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One Moore thing

Applying a lesson from Alabama’s race to next year’s political season

One Moore thing

(Halfpoint/iStock)

The complicated relief after an acrimonious political race ends—whether you’re pleased or grieved at the results—is a temporary luxury in our year-round campaign seasons.

The bitter battle in Alabama between Roy Moore and Doug Jones seems over (unless Moore contests the results), but another round beckons: campaigning for mid-term elections starts, well, now.

You’ll hear plenty in 2018 about a civil war in the Republican Party over the kind of candidates the party should support and the kind of policies the GOP should promote. These are important arguments.

But there’s another civil war I’d like to see us avoid: the battle between evangelical Christians over political figures.

It happened last year: Christians lined up on opposite sides of the presidential conundrum and went as far as questioning each other’s salvation over whether a person supported, tolerated, or opposed then-candidate Donald Trump.

Sadly, it’s still happening. Raising reasonable questions about Roy Moore in the wake of troubling reports about his past raised the ire of some who equated supporting a Christian candidate with passing a Christian litmus test.

One angry Moore supporter told WORLD: “If you are truly born again, you would support him as well.”

On Thursday, The New York Times quoted Stephen Strang, the founder of the Christian publishing company Charisma Media, as saying those who worry Trump has tarnished the evangelical brand “are not really believers—they’re not with us, anyway.”

If that’s an accurate quote in an accurate context, it’s an alarming claim.

Christianity is about repentance and faith and Christ—not belief in political candidates or agendas. Let’s be clear about the Biblical teaching on salvation, especially for the sake of many unbelievers unclear on the subject: Salvation is a spiritual condition, not a political proposition.

Christianity is about repentance and faith and Christ—not belief in political candidates or agendas.

Political beliefs and other personal convictions flow downstream from a clear commitment to Christ who saves us from our sins by grace alone through faith alone to the glory of God alone.

Yes, true faith bears fruit, and it has implications for how we order our lives, even in the political realm. We should take this seriously.

But support for certain principles is different than support for specific people. Holding fast to pro-life, pro-marriage beliefs might not automatically equal supporting every person who might agree with those principles, no matter what.

Christians often disagree about how this should play out. There is room for differences about political pragmatism versus political purism and whatever might be in between. We can hold our ground vigorously and debate charitably.

But what unites us as believers is the teaching of the Scriptures about believing in Christ and proclaiming Him before the world. This is what informs our creeds and our confessions that cross millennia and transcend the momentary political powers of successive ages.

The Jews living in Jesus’ day longed for a Messiah who would deliver them from the political oppression they endured in that moment. But when an unnerved Pontius Pilate asked Jesus if He was the king of the Jews, Jesus told him plainly: “My kingdom is not of this world.”

That didn’t mean his teachings had nothing to say about how we should conduct ourselves in the world, but it did mean His primary concern wasn’t securing the Israelites’ best life now by setting up a political reign in that moment.

His plan was much larger and it transcended every political era and extended to every race of man.

The plan didn’t unfold as anyone expected. But it was much better than anyone could have imagined. That’s what we celebrate this month as we contemplate the incarnation of Christ. And with a rough-and-tumble political season ahead in 2018, it’s worth carrying the celebration into the New Year.

Consider cranking up Handel’s Messiah in January: “The kingdom of this world; is become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.”

Comments

  • Wayne Asbury
    Posted: Fri, 12/15/2017 07:20 pm

    Timely and wise.  Thanks for the reminder that what really matters is our being the salt and light Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:13-15.

  • One of Many
    Posted: Sat, 12/16/2017 07:49 am

    Exactly.  Thank you.  

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Sat, 12/16/2017 10:07 am

    It is a shame that this article even needed to be written. But alas it did and you said it well. But it reminds me of the human condition. We are sinners saved by grace. And though we are working out our salvation and growing and becoming more like Christ we have not arrived. One way this plays out in daily life is when we have these petty, and worse, disagreements and name calling. But, again, thanks for this article.

  • Midwest preacher
    Posted: Sun, 12/17/2017 07:10 am

    Another thing I have noticed is the tendency of some to support everything their leader does.  We need to be willing to criticize the "mistakes" of our own chosen leader.  Since we are forced to vote for imperfect folks we need to be ready to acknowledge their mistakes.  We should not jump on either band wagon but look carefully at the facts and make sound prayerful decisions. Christians should, in my opinion, never even come close to thinking they are electing a savior by voting for one who is mearly human. And, yes, sometimes we may have to hold our nose and vote.  Thank you!   

  • Paul B. Taylor's picture
    Paul B. Taylor
    Posted: Sat, 12/23/2017 11:32 pm

    I think that a lot of the accusations about sexual misconduct are baseless and false.  Their next step is to impeach President Trump with false and baseless accusations.  I conjecture that it is part of a revolution, a socialist revolution.  Even tonight, I heard a liberal woman boasting that that is what they are going to do to President Trump.  As always before, the chief weapon against liberals is prayer. 

    As a caveat, when liberals say that they are secularists, they are really giving more legitimacy to liberalism.  Their hope is that their world view will be the "default setting" in politics because they are "secular" which, in the final analysis, is a rejection of true religion or real Christianity.  Reduce Chrisianity to a product of ignorance and superstition and you are left with a complete acceptance of secularism.  This is what our kids in public schools are being brainwashed to think. 

    As a reply to the following contribution, I think that the athiest world view does come into play in class rooms that are more intelligent; however, in others there is more of an emotional response to Christianity.  Certainly, the religion that they are espousing is atheism, but they don't yet know it.

    My idea is that the classroom, when discussing Christianity, is taken by a kind of psychosis that is anti-Christian or anti-Christian psychosis.  The emotions that are brought forth by those discussions are not rational so that they cannot apply reason to true religion, and then there is an attempt to have a complete rejection of Christianity from their thoughts. 

    I think that this kind of behavioral phenomenon is very symptomatic of the beginning of a socialist revolution, especially in the great country of America where we have a history of a kind of Protestant order that guides all of our thought, so that Protestant order is a large part of the foundation of our government and society.

    The socialists would then want to overthrow that foundation to establish a new order.  I agree with President Reagan that this new order brought about by revolution is inherently evil, and I think it was Dostoyevsky who made the comment that, without God, all things are permissible.  That is essentially a statement of the resulting new morality of an evil socialist state.

  • Bob C
    Posted: Sun, 12/24/2017 08:13 am

    Mr. Taylor I agree with you, but add that they claim validity to secularism because it is neutral where religion is concerned, that is a lie.  Secularism is just as religious as any other belief.  I believe the foundational values in secularism is Humanism or Materialism or something similar, all foundational to the religion of Atheism. Thus, we can identified the real agenda hiding in secularism.  Avoidance of religion is impossible.    

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Mon, 12/18/2017 02:07 am

    What amazes me is the willingness to abandon a brother in Christ who is being attacked by godless atheists who are bent on eliminating the Christian viewpoint from society. Roy Moore has stood against the elimination of the judeo-Christian standard by fighting for the Ten Commandments. Certainly the battle is symbolic in nature but the fact that the Supreme Court has eliminated the ten commandments from the public square shows the danger we are in as our Christian liberties are slowly being eroded and eliminated. Roy Moore has also stood for marriage as defined between a man and a woman. The homosexual lobby and the left have gone after him and basically won with the support of many "Christians". The Bible tells us that we will know believers by their fruits. If their fruit is bad fruit we should ask serious questions about where they are at spiritually. This IS biblical! 

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Thu, 12/28/2017 12:17 am

    Will World Magazine report on this development?

    http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/365068-exclusive-prominent-la...

    Lisa Bloom's mother is Gloria Allred who brought forward the Beverly Nelson allegations against Judge Roy Moore!  Was Beverly Nelson also paid off? And the other women?

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sun, 01/07/2018 11:38 pm

    Sad to say World never reported on this when this sheds light on what is really happening behind the scenes - women are being paid off to make allegations of sexual misconduct.  Lisa Bloom, a lawyer, worked to find woman who had allegations against Trump and was offering significant money in exchange for them to make statements in public.  Her mother is Gloria Allred who worked bringing forward the charges of misconduct against Judge Roy Moore.  Specifically, she had the press conference where Beverly Nelson made the allegations of Moore attempting to force her to perform oral sex many years ago when she was a young girl. Why should we not suspect the other women were also paid off? Does World Magazine feel they have no ethical responsibility to report on this development?  Is this Christian when they allowed so much slander to be said about Roy Moore?