Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, March 07, 2011

Political Conservatives Are Not Theologians

Jason over at Triablogue highlighted James White's latest Dividing Line from this past Thursday, 3/3. It is worth your time downloading and hearing.

James interacts with a book called A Deadly Misunderstanding written by Ambassador Mark Siljander. The book is presented as offering a bridge between Christian and Muslim differences. The primary way Siljander does this is by dummying down the theological distinctions that separate Islam and Christianity. Particular the Person and Work of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity.

However, Another interesting fact James draws attention to is Ergun Caner's endorsement of the book and Siljander's approach to bridge building. This endorsement came before his exposure as a fraud and when he was being held up as a convert from Islamic terrorism. Such a naive endorsement of this guy's work just demonstrates further the bankruptcy of Caner's overall ministry.

But, in spite of those things, what I took away from this podcast is the clear and undeniable reality that political conservatism is no friend to biblical Christianity. Siljander was elected as a Republican in Michigan running as part of the Moral Majority crowd during the early 80s. The Moral Majority, if you remember, was spearheaded by Jerry Falwell, pastor and president of Liberty University who hired (irony alert) Ergun Caner to be the president of their apologetics school.

Now just so I am clear: I understand that, for the most part, Republican candidates share my values when it comes to the secular, political arena, and the good bulk of them are certainly not prone to hoist upon the public lunatic ideology like "green" legislation and other laws driven by a leftist, conspiratorial worldview. However, I am reminded once again to keep Red-State conservative politics and our biblical faith in the proper perspective.

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Blogger DJP said...

As you phrase it, I don't agree. So I'm wondering if I misunderstand.

An ideology that will leave me more freedom to preach, proclaim, and live my faith more freely isn't my "friend"? An ideology that will leave me more money in my pocket to raise my family and support the work of the Kingdom isn't my "friend"? An ideology that will favor a just society under the rule of law isn't my "friend"?

That's for starters.

Perhaps you mean that political conservatism isn't the same as Christianity?

In that case, totally agreed.

8:52 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I thought my concluding remark summed up what I believe you could agree to.

I was pressed for a creative, accurate title this morning, so that could be the reason for my lack of clarity.

8:58 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger Tom said...


Thanks for your "voice of reason" here. I struggle in this area. Many, many Christians I know -- who confess the same Reformed beliefs I do -- are so... Republican, it leaves me bewildered. As you said, it's one thing to say that "Republican candidates share my values when it comes to the secular, political arena," but quite another to hoist support for anything (and defend to the death) anything Rush Limbaugh says.

From my (perhaps immature) perspective, the vast, vast majority of Republicans are **politicians** just like Democrats (!!) and what motivates them isn't Christ. Their's is a Christ-less, secular worldview, just like Democrats. Just because a red candidate is "pro-life" (in name, anyway) doesn't mean *anything* when it comes to his life, his morals, or his religion. It doesn't mean he won't flip-flop if a liberal throws money at him. It doesn't mean we should be surprised if his wife and children support alternative lifestyles. It doesn't mean we should be shocked when it comes out he cheated on his wife. And it doesn't mean he even cares about babies in the womb. It just means it's his platform... and that's it.

It's one thing to say a Republican is conservative. It's another thing to equate that conservatism with biblical Christianity. The Pharisees were Republicans, after all :-)

Anyway, thanks. Off my soapbox.


PS so nobody starts thinking I'm a democratic: no, I didn't vote for Obama :-) This is not a pro-Democrat rant.

8:58 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Well. Like I noted in my final remark an has Dan pointed out, Republicans generally support the things I believe are important. I wouldn't dismiss out-of-hand a Republican candidate over a Democrat just because he or she may have a messed up personal life.

My concern, however, is that Christians see some alleged embracing of conservative values as the means to rescuing our country and as the bearers of Christian values. The two don't necessarily equate.

9:28 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger Tom said...

Agreed. I wasn't saying never to vote Republican because he's got personal issues (although, that shouldn't be a non-issue, either). Rather, my experience is simply that many Christians tend to blindly vote Republican because (as you said) they "see some alleged embracing of conservative values as the means to rescuing our country and as the bearers of Christian values." I would go a step further, too, that in many cases it isn't just the values, but the *politician himself.* (Seriously, what is the point of defending Rush Limbaugh? I just don't get it.) Excuses are made when a Republican candidate "falls," and/or silly/irrelevant comments are made about Democrats just because (gulp) they're Democrats and *everything* they do just *must* be wrong because -- by golly! -- they're Democrats. It's blind loyalty to party, not just its supposed values.

Anyway, I think we're saying the same thing so I won't beat the dead horse.


10:08 AM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger Sir Aaron said...

I'd vote for rock if it were running against a Democrat. That being said, people just don't get that there is no reconciliation between true Christianity and true Islam. I think you can reconcile secular watered down versions of both but not the genuine articles.

4:37 PM, March 07, 2011  
Blogger DJP said...

"Political Conservatives Are Not [Necessarily] Theologians"...

... but good theologians are conservatives.


7:27 AM, March 08, 2011  

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