Friends and respected Westminster Seminary graduates are sharing and “liking” The Gospel Coalition and Brett McCracken’s “We Need Prophets, Not Partisans.”
In a time of increasing poverty and oppression McCracken does an excellent job of warning the believer against becoming conformed to the positions of our major political parties. His failure? Not pointing believers to a just alternative.
I want political influence. I want the same ideas that are reforming my mind to transform my neighbor.
I agree with Aristotle. Politics is the master science that organizes all others. I also believe God is sovereign over every sphere of life … including … “politics,” that part of ethics having to do with the science of government (Webster’s 1828).
I also agree with the Dutch theologian and former Prime Minister, Abraham Kuyper . “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
I think I’m consistent with McCracken when I write I’m to avoid making a major political party my transcendent. That would be negative tribalism, to organize around unjust law. I fail to be salt and light when I do so. I fail to properly love my neighbor when I do so. I fail to “conserve” higher law when I do so.
There is a “tribalism” coherent with the covenant given the twelve tribes of Israel that coheres with the will of our sovereign king.
There is a higher law from I AM that “every man” must submit from Romans 13:1.
What political philosophy transcends the major political parties yet coheres with my faith?
Classical Liberalism. Full stop.
Natural Rights. Law as a defensive instrument for protection of inalienable rights. Not as a progressive or offensive weapon for socially engineering our neighbor.
Classical liberalism transcends the false choice narrative of two party politics.
Classical Liberalism coheres with “the laws of nature and Nature’s God.”
It out rights the Right by more consistently conserving principle and out lefts the Left by upholding the rights of our greatest minority- the individual created in the imago dei.
Classical liberalism allows the unbelieving Cicero, Thoreau and Ayn Rand to coexist in peace with the theology of Kuyper, Machen and Schaeffer.
There is a much needed place for prophets in the political sphere.
Our communities desperately need a blueprint with a track record for delivering authentic reformation.
The believer should be the most thoughtful speaker in the town square with a theology that transcends and fuses across academic disciplines (law & economics).
The prophetic and transcendent ethics a believer can uphold in the civil sphere are:
- All men equal under the law (imago dei)
- Property rights (6th & 8th, Locke)
- Immorality of initiation of aggression (consistent with nature of Christ)
- Limited Government. Sphere Authority. See Kuyper’ 3rd Stone Lecture at Princeton. 1898.
It’s one thing to point out the error of following the media and “tribalism.” It’s another to not offer a just alternative. Revolution is only half the solution. It’s what the believer posits to replace it that’s key.
“One of the greatest injustices we do to our young people is to ask them to be conservative. Christianity is not conservative, but revolutionary.” – Francis Schaeffer
This is well-written Eric. I don’t know if Mr. McCracken failed in his article, but he does not address the bigger, and far more important political issue.
While political tribalism might be prevalent in Christian churches, and it is correct to warn against it, all of these tribes fundamentally break God’s higher law to which they must submit. This law is properly discovered, not made. It exists independently of any state or tribe. Yes, all men are subject to it. I say yes with you Eric.
The larger issue Mr. McCracken does not address is coercion vs. voluntarism. When Joe Biden is 3% different from Donald Trump, it might be entertaining to argue about it, but the tribes still support coercive force over those who have not agreed to be ruled by this system. No just contract works this way. The state is not exempt because its agents have more guns than you.
Christians need to ask themselves why it’s forbidden to steal from your neighbor directly, but it’s OK to vote for somebody who will do it for you. Looting a Target store is simply bypassing the middleman in Sacramento or Washington D.C.
This higher law does not allow the state to steal, enslave or murder those who have not agreed to be ruled by it. Nearly all of the tribes involved support state exemptions to violate the higher law, so long as they get a plurality vote or a man in a black robe to say it’s legal.
Can the state steal? Or to put it another way ‘Does Christ have a separate ethic for our neighbor when he becomes a lawmaker?’
I addressed this in my prior Rostra post ‘The Two Ethics Doctrine of Romans 13’
Bottom line. If we teach submission to a magistrate not submitted to higher/good authority from God we in effect teach he can steal with the blessing of the church.
At one time the church referred to this as ‘Divine Right of Kings’.
Amen and amen. Especially at this time when the vast majority of media and local politicians of both major political parties are embracing and propagating the PC lies about the protest/riot movement being peaceful and pandering to the dichotomous anarchism/authoritarianism accompanied by racism that are largely behind it, we need political prophets willing to push back against their censorship and speak the truth.
We see a large number of people of that town that was ravaged lashing out and demonizing their fellow residents for wanting to organize to enhance the peace and safety of their town while they call the people who attacked their town peaceful and silence anyone who dare contradict the lie. And instead of talking about strengthening their police department they are talking about defunding it. There are many of the examples of the mass delusion Scripture speaks of.
I totally agree political parties are a means not an end. Washington never wanted them in the first place.
Eric, this information you provide on the purpose of government being to protect our inalienable rights is so valuable and what we need so much more of in political discourse and education. Kids are being indoctrinated to believe the purpose of government and their role as citizens is to silence, exile and even commit violence against people they disagree with (as if people have no right to think differently than them) and that mentality is bearing fruit in the actions we are seeing. For years we have seen small pockets of angry outbursts and attacks, especially by younger leftists, against people they disagree with, especially Trump supporters. Their teachers and their community activist leaders have been telling them the lawless, mob tyranny approach is ok for years.
Thank you Eric