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Christians and Politics 02/26/2010
Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine, author of Common Sense, understood the foundation for freedom.

 

Mentioning politics in a Christian setting can bring an explosive and often unhealthy response. Why should I, as a minister called of God and committed to helping not only the family of faith, but every person on this earth, feel threatened when I refer to the responsibility of Christians and free citizens to participate in that which determines the very fate of our nation? Upholding freedom in America will help preserve the opportunity for freedom around the globe. It really is that important.

When I listen to politicians espouse, promote and defend some of their beliefs, I want to throw up. Is it possible that in many instances this is an appropriate response? Remember, God said of lukewarm, complacent Christians, He would “spew them out of His mouth.” Those who are “at ease in Zion,” while others determine their future as they indifferently stand by, make God nauseated.

I am 66 years old. You might ask, “Why does someone who cares so deeply about helping the suffering suddenly feel compelled to speak out and encourage others to take a stand?” Because I believe this nation that G.K. Chesterton said is of “divine origin” can survive only if we are living by divine order under principles in harmony with God’s word.

Benjamin Franklin shared an observation during the proceedings leading to the signing of the Constitution. Franklin had observed a chair belonging to General Washington which had golden rays of sun depicted on the top of its back. He shared with Washington that throughout the proceedings he wondered if it was a rising or setting sun. After the signing Washington asked him, “Have you decided, Mr. Franklin?” He immediately answered, “It is a rising sun!”

As I look at America, I am honestly asking, “Is the sun setting on the freedoms we have enjoyed?” If the church – the truly born again believers – do not become inspired, informed and involved, darkness will come quickly. It is beyond my comprehension how those of us who claim to know the truth that sets us free can choose to do nothing.

History confirms this nation was established by those who wanted to live in the freedom truth promises. Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492 while seeking to find a people in another land with whom he could share the gospel. The Pilgrims came here and signed the Mayflower Compact with a sincere desire to freely worship God. Our founders established those original documents with the undeniable influence and impact of the sacred scriptures.

Thomas Paine, who inspired the revolution that led to this nation’s independence and the ultimate signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, was once asked, “Where is the king of America?”

“I will tell you, friend,” Paine replied, “He reigns above!” In referencing the foundational documents that would guide us, he said, “Let them be brought forth and placed on the divine law – the word of God; let a crown be placed thereon, by which the world may know, that so far as we approve of monarchy that in America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the king is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king; and there ought to be no other.”

Thomas Paine claimed that, “The Almighty hath implanted in us these inextinguishable feelings for good and wise purposes. They are the guardians of His image in our hearts. They distinguish us from a herd of common animals.” He was not embracing theocracy. He was exalting God and His Word as the strength and the sound foundation upon which freedom must stand.

He also made it very clear that it is not in numbers, but “in unity that our great strength lies.” I agree. God is not trying to create a huge voting block or power base in the church. God is calling us to influence every base of power by inspiring people to hold fast to those principles necessary for the survival of freedom.

Government has been called “a necessary evil in its best state and intolerable in its worst.” I do not believe that government is inherently evil, but because man too often will not live under the control of God, we must establish and enforce laws. But it is absolutely critical that those laws line up with the Word of God. Jesus said He would build His church upon the ability of finite man to hear infinite God and have a personal relationship with Him. He said the gates of hell -- death and destruction -- would not prevail against the influence of a people who have a living, meaningful relationship with a God of love. When we live under His control, not out of control, those laws work for our benefit instead of leading us into bondage.

The church must stop hiding or accusing one another when we begin to participate. We must refuse to wear the labels that others try to impose on us. We must be individuals seeking to wholeheartedly follow God and walk in harmony with one another. This means that we can disagree without trying to destroy one another.

As I watched the healthcare dialogue on Thursday, I was grateful that those who disagree spent time together with our president in an attempt to explain, discuss and debate their positions. This should have started before the legislators piled up over 2,000 pages of legislation that has not been read by many and cannot be understood by most. The current proposals create excessive government, which contains many obvious flaws and an untold amount of hidden problems that won’t be uncovered for decades. Plus, the high cost will be unbearable and force our children and grandchildren into financial bondage.

Let me give you an example of the extreme length to which our elected representatives have taken us. We have allowed those who legislate to forsake simplicity and create a complexity that makes legal terminology and lengthy contracts pale in comparison. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address defined the character of America in 272 words. The Declaration of Independence changed the course of history in about 1,300 words. The Constitution established a great nation in under 5,000 words. The Holy Bible is around 773,000 words. The Federal Income Tax Code, with its rules and regulations, surpasses nine million words and still confounds armies of full-time tax consultants! Ronald Reagan said, “God gave us Ten Commandments, and man has added 50,000 because we don’t keep His ten!”

I want those of you reading my article to understand that at a time when most so-called “old men” are expected to sit in a rocking chair, shut up, and begin to disappear, I cannot. I feel that my life has just begun and that if our 11 grandchildren and their children are to enjoy anything like I’ve been privileged to enjoy, I’m going to encourage the Christian community to become an answer to the prayer of Jesus that we “be one with God and perfected in unity as we love Him and love one another.”

We must not apathetically watch the ruling powers, even if they are chosen in this democracy by a misguided popular vote, foolishly and blindly encumber us with unbearable regulation and debt. No citizen would be allowed to build up debt that could only be collected by forcing others to pay it off. We would be called insane or criminal if we ran our budgets like Congress and then expected all of our neighbors to bail us out.

I will spend my life trying to find ways for us to join together and help those who suffer. Healthcare is a problem, but self-care is a bigger problem. Everyone who knows how to pray needs to pray for God to give wisdom to those who will make the decisions determining how it is handled.

If something is important enough for us, as believers, to pray about, would it not be important for us to also attempt to be one of the solutions? In what was established as a constitutional republic with the democratic privilege of choosing our representatives, shouldn’t those of us who pray seek to also be well-informed and actively involved?

And may I encourage you not to stone those who diligently seek to give you reliable information or who “sound a trumpet in Zion” trying to awaken the church. I thank God for every courageous voice, for every burning bush seeking to share truth. Remember, God speaks through all that He has created, and will reveal His will to those who have ears to hear and eyes to see. Don’t try to destroy or discredit a source of reliable information that doesn’t happen to be of your race, your denomination, your political party, or your immediate circle. Tune your ears to hear the truth. Let it be known – government is out of control, and some who profess to be Christians are responsible for the excess because they are not inspired enough to be informed and involved. The free market and what is referred to now with disdain – capitalism – is not the problem. The abuse of what freedom makes possible is the problem!

Government is not the answer. God ruling in the hearts of individuals is the answer! Government is primarily in place to establish law, justly enforcing it, and provide for the national defense and security of the people. Government can provide services agreed upon by the voters when they each one are willing to assume their part in supporting it. There is no substitute for the all-provident God, and dependence upon man-made power bases will lead to unnecessary dissension, division, decadence and destruction. If we are to reverse what appears to be a setting sun and again see the rising of the sun, it will only happen when Christians, along with all who understand true freedom, decide to stand up and be counted, not just to vote, so we can make the necessary difference!

Betty and I, as one couple, will do our best to help turn the ship of state back to a safe harbor. Please pray for and encourage all who will seek to help. I pray we will be standing alongside in our pursuit of Him, His truth, and His will on earth as it is in heaven.


Author: James Robison

Editor: Randy Robison

Word Count: 1718

About the author: James Robison is the founder and president of LIFE Outreach International, a Christian media ministry and mission relief organization. He and His wife, Betty, host of the television program Life Today; He has authored numerous books, including The Soul of a Nation, The Absolutes: Freedom's Only Hope and True Prosperity.

Media Contact: Randy Robison, editor at jamesrobison.net . Photo available upon request. Reprint rights granted with attribution for complete, unedited article. Revisions allowed only with approval.