November 5, 2018 | The Billy Graham Association
The following excerpt is from an interview by Decision managing editor, Jerry Pierce, and John Stonestreet, president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and co-host of BreakPoint, a daily commentary on faith and culture. Read the entire article online from The Billy Graham Association.
Q. How do we prioritize the various issues through the lens of Scripture and a Christian worldview? Do some issues supersede others in order of importance?
A. As Christians, our primary allegiances are to the priorities clarified in the Biblical narrative, which may or may not be the issues and concerns that are the noisiest in our cultural moment. I remember talking to Chuck Colson about this a few times before he died. He was deeply convinced of a hierarchy of importance among the various issues we face, and the most important is the sacredness of human life. Where candidates, political parties, laws and government policies stand on human life—from conception through natural death—will inevitably shape their approach to all other issues.
And there are other issues that reflect what we believe to be true about human identity, dignity and value. For example, religious freedom is essential because it is based on the idea that as humans, we answer to God before we answer to the state. Also, marriage is an essential issue for at least two reasons. First, when we deny the historic understanding of marriage, we deny fundamental aspects of reality—that marriage is a created, not invented, institution, and that male and female are biological realities, not social constructs.
So life, marriage and religious freedom are fundamental issues. Other issues that are hotly debated—like jobs, gun control, terrorism, health care—are prudential issues. For example, all candidates want to create jobs, but they differ on how to do that. All candidates are for public safety, but they differ on which approach works best. These issues matter greatly, and often they are shaped by how we understand the proper role of the state in relation to other institutions of society.
But life, marriage and religious freedom are essential. No one can coherently argue that abortion promotes the dignity of human life, or that forcing bakers to cater same-sex “weddings” promotes religious freedom.
Q. We are citizens of Heaven. Why be caught up with the concerns of temporal government when we have Gospel work to do?
A. What is Gospel work? “The two greatest commandments are these,” Jesus said, “to love God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.” When Paul was in Athens (see Acts 17), he was grieved to see people worshiping false gods. Government is part of culture, and it should grieve us to see God not honored anywhere.
And what is love of neighbor? We cannot truly love our neighbor without sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ, or feeding the hungry and visiting the prisoner. Neither can we truly love our neighbor if we are indifferent to good governance. Government, after all, was established by God to foster the sort of flourishing He wanted in His creation and among His image bearers. Of course, after the Fall, it took on the additional task of restraining evil. The way government is working these days, it’s easy to see in government sure signs of the Fall.
In his speech in Athens, Paul states that God determines both when and where we each live. It is no accident that we are Americans. I have to be concerned about the rights and liberties of my fellow citizens. After all, of all people, Christians have the theological grounding for what the Declaration of Independence proclaims: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights—life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Read the entire article HERE: Voting with A Christian Conscience: A Conversation with Colson Center’s John Stonestreet
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