Eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river.
Pastor Lance of Blaque Tulip asks some good questions about Christian confidence in big business versus government and why that is.
When I realized my comment was longer than his original post, I thought it only fair to truncate my thoughts and share them more fully in this venue.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
I can only speak for mybadself, but I do fall into the category of one of those Reformed bloggers who is on the conservative side (more Libertarian, really).
Pastor Lance asked: "Why is big government always viewed suspiciously, but big business seen as the good guys because they’ll always do what’s best for the customer?"
The first part I would answer because of my belief in depravity, total depravity. Also, I believe the adage that absolute power corrupts ... absolutely. That's why I'm opposed to centralized or big government.
(I'm also a strict constructionist with regard to the US Constitution and I think the 10th Amendment* has been disregarded for almost as long as we've had a federal government, but that's another story.)
I don't have much love, if any, for big business, so I can't help on that one.
Now, I'll also offer my rationale as to why I'm not down with governmental assistance for the less fortunate among society.
Well, I should clarify that. It's not that I'm an absolutist in practice, but I certainly think less is better than more, particularly the way government assistance often transpires.
Folks eating a steady diet of government cheese and living in a van down by the river is not my idea of success. I'm more on board with teaching folks how to fish, as opposed to just giving them a fish, if you know what I mean.
But in reality, I don't think it's the responsibility of the state to provide for the people, nor do I think the primary Christian influence is making the state do such. Jesus fed the people and had His disciples do it. They never petitioned Rome to improve the quality of life of those in its borders.
I think helping those in need is the job of the church. It's pure & undefiled religion to look after the less fortunate (e.g., widows & orphans), per James 1:27. It's not pure & undefiled government.
But the role of taking care of the less fortunate was abdicated to the state. The church got lazy and instead of God getting the glory of love & kindness being shown, it goes to the state. Instead of people learning greater dependence on God and each other (i.e., on His people), people become dependent on the state. If the church was doing its job generations ago, people would continue to look to the church and the Almighty for aid, instead of thinking of Uncle Sam first.
If the church really wanted to help in these areas, it would get the attention of the non-Christian. But both the Christian & the non-Christian view the responsibility as not being on the church. It's either the responsibility and role of the state or the role and responsibility of the individual, depending on your ideology.
Yet, the conservative has adopted a misplaced confidence as well, the political machine. If we can just get a conservative (Christian would be a nice bonus) in power, then revival will break out.
Okay, that may be an overstatement, but we all know the idea. We put our faith and trust, not in the sovereign Lord, but in humans, self-interested humans who rule in a way that best serves themselves and/or their party.
"could we have a genuine disagreement over the role of government, keep that separate from our convictions concerning Christ and still genuinely enjoy the fellowship of the saints?"
I should certainly hope so, but it's a rarity. Ultimately, it always comes down to WWJV?
What Would Jesus Vote?
Democrat or Republican?
That's the true test of orthodoxy anymore.
I think there's a tension in being involved as responsible citizens of these United States and at the same time remembering that this nation is not the New Israel or God's covenant nation. It never has been and never will be.
Prior to Christ's return there will not be a "Christian Nation." I think we try to make the world a better place for the reputation of Christ, but at the same time, we realize it just may not be God's will that we prosper financially as individuals, living the most comfortable living of any group of people in the history of the planet.
I have my political biases and preferences, of course, but this is not our home, so I operate in it as a means to an end. A good America is a means to an end for me, the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.
If God is more glorified through a "bad America" whereby I suffer or people are neglected by the government to be assisted by Christians, then I'm down with any of the above as well.
Soli Deo gloria,
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
* The 10th Amendment to the US Constitution: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved for the States respectively, or to the people."