Thursday, October 21, 2010

Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture

New Book Promises Much

Some wise words on the issues of "separation of church and state." Dr. Wayne Grudem has just come out with a new book on politics, a subject seemingly far afield from his normal offerings in the area of systematic theology.

The title, Politics, According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture and length, over 600 pages, promises much, I only hope it delivers as much as it attempts. Knowing Dr. Grudem personally, and his warmth, personal character and thoroughness, I was tempted beyond which I was able to endure and purchased it at first opportunity.

Here's a paragraph on "separation of church and state" from chapter one.
These arguments also make the logical mistake of failing to distinguish the reasons for a law from the content of the law. There were religious reasons behind many of our laws, but these laws do not "establish" a religion. All major religions have teachings against stealing, but laws against stealing do not "establish a religion." All religions have laws against murder, but laws against murder do not "establish a religion." the campaign to abolish slavery in the United States and England was led by many Christians, based on their religious convictions, but laws abolishing slavery do not "establish religion." The campaign to end racial discrimination and segregation was led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist pastor, who preached against racial injustice from the Bible. But laws against discrimination and segregation do not "establish a religion."
Commenting on the whole trend toward "excluding religion" and religious motivations from public dialog, Grudem continues a paragraph later:
If these "exclude religion" arguments succeed in court, they could soon be applied against evangelicals and and Catholics who make "religious" arguments against abortion. Majority votes to protect unborn children could then be invalidated by saying these voters are "establishing a religion." And by such reasoning, all religious citizens for almost any issue could be found invalid by court decree! This would be the direct opposite of the kind of country the Founding Fathers established, and the direct opposite of what they meant by "free exercise" of religion in the First Amendment.[1]
[1] Grudem, p. 31.
I have not yet finished the book, but based on what I have read so far, I want to recommend the book as a resource to stimulate the thinking of any who want to take their faith into the public square in appropriate ways.

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