01 May 2008

Sorry Dan!

by Frank Turk

Joe Carter and I will be on Paul Edwards today at 3:30 PM CT to talk about The Gospel and Politics. You follow that link, and you can hear the stream.

Pray for all of us that we put Christ first.


I listened to you and Joe Carter on Paul Edwards via streaming feed. Great, great job—all three of you. But I especially liked your input.

Joe is no doubt correct that actual grassroots evangelical involvement in the political process is pretty low. But the number of professing Christians willing to turn off "American Idol" and take the Great Commission seriously is surely even lower.

Joe seems to think all this evangelical apathy proves my whole argument is invalid. But he is actually proving my point.

See: I didn't suggest that Evangelicals have done well organizing, mobilizing, and integrating their own rank-and-file into the political process. In fact, I said nothing at all about the level of grassroots involvement. What I complained about was the inordinate amount of energy and resources that are spent on politics rather than evangelism by evangelical organizations and leaders.

Here's a major part of the problem with trying to drum up evangelical zeal over something as mundane as politics: It's uninspiring compared to the challenge of the gospel, and it has helped breed a generation of evangelical couch potatoes who think sending Dobson or the Republican party a check fulfills their duty to "engage the culture." But the typical fad-driven evangelical is no more a true activist than the liberal fat cat or Hollywood celebrity who thinks if she buys enough carbon credits she is really helping change the world.

The answer isn't to invest more energy and resources into political lobbying. It's to get off the couch and back into the world with the gospel.

You made that clear. Thanks.

Phil's signature


Daniel said...

Read Phil then Joe and then tune in this afternoon to The Paul Edwards Program as Joe Carter and Phil's blogging colleague Frank urk discuss this important issue.

Frank Urk...

Congratulations Frank, you're a somebody. (grinning).

coldwell said...

Stream apparently doesn't work unless you're using Windows...*sigh*

Kevin Stilley said...

I like the interview that Phil did HERE.

FX Turk said...

I am certain that I 'urk a lot of people.

CR said...

Phil wrote: "What I complained about was the inordinate amount of energy and resources that are spent on politics rather than evangelism by evangelical organizations and leaders."

My response: What I'm not clear on is who are these organizations/evangelical leaders spending all this inordinate amount of energy and resources on politics rather than on evangelism?

700 Club? National Association of Evangelicals, Focus on the Family?

Okay, well, if I can be frank (no pun intended), I don't want the 700 Club, NAE or FOTF using it's money and time on evangelical causes because they wouldn't know what to do.

I would be concerned if John MacArthur, John Piper, RC Sproul or my church spent its energy and time on politics.

Family Research Council for example is an organization that is committed to the promotion of marriage and family and the sanctity of human life in national policy. They don't pretend to be a Christian organization although they probably have a lot of Christian staff but they are a secular organization committed to research and keeping eyes on issues of concern to Christians that the demonicrats try to sneak in Congress. I'm glad they do that.

So, I guess is what would really help is if Phil and Frank can point out and name names of these organizations and evangelical leaders (that are worth a hill of beans of people that I want to represent the Christian faith) that are spending this inordinate amount of time.

Who are all these grassroot Christian folks that are spending this inordinate amount of time. Are they people in your churches? Or what? Do you have some statistics backing up this inordinate amount of time. The only time I've been spending on politics is when Team Pryo brings up politics on their blogs or on Dan's blog.

Paul Edwards said...

Sorry about the missing "T" in your name on my website, Frank. My Dell laptop has a sticky key. Guess which one?

Great job on the program today. Looking forward to more conversations like this one.

Paul Edwards

Rick Frueh said...

I enjoyed the discussion. I belive many believers are rethinking this issue and you voice is needed.

BTW - Did I hear correctly, you are supporting Obama??


Solameanie said...

If I can throw an aside here that illustrates a BIG problem within Christian political activism, it is this.

I have no issue with Christians being politically involved and good citizens. We are supposed to be. Especially in a system such as ours when we are not ruled by kings, but instead, it's "we the people."

Having said that, when our political machinations begin to outweigh our commitment to -- and responsibility with -- the Gospel, it's time to slam on the brakes and take stock of ourselves.

(Note . . . I must admit at the outset that what I am about to write is anecdotal. I trust the people from whom I heard this, but this is not a first-hand account i.e. I did not hear this with my own ears. Regardless, it is very illustrative of what I am talking about.)

A few years back, there was supposedly a prominent Christian evangelical who was one of the leaders in the modern-day Christian conservative political movement. He had the chance to ride in a limo with the leader (at the time) of the Mormon church -- both on their way to a political event where there was some common cause on a political/social issue. Later on, when this was recounted, this conservative Christian leader was asked something along the lines of "did you witness to this Mormon leader?" What was the response?

"Oh, no. I couldn't have done that. That would have destroyed the political coalition we were trying to build."

Somehow, I can't imagine that flying before the judgment seat of Christ.

Solameanie said...

I forgot to add this concluding remark. While this particular story was anecdotal, I have seen this same attitude displayed while a Christian radio news director. You wouldn't believe the snark I received from some well-meaning Christians when I cautioned them about getting more concerned about politics than they were about the Gospel.

Rick Frueh said...

No less than Cal Thomas wrote an article ten years ago and confessed that he believed the religious political coalitions were a big mistake. He said had the church directed the same time, energy, and money in to spiritual endeavors it would have been far better.

Rhology said...

Well done, cent and Joe, both.

David said...

Can anything good come out of Arkansas? OK, maybe.

I just listened. Great job, Frank.