A peculiar little man, with long shaggy hair and a white goatee, sat in the front row while Jerry Falwell invited the crowd of 4,000 and a television audience of several million to join in the singing of “Happy Birthday.” That peculiar man was Francis Schaeffer. It was January of 1982, the day after Schaeffer’s 70th birthday. Schaeffer, at the request of Falwell, walked to the stage to present the “Christian Manifesto.”
It’s impossible to overstate Falwell’s contribution in awakening the Moral Majority. But after listening to Schaeffer, it becomes evident that Falwell’s contribution was not born in isolation, as Schaeffer obviously had a seat at the table. Schaeffer boiled it down to a war of ideas between 2 worldviews.
1. The final or ultimate reality was God, or
2. The final or ultimate reality was the physical world.
In other words, either God and man have value or God is not there and the world (including man) is nothing more than a cosmic machine. This was the basic dilemma addressed in The Christian Manifesto.
The communists and the humanists have their manifesto, but what about the Christian? What is the Christian Manifesto? I would urge the evangelical believer to consider Schaeffer’s case before voting. Don’t be blinded by anger. Not all anger is righteous.
Christianity is True Truth: Some say we are at the end of the postmodern age. The hallmark of post-modernity is relativism. This is the “there are no absolute truths” philosophy. But the question in response to such a statement is “Is it absolutely true that there are no absolute truths?” A relativistic worldview can’t possibly be true because it destroys itself, for when we claim that everything is relative, we end up declaring something that is not relative – that “everything is relative.”
The problem with Christianity today is that truth is compartmentalized into boxes and doesn’t necessarily cross over into other areas of life. Church life is confined to the walls of our church buildings but has no real implications in other areas such as politics and entertainment. But the rub is that Christian truth claims to be objectively true, that is to say, it is true regardless of our opinion or interpretation. C.S. Lewis put it this way, “You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”
This is why the Christian can’t approach politics detached from the Christian truth claims.
The most fundamental question we must ask of our political leaders is not, “what about the Muslims?” but rather, “What is your worldview?” Does the leader begin with the God, who is there, or do they begin with some humanistic view of reality? Ideas have consequences.
The value of human life if not Arbitrary
If we begin with the wrong anthropology, we will end with the wrong economics. The Judeo-Christian worldview provides the only anthropology for human freedom of any sort. This is the only worldview that provides a real framework for the human experience. Our anthropology is that of Genesis 1:26 “In the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.” Man is made in the image of God. This was the foundation of the argument laid out in Thomas Jefferson’s case for why Americans should be independent of the tyranny of the King. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Jefferson was not writing this to pacify the Puritans but rather he was making an intellectual argument for freedom. If God is not there, man becomes the determiner of all things including the value of human life. In the case of colonial America, it was the man, King George who regulated human rights. But our founding fathers brilliantly crafted an iron-clad argument for liberty. It’s foundation still stands today. Our rights are from our Creator, not our congress, not our president, and not even our Constitution. Government’s job isn’t to arbitrate our God given rights, but rather to protect them.
Liberal Theology is a Counterfeit
Don’t be fooled by liberal theology. It is nothing more than Marxism or Radicalism masked in religious language. The hallmark of liberal theology is to present the gospel in the context of the “struggle.” God must be more than an answer to the oppression. He must really be there – like for real. He is not an idea or a movement. He is personal. If he is not, humanity is simply pretending to matter. If all that exists is matter, we don’t matter.
The battle for the meaning of words is the front line. Words matter, and what people say matters. In a world where perception is reality, it is tempting only to look at the surface of what is presented. But we must dig deeper to the core of what is being communicated. If an argument’s core isn’t God as the author of humanity, we must reject it no matter how good it sounds.
Where have the bible believing Christians and leadership been?
Affluence and personal convenience have become the gods of western culture. Christians seem to be all too eager to advocate for specific causes unless doing so somehow impedes their ability to accumulate wealth or infringes upon their personal comfort. Christian leaders must not remain silent about this.
The Country was founded on the Christian Faith.
Let’s juxtapose two revolutions that were essentially contemporaries of each other – The American and French Revolutions. Both were based on social contracts proposed by John Locke. Both used the language of human rights, life, liberty and fraternity. Both were fighting for liberation from a tyrannical king. Both were anti-establishment. The difference was the worldview of the rebels. Our rebels made the case for liberty by beginning with God as the author of human rights while the French made the case for liberty by beginning with themselves.
The French case for freedom was arbitrary. Its foundation was the will of man. This is why the French liberators were more tyrannical than the tyrant they deposed. Where the French Revolution ended in chaos and murder, the American Revolution ended in the greatest, most prosperous movement the world has ever known. It’s not enough to vote anti-establishment, we need to be concerned with what our leader will be replacing the establishment with. This is why Schaeffer argued that “conservative humanism” is not better than “liberal humanism” because they both begin from the same place, they both end in the same place – tyranny!
6. Jesus is Lord of my whole life (including my politics)
Giving God glory should engulf and impact every aspect of the human experience. It can’t be relegated only to our church services or our designated ministries. We are part of a priesthood of believers. All truth is God’s truth. Jesus is Lord of all.
We must destroy and expose the lie of separation of church and state. We are opposed to theocracy. Instead, what we are fighting for is a “return to real freedom.” The Christian must fight for a higher view of man. Man is so much more than a cosmic machine, for he is made in the image of God.
This is why liberty is impossible without the Personal Triune God. Man is made in his image. If God is not personal, neither are we.
In the vein of Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter penned from the Birmingham Jail, we have a moral duty to disobey our government when it commands something that is contrary to the law of God. As Schaeffer points out, “And if unhappily, it becomes necessary that level includes and open disobedience of the gov’t, we must walk that road. Christ must be the final Lord, and not society and not Caesar.”
No matter how angry you are at the establishment, we must remember that we are citizens of another kingdom. Our first allegiance is there. How does your candidate view the world?