Sunday, January 22, 2012

An Open Letter to Cal Thomas

Evangelicals are desperate, Cal? Please. We of biblical faith are admonished to speak up and stand up for those who have no voice. It’s called social justice. And the greatest victims of injustice are the millions of children murdered before they were born. So, yes, we support Rick Santorum, especially on this issue.

As far as Jesus’ teachings, your column underscores what someone once said: that “a text taken out of context becomes a pretext for a proof text.” You criticize followers of Christ for being a part of the political process, when it is we, His people, who can be thanked for, among other things, the First Amendment. Look up John Leland, Baptist preacher from Virginia, and take note of his influence on James Madison’s final version of the guarantee of religious liberty. Were we invisible, who would have stepped forward on behalf of liberty? The ACLU?

When you consider the full counsel of scripture, not just a few selected verses from the Sermon on the Mount, which was, in reality, an admonition to the self-serving, self-righteous Pharisees, you’ll realize that over and over again Christ’s followers are told to be salt and light in the world. It is we Christians who have “flavored” society for good, standing for the rights of others and sharing what we have through soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, homeless shelters, and so on. In just that regard alone, we have more than earned the right to be heard.

Furthermore, Paul tells us to be model citizens, which, one could infer, means participating in the full political process. And you twist his words in saying that we walk by faith, not by sight. This in no way means that Christians are to be invisible, but rather that we understand that we can trust God and take Him at His word, even when we can’t trace His hand. Paul underscores this point in declaring that Abraham “believed” God (i.e. walked by faith, not sight) in departing his home and traveling to a place he had never been before simply because God told him to.

Finally, Jesus’ teaching on private prayer is, again, a response to the showiness of the Pharisees, not a proscription against public prayer. The Pharisees wanted to impress others with their rigid adherence to the Torah and the 640 laws they built around it, but Jesus called them hypocrites, vipers, and poisonous. However, the early church often prayed corporately, and, at times, publically. Take a look at Acts 4, for just one example of corporate prayer. Even Jesus tells us to pray with one another.

My admonition to you is to stick to what you understand, and leave it to us who adhere to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to flesh out our faith as we feel led.

Let us pray. Tebow, if you feel so led.

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