Having a voice.
“Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.” Alexis de Tocqueville, 1835
Most baby-boomers you talk to compare the world they live in today as an alien world compared to the world 60 years ago. We lived in a world that was permeated with a Christian culture. Almost every store closed on Sundays, most divorces very difficult to obtain, no movie ratings since all would qualify as “G”. Baccalaureate services for graduation at virtually every high school in the land with clergy speaking. Now, of course, you can’t say the word Christmas in schools, it is now “Winter Break”. I could go on but you get the picture. The society had a Judeo-Christian worldview that was accepted as truth. When most Christians think about worldview, if they think about it at all, what comes to mind are ideas.
Worldview isn’t less than ideas, of course, but it is more. John Stonestreet defines worldview as the framework of fundamental beliefs that give us a view of and for the world. That framework includes ideas, but also our imagination, habits, and the fundamental stories—both cultural and personal—that shape our lives.
The historian Robert Wilkes wrote that “The Church is a culture in its own right. Christ does not simply infiltrate a culture; Christ creates culture by forming another city, another sovereignty with its own social and political life.” What distinguishes this culture from the non-Christian world is not some kind of physical separation or spiritual withdrawal, but, to borrow Wright’s phrase, a “way of being in the world” that’s different than other ways. The question posed to us as Christians is this: how do we infiltrate this world and culture with truth that influences politics, families, government - in fact all facets or our culture. The message of government today is that we “freedom of worship” not “freedom of religion”. It is fine to worship, just keep it confined to the four walls of the church, unless there is a pandemic. The elites will take care of laws, government, education and culture. We know political parties and their leaders are not our salvation.
In early November the Republican National Committee announced their partnership with Log Cabin (homosexual) Republicans at Mar-a-Lago with Donald Trump to create its first “Pride Coalition” which will invest in and mobilize LGBTQ+ communities. Donald and Melania were guests of honor and both Melania and RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel were awarded prizes for their commitment. This is just one example, among many, of the disconnect between truth and the goals of the political parties. Evangelicals and Christians are just another voter bloc to win over with promises and rhetoric. This will shock only those who haven’t been paying attention. Al Mohler described the relationship between Republicans and evangelicals as a “marriage of convenience”. In this case, marriage is a particularly painful and ironic metaphor.
I look at people who have left the world of politics to engage the culture with a profound Christian worldview. Tony Perkins was a member of the Louisiana legislature before helping found the Louisiana Family Forum in 1998. In 2003 he became President of the Family Research Council in Washington D.C. and has been a very effective voice on policy. Bob Vander Plaats is another person who went from politician, losing a close Governor’s race in Iowa in 2002, to founding a group called “The Family Leader”. This is a group that also focuses on aligning people of faith to be a voice in politics, government and culture. Bob has recently been effective in helping organize similar groups in other states. Their mission is; “Inspiring the Church to Engage Government for the advance of God’s Kingdom.”
Does Idaho, particularly the Panhandle, need this kind of organization and leadership? I think it does. We need churches and Christian leaders in unity on issues that affect families, our communities and government. Not “union” but unity. What happens if we don’t recapture America and restore it to goodness? Os Guinness, in his book A Free People’s Suicide, summarizes the issues this way: “Americans today are heedlessly pursuing a vision of freedom that is short-lived and suicidal. Once again, freedom without virtue, leadership without character, business without trust, law without customs, education without meaning and medicine, science and technology without human considerations can end only in disaster.” He goes on to say that, “Claims to rights and entitlements without duty are destroying the cultural soil in which all rights and freedom itself have to be nourished.”
It is my belief that it must be done but the hour is late. There should be an “Idaho Family Leader” that is outspoken and not afraid to confront politicians, the media and the culture with truth. A very important election is coming in May that will determine much of the direction for Idaho in the future. If you have thoughts or comments on this topic, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17