Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Happy B-Day to the Gipper

For all you Ronald Reagan fans out there who are celebrating the 98th birthday of one of America’s greatest presidents, you might want to check out this new documentary on the Great Communicator: “Rendezvous with Destiny.”

Trivia Question: Why is the documentary called “Rendezvous with Destiny.” Where does that phrase come from? (No Googling, and no emailing Paul Lamey to find out the answer.)

The Bible doesn’t say “pray for the President”

So it’s the morning after. Like you I watched some of the Beatlemania Obama Inauguration yesterday. As one who is not wrapped around the axle of the current political system (which means I didn’t vote for him/him or him/her), the whole guffaw over the new President is a bit unsettling. I’m not a Presidential historian but I’ve read my share of biographies. The first few guys who served in the office would not even recognize what it has become today (which is not new with Obama but probably with John Quincy Adams who expanded the office powers way beyond what the Constitution allowed). They’ve all done it so it’s really apples to oranges. On to more pressing issues.

I watched Warren offer a homily dressed up like a prayer at the beginning and a fellow Huntsville pastor offer a ridiculous benedictory diatribe/prayer at the conclusion. I wonder if the crowd would respond the same way if one of the pastors would have simply read Daniel’s prayer from Daniel chapter 9. How many blogs have you read that have exhorted you to pray for the President. I agree that we should pray for the President but let’s not pretend that heaven and earth hang in the balance of his every decision. More importantly, praying for the President never was nor is the point of 1 Timothy 2:1-2.

Paul argues that we should not discriminate in our prayers so we should even pray for, by way of example, our pagan Roman leaders (“on behalf of all men”). This leads to Paul’s more pressing point that God is the savior of all kinds of men (Roman, Jewish, etc.). The bottom line coming in 1 Tim. 2:5 that no mere man (Emperor, President, or otherwise) can represent man before his creator except the God-man (see Dan Wallace’s treatment of the special use of the genitive, pg. 135). Only a man can represent us and only God can save us so He gives us the “man Christ Jesus.” So by all means pray for the President but don’t loose sight of the real issue: there is one God and one mediator between God and man. Some trust in chariots but we will trust in the Lord our God.

For additional reading, file this in your “My kingdom is not of this world” archives. Wilson, I believe, is spot on here (full article here).

The over-the-top adulation of Obama that we are seeing is not just silly — it is wicked. When Obama puts his hand on the Bible to take his oath of office, that Bible really should be opened to this text.

“And Herod was highly displeased with them of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king’s country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost. But the word of God grew and multiplied” (Acts 12:20-24).

God takes this kind of thing seriously, and we must do so also. What should Herod have done? What could he do, when all those tee-shirt vendors were so out of control as to be hawking their “Herod is god” wares? Well, he needed to rebuke all of it, and give glory to God instead. One time at an Elvis concert, a row of young girls stood up in the middle of the concert with a long banner they had made which said, “Elvis is king.” Elvis stopped, pointed at them, and said, “No. Jesus Christ is king.” They all sat down, abashed, which several millions of politico-idolaters today need to be taught how to do. And things have gotten pretty bad when Elvis is a model we have to look up to.

Biden on Abortion

In an interview yesterday on “Meet the Press,” Roman Catholic Joseph Biden said this about the abortion issue: “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that life begins at the moment of conception. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

 

Can you imagine someone saying this about slavery in the 19th century? “I’m prepared as a matter of faith to accept that black people are created equal and should have the same rights as everyone else. But that is my judgment. For me to impose that judgment on everyone else who is equally and maybe even more devout than I am seems to me is inappropriate in a pluralistic society.”

Should the Senate investigate churches?

One thing we have never done much of around here is discuss politics. I have a running debate with Waymeyer as to whether he is a true conservative or just conservative (do you see the difference?). At any rate, this NY Times article is making the rounds and it leaves me with mixed emotions. It appears that Senator Charles Grassley (R) has called for a Senate investigation of six well-known preachers and their suspect financial dealings. Most readers to this blog will recognize the six as a who’s who of “word-faith” charlatans. Benny Hinn, Paula White and Creflo “guess why they call him” Dollar are some of the preachers under scrutiny. My first inclination is to say “what took them so long.” Anyone with a thimble of discernment knows these are some of the worst purveyors of tom foolery. So here’s where it gets interesting.

What authority, whether legal or constitutional, does the Senate have to investigate churches or individual preachers at any level for any reason. I would like for anyone who thinks this is a good idea to make the case based on the Constitution. Someone might scoff at my questioning and ask, “Paul, do you think these preachers are innocent of duping people out of millions of dollars?” My own opinion is that they are about as innocent as Bill Clinton at a sorority party. The question of innocence is irrelevant to my larger question. I am questioning whether anyone thinks its a good idea for the Senate to investigate churches and if so why (not to mention that the Senate has no right to investigate private citizens for any reason).

If we suspect there are incongruities in these particular ministries (such as probable tax evasion) then their local district attorneys should take up the charge. When was the last time a Senate investigation yielded anything of value? Even more, what sort of precedent does this set for investigations for other issues that a Senator might perceive ill on the part of a preacher? I have watched many Christian blogs today applaud this as if something good is taking place but all that is happening is one blind man pointing out another blind mans lack of eyes.

Footnotes:

Theologian Ben Witherington thinks the investigations are a great idea and hopes for more preachers to be added to the list.

Christianity Today has a round-up of the issue.

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