I Want to Be Invested in America

A few months ago, I tried to ramp up my political awareness. This being an election year, it seemed the perfect time to not only start caring and becoming personally invested in the goings-on of my nation.

And I even found a presidential candidate whom I really liked — Ron Paul — and I even voted for him in the primaries early in May.

Still, I remember looking at the voting screen during my brief visit to the polling place and feeling ashamed at just how few of the names I recognized. Sure there were John McCain, Mike Huckabee, and Ron Paul, but who were all those other names?

How “interested” in politics can I claim to be if I don’t even know who represents me at the state or national levels? To be fully honest, at this very moment, I can’t even recall the name of Connersville’s current mayor.

Even so, I have grown to respect the Constitution — whether they were Christians or not, our founding fathers knew how to run this nation. And like Ron Paul — or the Constitution Party, for that matter — I would love to see a return to a more minimal federal government, allowing the individual states to govern in a way which more closely reflects their unique populaces. In every American history class I ever took, we were always taught that one of the reasons America was the greatest nation was because of diversity.

But I wonder if I’m shooting myself in the foot for approaching the Constitution with the same sensibilities I bring to the Scriptures? It isn’t a popular thing to stand firm on the, for example, Calvinistic doctrines of Christ and Paul, yet to not do so would be a betrayal of my faith, a rejection of the very text which defines what I must believe. And so when taking an interest in politics, I do what feels most natural: I cozy up to the Constitution, and through the writings of various Constitution Party members as well as Republican Ron Paul, I see that the federal government has outgrown its britches, so to speak, overstepping the bounds so carefully set down a few hundred years.

The strange thing is that remaining faithful the Scriptures is a seemingly easier task. There are no more prophets, no more apostles… the Word of God is settled forever. I can learn the book, and fifty years from now I will be able to be confident that there is no new revelation which I would need to learn. The Bible would still be the Bible.

The Constitution, though, is just one of innumerable legal documents which define America — its laws, its codes… everything. The Constitution itself (which ought to perhaps be required reading prior to any voting at the polling place) seems to have become almost irrelevant, being drudged up only by opponents to religious freedom (i.e., the separation of church & state folk) or opponents of civil freedom (i.e., the Federal Marriage Amendment folk).

I wonder, too, if politics ought to begin locally. Yes, getting into the presidential elections is a great thing, but what if the principle of Acts 1:8 applies not just to spreading the gospel but also political values? Wherever your Jerusalem is, start there. I can’t believe I’m referencing him, but in one of his campaign commercials Obama lauds the power of a voice to change a room, a community, a city, a state, a nation, a world… I think he’s right. It jives with what Acts says, anyway. Start at home and move outward, “to the end of the earth.”

Looks like I may be needing to work a newspaper subscription back into my budget.

11 thoughts on “I Want to Be Invested in America”

  1. You seem to hint at it, but just to state it openly, the Constitution is not the Word of God. It is the writing of men. It IS the supreme law of the land. It is NOT inerrant. Hence, the Supreme Court.

    “The Constitution itself (which ought to perhaps be required reading prior to any voting at the polling place) seems to have become almost irrelevant, being drudged up only by opponents to religious freedom (i.e., the separation of church & state folk)…”

    If you believe that the separation of church and state folk are the opponents of religious freedom, you are seriously mistaken.

    What if, 200 years from now, for whatever bizarre reasons, Islam is the majority religion in this country??? It seems beyond belief that it could happen, but…

    In that case, Christians would be wanting to point to a strong history of separation of church and state.

    “Looks like I may be needing to work a newspaper subscription back into my budget.”

    You do??

    http://www.newsexaminer.com/

  2. Senior: Yes, I know that the Constitution is not inerrant. But the Supreme Court’s purpose is not to contradict it where they see fit, if that is what you are getting at. Article III of the Constitution defines the Supreme Court and other federal courts’ jurasdiction as “arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority.” Likewise, Article VI states that America’s judges would be bound by the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Sure, the Constitution can be amended when need be, but even that doesn’t involve the Judiciary Branch according to Article V.

    I wasn’t thinking of Muslims when I was writing the post; rather, I thought about what would happen if secular humanists were the majority. As it stands now, far too many Christians are spending far too much time working to get legislation and even constitutional amendments in place which reflect Christian morality and values. This goes against the Establishment Clause, and such activist activities shouldn’t even get off the ground. But they do, and all it does by ignoring the First Amendment is set a very bad precedent that one day the values of secular humanists (or Muslims or whichever group sways America next) can be written into law. It may be an extreme example, but I could see someone pushing for and eventually getting signed into law a bill which requires all religious services to begin with a disclaimer like the one seen at the end of most movies: “The following service is based upon a work of fiction; any resemblance to persons alive or dead is purely coincidental.” The freedom to gather and worship would still be there, but opponents of religion would have scored a huge point. Something like that likely will never happen, but we Christians are opening the door for it every time we seek legislative support for our faith and values. Better for Congress to stay out of religion’s way, so long as religion is not violating the laws and Constitution of the land.

    Oh, and try clicking the article names at the News Examiner site; they require an online subscription. Still, if I get a subscription, it’d be for home delivery — if I’m paying for the paper, I might as well get the coupons, comics, crossword, and other perks of a real subscription.

  3. Jeff Starr: I interpret the two witnesses literally, and indeed they will prophesy; however, their ministry is unique to the Seven-Year Period commonly called the Tribulation.

    I believe the revelatory gifts — tongues, interpretation of tongues, prophecy, etc. — are given during specific periods of history to denote a shift in God’s dealings with man. Reading the Scriptures we see these “signs & wonders” tied to the Exodus, the founding of Israel, the period of the prophets, the first Advent, the beginning of the Church, and the seven year period preceding the Millennial Reign.

    Very dispensational, I know.

  4. Hi Rick, interesting article..
    In regards to your statement:
    “There are no more prophets”
    I am wondering how you interpret the Two Witnesses described in Revelation 11:

    Revelation 11:3-4 describes these two witnesses: “And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.”

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  5. So your statement, “There are no more prophets” seems a bit overstated, because clearly there will be (two) more prophets. These two guys will already have (most) of the world working against them, hating them, wanting to kill them — whatever — so I think it is important to stay open to the prophecies that they will bring us. By dismissing all future prophets as in your statement, you make it impossible to hear, accept, and act upon the message that the two prophets will bring.

  6. Jeff Starr: I tend not to worry about that so much, being a believer that the Rapture will precede the Two Witnesses ministry by at least a couple of years. Even if it doesn’t, the rest of the events described in Revelation will certainly cause me to watch for the witnesses, assuming I am to live that long through such a persecution-filled time.

    I will admit, though, that my attitude toward Charismatics or those who otherwise believe that there are prophets acting today is a bit biased; my experience with such groups leads me to believe they are much more willing to accept anything a proclaimed prophet says, regardless of what the Word of God already says. God Himself cannot contradict, deny, or break His Word, and it amazes me to think that so many people believe that His prophets can… (I’m not saying all proclaimed prophets acting today fit this mold… It’s just my experience.)

  7. Jeff Starr: It’d certainly make things easier. :)

    Still, whether pre- or post-, our blessed hope is always Jesus Christ, not the specific timing of His return.

    As I’ve read somewhere before… “Hope for Pre. Prepare for Post.”

  8. Jeff Starr: I was going to hold off actually going into this, but I will confess that I have major doubts about the pre-Trib position. My issues stem from the fact that the “last trumpet” and a resurrection is associated with the Rapture; if the Rapture precedes the Tribulation, then it becomes a bit difficult to account for the multitude of trumpets sounded during that period, not to mention the various resurrections, one of which is described as the first.

  9. Even as someone who is extremely interested in end-times prophecy, I am still seeking to understand the timing of it all. I have heard (and studied) excellent arguments for both pre-trib and post-trib raptures. The points you make are often given in support of post-trib rapture, but it seems there are equally valid arguments supporting pre-trib. As you say, “hope for pre-trib, prepare for post-trib.” ;)

    One idea that I find interesting is that the rapture will occur when the Two Witnesses are called up to heaven. I forget which verse, but in Rev. 11, God speaks, saying “Come up here,” after which the two resurrected witnesses ascend into heaven. Could it be that this is when the entire Church will be raptured as well?

    Regardless of when the rapture occurs, I think it’s going to become increasingly brutal for Christians as the days wind to a close. Satan is full of wrath, and too many Christians are too afraid to even say grace in public.

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  10. Jeff Starr: I’ve not heard that about the Two Witnesses & the Rapture, but I coming to the conclusion that there are seemingly a greater variety of arguments for a Mid-Trib rapture than Pre- and Post- combined!

    Actually, that argument reminds me of the Pre-Trib argument that at the beginning of Revelation 4 when John is told to “Come up here,” that is symbolic of the Rapture, thus placing it prior to the events of the rest of Revelation. Proponents of this view often take the letters to the churches in the preceding chapters and make them symbolic of various periods throughout the church’s history. Thus, when the church’s history is over and the seven letters conclude, we are told to “Come up here.”

    Intriguing ideas, all of them. A lot of assumptions and guesswork throughout, and I can’t help but wonder if the timing of the Rapture isn’t meant to be vague. It isn’t the timing of it as it is the certainty of it for which we should be hopeful.

    You’re absolutely right about times becoming increasingly rough for Christians. Satan doesn’t have too many goals — indeed, you can count them on a hand: to kill, steal, and destroy — but he knows his time is numbered. Beasts are always more dangerous when they are threatened, and his doom looms ever nearer.

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