CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Choosing Leaders

May 21, 2016

It has become overwhelmingly clear to me over the past few months that way too many conservatives do not seem to give a rip about core conservative principles anymore. And worse yet, way too many Christians do not seem to give a rip about core biblical truths. The madness I see with the US Presidential elections has made this all too obvious.

Crass political expediency and amoral pragmatism seem to be the only considerations for so many of these folks. They have thrown right out the window basic conservative principles, especially as enunciated by the American Founding Fathers, and they have rejected just about everything the Word of God has to say about leadership – both good and bad.

This tells me why America is in such bad shape: many of its Christians seem to care little about their own biblical faith, and many of its conservatives are happy to jettison their fundamental principles. That is not how you make America great again. That is how you invite the just judgment of God upon a reprobate nation.

America 5It is worth reminding ourselves of these basic truths. Consider what the Founding Fathers of America had to say about all this. They routinely stated these basic truths about the vital importance of character, godliness and righteousness in a leader. Consider a number of such quotes:

“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” John Quincy Adams

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty – as well as the privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” John Jay

“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.” Patrick Henry

“On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.” Thomas Jefferson

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or discarded. If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the 24 citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer laws.” Noah Webster

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate—look to his character… It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the Scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness… When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.” Noah Webster

There would be many more such quotes that could be presented here. The Founding Fathers certainly looked at governance, leadership and the state of the nation far differently than most folks do today. And of course the bible also offers us a different view of things – something too many believers today seem unaware of, or resistant to.

Consider just some of the many biblical passages which speak to these matters:

-1 Samuel 8:18 Our nation will then bear the consequences of our choices. “You will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day”
-Psalm 118:9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
-Psalm 146:3 Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save.
-Proverbs 11:10-11 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.
Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
-Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
-Proverbs 28:2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.
-Proverbs 28:12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.
-Proverbs 28:28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.
-Proverbs 29:2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan. (NLT)
-Proverbs 29:4 By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down.
-Proverbs 29:12 If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked.
-Proverbs 29:14 If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever.
-Proverbs 29:16 When rulers are wicked, their people are too.
-Hosea 13:10-11 Where is your king, that he may save you?
Where are your rulers in all your towns,
of whom you said,
‘Give me a king and princes’?
So in my anger I gave you a king,
and in my wrath I took him away.

There would be other similar passages to appeal to here. But let me offer one final passage which seems to me to be one of the most fitting texts we should meditate on as we think about the two frontrunners in the US elections: Clinton and Trump. I refer to Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Wow, it seems that Hillary Trump and Donald Clinton are being described here to a T. Yet how many Christians will actually spruik for one or the other of these candidates. The very things God utterly hates and detests some of these Christians are championing!

Let me finish with the opening words of a booklet prepared by Bill Bright and Campus Crusade for Christ back in 2008 entitled, “Your 5 Duties as a Christian Citizen”:

Citizenship in a free country is a blessing from God. Our great system of self-government assures every Christian a voice in the affairs of the nation, and enables us to bring a heavenly perspective to the earthly realm. God wants us to do His will in government, just as in the church and in the home.
But too often we have disobeyed our Lord. We have ceased to be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world,” as Christ has commanded us. As a result, the moral fiber of America is rotting away – and our priceless freedom is in grave jeopardy. Atheism is penetrating every area of our national life. America is faced with the greatest crisis in its history. We are in danger of losing our nation by default, and with it our individual freedoms and possibly our very lives.
If that should happen, our opportunity to help fulfill the Great Commission throughout the United States and the world will also be lost. And hundreds of millions will never have an opportunity to receive our Savior.
British statesman Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” America is one of the last strongholds of freedom on earth – and citizens who are dedicated to God are the only resource for the preservation of our freedoms, including the freedom to serve Him.
It has been reliably estimated that more than half of the people of the United States profess faith in Jesus Christ. By following the simple guidelines contained in this booklet, even a small percentage of us can be used by God to set this nation on a new course of righteousness for His glory.
Charles Finney, who helped introduce half a million Americans to Christ, wrote in 1835: “The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics, or the Lord will curse them… God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God… God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”
His words are no less true for us today. Our nation’s course is up to us.

Would that Christians and conservatives recalled what both the Founding Fathers and the authors of Scripture said about such matters. We ignore both to our own peril.

crustore.org/downloads/5_Duties-Text.pdf

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9 Responses to On Choosing Leaders

  • Great Article Bill

    The article is equally applicable to Australia. Bill Shorten calls himself a Christian when it suits him, yet denies the rights of a child to a mother and father by promising gay Marriage.

    Christians such as Shayne Neumann (Ipswich) say nothing about Gay Marriage and vote the party line. Take the easy line and appeal to the outspoken young and the aggressive left to retain his position rather than be SALT.

    Turnbull is little better.

    I remain deeply concerned about the USA as the Economy is on a knife edge. I fear as things deteriorate violence will escalate and violence will affect a fair and honest election process.

    Whatever the outcome in the US Judgement is coming on America and few Christians in the US are truly prepared or aware of what is coming.

    We need to pray earnestly for both our Nations. My wife and I do not want a Labor/ Green alliance Govt in place. We pray every day against them.

    It would be tragic outcome. Debt would get further out of control and Christian principles would be smashed under Labor.

    Phil and Gillian

  • Thanks Bill.

    On thing that doesn’t help in Oz is people not understanding our voting systerm. I often asked why people didn’t give their first vote to “an obvious Christian with integrity” and some would say thay’ve given him their second vote. What use is that?

    To me that’s like putting God second.

  • Dear Bill,
    Thank you for the information and the opportunity to express the support of my wife and I for the points made in your article.
    As for the first set of comments, I only see America going ‘down the gurgler’ when the present contenders for President are considered. All this is on top of what the Obama administration has mismanaged.
    I fear that Australia’s opportunity to avoid a similar situation is marginal. It seems that the time available for those who hold to the Bible, to clearly enunciate the truth and value of adhering to such, is fast becoming a thing of the past. Media outlets don’t seem to want to know of such, and if they get hold of such details, they appear to subvert the truth of it all. They contort it to their ends. For instance, the soon to be shown Channel7 ‘interview’ with Ken Ham. That’s one of many as we know, with Q&A etc.
    It’s hard to have any assurance that the politicians actually care for our emailed comments and criticisms, let alone truthfully respond to them. Somehow, the noisy minority get their attention and cause them to conform to their ways. The truth and social validity of the Biblical argument is thrust aside, in favour of apparent human driven popularity.
    We Christians need to be active and praying for God’s mercy on our Nation and the USA.
    Regards.
    Chester Wilson.

  • It looks like now the Left radicals will get in sooner or later. Look at Canada and how you can’t even criticize homosexuality or transgenderism. It looks like Labor/Greens will get back into power and Christians will help by voting them in. Even when they have come out saying they will bring in so called ‘Gay Marriage’ and will take away ANY religions exceptions. I think most Christian schools will change, because of their federal funding. Who knows, may be eschew all their faith completely and become no better than the secular public schools.

  • Bill Shorten supposedly signed a declaration that he would not form a coalition with the utopian totalitarians called THE GREENS. Perhaps if it is a hung parliament he would form a coalition with those who have similar views, Turnbull Liberals. It happened once in South Australia when a National Party member supported the ALP. However I believe that as the LP is taken over more by pragmatists like Kroger the true Conservatives leave and build a new party.

    Larry Pickering believes that the Liberal machine has underestimated the anger that ordinary members have about Abbott’s removal, and also that both sides have ignored the level of anger against Islam.

  • Hi Wayne,

    “Bill Shorten supposedly signed a declaration that he would not form a coalition with the utopian totalitarians called THE GREENS”.

    If it’s between winning the Labor Govt and not winning Govt, the so called declaration is worthless. Remember Ground Hog Day and Gillard.

    Totally agree with Larry Pickering’s assessment on Voter backlash. Turnbull is perceived as the aloof rich man.
    A hung Govt is a regrettable possibility.

    Phil

  • The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. A nation is always at war, defending itself from the enemy without and within.

    2 Corinthians 10 reminds me that , ” though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;). Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”

    Our laws, customs imagination and every piece of legislation that would exalt itself above the laws of God must be brought into captivity and made to submit to the laws of God.

    However, in contradiction to this and according to Saul Alinsky who shaped the philosophy of both Obama and David Cameron, “Only two kinds of people can afford the luxury of acting on principle, those with absolute power and those with none and no desire to get any…everyone else who wants to be effective in politics has to learn to be ‘unprincipled’ enough to compromise in order to see their principles succeed.”

    http://infed.org/mobi/saul-alinsky-community-organizing-and-rules-for-radicals/

    Gerald Warner, in the Telegraph on April 1st, 2010 wrote an article with the heading:

    David Cameron’s Big Society is a grotesque fantasy inspired by leftist subversive Saul Alinsky

    “This plan is directly based on the successful community organising movement established by Saul Alinsky in the United States and has successfully trained generations of community organisers, including President Obama.”

    That statement, which beggars belief even in the political fairground we now inhabit, is not taken from some far-out Trotskyite samizdat, but from the official Conservative Party introduction to David Cameron’s Big Idea – the creation of a “Neighbourhood army” of 5,000 full-time community organisers to implement his grotesque fantasy called “Big Society”. If you ever doubted that, under Cameron, the Conservative Party has become ideologically and culturally deracinated, has lost its political compass and is occupied by an alien clique that has disfigured it beyond recognition, here is the incontestable evidence……..”.

    http://www.abeldanger.net/2010/07/saul-alinsky-behind-camerons-big.html

    David Skinner UK

  • Simon Fox there is nothing wrong with discrimination. When we make ant- discrimination an absolute, the one thing that we must follow at the cost of truth and justice, all manner of evils follow. As C.S. Lewis said in Mere Christianity, ‘You might think love of humanity in general was safe, but it is not. If you leave out justice you will find yourself breaking agreements and faking evidence in trials “for the sake of humanity,” and become in the end a cruel and treacherous man’.

    Christians need to tell Penny Wong who looks as though she came straight out of Pol Pot’s Cambodia, that discrimination against criminals and satanists is a very good thing. One could even call it discretion.
    If she is saying that we need to tell our children to throw away discretion with regard to practicing dangerous sex acts, like sodomy or that the National Blood Bank needs to throw away its discretion when taking blood from homosexuals, what she is saying is that there is no rhyme nor reason to life. Every thing is chance. She should be forced to live according to these principles before she imposes them on the nation.

    David Skinner UK

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