One of my readers Christopher sent to me this quote from Alexander Duff:
“Our maxim has been, is now and ever will be this: wherever, whenever and by whomsoever Christianity is sacrificed on the altar of worldly expediency, there and then must the supreme good of mankind lie bleeding at its base.”
This is what political pragmatism does to conservatism in general and the Church specifically; we sacrifice piety for pragmatism. Something must die and it is becoming more and more apparent that the sacrifice du jour is piety.
Random House Dictionary defines pragmatism as “a philosophical movement or system having various forms, but generally stressing practical consequences as constituting the essential criterion in determining meaning, truth, or value.”
That just got by you; it did me the first time I read it.
The essential criterion in determining meaning, truth, or value is practical consequences, meaning man gets to determine what is and what is not pragmatic.
Well Bro Dave God developed us with the ability to reason and to think. Indeed He did however sin has marred that ability. The Apostle Paul was probably one of the most philosophically astute and pragmatic thinkers of his time. Then something happened; he got saved and he realized something and began his first letter to the Corinthian church with this realization:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.’ Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
The wisdom of the wise says it is okay to vote for someone who is 80% in agreement with your political views, the new in vogue 80/20 rule being established by the Republican Party. But what if 20% of the candidate is in support of government funded abortion and same-sex marriage or civil unions? Is it okay for a self-described Christian to vote for such a candidate? Is it okay to vote for the lesser of two evils? Is that in the Bible?
Do we follow the Bible or do we follow man’s philosophy. Paul was paraphrasing the Prophet Isaiah who warned:
“For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” (Isaiah 29:14)
In the end political pragmatism has not made the world a better place. It has merely confused the Church so much so that for the most part it is indistinguishable from the rest of society; other than they meet every Sunday in a building on the corner.
So Bro Dave how do we get candidates who agree with our beliefs? We must be involved in the process at the very beginning. We cannot allow political parties and operatives to dictate to us for which candidate we can or cannot vote. At the very beginning we must identify the candidates we would support and actually support them; with time and money. And when “wise men” try to prop up a candidate that is antithetical to our beliefs we must immediately say absolutely not.
That means pastors and parishioners need to become involved again. No more sitting on the sidelines; no more waiting for the voter guide to be published so I can make my decision in the voting booth.
Please do not think that I am saying all people who embrace political pragmatism are purposefully evil; most are not. But they are most certainly not seeing through the eyes of Scripture, using a biblical lens to analyze the situation. We are warned to be wary of this:
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 2:8)
Have you ever seen or heard a Christian trying to justify political pragmatism or the “80/20 rule”? If not go back and read my blog post and listen to the audio of Steve Deace’s interview of Michael Reagan, son of Ronald Reagan (Be sure you revisit the whole series “Come Now Let Us Reason Together”). After doing so you will come to understand clearer what Solomon wrote:
“Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (Proverbs 26:12)
The supreme good of mankind’s blood has stained the base of the altar of world expediency. Fifty million unborn Americans have given their lives at that altar. Nearly 3 million American servicemen and women have died defending our liberty, a liberty given by God. None took the politically expedient way out, the shortcut if you will.
The old story of the tortoise and the hare comes to mind.
Guess which one is personal piety and which one is political pragmatism.
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Copyright © 2010 David Jeffers
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