Politics, Religion, and "Polite" Conversation
“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires. These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit. Jude 17-19
Google the words “politics and religion and you will find enough advice to sink a battleship on why “polite conversation avoids these two topics at all costs! Strength for the Day has pretty much avoided politics (though that is never perfectly possible); our focus is religion; that is, religion as understood in its root meaning: “a binding back to God. It has always been our purpose for our readers to be more closely bound to the God of their salvation, to increase in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ; and if you do not know Him personally, to seek Him. At the Paul Anderson Youth Home we have found in 49 years of experience that success in our mission with troubled young men is directly related to the transformation of their lives through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and their Heavenly Father; and keeping that commitment in all seriousness as they face life’s challenges and temptations.
Though the NT book of Jude was written almost 2000 years ago, its prophetic words of warning could not be more relevant in our world today. There have always been scoffers and mockers of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the defense of which is Jude’s proclaimed call. Now, it may just be the all-invasive communications technology of the 21st century, but don’t you think, as I do, that scoffing and mocking have risen to new heights today? Whether such is true or not, the air waves are now filled with the most cynical, vile, scurrilous mocking of the gospel and its followers, as well as any with whom these mockers disagree. Talk about division; not only in America, but division in every nation of the world where free thought and speech is allowed! Polls ad nauseum (costing billions of dollars) in this election year show one thing very clearly: people are divided! And division always revolves around the two “no-no topics: religion and politics; the soil out of which everything else sprouts. How can these two topics ever be avoided, unless you constrict your conversation to the weather, sports, gossip, or how your body feels? And if that is the extent of your conversation how will you ever advance the communication of the gospel into your world?
Three major “players in our lives demanding your attention jump out of Jude’s warning: ungodly desires, mere natural instincts, and the Spirit. All three are essential in determining where you stand in religion and politics. These three are vague, contradictory, murky concepts apart from the Word of God; they come into focus only under the microscope of God’s Word. Unfortunately, many professing Christians are ignorant of the Word or simply deny its authority. Ungodly desires and mere natural instincts always lead you away from truth in religion and politics. But the Spirit, Jesus promised, “will lead you into all truth. (John 16:13) Consider the issues of the nation and of true religion in light of the Word without attempting to explain away some “unacceptable portions with mere natural instincts or ungodly desires, as many do to justify their choices. God’s Word declares economic principles, the sanctity of life, the vocation and necessity of work, sexual identity and practice, the definition of marriage, the nature of discipline and sacrifice and character, what constitutes justice for all, our responsibility of care for the poor, widows and orphans, the evil of prejudice, et cetera, et cetera. You cannot accept part of the Word and reject selected passages. The Word of God stands together, not in segments. But it can never be understood or believed apart from the Spirit who guided its writers and alone opens the mind and heart of its readers. (2 Timothy 3:15)
In faith and in politics the Word of God and the Spirit of the Word must be your guide, remembering that each of us must one day give account for our words, choices and deeds. Ungodly desires and mere natural instincts will not stand in the judgment. Those who are led by the Spirit of God will.
“Thy love divine hath led us in the past; In this free land by thee our lot is cast; Be thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide, and Stay; Thy Word our law, thy paths our chosen way.
(2nd verse of Daniel Roberts’ hymn, “God of Our Fathers, 1876)
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