Rejecting the Feasts of Ahab
In his blog a pastor recently praised a new book published by Vision Forum for addressing a sacred cow: the immodest way Christians dress. All well and good. But then he made this statement:
We are a nation of true believers even if we can’t agree on what we believe in. We don’t need to apologize for our country’s abiding faith in God. It’s part of our strength. Second, my friend is exactly right. It’s not politics that bugs a lot of people about President Bush; it’s his strong faith in Jesus Christ. They can’t conceive of a man in high office who actually reads the Bible and prays.
No, my friends, we are not a nation of true believers, and, no, the reason why many of us reluctantly criticize the president is not because of his “faith” (which is intangible) but because so many of his policies (which are not intangible) contradict both the Scriptures and the U.S. Constitution.
It is high time to shed the naive notion that just because a man prays his policies must be valid. Bush’s anti-Christian positions, policies, and practices are well known and deserve censure, not approbation, from the pulpits of the land. Chuck Baldwin, a Baptist pastor and the 2004 vice-presidential nominee on the Constitution Party ticket, has wisely said:
…some pastors are still laboring under the deception that, as a pastor, God hasn’t “called” them to get involved. They have swallowed hook, line and sinker the atheistic, humanistic, secularist perspective. They have bought into the ACLU interpretation of the First Amendment and the mythical separation of church and state. They really believe that they are not supposed to address anything that could be described as political. They haven’t thought it through. They haven’t read their own history. They are victims of their own ignorance. They’ve not studied the Constitution. They’ve not read the writings of the Founding Fathers. They’ve not read our great historical documents. They’ve not read John Leland. They’ve not read Witherspoon. They’ve not read Locke. They’ve not read Benjamin Rush. They know very little about true American history. They’re victims of a modem educational system that has stripped them of their God-given responsibility to be the moral and spiritual leaders of the nation. They really don’t know what their role is.
Such role confusion is not limited to our day. The psalmist once asked: “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain?” Our Christian faith has the answer: man’s rebellion against God. Unhappily, so many Christians understand this only in theological terms, not in political ones. When faced with the deadly opposition of politicians on social and cultural issues, and especially when opposition takes the form of statism, we often fail to recognize intolerant evil for what it is.
I harbor no illusions about the objectivity of such pastors as the one quoted above. Changing their minds will not simply be a process of jogging their memories about a now-forgotten Constitution; after all, one assumes they have access to such information. They actively do not want to know the truth.
It is time that we as Christians begin to make our stand while there are still battles that can be won. The fact that a few lone voices have spoken out does not mean that anything will change. We need a keen conscience, not sore from unnecessary proddings but alert to good and evil – even the evil that exists in political parties. We are not to be alarmed at such evil, but the times call for measures suited to the situation. The New Testament clearly sets forth a pattern of crisis and conduct (Rom. 13:11-14; 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Tit. 2:11-14; 1 Pet. 4:7-19). There is no doubt about the crisis but our conduct is not rising to the occasion. Sometimes we have to stand alone and differ with our neighbors in order to have a conscience void of offense toward God and men.
Micaiah (1 Kings 22:13-14) was given a diet of bread and water as punishment for disagreeing with the king’s prophets. But he preferred that fare to the feasts of Ahab. In this election year, only a conscience schooled at the Master’s feet and illuminated by the Holy Spirit can guide us aright.
August 5, 2004
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com. His latest book is Why I Stopped Listening to Rush: Confessions of a Recovering Neocon.