Tuesday, July 15, 2008

John MacArthur: The Gospel and Politics

John MacArthur has done a great series at Pupit Magazine. I'd encourage you to give it a look.

Just a few observations that I will make. I do so, I think, because Christian Worldview Network has made an issue of John MacArthur's view on Christianity and politics. Apparently CWN thinks that MacArthur is going to embarrass the Body of Christ because of his views. They quote John MacArthur of saying that he isn't worried about Obama winning the election. Apparently, CWN thinks this is a derilection of duty on the part of MacArthur. I disagree.

As regenerate men and women, we are primarily citizens of a heavenly kingdom. As such, our charge is primarily a heavenly one. It is that of living a holy life and spreading the gospel.

Read the epistles. Were the Corinthians an example of godliness? No. No way. And what did Paul rebuke them for? Even more to the point, what didn't he rebuke them for? Certainly, he could have told them to be politically active to stop the corruption of the culture. He never did that. And in the seven letters to the churches, you don't see any rebuke at all about not "cleaning up society". It's about returning to first loves and obedience.

Yet listen to what passes as "Christian" radio. There is no end of programming that is constantly sending up flare after flare about "bill number 12345", and how "We all gotta get to our phones and call our congressmen or we'll lose our right to. . ." do whatever. Isn't that how the world works? That's certainly all they have!

You know what all this reminds me of? My preconversion days in 1998 when I became aware of the country's downward spiral. I remember being so upset about former president Clinton's executive order entitled "Federalism". And, in the earthly sense, it was scary. But my trust wasn't in Christ. At that time, my trust was in "we gotta save the country from the socialists". That is where my trust was. My trust isn't there now. It's in Christ. Do I still get some of those old spooky feelings that I got so long ago? Yes! But I realize that is a feeling of desperation that is my flesh fighting for control. We get scared because we think life should be like a Burger King where we "Have It Our Way".

Listen. It's not about "our rights". The Christian life is about maintaining our first love, living a holy life and spreading the Gospel. To the radio announcers who spend so much time promoting lobbying I would ask "How much time have you spent spreading the Gospel?" I don't mean talking about the Gospel, I mean actually going out of your way to spread the Gospel. If I had my way, I'd have a rule that says something like "For every congressman you call, you must first share the Gospel with five lost people". Of course, I can only apply that to myself. But to someone who would object, I'd have to ask "Why?".

I was reading around on various blogs recently. One commenter said in so many words that "the gospel isn't enough".

I beg to differ. Not only is the Gospel "enough", it's all we have! It is the Gospel that transforms a human heart. You can legislate all you want and produce an outward conformity to a list of rules but you haven't done what God has told us to do -- share a message that changes the human heart. And if you change the heart, the rest follows.

We have substituted outward morality for Godliness. In our efforts to win through political lobbying, we show that we are merely concerned with the outside of the cup. And if you clean the outside of the man, the inside still goes to hell without Christ.

Give them the Gospel. The heart changes. The desires change. The society changes. All according to God's will.

Vote? Sure! But I'm not sure that I will. If you do vote, vote biblically. That will be a tough decision for me. I feel strongly about the issue. But whether I vote or not, that doesn't mean I'll major on minors.

We render to the government what is required but we give to God what is God's. And I've yet to see where God requires us to reform our country from the outside in. Rather it is to be done from the inside out through the Gospel.