"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Can One Be a Christian and a Political Progressive?

The person best suited to answer the question "Can one be a Christian and a political progressive?" is one of the leaders of the Liberal Democrat Party in the United Kingdom. Some believed he was destined to become the next unrivaled leader of the Liberal Democrat Party.

His name is Tim Farron.

Yesterday, June 14, 2017, Tim Farron shockingly resigned from the Liberal Democratic party.

In his resignation speech, Tim said,  "To be a political leader...especially of a progressive liberal party in 2017... and to live as a committed Christian, to hold faithfully to the Bible's teaching... has felt impossible to me." 

Let me tell you a little about Tim Farron. He's a remarkably astute liberal politician, with a passion for classical liberal government, and a love for the people of England.

And, he is a committed Christian.

In the fall of 2013, I went to London, England with my friend Senator Norman Lamb for a WW II heritage tour of England and France. We stopped by U.K's Parliament to visit with one of England's most powerful politicians, a Liberal Democrat leader also named Norman Lamb.

It was while researching the United Kingdom's Norman Lamb that I first became aware of this young, up-and-coming Liberal Democrat politician named Tim Farron. Tim has long been a rival to Norman Lamb from the same Liberal Democrat party. I began following Tim Farron from a distance because of what I learned about his Christian convictions.

Tim Farron has never hidden his evangelical Christian faith. He's a committed follower of the teachings of Jesus Christ. After being excoriated by the press for his views that "gay sex is a sin," Tim responded with a biblical axiom, "the Christian teaching is that we are all sinners."

But soon Tim Farron realized that the press and fellow liberal politicians were far more interested in what Tim privately believed about sin than they were about what Tim publicly declared about poverty. It wasn't enough that he was a classical political liberal and believed that religion had no place in the public realm. The liberal progressives of 2017 increasingly have made known their position that they want no one in government who privately believes differently than they.

That's intolerance, not liberty.

The scary part in Tim's resignation speech makes it clear that liberal progressives in 2017 are the most intolerant people of all.
I seem to be the subject of suspicion because of what I believe and Who my faith is in. In which case we are kidding ourselves if we think we yet live in a tolerant, liberal society."
Progressive liberals, in both the United States and England, are creating a religious litmus test over whether or not one can serve in government. Liberal Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders said last week Christians are not the "type of people" that should be in government.

The world is changing. Hostility toward the Christian faith is increasing.

It used to be persecution against Christians was something you read about in history books. Now it's something you read about in the newspaper. Persecution of Christians used to occurr in third-world countries ruled by totalitarian dictators. Now it seems persecution is occurring in Western Civilization within countries ruled by liberal progressives.

Give me old fashioned liberalism.

Give me liberty.

2017 progressive political liberalism is totalitarian governmental fascism in disguise.

Get ready America.

Soon, to be a follower of Jesus Christ might very well cost you.

On the bright side, true revival is the flower formed from the seed of suffering.

In the end, more people will know the love of Christ and love other people the way Jesus loves sinners because Christianity is the only answer to man's private sinful dilemma.

Click here to read the full text of Tim Farron's resignation speech.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Again, the entire point Senator Sanders was making is that if you want to be a public servant, you must serve EVERYONE.

That was it, it wasn't a smear against Christians or any other religion. Will you represent EVERYONE, and not just those you agree with. This question is asked of all public officials before they take a government position.

Now I have a question for you : Have we reached a point in our Left vs Right war that you have to declare your political beliefs along with your faith in Christ to be considered a member of the Body of Christ?

I've been told I cannot be both a Christian and Democrat. Seriously, how far have we fallen?

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

"Have we reached a point in our Left vs. Right war that you have to declare your political beliefs along with your faith in Christ to be considered a member of the body of Christ?"

No. Not at all.

The point is reverse.

It seems you can't be in the political realm without repudiating your Christian religious faith. It is ironic to me that many in my religious denomination consider me a "liberal," while many in the political realm consider me a "conservative."

Maybe I am truly a classical liberal, and I believe people should be free to believe as they choose, to serve as they please, and to be unobstructed in their pursuits - contrary to the obstructionist ways of those who opposed Tim.

Dale Rudiger said...

Wade, the link to Tim Farron's speech didn't take me there, but rather to an article by Paul Walter.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Dale, I'll fix it.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

"It seems you can't be in the political realm without repudiating your Christian religious faith."

If their beliefs extend to the point where they cannot treat everyone equally, then yes, they must not hold a public servant position in government. It's the same in the UK as here in the US. You must represent everyone equally.
If you separate gay people ( or any other group ) from those you will serve, you do not belong in public office.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Tim Farron would give a "hearty amen" to your view that a politician must represent everyone equally.

He's a liberal politician, with a belief "in equality for all."

The issue for Tim Farron was that he was being told he could not believe personally that "gay sex is a sin" like he believes "pride is a sin," and "gossipping is a sin" yet he represents prideful gossipers and doesn't exclude them, so why do you think he would exclude people who participate in gay sex?

The issue is the forcing of a religious test on government leaders.

Wade Burleson said...

https://spectator.org/confession-2017-bernie-sanders-christophobia/

Interesting article written by Ben Stein, in essence, saying the same thing I'm saying - and Ben is a Jew.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

"The issue is the forcing of a religious test on government leaders."

Tim stepped down because of the pressure of the media and some within his party to force him to change his views.
As a Christian, I respect him for putting his faith before his career, but the government did not demand he step down for holding this belief.

I suspect that at some point we will have a religious test for all aspects of our lives, and the Bible says as much up to the mark of the beast people will be forced to take.
But we're not there yet.

Wade, when you speak on the Gospel, your words flow into a beautiful cascading waterfall. When you speak on politics, you're just stirring the pot of contempt we are told we must have for each other.
Please stop this.

rixshep said...

In some of the replies, I see a double standard at work. Saying that a Christian cannot serve if he cannot represent everyone is disingenuous when there are those on that same side who openly refuse to represent Christians. This appears to be the case all the time. Standards of all sorts are being imposed on Christians or being suggested to be imposed, while those who are anti-Christian are given a free pass. Either it must be imposed equally to all sides or not at all. And Wade, yes, we are both classical liberals!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

"When you speak on the Gospel, your words flow into a beautiful cascading waterfall. When you speak on politics, you're just stirring the pot of contempt we are told we must have for each other. Please stop this."

Thanks for the compliment.

The Gospel means "Good News," and where the truth of the Gospel is believed there is Good News about freedom, Good News about hope, Good News about love.

I can't stop speaking about the Gospel. I believe, Anonymous, you are missing the point of this post. The only people saying "stop it" to Tim Farron are liberal progressive politicians and media who are saying "Stop believing gay sex is a sin," "Stop believing the Bible is truth," "Stop believing as a Christian if you intend to be in politics."

All I'm saying is "Stop it" to the "Stop Its."

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Rick,

Yes, indeed, Rick.

I stand firmly in classical liberalism, for liberty should be the aim of all.

Kirk Gillman said...

Brother Wade, I am curious what you see as the difference between Libretarian and Classical Liberal? Politically I find myself leaning toward Libretarian thought, but cannot fully support them. It seems to Anarchist, but I do respect the view of personal liberty and personal responsibilty. Unfortunately because of the Fallen nature of mankind, it seems that abuses and excesses become the norm without oversight and restraint.

Don said...

Here is an article from the UK that says it was his understanding on homosexuality and abortion.

https://www.premierchristianity.com/Blog/An-intolerant-society-forced-Tim-Farron-to-pick-which-master-to-follow.-He-chose-well

A few points I want to make. To a first pass, the Right wants no change and the Left wants change. The challenge of the Left is that there is no natural limit to change until all becomes chaos. The challenge of the Right is that almost no one wants to have absolutely no change, we want things to be better, for some definition of better, esp. for our children. Sorting all this out is the area of politics.

The Left is becoming increasingly intolerant of ideas that are not from the Left, this is a big concern. How can one discuss what is the best way or even come to a compromise if one side will not let the other side talk? Very scary.

It is one thing for Farron to say he has come to the conclusion that according to Scripture, all homosexual acts are a sin. It is quite another to claim that all faithful believers must come to the same conclusion, this is a very broad statement. There are lots of things that are debated among believers: water baptism, spiritual gifts, etc. Just because I differ from someone on water baptism or spiritual gifts does not mean I am willing to say they are unfaithful in their understanding, I merely think they are incorrect but am willing to discuss further. So I ask you Wade what is your understanding. Do you think that no faithful believer can think differently than that all homosexual acts are a sin according to Scripture? I think it is a debatable subject.

Sarah Wilkins said...

Though I agree that it is unacceptable to close the gap between public and private beliefs as an issue of liberty, I disagree with the assertion of what we should learn from this and the dismissal of the conservative Christian movement from any responsibility for the hard-fought-for reputation. (Emphasize hard-fought-for speaking of US politics.)

For my entire lifetime, I have been surrounded with christians who equivocate being Republican with being Christian. I should note that these christians are white people, as evangelicals who are not white largely vote democratic. I simply cannot count how many times I've heard people declare these statements with deep pride. When challenged they are stunned and ask highly offensive questions which they do not see as offensive. As a politics junkie, they often respond with sound bites from conservative news straight from conservative think tanks. I like to watch cspan coverage of Heritage Foundation conferences and find the message consistency amazing.

I think as christians the real walk away we should take is letting it sink in that societies' now holds an overwhelming negative view that christians are loud angry white people who wish to foist their religious views onto everyone.

This view is not an imagined one. The political arm of the Christian conservative movement fought and continues to fight hard. They have reaped what they have sowed. Liberty University represented in the last election.

A further example would be from the recent resolution debacle at SBC 2017. Yes, an amended resolution was passed the next day due to the torrent of articles declaring the SBC would not denounce white supremacy movements, but wide scale perception was shaped in the meantime. (Lots of press) A perception that evangelicals are white pompous jerk faces who wish to foist their beliefs on others, but who really only care about themselves.


Christiane said...

What I hope for is that our people begin to treat one another with respect. Until that time comes, we need to pray.

Part of treating one another with respect is that when we see someone being abused in any way, we don't 'look away' and we don't remain silent. If we have respect for others, we will be impelled to stand up for the one(s) being abused and intervene and try to help the victims of abuse.

What I know is this:
it doesn't matter if one is 'liberal' or 'conservative' or 'Republican' or 'Democrat';
it does matter if one sees the suffering of a victim and stops to intervene to help them.
That is the lesson of the Holy Gospels:
our 'label' is trumped by our response to the suffering of others. Who we are is discovered in how we love. When we try to define ourselves in any other terms, we fall short. We fall way short.

Anonymous said...

Well said to both Sarah and Christiane. I could not agree with you more.

I have just watched several news releases given by both parties on the wounded Senator, and I'm now a bit more hopeful, and both sides are now calling for a truce as it were.
They say equally that the political climate in this country has gotten to this point over the poison injected into social media and main stream media alike. One politician (I forget his name) has said that some people are getting rich on keeping things riled up.

I'd always suspected that we are being brainwashed into hating each other.

On a sad note, the Senator isn't doing so well, and that the injuries he's sustained are much worse that we've been told.
I can speak for all Christian Democrats when I say he is remembered in our prayers.

One last thing while I'm up on my soapbox here : I've heard from many on the right that the left is all about abortion and gays.
Let me set the record straight on what we do stand for -

Democrats hold to the need to alleviate poverty by strengthening the social safety net, to ensure both the young and the elderly have their needs met, to enshrine healthcare as a human right, to end these needless wars and to protect our environment and it's wildlife for future generations.

I believe we agree more than we disagree. Let's stop the hate.

Christiane said...

"I'd always suspected that we are being brainwashed into hating each other."

there is some thought that a country that is hostile to our own has been seeding into this for many, many years now with a thought to 'divide and conquer'

Yesterday, I realized that hostile country had failed in their mission:
when Steve was wounded, WE all felt it and WE bonded in response

What does it take for us to wake up?

Christiane said...

"Democrats hold to the need to alleviate poverty by strengthening the social safety net, to ensure both the young and the elderly have their needs met, to enshrine healthcare as a human right, to end these needless wars and to protect our environment and it's wildlife for future generations."

Yes

I hope soon to see the 'health' bill that some are working on it secret. Then I will know what it is that the Republicans are standing for in relation to our young, and the elderly, and those who are 'fragile' and in need of care and mercy.
For me, that health care bill will say much about the heart of the current Republican Party.
We shall see. :)

RRR said...

"The world is changing. Hostility toward the Christian faith is increasing."

Thanks a lot for posting this, Wade. You have hit the nail on the head. I'm both disturbed and full of anticipation.

I'm "disturbed" to see all of the hate being undeniably directed to true, born-again, "Christians" and its occurring right smack dab in the middle of our once "Judeo-Christian"-identified, United States of America. Sad to see what was once considered a shining beacon of God's blessed nation and standard for the world, now pretty much "gone with the wind".

I'm full of anticipation about several things:
- We are living in a very defining point in God's unveiling Kingdom's plan
- We are those anointed saints who will have the opportunity to serve our Lord when it actually costs us something.
- We will experience God's grace being poured out upon His children resulting in their having an unwavering faith and ability to deal with whatever Satan's hordes shoot at us.
- We can anticipate the fires of persecution fanning a genuine, intensive revival of desperate people seeking the solutions that only The Gospel can provide and we get to be the messengers! (Which you mention in your blog)

That's pretty exciting to me. REVELATION 19:6!!!

Wade Burleson said...

Good comments, all!

Kirk,

I believe classical liberalism is libertarianism without the anarchy.

That's why I prefer the label classical liberalism.

Pege' said...


"Get ready America.

Soon, to be a follower of Jesus Christ might very well cost you."


Wade, my friend have lived and worked in Enid America way too long. It already has begun. In America's churches. Emmanuel is an exception. Persecution is a refining fire but so many believers think they will be raptured out and never feel or face it.

Christiane said...

I don't think the hostility IS towards those who follow Christ.

I think there is a feeling that SOME who have declared themselves to be very 'anti' (here you can fill in the blank) have finally convinced the general population that they really ARE.

There is a host of labels to choose from for those wishing to be 'anti-' another group of our citizenry, and the general population notes, quite rightly, that the anti's are VOCAL, POLITICAL, and have no problem teaching their children to also be of the same mind.

No. It's not the teachings of Our Lord that are being confronted by the general population ..... I think it's the over-the-top in-your-face activities that are seen as 'tribal' to those who belong to a community that feeds off of having contempt for others and expressing it loudly and politically.

Maybe it's not 'persecution' that is being felt by some of the hyper-political strident folk who identify also as Christian morality police against so many marginalized groups;
maybe it's 'pushback' instead.

Is there some evidence that this opinion carries water? I think so. Just recently, the SBC had trouble with the term 'alt-right' and were unable to initially come up with a resolution concerning condemning the excesses of alt-right racism. They worked it out.
But ONLY after 'push-back'.

I hate to think about the reputation of the SBC if someone hadn't pushed back and confronted them .....

push-back is sometimes needed, especially when folks see themselves as 'in the right' in how they interact with those who are different using means that are disrespectful and intolerant. Our gay citizens deserve an apology from our Christian communities for some of what they have been put through. Our Muslim citizens are fearful and distressed and need their Christian neighbors to come by their side in support of their freedom of religion. I could go on, but we who bear the name 'Christian' need to honor Our Lord with coming to others bearing His peace. Many of us have failed Him by our strident, self-righteousness, and now we can't even handle push-back when we have been the ones to aggressively disrespect 'the others'.

Rex Ray said...

Don,

You asked, “Do you think that no faithful believer can think differently than that all homosexual acts are a sin according to Scripture? I think it is a debatable subject.”

The answer is: ALL HOMOSEXUAL ACTS ARE A SIN with no debate according to:

“God condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and turned them into heaps of ashes. He made them an example of what will happen to ungodly people.” (2 Peter 2:6)

Anonymous said...

Christiane,

I know you can't see me on my feet applauding you, but I am. :)

Debbie Kaufman said...

I love your writing Wade and as you know respect and love, you but I agree with Christiane on this one.

Mona Loewen said...

This is just my opinion
. But I think one reason Christians are persecuted is that they have forgotten that Jesus did not come to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. Moreover, whenever I hear someone talk about the sin of Sodom, I think they should look to Ezekiel 16:19 to see how God, in His own words, defines the "sin of Sodom." As a lifelong, conservative, Republican, Southern Baptist, Christian, for way too many years I have been taught and bought into the idea that negativity and judgmentalism were the hallmarks of the faith. I am longing to see leaders who can model for me Micah 6:8. I sincerely would like to do "what the Lord requires of me" but I do not find it in either political party. I don't see how either one can pass the true Christian litmus test.

Wade Burleson said...

Amen, Mona -

And, Debbie and Christiane, great minds don't always think alike! Keep believing the way you see it!


Anonymous said...

I not finding it anywhere in my Bible where we charged with changing society.

I see the instruction to look after each other in the Body of Christ, and of course to share the Good News of the Gospel with the world, but no where do I see that we are to remake society.
In fact, the council on morality the Lord has given His children applies to us only according to what I see here. In fact, we can't live up His standards ourselves in our own strength, so how are we expecting an unsaved world to conform to it?

It says here that God Himself will judge the world, and we are only to do the work he has given us to do.

And while I think on it, how is it we are so scared of Muslims enforcing their Sharia laws when we are trying to do much the same?

Why are we surprised that a sinful world lives in sin? And since when has it become our job to change what only God can change?

Yep, my Bible is pretty clear on this...

RRR said...

Christiane said,"No. It's not the teachings of Our Lord that are being confronted by the general population ...."

It is exactly the teaching of Our Lord that is being confronted by the general population and specifically, by "Bernie Sanders" types, of which there are millions.

Our Lord announced clearly and without any basis of debate, that faith in Him alone is the ONLY way to enter into a redemptive relationship with The Almighty, Creator God. That's what riles Bernie-types who take offense at the proposal that they are excluded from having a relationship with God due to their refusal to accept what Our Lord has unequivocally stated.

If you do not surrender your life to Jesus Christ as Lord, you outside the eternal Kingdom of God. This places all of those who reject this concept outside. Followers of Christ are not the one who originated this status. They are NOT "anti" anybody. It is God Himself who puts Muslims, non-believing Jews, Hindus, agnostics, and all those who reject His way, outside. Born again followers simply believe what God says! How can anyone refer to that as "contempt"? The door is open! Come on in!

If you do not get the smallpox vaccination you are not protected from smallpox, no matter what other type of vaccination you get! That's not being "anti" anything; just in touch with reality.

RRR said...

And then Anonymous says, "I not finding it anywhere in my Bible where we charged with changing society."

WHAT??!!

What does salt do? It saves, protects from rot and decay.
What does "light" do? It guides people to the only safe path available.
What does loving your neighbor do, or even loving your enemy when they hate you do,
or turning the other cheek,
going the second mile for someone who doesn't deserve it,
giving to those who ask from you,
honoring and respecting your government authorities,
loving your parents, your spouse,
treating all others in they manner you want to be treated do?
What does it change when you see a suffering person lying on the side of the road and you help them do?

What does going throughout the entire world and sharing this Good News of love and salvation and hope do?

Wow! I wonder what Bible you have been looking in where you cannot find it saying that you are to change the world, i.e., society? Let me know so I will be sure not to read it.

Rex Ray said...

Preach on RRR, preach on!

Anonymous said...

RRR,

Look at your list and notice that the majority of unsaved folk do those things, too. In fact, most other religions have the same moral code.

I'm talking about expecting the sinful world to adhere to Christian standards of morality that even Christians can only accomplish with the Lord's help.

Take the right's strong stand on 'The sin of homosexuality and you're going straight to hell, boy!'

Let's see here...

'But I say, if you look at a woman with lust, you have committed adultery.' And um...
'If you hate your brother, you have committed murder in your heart.'

How are you doing so far in the sin department yourself? Which brings me to the log in your eye, etc.
Our Lord has upped the ante, hasn't He? Yep, we all fall sort. ALL OF US.

But, my real point in my previous post was to say this :

Look at Revelations. Do you see that in the last days the world will just be absolutely boiling with sin?
Okay, where does it say we are to stop that?

Christiane said...

Steve Scalise is a Republican lawmaker who has been gravely wounded by a deranged man who was filled with hatred for everything 'Trump'.
Steve's protection officers included an African American lesbian woman (in a same-sex marriage) who took a bullet and kept on firing at the perpetrator who would have killed Steve and taken out more of our representatives who were there at the practice that morning.
President Trump calls her a hero.

I look at the dynamics of these facts and I see something there that is a microcosm of our nation right now:
so many 'issues' brought together but in a way focused NOT on our 'differences' but infused with an appeal to our human calling to see beyond differences in times of troubles in our nation .... our need to embrace the humanity of all the people involved without regard for the 'labels' we have assigned to them.

And I think 'what are the chances of all this coming together in this way' just now, and the resulting national response being one of healing?

And will the healing continue?
When the lawmakers return to their work, and encounter laws that affect women who serve their country, will they remember Crystal?
I wonder, in my worry about Steve and the other wounded, IF those in our Congress who were spared by the professionalism and devotion to duty of this brave African-American woman have realized that what makes a warrior against evil is not found in one’s reproductive organs, but is born and resides within the human heart????

She took a bullet for these men so that they could continue their work for our country. I hope they remember her when it comes time to speak to ‘the place of women’ in our country and in its defenses against evil.

So much to ponder. I need to pray.

RRR said...

Anonymous, you bring up some good points such as non-Christians living upright, moral lives too. I know a number of wonderful people who are not yet followers of Jesus. Please know that my intention was no to suggest that only Christians are "good" or do good things. The difference lies, or should lie, in the motive for doing those good acts. A Christian's motive should be to do good because he/she wants to glorify God and hopes that any good they do will be associated with God's love; you know, like, "Let your lights so shine that people will see your good works AND GLORIFY YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN". A Christian loves others because the Spirit of God dwells in his soul and leads him/her to have the same compassion and love for others as God has. Those followers have already gained their redeemed relationship with God for eternity so are not trying to "earn" anything by good acts other than the blesing of their Father being pleased.

You are also totally correct in saying that almost all religions preach that people should be good, or should "make merit" as my Buddhist friends say. Their motives are for reasons other than being obedient to Jesus Christ. That's what differentiates them from Jesus followers.

I know that homosexuals are stigmatized by some as being worse sinners than me. I believe that such assessment by people of sin is a distortion of how God's Word presents it. The Word of God teaches that I am just as worthy of hell fire for my sins as any homosexual. However, no Christian, or anyone else, should condone or accept my sins as being anything other than sin. If I do have lust in my heart, nobody should say that is fine and that God accepts that. They do not help me by telling me that it is not sin and that it is an acceptable condition. I need someone to tell me, lovingly, that my sin condemns me and that I need a Savior; I need forgiveness and God's help to change.

I am not sure what I may have said that could lead you to think I am proposing I am better than anyone else ("log in my eye"). I was trying to say what my Master Himself has taught me and that I try to obey as His follower. The priority being "love" and concern for others. I believe that most Christ followers pursue the same.

Christiane said...

Hi RRR,

you wrote this: "I need someone to tell me, lovingly, that my sin condemns me and that I need a Savior; I need forgiveness and God's help to change."

well, I thought about this for a while and I realized that you might not know that a person's conviction of their sin is something that comes from the Holy Spirit working in them. My own thought is that evangelical people might help 'the others' more by simply pointing to Christ. And the truth is that this is best done through actions of kindness, patience, gentleness towards those whose suffering has come from sin. Long-suffering is also a blessing where we realize that people who need Christ must turn towards Him and for some this process is painful and takes time. They are best helped by those who come along side of them bearing the peace of Christ within themselves. There is nothing more powerful than that witness.

RRR said...

Christiane, you are so right about the conviction being the work of the Holy Spirit.One cannot "talk" someone into being convicted of their sins.

At the same time, those Christians who are not identifying their own life, their reason for service and love, or testimony of their own redemption, in a bold, verbal, and engaging manner, are simply not fulfilling their assigned commission by their Lord. I can imagine Paul and the other apostles going around and being nice to people and helping them get their ox out of the ditch and giving them a pat on the back and departing with a nice, "Have a nice day!", or even a "God bless you!" and moving along. Goodness, the church would still be confined to Jerusalem, if not dead entirely!

Our Lord mandated that His followers were to be bold, outspoken, and unwavering in their proclaiming His salvation and identifying unapologetically as being followers of Jesus Christ. God's Holy Spirit must indeed be involved in the equation, but HE is the one that is professing through our mouths that Jesus Christ is Lord, and He is the one empowering the testimony of the bold preachers and messengers.

"How will they know if they do not 'hear', have a 'preach'-er?" He vividly described how we would be repulsive to the lost world, persecuted, killed, and slandered for being obedient to Him in this manner. The world today is no different than it was when He was killed. They crucified Him for saying He was God, they want to crucify His followers today for saying He IS God. That's why so many believers are timid in their approach, avoid verbally saying they are followers of "Jesus Christ", or refusing to broadcast that He is God's ONLY way into the Kingdom of God. They know that to do so will result in their having to make sacrifices.

Maybe you could help me by describing a little more about what you mean by "simply pointing to Christ" and perhaps by explaining a little about what you think those born-again followers of Jesus Christ are doing wrong in their methods. I am definitely not referring to those who come across in a judgmental, mean, arrogant way. However, to proclaim Jesus Christ EXCLUSIVELY as the means to salvation is often interpreted as our being all of those things. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Wilkins,

There is an article in The Guardian newspaper today about the SBC you may find interesting. They agree with you and then some.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/17/powerful-church-group-southern-baptist-struggle-denounce-white-supremacy

Rex Ray said...

Christiane,

I believe you and RRR are getting closer to agreeing with each other. You said, “I thought about this for a while and I realized that you might not know that a person's conviction of their sin is something that comes from the Holy Spirit working in them.”

You are correct IF that person is a Christian.

Christ said, “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.” (John 14:17 NLT)

For a lost person, all the Holy Spirit does for them is to try to convince them they are lost.

A movie, “The dirty dozen” was made in 1967. These men who were hardened murders in prison for life were promised freedom if they completed a mission in World War II. They were to kill German guards with knives without any noise. The authorities were afraid that Christians or ‘good’ men couldn’t do it.

RRR said...

Rex Ray, I guess it's okay for us to carry on a conversation on Wade's blog site; it may surprisingly include something of interest to someone else!

After a million dialogues on Wade's blog, you and I know each other well enough to know that we see eye to eye on just about everything, certainly the work of the Holy Spirit, as well as having seen "The Dirty Dozen" about a hundred times. You bring up something in response to Christiane that continues to be a mystery to me, maybe you can give me your take on it.

I think I understand what Christiane is saying when she makes reference to the work in a person's conversion being reliant upon God's Holy Spirit. I don't "think" she meant to imply that a lost person has an indwelling presence of God's Holy Spirit, as you so correctly point out does not happen until that person is "born again" and redeemed. At the same time, I believe that He empowers (best way I know to express this) the message of The Gospel, in whatever form it is presented (creation, movie, preachers, etc.) so as to convict the lost person that they need a redeemer. In other words, I think He bangs on their spiritual door to get their attention.

The mystery that I struggle with, and apparently a host of others do as well, is figuring out how you can share the message with a crowd and a few will obviously fall under the power and conviction of God's Spirit while most will remain indifferent. I am pretty sure that Wade would say, "It's because they are chosen by God to be saved while the others are chosen to remain under conviction.", i.e, predestination/preordained.

What's your take on the proposition that God's Holy Spirit works to convict a lost person that they need a Savior, even though they could not be considered to have an indwelling presence of Him in their soul?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Did anything go on at the SBC in Arizona that we ought to know about?

(Our church didn’t send any messengers. Pastor said he didn’t know it was going on. I found out about it by your comment saying you were leaving to go.)

The number of messengers a church can send is one for the church and one for every 250 church members, and one for every $250 given the year before with the maximum of ten messengers.

At one time it was discussed to have the meeting on the internet and every church that was affiliated could take part.

Think of the money that would save in travel, lodging, etc. not to mention the lost time messengers have.

I believe it did not happen because the ‘powers that be’ would loose ‘control’. Not to mention their prestige. They don’t want the power to be in the hands of the people.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

Everything was fairly routine except for the resolution from Dwight McKissic over the alt-right racism. At first denied to be considered by the Resolutions Committee, the Convention requested it be brought to the floor, and after changes, almost unanimously accepted.

The convention is changing.

Much young, racially diverse. It's an interesting time.

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Christiane said...

Hi RRR,
You wrote "Maybe you could help me by describing a little more about what you mean by "simply pointing to Christ" ...."

well, I thought a lot about this too, and I looked at it from the viewpoints of those who are on the RECEIVING end of what Christian people bring.
It occurs that there IS a difference between 'Gospel' as Euangelion; and 'the biblical gospel' of some Christian people. I see the bringing of the Good News as 'proclamation' to be celebrated with joy. In the first days of Christianity, the response of those who heard of the Resurrection of Our Lord and the hope of eternal life was like thunder-bolts in how this was received ..... people had never had hope to see their loved ones who had passed away again, and now they were told of the 'life beyond this Earth' and it filled them with hope.

The thing about people coming to be convicted of their sin seems to me a function of realizing the Good News and of learning of the Good Shepherd Who gave His life for the sheep. So when they come to kneel before Christ, this passage in the Book of Zechariah 12:10 speaks of the pouring of grace into their hearts which leads them into repentence for their sins that 'pierced' Him:
"And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn."

Maybe it is not so necessary to try to do the work of the Holy Spirit in attempting to bring men into conviction of their sin; as it is to come to people who are suffering also from their own sin and the sins of others, and PROCLAIM Our Lord to them resoundingly, with joy, in the manner that brought hope to the first converts to the faith.

Euongelion: PROCLAMATION

it is not judgement or condemnation or contempt or the bringing of fear or shaming, no

it is an announcement of a new King who leads us into eternal life

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koi seo said...

Thanks a lot for posting this, Wade. You have hit the nail on the head. I'm both disturbed and full of anticipation.

I'm "disturbed" to see all of the hate being undeniably directed to true, born-again, "Christians" and its occurring right smack dab in the middle of our once "Judeo-Christian"-identified, United States of America. Sad to see what was once considered a shining beacon of God's blessed nation and standard for the world, now pretty much "gone with the wind".

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Curious Thinker said...

As a democrat myself, I too get annoyed when I read comments from other Christians saying you cant be a Christian and a democrat and reply that the only true Christians are republicans. I read other Christian bloggers claim that can't understand how a Christian could possibly vote democrat because of the abortion and gay issues and one blogger I even posted that Satan himself is a liberal. First, they lumped all democrats together based on generalizations and stereotypes. There is no taking in consideration that some democrats can hold some morally conservative views and are not all far-left wingers just like some republicans can hold a few liberal views. There are some democrats that are pro-life and there is even an organization called "Democrats For Life" filled with pro-life democrats. Some Christian democrats identify as theologically conservative and politically liberal including myself. I also agree with separation of religion and the state when it comes to politics. I just hate it when fellow believers get caught up in the republican vs. democrats debate each thinking their way is the true Christian way to go. Just remember our true purpose is to follow Christ rather than get caught up in the political debate. Many this will guide them in their choices in life including politics. God Bless.

RRR said...

Thanks for sharing that, "Curious Thinker". I know that Democrats have been demonized in the evangelical ranks and I am often disturbed at the reality that a Democrat would have a hard time feeling comfortable in a Bible study fellowship in my own church, and probably most Southern Baptist churches today. That is sad. Actually, I think a Hindu or Buddhist would feel more comfortable in attending my church and be better received!

Hearing your position on things is kind of like hearing a Catholic say they are "born again followers of Jesus Christ" whose faith is based on Him alone. We know there are those Catholics who have such a faith but they do not frequently portray this openly, at least not that I've often seen. It would be surprising and it's seldom heard. The same applies to "Democrats" who actually value the lives of those yet to exit the womb over a woman's right to destroy them due to convenience, value the sanctity of marriage being between a man and woman, and who boldly identify themselves as being born-again followers of Jesus Christ.

I hope you are very vocal in expressing your position on these principles and your frustration at continually being stereotyped as being a heathen due to your being identified as being with the Democrat party. We need to hear from you and other Democrat Christians like you by your pointing out this position with the attitude that you display here. I don't remember your ever doing that before on Wade's blog and there have been many discussions when it would have been appropriate for you to contribute. The hearts and minds of we Jesus followers should be made to consider this.

Christiane said...

I saw a scene at the Capitol yesterday of people in wheelchairs protesting for their health care not to be taken from them. Of course came the police to drag them away, quite literally, and some were injured in the process as the police did not know how to handle them so as not to injure unused muscles and fragile joints..... but one lady was screaming ... I wept.

These people aren't 'liberals', they are people in need of their health care. They are Americans. They couldn't get any answers from their congressmen, so they went to the Capitol ..... they did what they could .... they, too, want to live

What is happening to our country?

RRR said...

Christiane, I almost did not respond to your comment. I appreciate your compassionate heart. Really. At the same time, I believe there are other perspectives that might answer some of your expressions of concern and which are worthy of consideration.

Of course, police have to keep travel ways free and orderly. While public protesting might be a "right", it must be controlled and rights of others protected as well. But this was not a consideration of the protestors. Indeed, the protesters resisted the police in doing their duty because they intended to be manhandled as a means of accentuating their cause and portraying the police as being insensitive storm troopers preying upon the weak and indigent.

That's why the crowd was there and why they refused to disburse when asked to do so. It elevated their exposure and gained more publicity. Protestors are all about getting attention. Their only disappointment might have been that perhaps it did not gain more national media attention. So, why would anyone feel sorry for them for being treated as such when that was their purpose in being there in the first place? Is this the best and most effective way to resolve their plight?

If the protestors were serious and civil about their cause, they would be more active in the process to make meaningful change instead of taking the anarchist approach. They could be political activists writing and visiting their congressional representatives or getting signatures to send to them demanding that their congressmen aggressively pursue our having a good health care system. Or run for office themselves!

And, why all of the boisterous protesting now? Where were the protestors in their wheelchairs when the present health care program was passed, now resulting in insurance companies being forced out of the system due to its absurd, impossible infrastructure? While making it impossible for insurance carriers to viably function in the system, the premiums and deductibles under "Obama Care" have skyrocketed and will go many times higher should that system continue. Where was the outrage then? All of this leads to the conclusion that, rather being representative of a genuine problem, it is all about promoting meaningless "politics"; symbolism over substance, so to speak.

Still, we are to be compassionate, especially for those who are victims of cruel policies and made the most vulnerable due to their having low social status and no political leverage or influence. Who are the most innocent, most abused, most victimized, in today's America? It's those "yet to be delivered" children being viciously slaughtered in the womb by the millions for the sake of providing "mothers" the convenience of rejecting their responsibility to assume the consequences of their reckless sexual behavior.

50 million lives taken for no substantive reason other than maintaining a convenient lifestyle. These victims cannot protest at the Capitol or write to their congressmen.

Our country will surely be held accountable more for its position on abortion than its past atrocities related to slavery, racism, or neglect in health care issues.

Anonymous said...

RRR,

The protesters you're referring to are about to lose their access to healthcare if this new bill is signed into law next week.
They are from a group known as ADAPT, and this same group claims the success of a protest that gave us the Americans With Disabilities Act some years ago.

I'll also add, with your singular focus on abortion, these future babies you say you care about will have no access to healthcare either.
This heartless bill robs Medicaid of $800 Billion, and then give that money to the wealthy in tax breaks, the Pharmaceutical industry and insurance executives.

Medicaid pays for 40% of births, 100% of care for the disabled and provides the lions share of funding for nursing homes.

There's more to politics than abortions and gays.

RRR said...

Anonymous, thanks for sharing your perspective. You are welcome to it.

Victorious said...

Who are the most innocent, most abused, most victimized, in today's America? It's those "yet to be delivered" children being viciously slaughtered in the womb by the millions for the sake of providing "mothers" the convenience of rejecting their responsibility to assume the consequences of their reckless sexual behavior.

Please know that I am in no way advocating, promoting, nor condoning abortion by saying what I feel must be said. Every single life that's present in a womb was the result of two persons sexual activity; one male and one female. A blanket statement that attributes "reckless sexual behavior" to the female is not only unfair, but inaccurate. We should be aware of those who were drugged (think Bill Cosby); victims of rape; victims of sex trafficking; those who are coerced into sex; violent assault; incest, etc.

You can do the research on sexual assault yourself, but having personally ministered to hundreds of victims, I can say that not all are guilty of "reckless sexual behavior." I'll never forget one 65 yr. old woman who simply went out in her own home to do her laundry and was assaulted in front of the washing machine. Naturally, pregnancy didn't follow that rape, but the fear and shame will be with her forever.

Granted, there are many who may be reckless in their sexual behavior, but perhaps (sarcasm ahead) a mandatory vasectomy for males who reach puberty would significantly lower the number of pregnancies in those women.

And I've also ministered to a number of male rape victims who suffer fear and shame as well.

End of rant...

RRR said...

Victorious, I believe you to be a Spirit-filled saint, and that is where your compassion arises for women and children who are exploited, abused and overpowered by those who are stronger and in positions of control.

But seeking to resolve one sin by committing another, far greater, is not the solution.

These are children being killed by abortion. The cat is now out of the bag. The obvious is finally being acknowledged. Hillary Clinton even said during the last campaign that these yet-to-be-delivered innocents are "people". Although she followed that up by saying they had no right to life, even by being a "person", given that they are not "citizens". They have no rights.

Millions of babies are destroyed each year using this horrific, inhumane, procedure. In a very small percent of the occasions, their lives are taken and justified by the woman having been raped, or because her life would be threatened by the act of delivery. But proposals for anti-abortion laws which include exceptions for these incidents are rejected in their entirety by pro-abortion advocates. Why? Because, by far, the majority of cases are those who kill the baby for other reasons.

But, for the sake of argument, suppose a woman who had been raped then decides, for whatever reason, to carry the child full term and then she kills him/her two minutes following being delivered when the doctor steps out of the room. It would be unacceptable, probably murder. But if they tear off the baby's head prior to it fully exiting the womb, even in a partial birth procedure, it is allowed.

If 50 million infants have been killed (in the US alone) since "Roe", that means that millions of women, and men, have participated in the act. (It would be fewer than 50 million women involved because many have the procedure more than once.) No doubt, the extreme emotional opposition to laws to protect the life of the child comes from the inability of those who have previously taken lives in such fashion to deal with the consequences of admitting they have taken the life of an innocent child.

I believe that, if you were in the position to counsel a woman dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, no matter what the circumstances resulting in the conception, you would first counsel her to seek God through faith in Jesus Christ so she would have access to a relationship with God that provides the presence and counsel of His Holy Spirit. I would imagine, perhaps in error, but I don't think so, that you would then counsel that woman to read Scripture herself, talk to her Father, God, and seek His will in the decision she makes. That's all that would be necessary.

The victims are indeed not only the children whose lives are taken but those women who are deceived, misled, misinformed and manipulated by individuals and a system bent on maintaining a horrific and inhumane practice for whatever reason; votes, money, or other selfish motives. Those women having suffered the consequences of abortion should be seen in the light of compassion, grace, forgiveness and the redemptive power of Christ. They, more than anyone else, should be livid at having been led to assume that the life in them was anything less than a child, human being, regardless of the circumstance of its conception.

Contrary to the comment made by "Anonymous", there is no issue in politics or in our society that comes close to that of the greatest holocaust humankind has ever inflicted, taking place, resulting in more than 50 million, innocent, lives being wiped out, destroyed, using the most horrific, painful methods. Nothing comes close to it in importance or the judgment and stigma that God will apply to us due to our defense for its continuance or our indifference to it.

End of rant....but no, not really.

Victorious said...

I believe that, if you were in the position to counsel a woman dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, no matter what the circumstances resulting in the conception, you would first counsel her to seek God through faith in Jesus Christ so she would have access to a relationship with God that provides the presence and counsel of His Holy Spirit. I would imagine, perhaps in error, but I don't think so, that you would then counsel that woman to read Scripture herself, talk to her Father, God, and seek His will in the decision she makes. That's all that would be necessary.

No. My point of contact was always in the ER of a hospital or in a Rape Trauma Center. The victim was always informed about the "morning-after" pill which, if administered within 72 hrs. following an assault, acts much the same as birth control in that it prevents conception. All advocates encourage and assist in the reporting to law enforcement and will accompany the victim in a trial situation.

Abortions did not just start happening with the advent of Roe vs. Wade, but that law did protect victims from back-yard butcher shops where many died from the procedure performed by non-medical scam artists for a hefty fee. The desperation that drove victims to take that risk was eliminated with a credible medical individual in a sterile environment with compassionate counselors and oversight.

Just as heroin is illegal, some states (I believe) have implemented "safe-injection" rooms which provides a clean, safe environment along with sterile needles to eliminate the practice of needle sharing by users in filthy, unsavory areas.

Divorce used to be illegal except in the case of adultery which caused a great deal of animosity to both parties in an effort to dissolve the marriage. The no-fault divorce eliminated the need to commit adultery (by both parties) to accomplish the end result with far less disgusting public airing of the couples dirty laundry for the sake of the children and families.

When polygamy was widely practiced throughout history, God implemented the Writ of Divorce which was beneficial for the wives who were sent away for any reason. It was a compassionate solution and prevented the woman from being labeled an adulterer should she wish to remarry. The document provided proof that she was divorced and could not be stoned for being an adulterer. In the OT, no proof of marriage was required, but today one cannot get a legal divorce without evidence of marriage. So that has changed and certainly curbs :) the practice of polygamy.

We know the effort to curb alcohol abuse failed miserably during the decade of the Prohibition as well as other avenues that try to eliminate behaviors that are considered illegal and inhumane by some such as the death penalty. Whereas hanging, the gas chamber, or other methods were found objectionable, a more humane way was implemented by the use of injection that causes the prisoner to merely go to sleep with little or no pain.

So....it seems historically we are always searching for ways to administer justice for victims of crime with their welfare in mind while at the same time including parameters.

RRR said...

Point being....???

Victorious said...

RRR, perhaps I didn't make my point clear so I'll try again.

I've listed a number of situations that most Christians find objectionable and even sinful.

But they are not illegal. And those that were illegal at one time have been changed or modified by federal, state or civil law to reflect a more humane, compassionate and just option for those affected; i.e. divorce laws, death penalty, alcohol, and even for victims of rape to choose to terminate a pregnancy.

Christians are notorious for expecting unbelievers to believe as we do. We expect unbelievers to adhere to Christian morality. We want them to see homosexuality and abortion (our two favorite gripes) as sinful as we do. They, on the other hand, are abiding within the dictates of the law so they feel no compunction to abide by our moral standards so the "God's gonna get you..." threats just have little to no effect.

So, my point is that non-believers and the legal system in our country are often more understanding, compassionate, merciful and just in dealing with sinners than believers are.

We minister to the immediate needs when the situation calls for that, and offer the Good News of Jesus Christ when the opportunity presents itself. But until that opportunity arises, we extend love rather than condemnation and disgust.

And just as a P.S....if your number of near 50 million abortions since Roe vs. Wade is correct, that means there were near 50 million men involved in those pregnancies. Where is the outrage about them; why is that fact being ignored; and what is the solution where they are concerned?

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RRR said...

"So, my point is that non-believers and the legal system in our country are often more understanding, compassionate, merciful and just in dealing with sinners than believers are."

O-o-o-h, I get it now. Thank you for making the extra effort to help me understand where you intended to go in the dialogue.

I also think your statement saying, "...50 million men involved in those pregnancies. Where is the outrage about them; why is that fact being ignored, and what is the solution where they are concerned?" is revealing and it demonstrates that you must have missed my point.

My intention in all of this dialogue has not been to render God's judgment upon people who have casual sex, homosexual sex, unprotected sex, incestuous sex or any other manner of sex. Neither was my intention to address whether women having sex is a sin while giving men a pass on the issue. These were not the issues I was attempting to address.

The entire basis for my dialogue is to focus on the taking of innocent lives by anyone.

Whether a person is a Christian or not, they should have some sense of morality. Indeed, they do, whether they choose to acknowledge it or not. That is what "law" is all about. Some people say, "You cannot legislate morality." Of course, you can and that is what "law" is totally about, setting up parameters for what is right and what is wrong. Of course, we often get it wrong and legislate laws that are inappropriate, or in themselves are immoral. But law says that in most cases, the forcibly taking of another person's life, without grounds for it being self-defense, or war, is illegal. It is an immoral act. The "law" usually judges life as being precious. Yet, due to whatever social pressures have been applied, the law refuses to protect the most vulnerable, those who live in the womb, which should be the safest and most nurturing residence a baby can have. I believe this is the most heinous example of misapplied "law" ever legislated.

That was the point I was attempting to make.

Victorious said...

Some people say, "You cannot legislate morality." Of course, you can and that is what "law" is totally about, setting up parameters for what is right and what is wrong.

IIRC God Himself implemented some 600 laws designed to ensure morality, justice and protection of the most vulnerable among and between individuals. How'd that work out?

RRR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RRR said...

God's laws were never expected to cause people to be moral. They were indicators that when we are outside those laws, we are outside God's righteousness and worthy of punishment.

I respect you as a sister in Christ and imagine this is one of those times where we come to an impasse, most probably due to the limitations of communicating through the blog-media. My impression is beginning to lead me to think you are suggesting anarchy, no accountability to our living within moral boundaries, but I am sure that could not be what you are proposing. So, I believe we have milked this conversation for whatever benefit we might have acquired. I do look forward to future conversations on other matters.

Curious Thinker said...

Thanks for your reply RRR, sorry to reply this late but I haven't been on this blog in few days due to other things. Anyway, I don't really care to partake in political debates but I decided reply this one time. There are plenty of Christian democrats in and I've even found some websites on Christian Democrats on the internet. There is the Christian Democrats of America and it even has a Facebook and twitter page. Other sites are the Red Letter Christians(although it is not a democrat group but politically progressive), Sojourners Magazine and Faithful Democrats which also as a FB page. There is also an organization known as the Evangelical Left with that includes known figures like Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, William Willimon, Shane Clairborne and more and you are free to view them if you like. I just wanted it to be known that the Christian democrats do a exist and give a bit of a insight on some of their views. Thanks again. God Bless.

RRR said...

Curious Thinker; I wrote a book, "When I Am President-The President's Bible", portraying issues and what I would do if I was President. I began writing it years ago out of concern regarding the direction our nation was headed. It was published prior to the last election when there was no indication of how things might turn out during the campaign.

There were about 15 Republican candidates running in the race when the book was published, and nobody seriously considered that Donald Trump might win and Hillary Clinton might lose. As I was thinking when writing the book, more of a fantasy, I guess, about how I would proceed in the event I was "discovered" and a ton of campaign money dumped on me, I thought I would run as a Democrat. That would have surprised people who know me given that my position on things always tends to be conservative. Even the positions written in the book would be deemed by most as being much to the "right".

But I thought it could work to have a conservative Democrat for a change. There used to be plenty. I believe there are a ton of folks out there, as you mention, who are practical, patriotic thinkers but disturbed about the direction both parties are taking. I believe the Democrat party could make a swing more to the "right", so to speak, while maintaining their basic principles.

We can pray that the extreme polarization of politics cools off and that one day our representatives will sincerely attempt to work together for the good of the people instead of their own, selfish, desires to maintain their power and presence in Washington. We can certainly pray for that.

Thank you for sharing your insights. It's the kind of dialogue that can help we citizens and especially evangelicals, be more open and receptive to each other's contributions and dialogue. I pray for the day that anyone can come into a Bible study class in any Southern Baptist church, reveal they are a "Democrat", and not feel as though they've been stigmatized and rendered an infidel!

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