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Devotionals

NAR Pushing Pastors to Preach Politics and Why They're Wrong - Part One

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"2. God cares about secular governments and their leaders. I decided to search out whether the Bible ever recorded some examples in which God's people (those who were genuine believers) had a good influence, not just on the nation of Israel, but on secular governments outside of Israel. Does God care about secular governments and their leaders? I found much more than I expected. For example, Joseph was the highest official after Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and had great influence in the decisions of Pharaoh (see Gen. 41:37-45, 42:6, 45:8-9, 26). Daniel was a high official in King Nebuchadnezzar's court. He was "ruler over the whole province of Babylon" and "chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon" (Dan. 2:48). He was regularly "at the king's court" (v. 49). And he gave moral instruction to the king: "Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity" (Dan. 4:27). I found more examples than these. Nehemiah was "cupbearer to the king" (Neh. 1:11), a position of high responsibility before King Artaxerxes of Persia. Mordecai "was second in rank to King Ahasuerus" of Persia (Esth. 10:3; see also 9:4). Queen Esther also had significant influence on the decisions of Ahasuerus, risking her very life in order to save the Jewish people from destruction (see Esth. 5:1-8; 7:1-6; 8:3-13; 9:12-15, 29-32). The Bible doesn't merely say that these things happened, but the narrative texts view these events in a positive light, for they regularly record this influence on secular governments as a result of God's favor toward his people and as a measure of blessing to those governments. This reminds us of God's promise to Abraham that "in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18)." - Wayne Grudem

Grudem is very clever but do not be fooled by his alleged biblical examples. Remember, he is defending believers influencing pagan nations through a political process as a whole. None of his examples are that. Joseph was originally a slave in Egypt and not a willing participant. It is true that he had the favor of God upon his life so he went from the prison to the palace but that journey was apolitical and took 14 years. Now in the grand plans of God was this journey into Egypt God's way of bringing Joseph to bear influence upon Egypt? Of course not. The story of Joseph's brothers selling him into slavery was not so Joseph could one day influence Pharaoh for the benefit of Egypt. It was for the benefit of Israel. Without Joseph in power, Israel does not survive the seven-year famine. Perhaps Grudem is unaware how quickly Egypt forgot the great contributions of Joseph and enslaved the Jewish people for 400 years. This of course leading to the Exodus and a type of Christ found in the deliverance from the death angel. Fantastic story of God using whatever evil man sometimes intends, even His own people, for His grander plan. Absolutely nothing however to do with carnal politics. Daniel was another slave who found favor within the lands of pagan kings. Was this arrangement for the benefit of Daniel and the remnant of Israel or for Babylon? Did God place Nehemiah in Persia for the benefit of the king or for the benefit of His people? These answers should be obvious. What Grudem is doing is taking singular events in Jewish history where God used His people and the pagan nations of the world to accomplish His ends. That is simply not the case today. The bible has already given the church their marching orders and they are to present the Gospel to the lost and grow into Christlikeness. Nothing about assuring the Republican Party retains power or passing desired legislation. You must realize that what Grudem is doing is what all NAR adherents are forced to do because the bible does not agree with their false theology. He is taking his pre-decided conclusion that God wants Christians neck deep in politics and trying to force stories in the bible to match up. It fails every time. Blessings to the secular governments? The Egyptian Empire went through the ten plagues including the death of every first born and eventually would be nothing more than sand in the desert of time. Babylon? Persia? Seriously? God uses the governments of man to achieve His ends but Grudem wants to use God to help our secular nation achieve its ends. That is the stark difference.

"I realize that these examples are not exactly the same as a pastor preaching about politics today, but there are similarities. In the ancient world, giving advice and guidance to the king was the way to bring about beneficial political policies. In modern democracies, voting, and giving guidance to others who vote, is the way to bring about beneficial political policies. The New Testament provides two additional examples: John the Baptist rebuked the Roman ruler Herod "for all the evil things that Herod had done" (Luke 3:19), which certainly must have included not only privately known sins but also publicly known governing decisions. Another possible example is the apostle Paul. While Paul was in prison in Caesarea, he stood trial before the Roman governor Felix: "[Felix] sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, 'Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you'" (Acts 24:24-25). The fact that Felix was "alarmed" and that Paul reasoned with him about "righteousness" and "the coming judgment" indicates that Paul was telling Felix that he would be accountable for his actions at "the coming judgment." When the book of Acts tells us that Paul "reasoned" with Felix, the word (present participle of Greek dialegomai) indicates a back-and-forth conversation or discussion. We cannot be sure what they discussed, but it is very possible that Felix asked Paul, "What about this decision that I made? What about this policy? What about this ruling?" I cannot be sure about this, but at least we can say that Paul was discussing substantive issues with Felix, which may have included governmental decisions, and in that way Paul would have been "preaching about politics" to a Roman governor." - Wayne Grudem

Yeah, no. Beloved we simply do not do this to the bible. It is textually criminal. You do not add on conversations that conveniently fit your narrative but appear nowhere in the text. The bible absolutely does not say that John rebuked Herod for his governing decisions. To put forth that narrative is to traffic in the absurd. Likewise, the imaginary conversation between Paul and Felix about policies and rulings only exists within the wickedly deceitful heart of Wayne Grudem.

"3. Preaching "the whole counsel of God" will include preaching about civil government. Paul's ministry also provides a good pattern for pastors to follow today: not merely preaching on our favorite passages of Scripture, but faithfully preaching about everything that the Bible teaches. Paul told the church leaders at Ephesus that he had been faithful in teaching them "the whole counsel of God": "Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26-27). I hope I will be able to say that to the thousands of students I have taught in 43 years as a professor of theology: "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). But surely that must include some teaching about politics. The New Testament has two passages that specifically address the responsibilities of civil governments (Rom. 13:1-7 and 1 Pet. 2:13-14) and several other verses with implications for government (such as Matt. 22:21 and 1 Tim. 2:1-3). The Old Testament contains many details about the actions of good and evil kings. The words "king" and "kings" occur 112 times in Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes alone, and "ruler/rulers" is found another 20 times. Therefore, if a pastor feels a responsibility for declaring "the whole counsel of God" to his people, he will have to do some teaching on biblical principles regarding civil government. And what better time to do that than in the middle of an election season when questions about good and bad governmental policies are on everybody's mind?" - Wayne Grudem

No Wayne, it surely does not. Now I get it. The NAR has infiltrated churchianity for decades now and has turned this country into an idol for the church but that does not change the word of God. When Paul tells the Ephesian elders he is free of their blood it is because he did not compromise the Gospel. For example, if you subtract from the gospel the part about wrath and judgment because your seeker friendly mentor taught you the purpose driven church model, then you are not presenting the entire counsel of God. In the converse, if you add to scripture to teach nationalism in place of worship of God then you too have not presented the entire will of God. The Romans verses and Peter verses are about the believers' response to secular government - not instructing us to be involved in them. The word king appears so much because Israel was a theocracy Wayne. We can play these games all day long. God does not change and neither does His word.

"4. Pastors throughout history have preached about politics. Historian Alvin Schmidt, in his book, How Christianity Changed the World, points out that the spread of Christian influence on government was primarily responsible for outlawing infanticide, child abandonment and abortion in the Roman Empire (in AD 374); granting of property rights and other protections to women throughout history; prohibiting the burning alive of widows along with their dead husbands in India (in 1829); and outlawing the painful and crippling practice of binding young women's feet in China (in 1912). These reforms all required changes in a country's laws, which is a political process that could not have happened unless numerous pastors had been teaching government officials and those who influenced them about the evils of these practices (that is, preaching about politics). In the years leading up to the American War of Independence, many pastors were preaching that resistance to tyranny (that is, resistance to the reign of King George III of England) was a morally good action, while a minority of pastors disagreed, urging continued submission to the British. But the point is that both sides were preaching about the possibility of independence from Britain, which was both a moral issue and the most crucial political issue of the day. In 1750, Boston pastor Jonathan Mayhew delivered one of the most influential sermons in American history, "A Discourse Concerning Unlimited Submission," in which he defended the moral goodness of seeking freedom from British tyranny. His sermon was reprinted and widely distributed throughout the American colonies. Later, pastors played a major role in the struggle against slavery. In fact, two-thirds of the leading American abolitionists in the mid-1830s were Christian clergymen who were preaching "politics" from the pulpit, saying that slavery should be abolished. And in the 1960s, the American civil rights movement that resulted in the outlawing of racial segregation and discrimination was led by Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor who dared to preach about such "political" issues (which were, in actuality, also deeply moral issues)." - Wayne Grudem

Theologians would argue that the revolution was a direct rebellion to the very same Romans verses cited earlier. The resistance to tyranny was largely economic. Do you remember the whole "no taxation without representation?" Then the bible was used for a century to defend slavery. It has been used to defend against mix-race marriages. Recently it was cited in defense of separating women from their infant children if they crossed our border seeking asylum. By the way, I am not suggesting that Christians cannot line up on the side of morality when it comes to political matters. I am saying it does not belong in the church, or behind the pulpit. Furthermore, there is a vast difference between advocating for the elimination of slavery and insisting that one political party has the corner on all things righteous.

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