Video - Jim Wallis and Richard Land differ on causes of the deficit, Christian response

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Neither of them seems to be grasping where prosperity comes from. It does not come from government redistribution, however justified that may be at times. The root problem here is lack of prosperity and a messed up relationship between citizen productivity and government spending. You just can't keep taking from people's earnings to fund more and more government distribution.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JobK's picture

Government spending, government deficits, government programs, those are issues for Caesar. At most, they should be the concern of individual Christians who choose government service, or who follow politics out of personal interest or as a hobby (although I would suggest bicycling, gardening or fishing as far superior ways to engage one's time and energy). But it is not an issue for the church. Getting the church into politics and activism has two dangers. The first danger is that government policy and political ideology winds up influencing theology (and we cannot deny that such has happened, whether the churches are politically or theologically liberal or conservative). The second danger is that it is so much easier to get involved in politicking than actual Christian activities, i.e. evangelism and discipleship. Lots of folks who get real bold and passionate about opposing abortion and homosexual "marriage", marching for "civil rights", doing sit-ins and boycotts, attending Tea Party rallies, Democratic or Republican events, or the whole "We Stand With Israel" won't so much as pass out gospel tracts in their own neighborhood. Give Christians something to do other than the gospel, and 90% of them will choose that "something else" 90% of the time.

I acknowledge that it is a real shame what is happening to our government and society. But the church has no mandate to deal with issues in larger society. With all due respect to my brethren who have tendencies towards covenant theology, that's Judaism and Islam, not Christianity.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Job, if the Bible was silent on these subjects, I'd agree with you, but we are not free to take anything the Book teaches and choose not to apply it to the choices in front of us. It's all there to be understood and used as part of Christ's lordship over our lives.
If Scripture commends a particular understanding of labor and prosperity, we ought to uphold and promote that idea. If the Bible commends a particular view of what the purpose of government is, we ought to uphold and promote government's focus on that role. Likewise for all of the questions of social ethics.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

JobK's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:
Job, if the Bible was silent on these subjects, I'd agree with you, but we are not free to take anything the Book teaches and choose not to apply it to the choices in front of us. It's all there to be understood and used as part of Christ's lordship over our lives.
If Scripture commends a particular understanding of labor and prosperity, we ought to uphold and promote that idea. If the Bible commends a particular view of what the purpose of government is, we ought to uphold and promote government's focus on that role. Likewise for all of the questions of social ethics.

If the context is personal Christian living, how a pastor should teach his congregation, and how a husband/father should teach and instruct his household, you are correct. But that is the church. We are speaking of the state. The Bible does not tell us to uphold or promote anything concerning the state. Social ethics ... where does the Bible tell us to promote or advocate social ethics in larger society, outside the church, amongst the unregenerate?

You have Old Testament Israel. God gave Israel the Sinai covenant not for them to go teach economic, moral and social principles to the Canaanites, Midianites and Egyptians, but for their own holiness and worship of God. The same is so with the church. The great commission does not consist of giving the unregenerate Biblical principles to live by, and the Bible gives the church no charge or command concerning the unregenerate save the great commission, and also living blamelessly among them.

"If Scripture commends a particular understanding of labor and prosperity, we ought to uphold and promote that idea."

Why? What good does it do? What purpose does it serve? How does doing so constitute laboring for the kingdom of heaven? What effects or rewards will doing this reap the believer in eternity? And how does it win converts among the unconverted?

"If the Bible commends a particular view of what the purpose of government is, we ought to uphold and promote government's focus on that role."

The Bible tells us nothing concerning government save its powers are ordained of God, and that God uses government to restrain evil. This is so for a number of models of governance ruling any number of cultures, societies, economies etc. Further, God uses government to accomplish this in nations that have no Christians in them at all, let alone in any position to guide or influence the government. Also, from the Bible it is clear that the governments and economies of Babylon, Assyria, and the Roman Empire were quite different from the commands which God gave, yet there was no command given or effort undertaken to conform those pagan governments to God's revelation to Israel or the church.

We should not be in the business of giving pearls to pigs. It is not the intended, proper use of the pearls, and pearls are of no real use or benefit to pigs anyway. God's Word is for the instruction, feeding and governance of God's sheep. The idea that it has a wider purpose or application is basically theological liberalism that takes the position that the Bible contains values, ethics, principles etc. that the human race can use to improve itself without submitting itself to the Lord who gave the divine revelation. God's word is made effectual within believers through faith in God's word and by the power of God's Spirit in accordance to God's will. Absent God's Spirit, God's will, God's power and faith in these things, it is a form of godliness while denying the power thereof. It reminds me of how prosperity preacher Paula White would go on the Larry King show and tell people that one didn't have to be a Christian in order to gain prosperity by following her teachings, because her teachings were based on the Bible. A common example of this with prosperity teachers like White is Oprah Winfrey, who apparently tithes and does other religious works. Taking a pearl and trying to give it to a pig.

Solo Christo, Soli Deo Gloria, Sola Fide, Sola Gratia, Sola Scriptura
http://healtheland.wordpress.com

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

If ours was a monarchy or dictatorship, I could understand not attempting to influence gov't. But our gov't is a representative republic, which puts the responsibility for correct governing on the people. WE shape our gov't. Since I am people, and I am a Christian, I have a responsibility to influence gov't in a way that is consistent with Biblical principle. Playing Robin Hood is not consistent with Scripture. Period.

God forbid people be responsible for their own lives- food, clothing, and shelter, or that companies make a profit. http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys.php ][img ]http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-confused002.gif[/img ] My stomach was turning listening to these guys talk as if they had a clue.

Reading assignment- http://www.amazon.com/Basic-Economics-Common-Sense-Economy/dp/0465002609 ]Basic Economics by Thomas Sowell.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Job, I'm asking the question from the other direction, where does the Bible tell us not to care about what's happening outside the church?
But as to why we should, volumes could be written... and I've written a fair amount about that here at SI in various places.

A few reasons that come quickly to mind:

An argument from love: we are to love neighbor as self (whether regenerate or not). Among other things, this means desiring for them what we would for ourselves. We want to prosper. We should want our neighbors to prosper.

An argument from parenthood: parents have the responsibility to care for their children and prepare for the future. Public policy has a huge impact on what sort of world my kids and grandkids will live in in the future.

An argument from testimony: we're called to let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father. Admittedly, this one is complex. Good works often don't look like good works until you have eyes to see them for what they are... and the glorifying of our Father may happen later rather than sooner. Still the call is there and opportunity is there.

An argument from history: the case has been made that true Christian faith thrives in a culture that is more Christian than not.

Out of time, but there is much more.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.