Legalism is a pesky problem. We would be mistaken to simply relegate it to religious areas. Rather, we should see legalism as it really is, the perverter of every area of life. Before I explain what in the world I am talking about let us first define legalism. To me, legalism is simply the belief that by doing right one will be considered right or achieve the right ends. Speaking from the heart, legalism says, If I do this I will be accepted, it is pride. Legalism speaks to the ultimate motivations of the heart, is it based in gratitude and humility (gospel), or is it based in pride and fear (legalism).
The reason legalism is such a problem and a perversion of reality, is because God defines reality, and He doesn’t do it with legalism, but Gospel, literally: good news. Through a Gospel lens is how the world must be seen. In the beginning, man’s relationship to God did involve obedience to His law, yet the relationship was never legalistic but always of grace. That is, the ultimate definer of why Man was accepted by God, was grace, not obedience. Man was to obey God, not to earn God’s favor, but because he already had God’s favor, evidenced by his own existence and immediate relationship with God. Obedience was the proper response to the grace of God.
I wonder if we have been long mistaken. Great friendships are not a series of mutual excitements over large accomplishments, but the reciprocal enjoyment of the mundane and simple life.
Overhearing a group of wonderful, gray haired grandmother’s social intercourse, I came to this epiphany: they are not talking about anything “important” or “monumental” but rather very ordinary things, and taking great joy in it. And that makes all the difference.
I’m so tired of so called scientists, rationals, elites, atheists, christians, and all kinds of other people making silly statements about knowledge. Today it seems that people accept “story telling” as a reasonable explanation of something.
Let me give you this example. Your whole life you have lived on an island that someone else built for you. It has a nice little house with a red front door. A silver telescope is mounted to your front porch and when you look through it you can see another island that someone else is living on. What types of things can you infer correctly, or at least reasonably, about that island?
One of the many arguments going around as to why people should not vote for Trump is that, while Hillary will be horrible in the short term, long term she just may cause a resurgence and renewal of conservatism, which will not likely happen under Trump. Let that sink in for just a minute. The argument is simply that Hillary, while destroying conservatism in the short term, will cause it to be purged and flourish in the long term, a sort of, “if it don’t kill you it will make you stronger” argument.
Now I have been accused of being a utilitarian because I believe that we should seek the best outcome in every circumstance, an outcome that may not be ideal, nor through ideal means, but a sort of “make the best with what you got” mentality. This “Hillary will make conservatism stronger in the long term” is really what utilitarianism actually teaches. Utilitarianism is concerned with the ends, and it doesn’t care about the means, if the ends can be considered the greatest and best. The other flaw of this view is they do not have any objective standard of truth to even judge the ends by. Thus Utilitarianism fails because it neither considers just means, nor has an objective standard to judge ends by, but I believe in both righteous means, and a universal judge by which all aspects are reckoned.
Emotionalism rules our culture today, and Christians are not immune from its allure. As we are less than a week away from voting for many important things, this article is urgent, but as much as these concepts transcend this election and are true for all elections, this article is timeless. If your philosophy of political engagement cannot account for all political environments through all time, then it is lacking. For truth transcends time and cultures, and Christian involvement in culture and politics, is based on such transcendent truth.
We must begin with the commands of God that are upon our lives. Genesis begins with the command to populate and subdue the world, called the Creation Mandate, which starts our involvement in politics as human beings making culture. The 10 commandments give us guidelines for proper living and relating to God and our fellow man. Jesus, in response to a question, affirmed that loving God and Neighbor are the first and second (in order) commandments beholding upon man. Lastly, when Jesus ascended into Heaven, He commanded that Christians go and bring, fill in the blank your flavor of politics, to the world… No wait, He commanded that we go make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them and teaching them Jesus’ commandments.
The following is a test of your reasoning system. If you really were being asked to reason, then it would follow that things would change upon the conclusion of this article, but since this is just a test…wait no it’s not a test, this is the real thing, better buckle up cowperson (see I can be PC) things are going to get bumpy!
There are presently many, many wonderful and compelling (for those who want to listen) arguments against Abortion. My goal is simply to give a small, but powerful one here.
After much thinking I have now decided that because Trump is my neighbor, and I am called to love my neighbor, I cannot vote for him for his own good. Although it is clear to me that Trump is a sinner, I fear I may be a worst sinner, and since I cannot know for sure who is a greater sinner, I must take the safe route and assume I am. Therefore, I cannot vote for Trump, because if I am a worse sinner than he is, my vote will taint him, and love cannot have that. Surely bad company corrupts good morals, and if I am the bad company, Trump will be corrupted. I cannot vote for Trump, because my vote will add guilt to him.
To prove my conclusion, consider this example. I am running for president and in a press conference I pull out a letter from the President of North Korea saying he is voting for me, and believes I should be president. Would that vote from the PNK taint me? It sure seems like it right?
To my #nevertrump friends. So you are ready to burn down the Republican party because it no longer stands for the conservatism you hold. Where will you go? Will you create your own party? How long will that take? Do you really think there are enough conservatives who are active politically that will go with you to even matter? Here’s my fear about your plan:
Which direction do you think the country is going as a whole and do you really think there is any stopping it any time soon? We had 8 years of Obama and did conservatism get stronger or weaker? Let me answer for you: we got Trump. After 8 more years of Hillary we might just end up with a Bernie. With all these long term plans you have for conservatism and how you will make it a great contender again you seem to underestimate the weight of the Supreme Court, and the damage it has done over the last 40 years while still having a majority of “conservatives” for most the time. What do you think will happen when that damage is accelerated by having an undefeatable majority of 6 or more liberals on the court, which Hillary is sure to give us? Right now with just 8 justices we only see 3 voting consistently conservatively.
Unfortunately I do not believe there is a simple answer to the question of how one should philosophically vote in the presidential election. Therefore I do believe we should have patience with those with whom we disagree on how one should cast their vote. Since no non-voter will want to read this article, as there is no reason to read this if you do not vote, I will not attempt to argue anyone into why they should vote. Rather, my hope is to provide the voter with some things to think about, things I have wrestled with myself, as we attempt to think through what really are the issues and really what is at stake. Before I begin let me also point out that I think there is a difference in how one should vote between the primary’s and the election itself, and I will explain that more further in, but lets just state that I am speaking about the election in this article unless otherwise stated.
Americans are very pragmatic. Because American’s created pragmatism as a philosophy, it has really taken over much of American, and even Christian thinking. A simple definition of this philosophy (forgive me as I am not a PhD in Philosophy), is “the view on how to use things to achieve the success you want; something is true when it works for your ends.” In other words anything, say Religion for example, is only worth pursuing if it can be a tool to your success in what you endeavor. If Religion makes you happy, and fills your life with meaning, then it is worth pursuing, according to the Pragmatic. There is no ultimate transcendent truth in Pragmatism, the truth, or value of something is simply based on its perceived success. Thus great evil could be done in its name, say, the murder of millions of Jews if the perceived effect is the bettering of a country’s economy and standing in the world! (I’m not saying that Hitler was a pragmatic per-say, but there is a sense in which Pragmatism can simply be called: The ends justify the means, and surely Hitler had some of that in him).
I don’t know about you, but I have a problem submitting to authority. Call it my sin nature, my culture, my temperament, whatever may fit, but I want to do things my way, when I want and how I want.
Perhaps I am not really alone in this, and this really isn’t something located in me or my society, but is something inherent in all humans. Writing almost 2000 years ago Paul tells us in Col 3:22-23 that we are to obey our earthly masters as serving the Lord. “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,”.