Wednesday, August 08, 2007

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.

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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,
Gunny

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* 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."

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7 Comments:

At 08 August, 2007 10:18, Anonymous NCguy said...

I think this statement sums it up: “It's either the responsibility and role of the state or the role and responsibility of the individual, depending on your ideology.” That’s why I’m a conservative. However, even if the Democrat Party aligned with my conservatism, I cannot vote for them because they support abortion. That’s the watershed issue for me. In addition, it has been Democrats that have introduced a number of ‘anti-home schooling’ bills. Republicans tend to favor home schooling rights. Democrats are also the party that supports the re-definition of marriage. I could go on. On the other hand I do not think the ‘free market’ and big business should be unfettered by government. I strongly disagree with the outsourcing of American jobs to foreigners. Republicans tend to favor that because that’s what big business likes. I think it is common sense that Americans should have the first shot at any jobs here in America. But really, for the Christian, these things do not ultimately matter. I could live in a Communist nation if that would be to God’s glory. We are strangers and pilgrims here. Our true citizenship is elsewhere. And we look to God alone for our sustenance.

 
At 08 August, 2007 11:33, Blogger Rev. said...

There's so much I could say in response to this terrific post, but I'll limit myself.

The founding fathers of this nation were of the conviction that taxes should never exceed 9%. Why? Because in their rationale any government that burdened its people with a tax equal to or greater than the tithe (10%) was making an implicit claim that it was greater than God.

Your Libertarian brother,
James

 
At 08 August, 2007 17:03, Anonymous Ron said...

Jesus would vote for Ron Paul!

No brainer!

 
At 08 August, 2007 20:18, Anonymous jade said...

Rev wrote:
The founding fathers of this nation were of the conviction that taxes should never exceed 9%. Why? Because in their rationale any government that burdened its people with a tax equal to or greater than the tithe (10%) was making an implicit claim that it was greater than God.

Is that why Texas wants to break away from the union? ;o)

 
At 22 August, 2007 15:06, Anonymous bobo said...

I am sad to say that my big ole pregnant wife and me have gotten substantial help from our governement in the form of food stamps, for the first time in both of our lives, while attending seminary. It came down to feeding ourselves and children. No church I know of was willing to grant support to us in this matter, and we were encouraged to do so by former seminarians. Many pastors still need similar assistance due to paltry salaries in certain denominations (cough, cough, SBC)

I agree Gunny, with everything you wrote except that part about your Mao undershirt you never leave home without. Or your Lenin mousepad. I dissapprove comrad.

p.s. Jesus might actually right himself in on election day.

 
At 23 August, 2007 00:06, Anonymous bobo said...

I'm sleepy, but not so sleepy to miss that yo uadjusted my comment. I wrote "Jesus might actually write himself in. You changed it to 'right'. For shame. I cannot believe you would stoop to Pol Pot's level and simply undercut the force of my argument by word-icide. Am I right? Or was that Fidel?

 
At 23 August, 2007 00:30, Blogger GUNNY said...

Option A: It was Fidel.

Option B: The Bobo was even more sleepy when he composed the original comment than he is now!

The Gun has powers that dazzle and befuddle, but in this venue he only has the power to approve or deny comments. He cannot edit them.

Even if Gun could, that's not something Gun would ever do. That's not something Gun is a fan or or something upon which Gun would look favorably.

But ... if Gun could have edited your comment, Gun would have modified the personal pronoun reference to the Lord Jesus (i.e., "himself" to "Himself") and corrected your spelling & grammar.

Also, being the compassionate conservative that he is, Gun would have got you some medicine for that "cough, cough" of the SBC variety. That is, how they say, Gun rolls.

*This message brought to you by Bob Dole.*

 

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