics that we miss out on the Kingdom of God.
Sharon C posted a comment · Oct 19, 2018
I very much agree with you, Dr. Brown. I fasted and prayed AGAINST Donald Trump many times during the primaries. But I've come to believe that God had a purpose - a good purpose - for putting him into his position. I also pray regularly for him to truly come to faith in Christ. In addition to standing with evangelical Christians, his administration seems to seriously care about religious liberty issues and persecution, both in the U.S. and world-wide.
DanaBonhoeffer posted a comment · Oct 18, 2018
Dr. Brown, Recently, you shared this analogy: There are a bunch of rabid pit bulls biting children. There is no town dog-catcher, but two candidates emerge. One is the nicest guy in the world but couldn’t harm a fly. The other is as nasty as they come and could catch a dog with his teeth. Who would you vote for? Your offered answer—vote nasty over nice—fails for several reasons. Firstly, it lacks imagination. After reading that scenario, three alternative solutions immediately came to mind. One weakness of our two-party system (which also has strengths) is the default to binary solutions. God calls us to a wisdom that is not of this world (1 Cor 2) and also asks us to be renewed in our minds (Rom 12:2, Eph 4:23; also see Ephesians 2:1-10). Secondly, it passes the buck. There was a reason that Jesus did not simply try to convince Pilate or Herod to make life better for the Jews. Instead, Jesus worked with a group of ordinary men whom He trained to change the world. For too long, American Christians have looked for a “dog catcher” to do the work that God calls the church to do. For Jesus, the easy option is often the wrong choice. Think of what Jesus said to His disciples when they asked Him to send people away to buy food (Luke 9:13). Jesus works through the church, His body, and we should not expect government to save us—as you aptly shared in your post about God, not politics, saving our nation (I agree! John 14:16). Thirdly, the analogy uses fear to eclipse the big picture. To the religious leaders of his day, Jesus said, “These you ought to have done [i.e., following religious laws], without neglecting the others [“justice and the love of God”]”. This pit-bull analogy obscures other important issues: moral leadership, civility, mutual responsibility, etc. by overlaying them with one frightening problem [whatever happened to those who value Micah 6:8?]. The Bible repeatedly calls believers to “not be afraid” (i.e., Joshua 1:9 and many, many others) and yet many church-goers allow fear and self-interest to tempt them into overlooking vital godly values and thus dishonoring the Gospel. In a recent post, you reasoned that evangelical support for Dennis Hof may have crossed the line because Hof was “actively” sinning, as opposed to President Donald Trump. However, I beg you to see that this is a false line of division that offends many people against whom the President has sinned while in office through his lies (> 5,000 and counting), racist and misogynistic statements & policies, degradation of the poor, separation of children from parents (see Jer 7:6, Ezekiel 22:7 & 29, Zech 7:10, Malachi 3:5), personal insults, advocacy of murderous despots and the promotion of false religion through friendship with prosperity gospel leaders, among others. It would be clearly false to say that Hof’s sexual sins were somehow more disqualifying than the President’s many current bald-faced transgressions (see James 2:1-13). Fourthly, it makes Christians seem no different than non-Christians (Eph 5:7-9). Choosing nasty over nice sends the message that the ends justify the means and that character is of no value. This confirms the belief that current American Christians would reject Jesus for their leader if He were to appear in the flesh right now. A nasty dog catcher might get rid of the pit bulls but would also teach the children to value a Judas over Jesus—among other sins. About leadership, see Psalm 49:20, Proverbs 28:2, Isaiah 14:4-6, Daniel 9:12, Hosea 17:19 & 13:10, Micah 3:1-12, Matthew 20:25, Luke 22:26, Romans 13:3. Some have argued that Jesus would not have the right character to govern in our current social climate and political system. This line of reasoning fails to recognize that our current governing system is fallen and that trying to use this ungodly and unbiblical system to save our country is a pipe dream, especially for those who believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation. Christians should not be partners with darkness (Eph 5:7 & 11)! Yes, God did use evil or fallen rulers to accomplish His ends (Gideon, Jephthah, Samson and others), but those men were also cautionary tales. They were men whose rule often resulted in terrible consequences later to their nations. The context of their rule was often that of punishment for their followers (e.g., during the captivity). When despots were beneficent, God’s people were to thank God for His mercy rather than simply overlook the fact that they also suffered injustices and humiliations from those ungodly leaders. They were to wait for their deliverance from God rather than trust worldly rulers to save them. One of the underlying mistakes that I hear among U.S. evangelical leaders is the belief that the “culture wars” should be seen as a zero-sum game. This is the same kind of thinking that I have seen overseas among Muslim and communist leaders in their intolerance for dissent. The idea that any backsliding or change in our larger society must be a defeat for the church is a lie. Even if the whole world falls away, the church must stand its ground and not wring its hands over the kingdom of darkness. If we truly believe that we are light and have the truth, there is no command in the Bible for us to try to use the world’s methods and might to change non-believers to be like us (2 Cor 10:4, Eph 6:12). I have personally witnessed God’s power and testify to His ability to conquer through ordinary people and weakness (see 1 Cor 15:43, 2 Cor 13:4, Heb 11:34) rather than political rulers and secular power. In addition, the Bible explicitly says that our enemy, Satan, disguises himself as an agent of light (2 Cor 11:14). How are Christians to discern attempts to seduce them to darkness if they promote—not just accept with resignation—agents of darkness who are their leaders? Any student of history can look at the United States today and foresee how the church will easily fall under the sway of the AntiChrist in the end times. Christians should not ally themselves unequally to secular authorities (1 Cor 6:14; also see “Blinded by the Might” by Cal Thomas and “Tempting Faith” by David Kuo) and expect that all will be fine. How much damage will future historians say that the U.S. church has and will sustain from its current abdication of duty in favor of the government and secular leaders? More could be said, but how should we respond to our responsibilities as citizens? To your credit, you wrote elsewhere that politics will not save us. I agree, but would add that relying on political might could also doom us. Thinking about the culture wars as if political leadership were the only solution is worse than futility. Rather, we should prioritize the role of the church as healer and minister to the world for this is God’s intention (Eph 3:10 and many others). As much as possible, we should align ourselves with leaders who manifest Christ and the Gospel rather than egotism, might and nasty dispositions—even if those leaders do NOT seem effective from a worldly point of view!
J.C. posted a comment · Oct 16, 2018
Great article Dr. Brown...reflects a lot of my own thoughts on why I voted for Trump and continue to support him. I backed Ben Carson during the primaries and when he endorsed Trump rather than Cruz that made me think that maybe he knew something that I didn't (or maybe Trump promised him a cabinet position and Cruz didn't!?!) Also, the love and support Trump received from his children and how successful and well-spoken they are made a very positive impression on me. It made me think that Trump may have been a very less than ideal husband, but at least he seemed to be a pretty good father. He reminds me a little bit of my own dad (minus the billions of dollars).