Proof-Texting the Presidential Debate

On a trip out of town this weekend I visited another church. There I heard the pastor pray that our leaders would rule according to the Bible. We hear that kind of talk often enough, and it vaguely feels like a good thing to pray, but I was wondering how that would specifically be done. Well, there are plenty issues raised in a presidential debate; how would the Bible be used to answer those questions? So, to facilitate this experiment, I’ve paraphrased the questions from last night’s presidential debate:

Will I be able to sufficiently support myself after graduation?

Should the Energy Department be responsible for lowering gas prices?

What is your position on mortgage, charitable, child, and education tax credits?

What about inequalities in the workplace regarding women’s pay?

What is the difference between you and Bush?

What have you done to earn my vote for 2012?

What do you plan on doing with immigrants without their green cards who are living as productive citizens in this country?

Did the State Department refuse extra security prior to the recent attack on the embassy in Benghazi?

What have you done to limit the availability of assault weapons?

What are your plans to bring back and keep jobs in the United States?

What is the biggest misperception the American people have about you?

Well, if you think the Bible answers these questions, please do share. But most of us are thinking the answers to these questions are based on political philosophy and various kinds of competence that are not tethered to a proof text. And if that’s the case, the talk in different circles about electing only Christian leaders, about preaching on whom we should vote, and about ruling according to the Bible are of debatable validity.

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14 Comments

Filed under Church and State, Two Kingdom

14 responses to “Proof-Texting the Presidential Debate

  1. TurturroFan

    If we’re to have only Christian leaders, I’d prefer the kind that are adamant about worship on Sunday (twice; and no Sunday morning talk shows) and wouldn’t run their campaigns seven days a week. But I don’t think that’s a relevant consideration for many of our evangelical brethren.

    And as T. David Gordon noted in “The Insufficiency of Scripture,” the Bible does not even give every detail on how we are to order our public worship, much less provide specific direction on how to order our common life. So yes, a phrase such as “rule according to the Bible” does seem lacking.

  2. Richard

    Gee, it sounds as if you guys haven’t read “Politics According to the Bible, ” by Wayne Grudem. Shame on you.

  3. Maybe we should just pray for our leaders in general and let God decide how to steer them.

    • Richard

      Amen, Erik. In this politicized age, though, even that gets problematic. I got nailed recently by people in our church for mentioning Barack Obama by name in the pastoral prayer in prayer for him.

      • TurturroFan

        Richard, maybe it would help if you mentioned the POTUS in the context of an imprecatory Psalm.

        Erik, also an a-men. The 1928 Book of Common Prayer states it eloquently: “ALMIGHTY God, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite; Have mercy upon this whole land; and so rule the hearts of thy servants THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, The Governor of this State, and all others in authority, that they, knowing whose ministers they are, may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all the People, duly considering whose authority they bear, may faithfully and obediently honour them, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.” (A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority)

      • I totally believe it, Richard. “We” sometimes lose 5th commandment respect for our elected officials. A casualty of culture war rhetoric, I reckon.

    • That’s certainly an option, and one that comes close to Paul’s advice to Timothy on how we should pray for the magistrate. Another option would be to say “I voted for X on conservative principles, or I voted for X because I favor his economic plan,” etc.

      • Richard

        MLM,
        Yeah, this is culture wars. I also mentioned our governor by name, but for some mysterious reason that didn’t generate any smoke. My pastor took my aside and told me I push too many buttons. TF is right, I should have mentioned Obama in an imprecatory psalm prayer. The 5th Commandment goes out the window, as does praying for those in authority.

      • You have a wise pastor. The culture war seems to be the default these days, and the culture warrior really doesn’t know what to do with 2k. There are suspicions, like the 2ker is really an operative of the Democrat Party, a spineless jellyfish or an antinomian. It takes a while to change a paradigm, an ideology, or whatever you want to call it. It really is important to be cognizant of pastoral considerations in our churches. It would be a distressing irony if we who value the redemptive kingdom fracture our churches to promote it.

  4. Richard

    MLM,
    You’re right, of course, the unity of the church around the Gospel is the most important consideration. Thanks for saying this. This is only going to get worse until Election Day. Best just to be there for the church in a pastoral way when all the dreams come tumbling down after.

  5. sean

    MM,

    Your right of course but I’ve already gone ahead and blown up the wed night Francis Schaeffer course. It wasn’t my fault, they kept asking me what I thought after each video lesson. So, I a tolla them. Now on to Peacemakers and Sonship. I feel like Gen Sherman going through Georgia. Thank goodness there’s no sunday night rational biblical theology class anymore.

    • Richard & Sean, admittedly I’ve had it easy. My recently departed pastor of 15 years was a SOTC guy, I teach adult SS about half the time, and the other teacher is a mild and churchly Kuyperian. But we 2ks only human – we’d get ulcers if we didn’t occasionally do some sniper fire on a Francis Schaeffer church course.

      • Richard

        Yeah, actually I’ve had it easy too, I do almost all the teaching. I made a point of going thoroughly over DVD’s book on “Living in God’s Two Kingdoms” in adult SS. My pastor, an RTS grad, has been tremendously supportive, and has been turned off by the strident rhetoric of some transformationalists and the religious right. I need to be more thankful for what we have. The PCA can get pretty messy.

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