Is Conservatism Sacrosanct? Is it Something Godly?"

Wednesday, June 01, 2016 Bryan Hudson 0 Comments

As citizens of the United States of America, Christians are obliged to engage in political processes that influence public policy as well as directly affect the lives and welfare of all people. However, political engagement becomes a problem when blended with zealous religious conviction.

There are some hard truths to face for politically motivated believers:

1. Conservatism is not sacrosanct. It is not something holy like the Scriptures. Being a conservative is not a distinctive Christian virtue. In recent years, conservatism (the political variety) has been defined by personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Sen. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and movements like the Tea Party. Republicans like Mitt Romney or Colin Powell do not qualify as “true” conservatives since they don’t pass the nebulous “purity” test imposed by “true” conservatives.

Biblical conservatism is something altogether different than the political variety. Bible conservatives, including myself, affirm the inerrancy of Scripture, authority of the Bible, and orthodox doctrines. Biblical conservatism, as it relates to practicing the Bible, also affirms dignifying the poor, honoring and praying for civil leaders, promoting justice for the oppressed, and many other virtues not embraced by many political conservatives. Political conservatism, like political liberalism, is largely unscriptural, in my view.

2. The Body of Christ needs a better understanding of the role of government in a diverse society that is a constitutional republic, not a theocracy. We don’t get to impose our scriptural mandates on the citizenry through hand-picked politicians. As “salt” and “light,” our core mission involves godly influence, not total control. Of course, believers who embrace Dominionism will disagree.

3. God does not listen to us in regards to “times and seasons.” He only listens to the counsel of His own will. “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will.” (Ephesians 1:11)

4. Abortion and gay-marriage are critical issues (but not the only issues) that believers should address through personal outreach, not only through politics. Simply supporting candidates who “say” they are pro-life and anti-gay marriage is simplistic at best, and deceptive at worst. Trying to conform government to do our bidding is not practical. We must personally engage the people who need to change (after we’ve been changed by Christ).

5. The GOP, and its Tea Party appendage, has become a party lacking in ideological, racial, and cultural diversity. In recent years, the GOP, has become a bastion of low information voters and the home of political sideshows like Herman Cain and Donald Trump. The “marriage” of Christianity with the Republican Party has hurt both. When we become too loyal to a political party, we lose our prophetic edge and become co-opted by a lesser agenda. We need a healthy two-party system in the USA. I hope the GOP will find a way to shed extremism while maintaining its values, and become attractive to diverse people.

6. False, unbiblical, and politically motivated prophecies have damaged the credibility of those who uttered and embraced spurious statements. Another problem is the lack of biblical accountability regarding “prophetic” statements. The promulgation of disinformation, disrespect, and hatred towards President Barack Obama, has motivated much of the religious hyperbole and error we’ve observed. Many people believe that President Obama is a Muslim for no other reason than listening more to socio-political echo chambers, than practicing intellectual honesty.

7. “But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.” (Psalm 57:7). We have to accept the reality that civil leaders are not entirely of our choosing. We should trust God, pray properly for our leaders, and adjust our attitudes accordingly.

Believers in Christ should maintain the strongest loyalty to the Kingdom of God and to fellow brothers and sisters who form the Body of Christ. We should serve the purposes of God in our generation. We should not allow participation in the political process to produce either blindness to biblical truth or arrogance in thinking that a political party is "closer to God."