Theology Means Little When It Comes To ActivismI get annoyed when I hear the standard lefty jokes like "How can you tell when a conservative is lying?" because not all conservatives are lying whenever their mouths are moving. Some of them are honest patriots. We don't see eye to eye all the time but they are telling the truth as they see it, and they love this country as much as anyone on the left does. In my opinion, unless the lefty bloggers give them credit for this -- at the very least -- it's gonna be tough to get a broad-based coalition together. And that, after all, may be our only hope. So I continue the hunt for good old-fashioned honest conservatives. I know they're out there.
By Chuck Baldwin / March 18, 2005
As most of my readers probably know, I am a pre-millennial Baptist. That means I am dispensational in my understanding of eschatology. Yes, Gertrude, I believe in the Rapture. However, many of my Christian friends hold to Covenant or Reformed Theology and are post-millennial in their understanding of eschatology. Still others are Roman Catholic, and some claim no theology at all. When it comes to civic activism, it doesn't seem to make much difference.
Many post-millennialists believe that the reason more of my dispensational brethren are not engaged in the political affairs of this country is because of their theology. I know many Armenians who feel the same way about Calvinists.
The fact is, one can find activists and the apathetic in every theological camp. I know many Calvinists who are totally disengaged when it comes to Christian activism, while dispensationalists are very much engaged. The same can be said of Armenians, Catholics, etc.
Adding more quandary to the formula is the fact that there are many non-Christians who are extremely involved in moral and spiritual causes while many of their Christian counterparts (of any persuasion) are noticeably absent from the public square. This has always amazed me.
How is it that unsaved people can have more discernment and courage regarding the crucial issues impacting our country than saved people? But this seems to be the case many times over.
I even know Mormons (whom I believe are heretical regarding cardinal doctrines of Christianity) who demonstrate more courage and more appreciation for America's founding principles than many of my Baptist brethren. Incredible!
Rather than theology, it seems that personal zeal and courage are the deciding factors that motivate people to activism. If one lacks these, it really doesn't seem to matter what brand of theology he or she embraces.
For example, I often hear people criticizing pastors and churches for accepting the IRS tax exempt status, because they believe this is why pastors and Christians are not involved. However, as a Baptist pastor for nearly thirty years, I see it differently.
In my opinion, the 501(c)3 tax status is only a tree that pastors use to hide behind. If suddenly the tree is removed, they would find another tree to hide behind. The problem is not the tree; it is the cowardice of the one who hides behind it! The same could be said for any other excuse pastors and Christians are using to not engage the culture.
Of course, courage and personal responsibility are virtues that are generated from within; they are not forced from without. One is either willing or not, laws, regulations, and other interferences notwithstanding.
Therefore, I think it is time to stop blaming outside encumbrances or denominational nuances and start putting the blame where it rightly belongs: upon the shoulders of each and every one of us as American citizens (regardless of our theology) to stand for the principles upon which our country was established!
One will find just about every denomination of the Christian faith represented among America's founding generation. Yet, they all accepted their personal responsibility to actively engage the cultural and political direction of the country. So must we!
© Chuck Baldwin
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Thursday, March 17, 2005
Chuck Baldwin: Theology Means Little When It Comes To Activism
Chuck Baldwin is about as conservative as you can get, and I disagree with him on a large number of issues, but he makes about as much sense as any conservative I have ever read, and find myself agreeing with him more often than I would have expected. I wrote a nice letter to him one time and now he sends me e-mail every week. Here is his latest, reposted in its entirety, as per his request.