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One of the crucial political dramas being played out at this moment is not in Illinois but in Texas, as the battle for speaker of the House rages. With the Republicans having lost seats in the last election, resulting in a close 76-74 majority, the fracturing of the conservatives began, and the liberals are more than eager to seize the moment for a “bipartisan consensus” candidate.
For those new to the political process, whenever you hear “bipartisan” or “consensus” from liberals, it without exception means that conservatives yield power and agenda to them. As we like to ask, what is the bottom line in the philosophical battle for control even in the conservative bastion of the Lone Star State?
Our foundations are crumbling because we somehow think we can simply reason our way to right principles without God in the equation. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, in his last book, “The Great Evangelical Disaster,” gave us another gem: “The Reformation with its emphasis upon the Bible, in all that it teaches, as being the revelation of God, provided a freedom in society and yet a form in society as well. Thus, there were freedoms in Reformation countries (such as the world had never known before) without those freedoms leading to chaos – because both laws and morals were surrounded by a consensus resting upon what the Bible taught.”
One of the greatest tragedies of the 20th and early 21st century is the collapse of a Judeo-Christian consensus in America, which has resulted in spiritual, moral, societal and political chaos. Why has this occurred? Far too often those Christians who felt called to the battle to restore this consensus and the biblical foundations of the church and our culture have looked “in all the wrong places” as to the source of the problem.
Just as a mistaken medical diagnosis leads to erroneous treatment, so can our cultural and political diagnoses if we overlook the real “disease.”
Schaeffer’s “last words” are a call to the church to reject the “sacred vs. secular dichotomy” embraced by most evangelicals and once again embrace the concept that God’s authority and the Lordship of Jesus Christ cover ALL of creation and EVERY area of His followers’ lives – including our responsibilities as stewards of that creation.
Under the biblically flawed view of “compassion,” we are now asking the government to do what God gave the individual and/or the church to do, tolerating or embracing ungodly lifestyles and refusing to be “controversial.” The downward spiral effect of this “tolerant” approach, which in evangelism attempts to find the most “attractive” means to reach the lost, is that as the culture has drifted further away from the Judeo-Christian consensus, so has the church in order to “reach” it.
As a result, pastors and laymen who bring biblical standards of righteousness and justice into the arena of societal morality and governing as mandated by Scripture are not only criticized and opposed from the world, they often receive the same response from fellow believers and pastoral peers.
Abhorring evil and clinging to what is good (Romans 12:9) by opposing those evils and promoting what God calls good is ministry born of love of God and love of our neighbor – not “politics”! Just what is ministry?
MINISTER, n. [L.] Properly, a chief servant; hence, an agent appointed to transact or manage business under the authority of another; in which sense, it is a word of very extensive application (Webster 1828 Dictionary). As relates to government, Romans 13 clearly provides an understanding of God’s limited purpose of governing authority. The term “minister” is used in verse 4 as part of that description, using the Greek word: Diakonos (dee-ak’-on-os) – “one who executes the commands of another, esp. of a master, a servant, attendant, minister; the servant of a king.”
The words Diakonos and Diakaneo appear a combined total of 59 times in the New Testament, including the familiar passage in Matthew 20:26: “It is not so among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your (diakonos) servant.” I doubt that any believer would disagree that Christians should be servants.
If it is appropriate for a mature Christian to have a pet peeve, mine is the often-used term that someone was “called to the ministry.” The unofficial evangelical definition of that term applies to those called to serve as pastors or missionaries, therefore clearly implying that all believers NOT in those areas of calling are not in “The Ministry.” If you are a sincere, practicing, born-again Christian, you are in “The Ministry”!
Biblically, civil rulers are servants, and since all civil authority is granted by and accountable to God (God grants this authority to man beginning in Genesis 9:6), the purpose of civil authority is indeed to “minister.”
Is it possible for this ministry to be conducted properly by those who don’t believe in the God who gave the authority and who “made the rules” or by those who claim to believe but have rejected His ability to provide His word to the world without error? Not consistently and not effectively.
All of the ballot initiatives in the world cannot make up for a lack of emphasis on this standard in the hearts of the people and in our choices for elected leaders. As we prepare for a new Congress and state legislatures around the country to convene, let’s hold them accountable to the standard while pressing forward with a renewed commitment to restoring the “… consensus resting upon what the Bible taught”!