Is there proof that God exists and what is the nature of the divine? Many are asking and there are many sides to this question. Religions want us to accept a creator that is primarily male in the physical sense […]
For the Church to gain the level of influence I am proposing it requires the following take place-
- Local churches need to be valued and strengthened.
They should be increasingly characterised by (a) mutual love; (b) extravagant generosity; (c) inspirational worship; (d) activation of resident spiritual gifts; (e)authentic, godly, and trustworthy leadership.
- Credibility and respect needs to be won in our communities regarding our treatment of money, women and especially children.
One of the global obstacles and credibility-cancers for the Church is how we have abused money, women and children. When a member of the professional Christian ministry is exposed as an immoral philanderer and the Church reacts by trying to cover it up or diminish its seriousness, it loses credibility among a society. The rise of the “deregulated” church has made Church Discipline a greater challenge to the Christian community. But despite this, we need to do all we can to regain credibility for how we conduct ourselves in regard to these matters.
What is the proper role of Christian faith in relation to politics? That is a question without any one-answer-fits-all solution, but this essay attempts to identify four components that should be considered in all answers.
Component One: We must understand our particular callings.
I recently saw the movie Amazing Grace. The movie is artful, powerful, and pointed. As a rare bonus, it accurately portrays the role of evangelical pietism in the life of former slave trader and later Anglican clergyman John Newton, the writer of the famous hymn for which the movie is named, and especially in the life of the extraordinary politician and statesman, William Wilberforce, whose persistent battle to end the slave trade in the British Empire at last bore fruit. Wilberforce is the main focus of the movie and Newton appears only a few times, but if you see the movie, you will forget neither.
What are the politically relevant moral issues about which Christians should be concerned?
Wilberforce was not a one issue politician. At one point, he was involved in 69 reform organizations, each representing a different cause. His issues cut across party lines and across all the usual alignments of his day. His primary motive was to represent a Christian vision in his practical concerns. How would we begin to compose such a list of causes for our day.
One helpful list of the purposes of Christian political action was adopted by the National Association of Evangelicals in 2003. Here is my much abbreviated summary of the causes that the N.A.E. lists:
1. We work to protect religious freedom and liberty of conscience.
Freedom of speech, association, and religion provide the space in which we can carry out culturally significant activities. These freedoms are foundational to all other causes.
Question: “How should a Christian view politics?”
Answer:If there is anything that will spark a spontaneous debate, if not an outright argument, it is a discussion involving politics—even among believers. As followers of Christ, what should be our attitude and our involvement with politics? It has been said that “religion and politics don’t mix.” But is that really true? Can we have political views outside the considerations of our Christian faith? The answer is no, we cannot. The Bible gives us two truths regarding our stance towards politics and government.
The first truth is that the will of God permeates and supersedes every aspect of life. It is God’s will that takes precedence over everything and everyone (Matthew 6:33). God’s plans and purposes are fixed, and His will is inviolable. What He has purposed, He will bring to pass, and no government can thwart His will (Daniel 4:34-35). In fact, it is God who “sets up kings and deposes them” (Daniel 2:21) because “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (Daniel 4:17). A clear understanding of this truth will help us to see that politics is merely a method God uses to accomplish His will. Even though evil men abuse their political power, meaning it for evil, God means it for good, working “all things together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
First, he says, give to Caesar what is Caesar’s. That always used to bother me. How can Jesus sort of put God and Caesar side-by-side and say “These things belong to God” and “Those things belong to Caesar.” Doesn’t everything belong to God? The cattle on a thousand hills are his. But we have to remember what Scripture says about stewardship. Yes, God owns everything; but he delegates responsibility to human beings as his stewards. God is king over all the earth, but he has made us vassal kings, assistant kings, steward kings, to replenish and subdue the earth under his authority. So God appoints earthly rulers. Romans 13 calls them “ministers of God.”
We need to step back and take a lesson from Jesus. Jesus’ faith and values certainly had an impact on the political world. He would not have been crucified otherwise. But he did not focus on political action. His mission was introducing broken people to the redeeming love and reigning power of God. Among his closest disciples were a former Zealot revolutionary against Rome and a former tax collector for Rome. He must have asked his disciples to keep their focus on his kingdom mission and off politics, because, despite their differences, he was able to send them out, two-by-two, to proclaim the kingdom of God, healing and delivering people, and calling them to repent and to believe the gospel.
In the 2014 midterm elections, the Republican Party enlarged its majority in the U.S. House of Representatives with continued strong support from white evangelicals and people who attend religious services regularly. In addition, the GOP appears to have made inroads among some religious constituencies that traditionally have not been as supportive of Republican candidates.
Voters who attend religious services occasionally (rather than more frequently), for instance, voted for Republican candidates at higher rates than in the 2006 midterms, the last time midterm exit polls included a comparable question about worship attendance. Jewish voters also appear to have moved somewhat in the Republican direction compared with 2006 (the last midterms that included enough Jewish voters in the exit polls to analyze). However, in 2014, Jewish voters supported Democratic congressional candidates at rates similar to those seen in the 2012 presidential election year.
National Election Pool (NEP) exit poll data reported by NBC News show that about seven-in-ten white Protestants (72%) voted for Republican candidates in theircongressional districts, roughly the same share as i
Political discourse is the Las Vegas of Christianity—the environment in which our sin is excused. Hate is winked at, fear is perpetuated and strife is applauded. Go wild, Christ-follower. Your words have no consequences here. Jesus doesn’t live in Vegas.
It’s time we talk politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocks them.
Not only are believers excused for their political indiscretions, but they are often applauded for committing them. Slander is explained away as righteous anger; winning arguments are esteemed higher than truthful ones (whether or not the “facts” align); and those who stir up dissension are given the pulpit. So I balk when pastors tell me the Church should engage in the political process. Why would we do that? The political process is dirty and broken and far from Jesus. Paranoia and vitriol are hardly attractive accessories for the bride of Christ.
Christian history begins with Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew who was born in a small corner of the Roman Empire. Little is known of his early life, but around the age of 30, Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and had a vision in which he received the blessing of God. After this event, he began a ministry of teaching, healing, and miracle-working. He spoke of the “kingdom of God,” condemned religious hypocrites and interpreted the Mosaic law in new ways. He spoke before crowds of people, but also chose 12 disciples whom he taught privately. They eagerly followed him, believing him to be the long-awaited Messiah who would usher in the kingdom of God on earth.
After just a few years, however, opposition mounted against Jesus, and he was ultimately executed by crucifixion by the Romans. Most of Jesus’ followers scattered, dismayed at such an unexpected outcome. But three days later, women who went to anoint his body reported that the tomb was empty and an angel told them Jesus had risen from the dead. The disciples were initially skeptical, but later came to believe. They reported that Jesus appeared to them on several occasions and then ascended into heaven before their eyes.
Is there proof that God exists and what is the nature of the divine? Many are asking and there are many sides to this question. Religions want us to accept a creator that is primarily male in the physical sense and able to be manipulated by repetitious prayers. According to the tenets God is distant and must be yelled at or mailed through an intercessor. They also claim it uses sexual reproduction to produce its many sons.
To the genuinely spiritual God is any of those things but the Spirit of the Universe. It exists everywhere at all times. It is also omnipotent. To the wise it is asexual as spirit has no genes and cannot reproduce in the physical sense. That means there has never been a Son of God or any who were sent via a virgin birth.