Responsible Christian Citizens In A Constitutional Republic

On my desk right now is The Voice of the Martyrs magazine that reports on the plight of Christians in countries that do not practice a government by and for the people. Today I’m reading about Hindu radicals attacking and killing Christians, about eight year old Nankpak who watched his mother lie face down on the ground pretending to be dead as screaming Islamic extremists surrounded her, about 10 year old Luis and his brother, who hid under their bed from guerrilla fighters who were mercilessly killing Christians in their village, and about Christian children who have been attacked in their homes by mobs led by Buddhist monks.

The difference between these situations and those of us Christians living in America is the Judeo-Christian culture and the constitutional government from which we all benefit. So, I’m never upset by the results of fair, legal elections in the United States. I’m grateful. And considering the plight of Christians in other nations, I’m not sympathetic to the whiners, on either side of our political debates.

Politics matter, and elections are important. Political ideas lead to benefits or consequences; and political policies lead to prosperity or poverty, responsibility or dependence, peace and safety or rebellion and mayhem.

My personal political philosophy is based on ideas that I believe provide the most opportunity, along with the most goods and services for the most people, at the best value. I’m not a communist or socialist because I believe those ideas create poverty, discourage innovation, and limit opportunity. Simply put, I’m a conservative Republican. I like that we are a republic and not a simple democracy. Some might see me as fiscally conservative and socially moderate, but I’m a strict constitutionalist and believe that we are a nation of laws that should be enforced equally and uniformly, regardless of who is in office. I am a law and order guy. I want the judiciary to be independent and the economy to be based on free and fair markets with free and fair trade. I believe in opportunity. I like good government that does what it does well, but not expansive government with excessive intrusion. Why? Because I believe individuals, and the businesses and benevolent organizations they form, provide most of the goods and services we all need.

I’ve seen the consequences of naïve political policies. I’ve led believer’s meetings in Communist countries, Islamic countries, socialist countries, secular-humanist countries, and so-called Christian countries. Most Christian people are wonderful people wherever you find them, but the political and cultural differences they have to deal with are remarkably diverse, and sometimes deeply painful.

Which brings me to my point: since I am a Christian, my faith informs my politics. I know a quality political philosophy is good for all of our citizens and for the world; it’s not just for guys like me. So we need to be competent thinkers when it comes to assessing our politics . . . especially when political activists use our religious leaders to mobilize voters.

Bear with me now, and think with me, for a few paragraphs.

In this last election, Bible-believing Christians passionately participated on both sides of our democratic debate.

The confessing Christian, Hillary Clinton, who carries a Bible, forgave her one and only husband’s infidelities and says she stayed in her marriage because of her Christian faith, who regularly quotes Scripture with accuracy and familiarity, and who is an active member of the Methodist Church, lost. Politically, she’s liberal.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, who has children by all three of his wives, who claims to have never asked God for forgiveness, who is an inactive Presbyterian who attended church with regularity only when his father took him as a child to hear Norman Vincent Peale’s messages on positive thinking, and who does not know the meaning of the bread and wine at church, won. Politically, he ran as a conservative.

Political elections are primarily about political ideology. With a high percentage of our population being people of faith, faith leaders often use their influence to convince their followers that God has chosen the candidate that aligns with their own political ideology.

And sadly, faith leaders often willingly participate because they deeply long to be influential and powerful. They want their followers to believe political leaders respect them, so a photo op for many religious leaders is like whisky for an alcoholic. Many religious leaders, especially media driven religious leaders, thrive on media impressions of influence.

It’s all part of persuasion.

We must be above all of that.

Let’s all go to church this week and be responsible Jesus followers. Let’s be wise citizens, not rabid activists. Regardless of what the nations do, we know how to be the church in the midst of it all. We know how to be steady, wise, consistent, contented, and faithful. Let’s be Responsible Christian Citizens in our Constitutional Republic.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Responsible Christian Citizens In A Constitutional Republic

  1. Ted, you always make me think. Once again, very good.

  2. mary ader says:

    Thanks pastor Ted . Your message has been very timely and helpful for me.😊

  3. Tony Soewignjo says:

    Agree. Let’s become a responsible Jesus follower.

  4. Barb says:

    Ted, most of what you wrote makes perfect sense, but I’m a bit confused about the rest. You say you consider yourself to be a conservative Republican, and that fits with the part that makes sense to me. But your description of Hillary makes her out to be harmless, Christian, and to be commended for not leaving her adulterous husband. She quotes scripture and attends a church. There’s nothing negative in the description. You left out the facts about lying to the senate committee investigating the Benghazi tragedy, her statements about how it’s ok to abort babies including those who are full term, but haven’t been born yet,, and the very questionable finances of the Clinton Foundation, etc. That’s lying, killing, and stealing…all things Christians don’t believe in.

    Your description of Trump is totally negative. He may have children from three wives, but at least he believes in marriage and his kids weren’t aborted. Yes, he seems to be uneducated about Christianity. However, he believes in upholding the Constitution, he is against abortion, he wants to stop the trend of removing God from everything and everywhere. Yes, he speaks before thinking, but he’s adamant about protecting our borders and upholding the laws of our nation.

    It seems that you were saying that Hillary Clinton is a Christian because she says she is and she goes through the motions…making her the better choice. Donald Trump, on the other hand, you describe as having several wives (not at the same time), being unrepentant, ignorant of Christian teachings, and yet calls himself a conservative. I think you don’t like Trump, and you are in denial about Hillary’s evil beliefs. Trump says what’s on his mind, and you never have to wonder where he stands. At the same time, Hillary lies and ignores the laws of the land.

    Please tell me my interpretations are wrong, and that’s not what you were saying or implying. I enjoy reading your blogs, and this is the first time I’ve been confused about the message.

    Blessings,
    Barb

    • M. says:

      Dear Barb, I think you misunderstood the intention of this post. You seem to be somewhat blinded by your own preference of Trump over Hillary, maybe that’s why you have a hard time accepting two rather value-neutral descriptions of their respectively claimed adherence to the ‘Christian tribe’ or body of Christ? I do not see that Ted Haggard does ‘not like’ Trump, nor do I read that he is in ‘denial’ of ‘Hillary’s evil beliefs’ (what is that supposed to mean anyway?). Instead, he’s saying that Hillary openly claims to belong to us, whereas Trump openly doesn’t, which is true in both cases. (The truth of both of their hearts is only revealed to God, of course). If you prefer Trump because his ideology is more congruent with yours, so be it. But don’t try to paint a portrait of him being somehow morally superior to Hillary Clinton, because that’s simply not the case. I think Pastor Ted’s blog post is a careful reminder that being in this world but not of it can get quite tricky at times 🙂
      Blessings, M

    • Jay Arnn says:

      Imagine how difficult it must have been for the Jew or the Gentile to be told to trust in a foreign leader, a Cesar in Rome – but that is exactly what Paul asked the people to do in Romans 13:1-2: (NKJV) Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. I agree that the translation is a little off from the original Greek, but the idea is crystal clear. The true power is from Heaven, from our Heavenly Father, and for those that are in power, they are in power because it was ordained by God for the purpose of ultimate good. What it doesn’t mean, is that God’s choice make sense to us – only that it fulfills His greater purpose which is good.
      Making a choice based on what we know, or what we think we know based on current political actions or news reports (although probably the best we can do in this age) the economy and other indicators should not divide Christians because of several facts:
      Fact 1: No one is good except God. Luke 18:19 where Jesus corrects the ruler who calls Him, good teacher.
      Fact 2: Our authority resides in Heaven on the right hand side of God: Jesus is our propitiator to the highest authority – God. 1 John 2:2
      Fact 3: Do not love or conform to this world because our reward is much greater. 1 John 2:15 and Romans 2:12.

      Really what we, as Christians, should be doing – pray that God grants those in authority wisdom to make the right decisions for all of us – because in the end – God so love the world that all may be saved – God wants all His children to come home – not just some – so when we self righteously call someone evil – please remember that there are none good but God – this came from Jesus so you can put that in the bank as truth.

      Kind regards a brother in Christ,
      J Arnn

  5. Steve says:

    Ted, wonderful! everything about about this article!!!

  6. Diane says:

    While I just watched the HBO documentary on you I looked you up and found this blog. I am not a religious person but do believe we live our own heaven and hell right here on earth. I found your resilience quite remarkable, in all you have been through. We all need acceptance and forgiveness. I’m sorry your church never forgave you for what they called was sinful.
    Our sins as some would say, are all different. Donald Trump sins different than Hillary Clinton. He chooses to have sex with women outside of his multiple marriages and seems to have no problem taking money from people to fatten his pot, i.e. Trump University, and his many other unscrupulous schemes to get more of the almighty dollar. Hillary Clinton likes to make money too, but I did see she tried to help the poor. The Clinton foundation does good for many people, including providing AIDS medication to 90% of the population of all of the AIDS victims. She believes in education, freedom of religion, not just one, and many other attributes
    We have disrespected our presidents for so many years, I always wonder why anyone would want to lead our fine nation. Integrity means a lot. If you would live your life like Mr. Trump then he must be your leader and I feel he will take our nation to a place we have never seen. When three dictators called to congratulate him on his victory it says something to the people of America. I too believe in our constitution and hope our congress and house uphold our laws.
    Your heart is kind, I wish you the best in your life to come. Live your days full, as it looks like you are doing!

  7. Hayward wilson says:

    Excellent points Ted. I share nearly everything you wrote. A really clear headed explanation.

  8. Jay Arnn says:

    It is evident that our world will become darker in the final days:

    Isaiah 5:20 How horrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn what is bitter into something sweet and what is sweet into something bitter.

    Proverbs 2:13-14 These men turn from the right way to walk down dark paths. They take pleasure in doing wrong, and they enjoy the twisted ways of evil.

    Psalm 82:5 But these oppressors know nothing; they are so ignorant! They wander about in darkness, while the whole world is shaken to the core.

    However, for the Christian, there is hope (not secular hope where a person wishes a good thing might transpire, but biblical hope of a surety) in Christ Jesus. The faith we are given through Christ Jesus starts with the living word, which echoes within us, because we were created to live in a cycle of love with our Creator, God. He redeemed us through the Sacrifice and tore down the veil which separated us. Now we enjoy sonship and walk in favor through His unmerited favor (something we do not earn) and grace. We are in the Light and the Light is in us – therefore we are in the world and not of the world. These things which happen in the world, do not have power over us – Isaiah 54:17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants (this word in Hebrew is EBED, which is translated poorly in the KJV. EBED better translates to worshiper) of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.

    Remember who you are to our Lord: You were so worthy and so loved, that God sacrifice His only Son so that you could gain sonship and inheritance which is righteousness, eternal life and glory in reverence to the Lord, but also you have the blessings of an abundant life on earth during your life here – not as a test and not as punishment, but to develop and sustain a loving relationship with your Heavenly Father who thinks the world of you. As for the world, the politics, and the law – the law is not for the righteous, 1 Timothy 1:9 and you were made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ. So, when you hear troubling things in the world, when you see troubling images, and when read troubling words, remember who you are in Jesus and that this world cannot harm you, for you, even at your darkest moment, was the beloved of God, and He is well pleased with you.

    God bless you and keep you,
    J Arnn

  9. It is really quite simple. Which platform supports our values and morals as Christians? Hilary Clinton stands for everything opposite that I as a Christian have been raised to value including valuing life and being anti abortion. I also ask my fellow christians who support a platform that goes against everything we believe when we have our “spiritual” talks. But our politics dont match up. Could this be the reason us Christians have lost influence in politics? Over being too politically correct? I think so.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: