June 2012

The family, the church and the government

June 18 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

God has ordained three institutions: the family, the church and the government.
It seems strange that the church is free to talk about the church, and the church is free to talk about the family, but the church is told to keep silent on matters of government. How has such a distorted view come to prominence?  Has not God established all three? Is God silent about the purpose and design of any one of these divinely created institutions?
To be sure, politics can be a dirty battlefield. Many have been hurt and relationships within churches have been damaged. But that is not an acceptable excuse for Christians to abandon all political involvement.
To abandon dirty arenas is to give victory to the forces of evil. Jesus neither taught nor modeled a strategy of “giving up” to sin’s curse. Christians must be involved at every level of government. We cannot be salt and light if we are not touching corruption and penetrating darkness (Matt. 5:13-14).
Scripture teaches, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan” (Proverbs 29:2, NKJ). Are the citizens of our nation rejoicing or groaning? Righteous people need to be in places of authority!
In my previous editorial (June 9), I stated, “The 126 days from July 4 through Nov. 6 afford us a window of time to address the spiritual needs of the United States of America in an unprecedented way.” I called on pastors to use this time to speak boldly and biblically on the issues that are destroying governments and societies.

There are some things we can encourage Christians to do.
First, register and vote. The American system of government revolves around free elections. The influence of the people cannot be known without our involvement in the voting process.
Daniel Webster was a leading statesman in the time prior to the Civil War, and twice served as Secretary of State.  He said, “Impress upon children the truth that the exercise of the elective franchise is a social duty of as solemn a nature as man can be called to perform; that a man may not innocently trifle with his vote; that every elector is a trustee as well for others as himself and that every measure he supports has an important bearing on the interests of others as well as on his own.”
Second, educate yourself. It is not difficult to do your homework on issues and personalities.
The material is easily available on the Internet or by contacting appropriate organizations. Be careful to deal with the truth. Politics is a breeding ground for huge doses of deceit. The one who spreads false information will eventually be exposed and discredited. Stand on principle and get your facts straight.
Noah Webster (not related to Daniel as far as history shows) gave us this statement, “In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character. ... When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.”
Third, involve yourself in the process. It is important to communicate with elected officials. Let them know your concerns and views. Participate in a political party. Volunteer to work for a candidate. Find your level of ability and get involved with issues that are compatible with the Christian worldview.
Apathy never forges moral progress. Moral progress moves on the tracks of personal involvement.
Now is the time to preach on the Biblical principles of God’s plan for the family, the church and the government.
6/18/2012 2:03:41 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 0 comments

Reformation or Revolution?

June 5 2012 by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor

America is in trouble.
Dramatic signs of moral decline dominate the headlines daily. Jobs are scarce and money is tight. Government oversight and red tape is oppressive. The emotional climate of the nation is one of fear and anger. The political mood is more heated than I recall in my lifetime. Church membership and attendance are in decline. The nation our parents and grandparents knew no longer exists.
There was a time when Christianity was assumed to be the spiritual and cultural backbone of our nation. Now Christians are considered by many to be enemies of America’s progress. A few years ago the Huffington Post published an article labeling Christians as domestic terrorists. Tolerance is the new religion, liberally applied to everyone except followers of Christ. The religious tone of America is eclectic and confusing.
So rather than talking about how bad things are, when are we going to take responsibility for our problems and do something?
A North Carolina pastor is doing just that. Rit Varriale is the pastor of Elizabeth Baptist Church in Shelby. In March he published a book and launched a companion website which has the potential to revolutionize the way Christians approach the cultural wars we are battling.
The book challenges us to rethink our worldview. We may be more secular than biblical in the way we think. If the practical content of Varrialle’s book is applied to our worldview, we could see a spiritual reformation.
Reformation in Responsibility: A New Ethic for a New Era is a collection of 20 short essays, divided into four major themes.
The book is an easy read, but you’ll likely find yourself stopping to think hard about the material.
It actually addresses the issues from a biblical worldview in a thought provoking manner.
The first essay begins, “Clearly a majority of Americans are frustrated about the direction our nation is going. Our frustration is understandable. ... A hundred years ago, Christianity was the basis for American cultural values. Now many of our leaders and entertainers push Christian values into the closet while vigorously promoting the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual and Transgender (LGBT) agenda. ... How did we change so quickly?”
The book paints a picture of what Varriale calls “The perfect philosophical storm.”
Offering a course of correction, he shows us how we must address the issue of individualism and take responsibility.
He says, “To find that new direction, we have to be humble enough to admit that we have failed to fulfill our responsibilities to our families, our society, our environment and our God. ... Change will only come through the actions of the people.”
Pastors and church leaders need to know about this book and read it carefully. It is a powerful resource for your congregation, especially for the next few critical months of our nation’s history. I believe a prime opportunity is staring us in the face.
The 126 days from July 4 through Nov. 6 afford us a window of time to address the spiritual needs of the United States of America in an unprecedented way.
I hope pastors will use this time to speak clearly and biblically on the issues that are destroying our churches, our nation and our world.
I strongly encourage you to order multiple copies of the book and use it in small groups. If we don’t see a reformation in our lives, we might be seeing a revolution in the streets.
Varriale says it this way, “Make no mistake about it, irresponsible individualism is a societal cancer, and it will destroy our country if the majority does not stand against it.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Visit RinR.org to order copies of the book. It is downloadable for Kindle or Nook. Also, see an interview with Varriale.)
6/5/2012 1:36:27 PM by K. Allan Blume, BR Editor | with 1 comments