All my life I’ve known that I never wanted to be a liberal, politically-speaking. Liberal in love? In grace? In kindness? In giving? In hospitality? Sure! But definitely not liberal in my personal political leanings. I was raised in a Christian home, have gone to church all my life (my birth was even announced from the pulpit by our pastor at the time!), and love and study God’s Word on a regular basis, all of which have served to keep me from embracing the liberal philosophies of modern-day “separation of church and state” (the concept of which has been so misconstrued since the days of Jefferson when that phrase was first penned), legalization of homosexual marriage, support of abortion, implementation of socialistic ideas and practices, etc.
But not until this past year – merely the past several months, to be more specific – have I come to the realization that I, likewise, do not want to be guided and influenced solely by conservative thinking anymore, either. This has been super eye-opening for me. After all, the Republican party or the conservative-leaning concepts are the Biblical ones, right? While they certainly do tend to be more Biblically-leaning than the opposing liberal worldview, conservative thought does not at all always equal Biblical thought.
For example, too often today, conservatives are becoming increasingly known for failing to shed light on, or even belittling, the plights of the blacks in this country. Known for, when a black man is shot by a police officer, making the mistake of automatically jumping to the conclusion that the tragedy was solely the fault of the black man across the board, no ifs, ands, or buts about it, without a delving into of all the facts first. I addressed this issue in my article, “Racial Tension and the Unified Body of Christ“. Racism is, unfortunately, not dead in this country. And we do both the Kingdom of God and our fellow man a great disservice when we pooh-pooh the issues facing blacks in this country, rather than seeking to be “swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” (James 1:19-20). Lest we make the mistake of thinking that we have reached the day in this country where blacks are treated completely equally across the board, this is a fantastic and informative podcast episode I encourage all of us to listen to and ponder! We’ve come such a long way in this country, but we still have a ways to go.
Likewise, conservatives are making the mistake of leaning towards the idea that we would all be better off if we didn’t have any muslims in this country whatsoever, no Syrian refugees, etc. I know this is a touchy subject and it is still one that requires a lot of wrestling over in my head sometimes. I know all about the Jihadist teachings of Islam and the true and legitimate threat which Islam poses to any country it seeks to overtake. I do believe we need to keep any terrorist Syrian refugees out of this country. For sure. To wholeheartedly and blindly embrace each and every Muslim who may want to come into this country could even be seen as a form of treason, for much more than being a mere religion, Islam is a philosophy, a politically-driven mindset which, when followed fundamentally to a T, results in the overthrow of governments everywhere and the subjugation of their citizens. However. [clickToTweet tweet=”We need to be about the big picture of God’s redemptive history, not merely the American picture.” quote=”We need to be about the big picture of God’s redemptive history, not merely the American picture.”] Our God desires to gather men of all tribes and tongues unto Himself and to save them from their sins and lost ways. What better way to reach and evangelize the muslim already in this country than by showing them the love of Christ! Rather than averting our eyes out of fear of Islam when we see muslims in the grocery store, how about we smile at them and offer a warm, “Hello!” instead? Instead of freaking out in fear over a muslim family moving into our neighborhood, how about we take a plate of cookies over to them, welcome them, and seek to develop a relationship with them in the hopes of paving the way for our ability to witness to them and point them to saving faith in Christ? At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves this question: “Do I care more about the safety of America or the soul of the muslim?” When it comes to Syrian refugees, we should not make the un-Christlike mistake of keeping each and every one of them out of our country, as some would have it. Do we need to vet them extensively before granting them entrance? Do we need to diligently keep out the raging terrorists among them if we can, for the sake of the safety of our nation and our families? Would some of them pose a serious threat to us as they have to the countries of France and Greece? Of course! That should go without saying and be a no-brainer. But there are those among the Syrian refugees who just desire freedom from ISIS. There are those whose families have been brutally murdered before their very eyes by their fellow muslims, fellow believers in Islam who should have been the very ones to protect and support them. There are those whose hearts have been so broken and torn by the horrors of Islamic teachings for so long that their souls are now, for the first time in their lives, ripe for the picking when it comes to us sharing Christ with them. There are even those Syrian refugees who are already, in fact, Christians! There are Syrian refugees with no place to go and no hope. There are Syrian refugees starving, homeless, and separated from their loved ones. For more info on the realities of all this, I encourage you to listen to this eye-opening and convicting podcast episode! Likewise, I encourage you to read the article, “An Open Letter to Syrian Refugees“. Rather than embracing merely the “conservative” viewpoint of today when it comes to muslims and refugees, may we embrace yes, safety, wisdom, and prudence, but also, primarily, the teachings of the Word, as well:
“Therefore, ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink;” ~Romans 12:20
“34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; 43 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ 44 “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ~Matthew 25:34-46
“And I will come near you for judgment;
I will be a swift witness
Against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans,
And against those who turn away an alien—
Because they do not fear Me,”
Says the Lord of hosts.” ~Malachi 3:5
“And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him.” ~Leviticus 19:33
“21 “You shall neither mistreat a stranger nor oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. 22 “You shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you afflict them in any way, and they cry at all to Me, I will surely hear their cry; 24 and My wrath will become hot, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” ~Leviticus 22:21-24
“19 Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” ~Deuteronomy 10:19
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to able to be labeled as “liberal”. But neither do I necessarily want to always be labeled “conservative”, either, simply buying hook, line, and sinker into every concept or teaching which is “conservative” in nature, popular in conservative circles, or part of the Republican party platform. Instead, I want to be wholly and solely Biblical. I want nothing but the Bible to influence, and form the foundation for, my beliefs, worldview, and opinions. Where the Bible’s teachings line up with conservative teachings, great. Where they don’t, I have to be more than ready and willing to let conservatism go in order to embrace the wisdom and insight and heart of God. As much as I love America and its Christian founding and delight in embracing patriotism when appropriate to do so, [clickToTweet tweet=”I never want my ‘allegiance’ to America to trump my allegiance to God and His Word, standards, and teachings.” quote=”I never want my ‘allegiance’ to America to trump my allegiance to God and His Word, standards, and teachings.”] I want to always hold to the ultimate big picture – that of God’s redemptive history, His story for mankind, His heart for seeing all peoples come to Himself in saving faith. For, at the end of the day, it’s all about souls. It’s all about God. It’s not all about America and saving her. Yes, America is largely that last great city on a hill whereby religious freedom is upheld and God’s Word is freely taught. That’s worth celebrating and protecting. But America is not the be-all, end-all, nor is God American. We need to keep first things first. I don’t want to make the mistake of allowing fear of the potential fall of America to so influence my thinking and political decisions that I take things into my own hands rather than relying on the wisdom of God, waiting on Him, and doing things His way, in a manner true to His heart. I want to remember always that God’s Word is sufficient and insure that I wholeheartedly embrace the reformation concept of Sola Scriptura – Scripture alone. I want to remember that God is the possessor of ultimate, unchanging, perfect wisdom and that within the pages of His Word and His Word alone we find all the teachings we need for each and every life issue and concept that may arise. He has not left us hanging. Either by direct command, principle, or teaching, the Lord has provided us with everything we will ever need in order to live life in a godly manner, with all the answers we could ever need for any political issue which may arise.
So, Church, will you join me? Will you throw off the label of liberal? Will you throw off the label of conservative? All for the sake of taking on the far better label of Biblical? For, if our thoughts and opinions and lives are formed by the Word, we can’t go wrong!
May God bless you on your journey of being conformed more and more into the image of Christ!
Until next week,
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