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CHRISTIAN OR NOT IS NOT THE QUESTION
Oct. 18, 2005
One of my favorite columnists, though I don't always agree with
him, is Charley Reese. To my mind, he is a true independent
thinker, totally honest, and refreshingly courageous. I try to read
everything he writes.
Back in August, Charley wrote a column in which he took
televangelist Pat Robertson to task. Robertson, host of The 700
Club, had publicly called upon President Bush to send an
assassination team to "take out" Venezuelan leader, Hugo Chavez.
(Robertson later said he was misinterpreted.) When Charley heard
this, he was incensed! Subsequently, he wrote in his column, "Pat
Robertson is not a Christian. No man who publicly advocates cold-
blooded murder for political reasons can claim to be a follower of
I certainly understand Charley's frustration. How professing
Christians, especially Christian leaders, can do and say some of the
things they do and say, is both perplexing and discouraging, to say
For example, I have not really gotten over my chagrin at Jerry
Falwell for apologizing for his remarks saying (after the terrorist
attacks on 9/11/01) that God was judging America for its many
national sins, including legalizing abortion. Since when do
Christian leaders need to apologize for telling the truth? But
because the White House was upset with Jerry's remarks, he
quickly retracted them. In my opinion, this is not the proper
conduct of a Christian leader.
Beyond that, with few exceptions (Franklin Graham being one),
neither do I appreciate the way in which most conservative
Christian leaders fawn and yawn over George W. Bush. They fawn
over him like he is a king and yawn over every foible and
fallacious policy he makes, no matter how egregious it may be. I
am extremely disappointed in the way most pastors and Christian
leaders seem to have lost all sense of objectivity, discernment, and
courage. Or is it that they are willing to look the other way for
reasons of personal aggrandizement? Either way, as far as I am
concerned, such behavior does not befit Christian leaders.
However, to say that Pat Robertson, or anyone else, is not a
Christian because of his or her political commentary certainly
takes us into realms where we are not permitted to travel. If
someone renounces the holy scriptures, or the deity of Jesus Christ
and His blood atonement, or his or her personal faith in Christ,
then obviously we can conclude that such a one is not a Christian.
However, when it comes to politics, one will find Christians (and
non-Christians) just about everywhere.
It is certainly appropriate for us to personally question the faith of
certain people based upon their words and works. After all, Christ
instructed us to be fruit inspectors. However, while it is true that
you and I know people by their fruit, only God sees the heart, and,
therefore, only God "knows them that are His."
Herein lies both a great mystery and a great trap. Many Christians
make their political evaluations upon the presumption of
spirituality. Because George Bush is presumed to be a spiritual
man, harmful policies are routinely ignored, or worse yet,
endorsed. Of course, if the person in office were considered
unspiritual, Christians would aggressively hold the person
accountable for these policies. Such a double standard is extremely
dangerous, as it sacrifices constitutional governance-not to mention
liberty and justice-upon the altar of rhetoric.
Another problem is that too many Christians have a double
standard as to what constitutes immorality. They quickly condemn
Bill Clinton for his propensity to unzip his pants but seemingly see
nothing wrong with President Bush running roughshod over the
Bill of Rights. It's as if, as long as a man doesn't sleep around, he
can violate his oath to uphold the Constitution with impunity. Yet,
one is as bad as the other; no, the latter is actually worse! (That is
not to say that Clinton didn't also attempt to run roughshod over
the Constitution. He did.)
The truth is, Christians are just as capable of political error as are
non-Christians! And both should be held equally accountable!
Therefore, while Charley Reese has every right to personally
question or doubt someone's Christianity (as fruit inspectors, all of
us share this right), only God can judge the heart! When it comes
to politics, however, our main focus should be, not upon rhetoric or
presumed spirituality, but upon fidelity to America's founding
principles. In that regard, Charley certainly has a valid point. I
don't find assassination listed anywhere in Article II of the
© Chuck Baldwin
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