January 29, 2008

What Moral Values? Whose Moral Values?

I know I have said it before but the longer the election season goes on, the clearer it becomes. I used to hold out hope that perhaps the influence of Christians in society could at least hold off the down fall of our once great land but alas, I see more and more, Christians falling in lock step with the prevailing views of culture. The following is from the Pastor's Weekly Briefing published by focus on the Family.

"The phrase moral values is often used by political commentators and journalists to mean the issues important to the "Christian Right" and some conservatives. The issues political commentators typically refer to are abortion, gay rights, same-sex marriage and stem cell research.

When the public uses this phrase, however, they mean something quite different. Most are referring to the character of the candidate, such as honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and the likelihood of "doing the right thing."

Using the phrase as the public understands it, most people (85%) say moral values are important when deciding who to vote for and are "very important" to 46 percent of the public, according to a recent Harris Poll.

The survey revealed that when most people talk about "moral values," they are not referring to the agenda of the Christian Right.

From a list of 12 issues, those surveyed said abortion and gay rights were the least important. Health care, Social Security, economic issues, taxes, the war in Iraq, the war on terror, immigration, education and the environment are all important to many more voters. Among those who believe moral values are very important, only 13 percent mentioned abortion and six percent mentioned gay rights."

Maybe you're saying, "yeah, so?" Well, that's what I mean. The so-called moral issues of our day are not exactly what the Bible would label as moral issues. Some of them might be prudent, even beneficial but to call them moral means they issue from the character of God and are non-negotiable. The only real "moral issues" listed were abortion and homosexuality and where did they come in? 13% of the population and when you consider 80% of America claims a Christian faith, well, like I said, we're in deep doo-doo.


Blogger notcon4med said...

Yes, there’s no doubt that abortion and gay rights are issues with tremendous moral weight, and the acceptance and normalization of them has, and will continue to multiply exponentially all manner of moral, social, and economic ills in our country and the world, without even mentioning the cost in spiritual terms. So, in that, I would heartily agree that professing Christians failing to grasp the moral implications of these issues is tragic. But, allow me, if you will, to bring a bit of encouragement to this discouraging post. I speak to you, man of God, in a similar way that Paul did to Timothy in 2 Timothy. Paul was well aware of the moral mess his culture was in – he had borne much pain at their hands, as his Master had. Yet, with joy and full confidence, he gives Timothy his final charge: Preach the word. Paul offers no discouraging word to this young preacher, only full confidence that the power to bring about God’s plan – the salvation of sinners, rescued to be with Him forever in the new heavens and the new earth – is in that charge: Preach the word. That is God’s plan to “save” the world. He will work all things according to His plan for His glory and the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. All that is to say that although I’d love to see a president that really was pro-life and had a biblical view of homosexuality, I’d be putting my hope in the wrong place if I thought that a mere moral leader would change the hearts of his country. That can only happen when hearts come under the rule of Divine Leader.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Servant said...

Amen commentator!

The Gospel of Christ is the POWER OF GOD unto salvation, and the preaching of the Word is the ''vehicle'' that God uses to change the hearts of men.

Indeed, as you pointed out, God has promised to work ALL things according to His perfect plan for His glory and for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose!! How encouraging!!

How can we be discouraged? We are simply sojourners here ''looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ!'

Jesus is our blessed hope, not a Methodist President or a Southern Baptist candidate.

Count it all joy!!!!!!

10:39 PM  
Blogger PB said...

If I have given the impression that our national state of affairs is in anyway synonymous with God's enduring plan for the redemption of the world, then I have erred. (I have 120 seconds [roughly 350 words]to communicate some pretty complex and heavy realities.)

I was not talking about the glories of God's sovereignty but about the delusion holding sway over many--Christian and non-Christian alike--that America is the same country it was 2 centuries ago or that we can still say with a straight face--God Bless America.

If the "Church" does not awaken to that fact, it will be caught with its spiritual briefs around its ankles wondering "What happened?"

But never let God's sovereignty and the promise of Romans 8:28 be confused with fatalism that would excuse or even bless, a lazy, if not numbing spirituality.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Servant said...

So very few professing Christians today truely recognize the absolute sovereignty of God. Its too bad that the few that do and declare this wonderful doctrine are often labeled ''fatalist'' by the free will crowd.
Sovereign grace believers embrace just the opposite mindset that fatalism produces.
I will continue to honor the king, render to Caesar what is his, and pray for our governing authorities..but I will put absolutely no hope or faith in these temporal institutions.
If that makes me a ''fatalist''..then so be it.
Soli Deo Gloria

3:24 PM  
Blogger notcon4med said...

I must say as you, that if I in any way gave you the impression that I was actually speaking of the redemption of God’s own in a vacuum, so to speak, then please also allow that I did not want my comment to be longer than your original post.

My point was that I was speaking to you as a man of God, a preacher of the gospel. Just as Paul said in so many ways to Timothy, so I was both reminding and encouraging you in the sure hope that lies in the gospel. Paul knew that no earthly power could change the hearts of sinful men. Until the gospel truly penetrated their hard hearts and the transformation by the Spirit was at work, they would, indeed they could not help but be blind to the things of God. As you well know, “…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.” When we consider that Jesus himself, in the parable of the wheat and the tares taught us that the church will always be made up of both true and false believers, we see that the greatest need such as these need is for you to “preach the word.”

As for those who truly are regenerate but ignorant or immature…you actually mentioned such in your most recent sermon when you spoke of how the transformation of the believer, in thought and deed, is a process, as Paul also speaks of in Romans 12:2. I think you would agree that the means by which this transformation occurs is the word of God. So, it would seem, the most powerful means of change for those in need of transformation is the same as that of those in need of regeneration, or even for those in need of deliverance from, as you put it: “a lazy, if not numbing spirituality.” To all of these needs, the Spirit says: Man of God: Preach the word!

Now, with that said, let me make my point.

To do this, I appeal again to Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:14-21.

“For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

In light of this, I ask you: What is the greatest need of the strident pro-choice or gay rights advocate? What is the greatest need of the lazy, spiritually numb church-goer? Is it not the very same need that both you and I once had? We all need the gospel. Put another way: What is it you most want for these who do not share your moral convictions? Do you want them to stop sinning, or do you want them to come to Christ? Now, of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting both for them. Our Lord wants the same. But all of us, and I’d say especially those who are called to gospel ministry, must keep things prioritized as God would have us. In simple terms of cause and effect, we must get the order right. We cannot turn from our sin apart from the gospel. In loose paraphrase of Romans 10:14-17 then: If men cannot turn from sin apart from the gospel, then they must hear the gospel in order to believe it and be saved. But how can they hear and believe the gospel unless someone preaches it to them.

And so, I finally come to my point!

If the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, and we have been given this gift, not only unto our own salvation, but also, unto the ministry of reconciliation, it makes me wonder why you seem far more inclined to complain and discourage than to speak of the reason for the hope that is in you. Sure, we live in a sin-plagued world. That’s nothing new. It’s worth mentioning though, that when God sees sin, he tells us to look away from ourselves and look to Christ and His sacrifice, doing for us what we could not do. When you see sin, you tell us to look at ourselves and how we should do better. Why do you want to mess with His program?

5:38 PM  
Blogger Servant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:21 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home