Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Lesser of Two Evils

OUR VIEW OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT will have a major impact on our attitude toward the upcoming elections. Our culture is at a great fork in the road. The Democratic fork will take us to more national debt, greater burdens on business, less personal freedom, and an expansion of the “sexual revolution.” By contrast, the Republican fork will take our culture towards a reduction in our national debt (or a least a halt in its increase), less burden on  business, more personal freedom, retention of our religious freedom, and a greater emphasis on personal responsibility.

The stakes have never been so high. Nevertheless, it is important that we entertain biblical expectations for civil government. My concern is that some Believers expect too much. Civil government is fallen. It is under the influence of “the Prince of this World.” Therefore, this side of the resurrection, Civil Government cannot produce utopia. Ultimately, our only hope is the Kingdom of God. It is not Civil Government. In  the words of scholar, Robert Culver, “A Christian view of civil government must…hold to the fact that human society is a society of fallen beings under the just judgment of God. The perfection of society cannot be either promised or attained, and it is not the purpose of Civil Government to do so.” (Toward a Biblical View of Civil Government, pg. 18).  

Nevertheless, Civil Government has an important role to play in the modern world. Because of our fallen state, some form of Civil Government is necessary. Without it life would be utter anarchy.

These truths liberate us from slavery to the “ideal candidate syndrome.” Except for Christ, there is no ideal candidate. Every candidate is fallen. Yes, some candidates are better than others, but sin has corrupted every candidate. We should vote for the best candidate considering the current political climate. We want a choice between moral, honest candidates, saturated in integrity. However, we are more apt to be forced to choose between candidates that are mutually dishonest or immoral, and this should not surprise us. We believe in sin. We believe in the Fall. We believe that "the whole world lies in the power of the Evil One" (1 Jn 5:19). We are not voting for someone to run the church.

For these reasons I will feel free to vote for Donald Trump. Do I think he is a great candidate? No! I would prefer almost every other Republican candidate that he ran against. However, he is the lesser of two evils, and given my low expectations for Civil Government I am OK with that. I would vote for a third party but that would be a vote for Hillary. And, because my expectations for Civil Government are realistic, not  idealistic, I am free to choose the lesser of two evils.  

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Test Yourself: Are You Growing in Humility?

IN HIS NEW BOOK, J.I. Packer on the Christian life, Sam Storms relates a test that Packer uses to analyze his level of humility. Apply it to yourself and see where you stand.

"Am I able to joyfully perform tasks in my church that have little or no visibility? Do I regularly credit others for their labor? Can I value and enjoy people who are not normally considered respectable? Are my thoughts toward the difficult people in my life infused with grace? Do I give my spouse first choice of TV channel, room temperature or vacation? Are my prayers usually on behalf of other people? Is it relatively easy for me to give my time or my money— and tell no one about it? Do I see every opportunity not as an earned right but as a gift from God? Do I cut short thoughts of comparing myself favorably with others? Do I honor others with my thoughts, words and actions? To the extent that we can honestly say yes to questions like these, we are beginning to learn humility toward others— and so to conquer the sin of pride."

Storms, Sam. Packer on the Christian Life: Knowing God in Christ, Walking by the Spirit (Theologians on the Christian Life) (p. 80). Crossway. Kindle Edition.