by Paul R. Green Jr.
Don’t FAIL to ask a candidate why he or she believes what he or she believes
Church leaders often are under pressure from the government (Attorneys General or IRS, to name a few departments) to not involve themselves in providing parishioners access to information to make up their own minds about candidates or ballot issues.
They claim that pastors, by doing so, are in violation of what has become known as “separation of church and state.” Typically this is done whenever someone does not want a person who professes Christ as their Lord and Savior to use the doctrine of the faith as foundation for their choosing between competing points of view or candidates.
There are two problems with this so called doctrine:
1. Pastors have a God-given right and responsibility to preach and teach “thus sayeth the Lord” from the pulpit and parishioners have a corresponding right to “choose ye this day who you will serve” relative to moral issues.
2. The term, “separation of church and state,” is a misnomer. It implies that a Christian’s faith is somehow outside of or otherwise “attached” to the follower of Christ rather than it being from within as the Holy Bible tells us, because our “body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [Spirit]” – the place where God resides within us — and “… ye are not our own.”. (1 Cor. 6:19)
Christianity therefore is the essence of a Christian’s being. It is his or her character. It is the foundation for their decision making, and as such, is who Christians are. And since they cannot be separated from themselves, the idea that they should not bring to the table who they are is ridiculous.
I believe that the intent of this effort to separate church from state has two purposes:
1. To remove the God who judges both behavior and persons from the discourse even in the house dedicated to his honor and glory.
2. To curtail the influence (especially in the political arena) of those who profess to be Christians so as to move an agenda forward that is contrary to God’s revealed word.
To further present this, I now will provide you with my definitions of two terms: position and opinion.
1. Position: taken where the proof is inviolate and a conclusion can be made.
2. Opinion: given when there exists the ability to have more than one conclusion
Why are these definitions important? Because we need to remain vigilant and because candidates for office who stridently cite scientific studies, poll data, etc., as authority for their position on secular issues, even though the so called “experts” they cite may disagree among themselves, must similarly be made to cite their authority for their position on moral issues.
I contend that there are one or the other of two main reasons candidates might profess agreement with a bible-based position but not cite the bible as their source:
1. Their position was derived at by happenstance and represents only the opinion they have arrived at without the use of an absolute standard.
2. Their position truly is taken from God’s Word, but they are ashamed of the author of the truth they speak because they fear man more than they fear God.
Scripture, however, admonishes us against this. We are to fear God and not man (Mt. 10:28) and to “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . but be though partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God.” (2 Timothy 1:8)
Christians therefore need to be wary of those who merely present an opinion that, in truth, just happens to agree with the biblical principle that applies, but that may only be a matter of expedient personal choice or preference and not necessarily a position someone is committed to as we would be as non-ashamed persons indwelled with the Holy Spirit.
The fact that there is no standard against which a candidate may come to a conclusion other than what is in his or her own mind is even more egregious with regard to moral issues than it is were the issue to be a secular one. And both are inconsistent with representing the public interests.
And even worse, if some who truly are Christians are fearful of or ashamed to publicly acknowledge such and therefore withhold boldly speaking about what they know to be true; they thereby cause other Christians to struggle to identify them.
As for me, I take positions on moral issues based upon my understanding of God’s Word and am not ashamed. (Please note that this does not imply that I received a unique revelation from God, merely a revelation that is consistent with that received by others who know and love the Lord as do I, and who then have studied His Word to show themselves “approved.”)
[This is an updated extract from the paper, Traditional Family Values, written by Paul R. Green Jr. in July, 2006 while he was the Republican Party general election nominee for the California State Senate District 6 (Sacramento County). Paul is a member of and former adult Sunday school teacher at Faith Baptist Tabernacle, North Highlands, CA. He also served as interim pastor of First Filipino Baptist Church in Los Angeles, CA for one year while a member of the United States Air Force stationed in El Segundo, CA at the Los Angeles Air Force Station (now Air Force Base).]