By Brad Belyeu
I was going to start this blog post with a prayer. But that was only until I recovered from the delusion that I could write some super-spiritual awesome prayer that would miraculously make everyone reading this blog post agree with me. God has done a work in my heart and transformation in my mind about how I view many things in the past several years. So it’s out of love that I want to share this with my friends and family. I hope it doesn’t offend anyone, but if it does it’s probably only because something came across via text much more seriously than I intended it to. Feel free to contact me to clear anything up. I want to start out by explaining that I hold fully to Reformed Christian theology and am a registered Republican. I share that information to let you know that I’m not condemning those views, but pointing out how I think they could be better.
If we want the Republican party to be a party of Christian morals, there is one aspect we are sorely deficient in and that is social justice. This is something I feel that God has impressed on my heart a lot lately. For some reason, I was able to conveniently read my Bible for years and look right over many of these passages. The “left” or Democrats are known much more for their taking care of the poor than the “right”. This is the greatest shortcoming of the Republican party in my opinion summarized by the scripture: “Love your neighbor as yourself”. If we want to be a free nation based on Christian principles, we should look at how God instituted His government in the Old Testament. Nothing can say this better than the Word of God itself.
https://www.bible.com/bible/59/lev.19.10.esv God requiring His people to leave “handouts” for the poor
https://www.bible.com/bible/111/lev.25.8-12.esv God mandating redistribution of wealth / forgiveness of debt
https://www.bible.com/bible/59/act.2.45.esv New Testament example of sharing all wealth
https://www.bible.com/bible/59/deu.15.7-11.esv Biblical mandate for lending to the poor without expecting repayment
A bunch of other verses regarding giving to the poor
There are many, many more verses regarding God’s heart for the poor.
The next issue I’d like to approach is our disrespect and dishonor for our President. I’ve been as guilty as the next person about this. Listening to and reading jokes (even if they’re funny) that ridicule and make fun of him is not Biblical nor is it the way Christians should act. As one who holds completely to God’s sovereignty and the authority of Scripture I believe that God Himself has appointed Barack Obama as our President even though I didn’t vote for him. Just take a look at Romans 13 (https://www.bible.com/bible/59/rom.13.1-7.esv) which explicitly tells us “For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” That puts it as simply as possible. God instituted our authority whoever it may be. Instead of making fun of those whom God has instituted we should respect them and pray for them which leads me to 1 Timothy (https://www.bible.com/bible/59/1ti.2.1-3.esv). We should be spending our time praying for “kings and all who are in high positions” instead of ridiculing or complaining against them. On this scriptural command, I must confess that I often forget to pray for those in high positions, but let’s encourage and remind each other to do this.
Next I’d like to approach the topic of taxes. I totally agree that our tax system is in dire need of reform along with our government’s spending. Not to mention how inefficiently the government spends our money! Those are valid concerns, but not spiritual in nature. They are different topic than what I intend to discuss. I’ve heard many complaints this year about paying taxes due to the rollback of tax cuts. I was self-employed for a couple years and have definitely cursed tax season before. I hear some people saying our tax system isn’t fair, but I can’t help feeling that there is something amiss in our hearts. If we who have plenty are complaining that we don’t have more, we’re missing the point. We should be focused more on being thankful for the blessings of God (WHICH WE DON’T DESERVE!) and how much we can give, rather than complaining that we don’t have more. That mindset can effect the poorest or the richest soul on the planet. It’s more about our state of mind than our state of affairs. (https://www.bible.com/bible/59/php.2.14-15.esv https://www.bible.com/bible/59/mat.22.20-21.esv)
Further food for thought on money comes from 2 of my favorite Calvinist pastors, John Piper & David Platt.
Most importantly, I’d like to discuss Reformed arrogance in regards to ridiculing other Christians beliefs. I’ve also ashamedly fallen guilty to this one. This isn’t unique to those with a reformed view, but it seems more prevalent. If another ministry, led by someone who doesn’t believe exactly like we do, is working for the Kingdom, who are we to judge? (https://www.bible.com/bible/59/rom.14.4.esv) Even if someone has had all the mysteries and knowledge of the entire Word of God revealed to them, but they don’t display love – THEY ARE NOTHING – OUCH! (https://www.bible.com/bible/59/1co.13.2.esv) The amazing thing to me is that those of us who truly hold to a reformed view have the least reason for spiritual arrogance, right? We know that we are “totally depraved” and that we can know nothing of God without His grace overcoming our sinful nature. All knowledge of Him is a gift of His grace. How can we be arrogant about something we received as a gift??? Therefore, we should strive to use our gifts to teach His body and not ridicule those who may not have the same gifts of knowledge, but have other gifts (evangelism for example).
I almost didn’t include this topic, but I decided to throw it in while I’m stirring the hornet’s nest. It’s very much opinion and much less based on Biblical passages like the points above. And I’d like it to be known that I am for the right to bear arms. I believe it can prevent crime and is a foundational right for our country’s citizens. I own a gun, and enjoy going to the gun range on occasion. My problem is more with how Christians are reacting to proposed gun control. As a good Calvinist, with complete faith in God’s sovereignty I trust in the Lord to keep me and my family safe. Anyone who trusts in a gun for safety in my opinion, is trusting in something much weaker and much less than the Almighty. In addition to faith and trust, there’s the matter of how I would react to someone breaking into my home and robbing me. I hope I would react more like the movie “Les Miserables” in how the priest reacted to his invader, rather than taking someone’s life in defense of my earthly possessions. On one hand, you are promoting the Kingdom of God, on the other you are protecting your worldly possessions. That being said, I would not condemn anyone who owns a gun and would use it to defend their home from invasion. Just wanted to make sure that’s clear. I just believe we need to have more faith in God’s protection than our own strength.
I know that many of my friends and family don’t share my view points on the above topics. I’m willing to receive any constructive criticism and Biblical views you may want to post as feedback either via email or the comments on this blog. Let’s just make sure all our discussion is covered with love for one another in Christ.