Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Yes, Christians Should Vote for Ron Paul; or Why Treebeard Is Not a Good Example for Christians



"Treebeard is losing his trees, his forest, his territory and is
being lied to by Saruman, who had claimed to be his friend
and ally. Treebeard judges the sides in the Great Battle of
his time not by their commitment to good or evil but by their
willingness to focus exactly on the things Treebeard himself
wants to focus; he is completely disinterested in the outcome
of a great conflict which may turn out to lead to the extinction of
Treebeard himself and everything he values."
(photo by Patrice77/CC BY -SA 3.0)

[Editor's note: the following is written by my friend, Bojidar Marinov, who is also a prolific theonomy writer. This is a critique of my recent piece where I argue that Christians should not vote for Ron Paul. While I disagree with Bojidar, I think Christians should hear both sides of this important issue.]


by Bojidar Marinov 

‘And what about yourself?’ asked Merry.

‘Hoom, hm, I have not troubled about the Great Wars,’ said Treebeard; ‘they mostly concern Elves and Men. That is the business of Wizards: Wizards are always troubled about the future. I do not like worrying about the future. I am not altogether on anybody’s side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me: nobody cares for the woods as I care for them, not even Elves nowadays.’

This is the picture that formed in my mind while I was reading Stephen Halbrook’s article, “Should Christians Vote for Ron Paul?” Treebeard is losing his trees, his forest, his territory and is being lied to by Saruman, who had claimed to be his friend and ally. Treebeard judges the sides in the Great Battle of his time not by their commitment to good or evil but by their willingness to focus exactly on the things Treebeard himself wants to focus; he is completely disinterested in the outcome of a great conflict which may turn out to lead to the extinction of Treebeard himself and everything he values; he is politically and socially irrelevant not because he doesn’t know what needs to be done or is powerless to do it but because he makes the foundation of his actions a narrow-minded perfectionism which is irrelevant for the times, and having no chance of ever becoming historically relevant.

There were at least three problems with Treebeard’s position. They are:

First, Treebeard was looking at persons, not at the conflict (the Battle of Our Time) and its significance in the larger scheme of things.

Second, he was neglecting the historical factor of incremental victories; that a small victory for his friends – even if insufficient and imperfect by his own standards – would create the foundation for future incremental victories for his own cause. On the other side, the lack of small incremental victories for his friends might lead to a big final defeat for his friends, and eventually for him.

Third, even if not everyone in the conflict was altogether on Treebeard’s side, this did not make all the participants ethically the same; some of them were his friends, willing to sit with him and discuss issues with respect, while others were his enemies and would always act against him, no matter what.

These are exactly Stephen Halbrook’s problems when he advises Christians to not vote for Ron Paul. To his credit, he has tried to be fair and balanced concerning Ron Paul. While others, less honest than Stephen, have tried to portray Ron Paul as “anti-Christian,” Stephen doesn’t question Ron Paul’s Christianity; he only finds his views “compromised.” And I agree. I am not going to try to defend Ron Paul for his compromised views. I know he is consistent as far as he understands Christianity but I also know that this “as far” is not far enough. Admitting all that is said about Ron Paul’s theological compromises though, I still must say, that just like Treebeard, Stephen’s position is suffering from being incomplete. It focuses on one thing only, Ron Paul’s personal theology, without explaining why it should be so. And it is based on a law that is not specifically outlined in the Bible, that the Christians should only support those political figures and civil rulers who are qualified according to the Biblical requirements. Much of God’s reality is left out of this picture; when such reality is taken account of, we see that Christians actually should vote for Ron Paul.

It’s Not About Persons, It’s About a War

I have been encountering Stephen’s views among Christians since 2008. He is not the first to say, “Ron Paul has some very good views, but some of his other views are not Biblical, therefore I cannot support him.”

I always have a question for these people: “If you were in Eastern Europe with me back in 1989, would you have joined me protesting against Communism, knowing that there wouldn’t be a single Christian out there on the street, and none of the leaders of the anti-Communist opposition would anything close to a Christian, let alone a theonomic Christian? Or would you have stayed home, refusing to support and join the protestors unless they completely, 100%, agree to believe in your theonomic position?”

Amazingly, they all reply that they would have joined the protests, even if that meant support for anti-Communist politicians who are anything but Christian. Why? Wouldn’t it be more consistent to stay home until you have enough Christians of theonomic persuasion to make your own protests? (We’ll talk later as to how easy it is to produce those theonomic Christians under the dominance of Communism.) Because, as one of those Christians replied, “A greater issue was at hand at the time, a greater battle, and we needed to win that battle.”

That’s exactly it. Every generation and every period in history has its own battle that trumps all other battles. God is the One Who moves history, and He moves it through conflicts. His covenant people are never called to morally compromise while fighting in such conflicts; but sometimes – in fact, most of the time – they are called to make alliances with non-Christians who are willing to join the right side of the conflict. Such alliances are by necessity temporary but as long as they are focused on winning the Battle of the time for the right side, they are permissible.

In the history of the church, we know of no generation of Christians that had the luxury of fighting their battles supported by theologically like-minded people only. Calvin lived most of his life in Geneva organizing the life in the city while working against theologically hostile city councils. Geneva was protected militarily by other cantons in Switzerland, many of whom were still in the process of figuring out what true Christian orthodoxy was. The English Puritans – being a very small percentage of the population – used the services of many cavaliers who in principle opposed the King even if not in principle in agreement with the Puritan theology. In fact, Cromwell’s army wasn’t exactly theologically united in everything they believed. Neither were the American colonists perfectly united theologically in the 1770s.

Going further back, all the orthodox Christian bishops in AD 325 knew quite well that Constantine and his court chaplain, Eusebius, were not orthodox in their beliefs. And yet, when summoned to Nicaea, they went, knowing very well that in doing this, they were returning a favor; as a church, they were “voting” for Constantine, endorsing his policies. Of course, they did vehemently oppose the Arian creed proposed by Constantine’s party at the Council; Constantine retreated but never changed his personal views (while Eusebius did). And yet, knowing that the Emperor’s views were not orthodox, and knowing well what the main battle of the time was, they didn’t hesitate to support him. (And, as a matter of fact, the perfectionist party in the Church, the Donatists who refused to participate, were later rightly condemned as heretics.)

Examples like this abound in the church history. Christians “voted” politically for the Jews in the Netherlands, Denmark, and other nations under Nazi occupation, by saving them from the concentration camps. Christians in Switzerland were ready and willing to defend it, even though by the time Switzerland wasn’t anything close to a perfect theonomic nation. Christians fought together against the Muslim threat in the Mediterranean; Christian missions supported local non-Christian rulers who were willing to open their nations for missionaries. Christians in the British Parliament fought to end slavery on the high seas – and not everyone in that battle was a theonomic Christian. Christians today take part in pro-life causes, and very seldom these pro-life activities are only manned by theonomic Christians.

In the Bible, we see Daniel and Joseph supporting pagan rulers by giving them sound advice. In fact, we know that Joseph personally organized and directed the enslavement of a whole nation to its ruler. Both godly men, they could refuse to lend their services to pagan kings on the grounds that these kings were not qualified. Jeremiah also prophesies to Israel, “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.” We clearly see that the Israelites were enjoined to economically and spiritually support Babylon, the city that had become the symbol of idolatry and immorality.

In all these cases, there was a higher goal for the specific generation, a higher battle; a battle that temporarily required the people of God to come in support – economic, political, spiritual – of rulers and nations that weren’t exactly theologically correct. Whether the goal was the survival of the covenant people as a people, or the building of the temple, or the conversion of an empire from pagan to Christian, or building an example of Reformed social order (“city on a hill”) or the protection of liberties, Christians were supposed to be able to discern the times, discern the great battle of their generation, and focus on it. It was the “purpose of God for their generation” (Acts 13:36) that determined their actions, not the perfect theological purity of those that fought alongside with them. Refusing to acknowledge limited historical goals for specific times in history because they are not as comprehensive as the overall goal of history itself is the mistake made by amillennialism; such mistake destroys the meaning of history as a dynamic process and turns it into a static field that can be changed only by that final burst of power from above, the Second Coming.

We need to understand that voting for Ron Paul is not different from joining a cause. There is no magic in voting as a political act. It is not different from any other support – economic, political, spiritual. In voting for Ron Paul, we are not in any way endorsing the man and the completeness of his views and theology. We are only recognizing that there is a battle out there, the Battle of Our Time, and we want to join it on God’s side. Sometimes God may use imperfect people, and even pagans (Cyrus is called God’s Messiah, remember?) on his side. It is not Ron Paul that we are looking at when we vote for him; we are looking at God’s purpose for our generation; at what enemies He wants us to rout in our generation; and at what must be done in our generation to advance the Kingdom of God.

The great Battle of Our Time is the battle against the socialist welfare-warfare state. While the issues of abortion and sodomy – the two issues that Stephen criticizes Ron Paul for – are important, they are to a very great extent subservient to the issue of the socialist state. Sodomites and abortionists are protected by the centralized government in Washington, DC. The theonomic solution to the problems of sodomy and abortion can not be achieved at the Federal level because at that level liberals outnumber conservatives 20 to 1. And theonomic Christians are almost non-existent at that level. It is only when the socialist state is dismantled and power returned back to the states and the counties that we will be able to successfully deal with the other social and moral issues. As long as sin is protected at the Federal level, our political job as Christians is to dismantle the Federal bureaucracy and return all power to the local communities. Therefore, the great battle is against the socialist state.

Given that, Ron Paul is the man with the best position to work for that goal on the national level. We must join him not because of him but because we recognize the great battle, and recognize where our place is. Once we win that battle, we can move to the next one. But refusing support to an ally for the most important issue we are facing today only because we find deal-breakers in smaller issues is not wise.

This is Stephen’s first problem: His advice to Christians is based not on discerning the times but on a perfectionist view of political alliances that is not supported either by the Bible or by church history. It negates almost every political action taken by Christians throughout the church history – including Reformed Christians in Switzerland, Holland, England, Scotland, and America. It binds Christians to a static, non-historical perfectionism that in the end will make Christians irrelevant politically, economically, socially, and spiritually.

Joining the Fight, Influence, and Evangelism

An additional question arises in connection with the above. What would have happened if in 1989 Christians in Eastern Europe had refused to join the protests against Communism for the same reasons Stephen Halbrook refuses to vote for Ron Paul?

A well-established rule in politics is that if you refused to join a righteous cause, you have no right to benefit from its victory. Had Christians remained passive, they would have created for themselves the reputation of being irrelevant. In the post-Communist society such irrelevant Christianity would lose its influence even more; and by losing its influence, it would lose opportunities to evangelize and reform a nation. If you have failed to predict the coming of the summer by the leaves of the fig tree, no one would trust you that you can authoritatively speak on any issue about history or eternity. In history, the church gained influence when it correctly identified the great battle of the time and quickly took sides and led by example. The best example is the church in the 7th and 8th centuries, when the Empire had collapsed and there was no civil government to restore the peace. The church in many places in Europe took up the task to preserve the social order, to organize the defenses against Barbarians, to organize the economic life of the communities, and to preserve the knowledge and wisdom of the previous generations. The battle of the time was the preservation of the civilization, and the church performed admirably. At the end, the church emerged as the most influential community on the continent – and remained so for over a millenium.

If Christians today fail to recognize the Battle of our time – against the socialist welfare-warfare state – and join the right side of that battle, when the battle is over, we will be in no position to have our voice heard. If we just stay on the sidelines today, we will be left on the sidelines in the future.

History Is a Set of Incremental Victories

It is in the movies where the good guys keep losing throughout the whole movie only to get a complete victory in the end; that cavalry charge down the hill that completely routs the enemy once and for all and solves all the problems. God’s history doesn’t work that way. History is a set of small, incremental victories. Each one of these victories is incomplete, imperfect, and it only improves one or two things at a time. “Here a little, there a little,” is how God works out His victory in history over His enemies. There has never been a complete victory for the people of God in everything; each victory takes care of one aspect of reality, and sets the stage for the next victory. In addition, every little victory teaches God’s people wisdom, maturity, patience, and responsibility for dominion. Even in his perfect state, Adam was not expected to immediately make the world like the Garden; it would have taken generations of his sons and daughters of spreading, step by step, conquering little pieces of the world, converting them into gardens, and moving on. Even Adam’s accumulation of knowledge wasn’t meant to be immediate and perfect – in fact, Satan’s temptation showed that no progressive and gradual growth over time was needed for the completion of the process; it could all happen in one stroke.

Even in that most important aspect of history (and of church history in particular) – the development of the Creeds – we see that gradual process of conquering by little, incremental steps. No creed in the history of the Church has been perfect; each one deals with the important issues of the day, stepping on the shoulders of previous generations, but still leaving many issues unresolved. Every Confession is a small incremental victory for the faith, insufficient, incomplete, imperfect, and yet necessary, because without the development of the Confessions we have no historical development. We do not wait until we have the perfect people to draft the perfect Creed; to do so would mean to wait until the end of history, and never achieve anything in history.

Every little victory sets the stage for the next little victory. Our enemies have understood and have used this important lesson better than we have in the last 200 years. Especially the Fabian Socialists in Britain and the liberals in the US: they have settled for small victories in every generation. Every little victory gave them the ground for the next little victory. This is what is called “strategic thinking,” and we have been lacking it. A very good example of the lack of such strategic thinking is Stephen’s refusal to accept as valid a small and imperfect victory.

After so many generations of steady retreat, we have too many issues on our hands to be able to deal with all of them at the same time. Taxes, inflation, fake money, sodomy, abortion, foreign wars, government monopolies, regulations, government welfare, government education, evolution, divorce, eminent domain, false theologies, debauchery, corrupt media, foreign aid, trade unions, debt (government and private), enviro-fascism, racism, etc., etc. It is foolish to believe we can take on all of these issues at once. It is also foolish to expect that we can wait until we have the perfect political, church, business, and family leaders to start dealing with all these issues. We need to score little, incremental victories in at least some of these areas. The more we score, the more ground we will have to launch more attacks on the kingdom of Satan.

A presidential victory for Ron Paul will be a small incremental victory in at least a few of those areas. No, it won’t deal completely with the centralized socialist state overnight. It won’t destroy the evils of government redistribution and fiat money completely and right away. But it will be a small victory. Just as the fall of Communism was a small incremental victory for the Christians in Eastern Europe – even though it didn’t create anything “Christian” per se – by giving Christians the freedom to speak and evangelize, so the shattering of the socialist state by electing a man who has proven to be its uncompromising enemy will be a small victory for the Christian families in the US in that it will bring us closer to sound money, decentralization, and more liberty, economically and socially.

That’s the second problem in Stephen’s thinking: He doesn’t realize the importance of small, incremental, incomplete and imperfect victories in history. Following his logic, Christians shouldn’t involve politically unless we have the the perfect politicians who will perfectly fight on all fronts. But that’s not how God works in history.

But Stephen misses even more in the broader picture of reality: What will happen if we refuse to take the opportunity to score small incremental victories? For example, what would have happened if Communism didn’t fall in Eastern Europe? Would Christians still be able to achieve that future, desired, complete victory?

Not necessarily. The missed opportunity for a small victory equals giving that small victory to the enemy. In Eastern Europe that would have meant that Communism would have recovered – just as it recovered in China after the failed Tiananmen revolt – and would have responded with more repressions and more victories against the church. Similarly, Ron Paul’s victory can be a small incremental victory for us as Christians, but his failure will be a victory for the ungodly political establishment; and you can be sure, they will use that victory to solidify their positions and strike back. We as Christians have scored several small but important victories so far: the homeschool movement and creationism, to name the two most important ones. But we need to keep the pressure on the ungodly elites. Rejecting the opportunity for another small but important victory will only reverse the trend. We don’t want to lose the initiative. We must support Ron Paul in his crusade against Washington, DC’s political and economic elite.

Discerning Between Imperfect Friends and Deceptive Enemies

There are two arguments that I have heard from Christians who oppose Ron Paul. The first is, “Christians should vote for Biblically-qualified candidates only.” The second is, “We shouldn’t vote for the lesser evil.”

I am aware that the first one has been preached, taught, and promoted by many great Christian pastors and leaders, some of them my dear friends. I will criticize it anyway, hoping that my criticism won’t be taken as an “attack” on their overall theology or on them personally.

It is immediately obvious that such a law (“Thou shalt not vote except for a Biblically-qualified candidate”) has no direct support in the Bible. “Direct support” is when the Bible contains a specific injunction that can’t be read in any other possible way. We know that the parents must teach their children – there are direct commandments about that in the Bible. We know that the elders in the church must be male, period. We know that there are three Persons in the Godhead – they are mentioned specifically. And so on. But on the matter of voting for candidates in the modern political setting, we can not find such direct command that cannot be interpreted in any other possible way. Therefore, the conclusion that we shouldn’t vote for candidates that are not Biblically-qualified can only be drawn indirectly from the Biblical testimony. Since the Bible has no definition of “voting,” there must be an extra-Biblical definition; since the Bible has no outlined purposes for voting, there must be extra-Biblical definitions for those purposes. There is much of human interpretation involved before we can decide where exactly modern voting fits in with the Bible.

There is no problem if we draw indirect conclusions from the Biblical record; and there is no problem when we try to apply Biblical truths to our modern times and setting. The problem is when such conclusions are made into a fixed law that determines the difference between righteous and unrighteous behavior. Why not make a law that we should never help a pagan neighbor in anything, period? Why not make a law that we should never buy anything from a non-Christian vendor? Why not make a law that even if there is a good Christian with perfect theonomic views running for office, we should make his epistemology the deal-breaker? Should I vote for a Clarkian theonomist for office, being convinced – as a Vantillian – that Clarkians have a rationalist epistemology and therefore he will have the incorrect way of arriving at conclusions when a crisis emerges? For everyone of those can a good case be made from the Bible, but only indirectly. And if it is indirectly, then those that make such conclusions must allow for the possibility to be wrong.

And indeed, if we define voting as simply support for particular policies of particular political leaders, we see examples in the Bible of people “voting” for unqualified political leaders. And if we define voting as joining a righteous cause, then we have even more examples where that law preached and taught by many of my friends is against the testimony of both the Bible and the church history.

However, the truly devastating effect of that law (“Thou shall not vote except for qualified candidates”) comes when it is combined with the second argument, “We shouldn’t vote for the lesser of two evils.” Not because the second argument is false but because the two arguments brought together necessarily assume that any Biblically unqualified candidate is evil.

In our specific case, Stephen judges Ron Paul to be a Biblically “unqualified” candidate. For the sake of the argument, I will accept that to be a valid claim. (Theologically, I believe it to be lacking, but that’s food for another discussion.) Out of that claim then follows the conclusion that Ron Paul is necessarily an evil candidate. As one of Stephen’s readers exclaims on his FB page, commenting on Stephen’s article:

What lies behind Ron Paul's philosophy of libertarianism is nothing but anti-christianity. O that those of the theonomic mindset would see him for who he is, and what he stands for.

Apparently, a few of Ron Paul’s mistaken views already turn him into an anti-Christian. More than that, what “lies behind” his libertarianism is “nothing but anti-Christianity.” Now, a more educated reader would comment that there was no libertarianism before there was Christianity. And in fact there is no way to have anti-Christianity “lying behind” libertarianism because there is no concept of liberty in anti-Christianity at all. And in fact, if we examine the presuppositions behind libertarianism, we will find all of them to be Christian and based on a Christian worldview, without acknowledging the source of these presuppositions; it’s just that secular libertarians refuse to go back that far. Just because politics or economics have been misused for pagan purposes, pietists in the churches have declared them to be “anti-Christian” and advise withdrawal from active political and economic involvement. Here we see a new form of pietism: Just because libertarianism has been misused and misunderstood by some, or has adopted some non-Christian tenets, it is declared by the new pietists to be “anti-Christian” in its essence.

The portrayal of Ron Paul as “anti-Christian” is obviously far-fetched but it follows logically from the two “laws” above: 1) never vote for an unqualified candidate, and 2) never vote for the lesser of two evils.

What is missing in this picture is another category of politicians: Besides “qualified” theonomic candidates and “evil” (to a greater or a lesser extent) candidates, there are also imperfect righteous candidates. Not all of those that have imperfect views are necessarily enemies of God – some of them are friends of God who are in the process of learning, or simply confused about a few issues. Just like in the case of Treebeard above: The fact that Elves and Men do not care for all the concerns of the Ents does not make them ethically equal to Orcs and Trolls. And the fact that Saruman used to visit Treebeard and have friendly talks with him doesn’t make him Treebeard’s friend.

That Stephen makes that mistake of making Ron Paul just another evil candidate – not allowing for Ron Paul being a friend of God with imperfect views – is evident from the following quote from his article:

If they justify supporting Paul on the basis that some of his platform is theonomic (e.g., his economics), then one can justify supporting just about any candidate with a partially theonomic platform. One could even justify supporting big-government neo-cons, who may be even stronger against sodomy and abortion than Paul is.

Of course, what politicians don't conform some of their platform to theonomy? All non-Christian philosophies wind up borrowing from the Christian worldview to some extent or another. But that doesn't make their philosophy Christian.

This would place Ron Paul in the same ethical category as Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann – for both of them have some strong rhetoric these last days that may sound theonomic. But is this a fair assessment? Isn’t there really a difference? For example, is it possible that Ron Paul is honest in his views and has openly proclaimed them even when there was no support for them; while Perry and Bachmann only adopted them in the last two years when it was obvious that would help them gain political capital? Isn’t that a testimony to some kind of ethical difference between them? Or the fact that Ron Paul has an unbroken consistent voting record in accordance with his views; while every other candidate – no matter how strong their rhetoric is about anything – eventually votes only in favor of evil policies? Doesn’t that set him aside as ethically superior to them?

In practical terms, we know that in his views that are theonomic, Ron Paul will surely vote theonomic – because he has proven it for over 30 years. But we know about the other candidates – again, from their voting record – that in the issues where they have strong theonomic rhetoric, they will turn around and vote for the opposite. Really, is this not a matter that we should consider before we place Ron Paul in the same crowd as Bachmann and Perry?

This inability to discern between deceptive enemies and an imperfect friends shows a lack of wisdom. It also renders the church divided and powerless. For example, I consider Stephen Halbrook an imperfect friend; friend, because we believe in the same thing on almost every issue; imperfect, because of his Clarkian epistemology which is in my view rationalist. But it will never occur to me to place him in the same ethical category with a pagan rationalist who, for example, accepts the Biblical Law on the grounds of being “rational.” If I have done that, I would be guilty of not being able to discern between a brother and an enemy.

And Stephen makes the same mistake concerning Ron Paul. Ron Paul is not an enemy of God, and neither can he be placed in the same category as the rest who deceptively adopt theonomic rhetoric because it gains them political capital. Christians can vote for him despite his imperfections; and theyshould vote for him.

Conclusion

There are three reasons why Stephen is wrong, why Christians should ignore his article and his advice, and why Christians should vote for Ron Paul.

First, when we vote, we do not thereby endorse a person for all that he is and for all his views. Our political participation is only a recognition that in every generation there is a Great Battle of the Time which must be won by the faithful in that generation. No Christians in any generation in history have ever had the luxury to only fight alongside other people with whom they perfectly agree theologically. God has always drawn all kinds of people into the battle, and sometimes imperfect people have fought on the right side of the battle. When we vote, we need to discern what the “purpose of God for our generation” is, and thus decide if and what side we take. Waiting to have only the perfect allies – or even leaders – to enter the political or any other battle will make us Christians passive and socially irrelevant. Ron Paul’s crusade against the socialist welfare-warfare state is the main battle of our time, and we must join the right side, not remain on the sidelines.

Second, no victory in history will be complete, perfect, and comprehensive. Once we have identified the main battle, we must be willing to allow for some issues to remain unresolved for the time being, or even for our generation. History is a set of incomplete, small, incremental victories. Ron Paul’s victory will be one of those small incremental victories against the socialist state. We can use that victory in the future as the basis for future small incremental victories. If we refuse to take this opportunity for a small incremental victory, we will hand the enemy his opportunity for a small incremental victory. The enemy will only be too happy to receive it; he has used these small incremental victories very successfully against us, foolish Christians.

Third, there is no direct Biblical law that forbids us from voting for Biblically unqualified candidates; while there may be some truth in such an injunction, there are greater issues at stake in every generation than the theological purity of the candidates, as we saw above. More important, political candidates are not divided between perfect theonomists and enemies of God. There is one other category – imperfect friends of God. The lack of discernment in this regard means that we fail to discern the ethical and the practical difference between being under enemies of God and being under imperfect friends of God. This lack of wisdom in ethically discerning between people is a new form of pietism which will make us completely powerless, if applied to the logical end. We need to vote for the friend of God – Ron Paul – even if he is inconsistent or confused about some issues of his faith. And we should understand that his Presidency will be ethically superior to a Presidency by a deceptive enemy of God who may use some strong rhetoric today but has no intention of implementing it in practice tomorrow.

Treebeard eventually woke up to the reality of the war, to the historical significance of fighting for incomplete victory, and to the fact that not everyone is his enemy. And he made his contribution. So should Stephen Halbrook and those who have been convinced by his arguments.

13 comments:

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Thanks, Bojidar. A critique is in the works.

Grant said...

The problem with theonomic political views, as Bojidar has revealed, is the political Utopianism it embraces. There is no perfect candidate, there is no policy to totally correct the worlds problems or mans. There is no way to vote in a Utopia!

We as christians have a duty to not vote if the candidate is not expressly christian and consistently( although not perfectly) biblical. As Bojidar also reveals, if we limit who we vote for down to a perfect man, we are basically saying we will never vote.

Utopianism is the fundemental concept of Socialism and Communism.Utopianism is the fundemental concept of Mr. Holbrooks political stance against Ron Paul.

I'm voting for Ron Paul because he is a christian and his platform is built on christian principles. Yes, he could be more biblical. Yes, he is imperfect. Yes, he his liberty philosophy is more absolutist than the christian liberty concept which is bound by nomianism. With all these things said, he is the only candidate who actually has a concrete apologia for why he believes what he believes.

Ron Paul takes principles and lets them decide policy and not circumstance; his principles could be more nomian. However, the philosophy of principle over circumstance is biblical to the core.

Ron Paul 2012.

Friend for Life said...

I've been on both sides of the issue of explicitly Christian vs. incremental and compromised politics. Frankly, I don't see that the incremental approach won us any victories. Instead I watched Christians poor their lives and fortunes into helping the lesser "evil" get into power only to discover they were no longer needed or listened to after the elections. Please know I have been politically active for almost 20 years and served in elected and appointed positions. Our culture is ripe for a bold, unapologetic Christian witness. May the good Lord give us men who won't compromise with evil.

Friend for Life said...

In response to Grant: No one is advocating perfect candidates, but candidates who will move us forward regarding God's standard of righteousness. If you think it is just theonomists who aren't enthusiasically embracing Ron Paul, you are wrong. Christians who feel strongly about moral issues aren't lending him their support either.

Tony said...

Thanks Steve for showing the integrity to show both sides. I look forward to your critique.

And thanks Angela for the input. I agree that I have seen little good come from incrementalism. Actually things tend to seem to get better while they in truth get worse as people's guards are lowered.

God will honor those that honor God's word and His ways. Let us not let fear enter in to influence our voting.

At the end fo the day we need to regain a focus; that of God's people living as God's people with God as the only King. We need to be obedient to His word and that is in all areas of life including voting. If we do not reform the church, its people and its families the president, no matter his policies, will little matter.

GB said...

@ Friend for Life: your right. Alot of christians do not support Ron Paul. Statistics also show that Christians are more likely to get divorces and just as likely to watch pornography as the rest of the world.

The broad christian church is the product of many, many years of not intersection their political beliefs with thir biblical beliefs and hence we see the evangelical church voting for stereotypical Republican candidates who make them feel patriotc, warm and protected with their rhetoric but have no legitimate plan to dismantle our obese and inefficient State and Federal governments, no plan to stop American jihadism in the middle east and the rest of the world, no plan to stabilize our country in the least bit.

Ron Paul is the only person running for president that has the nerve and the principles to correct the roots of Americas problems. He is not a salesman like Romney or Perry, nor is he the political messiah that will miraculously fix everything..but his principles are what we need in a time of crisis that we're in nationally.

Friend for Life said...

Dear GB, If Jesus Christ is not on His throne, then yes, by all means vote for a man who lacks discernment as to what an abomination/sin sodomy is in God's sight and who lacks an understanding of just how much God hates hands that shed innocent blood. But as for me, I'll stand with those who are looking for a better candidate. FYI - check out this link for an article by William Einwechter on Evangelical Political Compromise: http://darashpress.com/articles/evangelical-political-compromise

ChristsWorldOrder said...

As Bojidar Marinov has excellently written, we all are in the midst of an epic, historical battle/war of liberty vs. tyranny. Everyone needs to get off their irrelevant arses and off the sideline and into the battle and lend your support to the imperfect liberty movement which happens to have Ron Paul humbly leading the charge. Folks, this is not fear mongering. It's a fact that tyranny is right on each of our doorsteps. Let's stop ignoring this fact and get get our imperfect heads into the imperfect game, actually war against tyranny. People, we are all in the cross-hairs. So let's get out of our armchairs. Let's stand up, and fight. Quit you like men. Either get into this historical battle/war that you will only have a short window of opportunity to participate in before the tyranny curtain comes down. Think of this as your opportunity to do what some of the early acters and responders saw regarding Hitler's growing regime in Germany. Some moved from Germany, some stayed and resisted, some helped Christians and Jews, but oh so many German Christians were lulled to sleep by Hitler's rhetoric and co-opting of Christian leadership (and their flocks) It is absolutely no exaggeration that what we're dealing with in latter part of 2011 and early 2012 is much more serious than Hitler. Stand up and act for liberty or shut up and become a slave.

Friend for Life said...

Dear Friends, The arguments you are reading here for Christians to vote for Ron Paul are the same ones I heard in 2008. I have no personal animosity toward Congressman Paul, but his supporters are really something else. BTW - I was bombarded with emails from them in 2008 when they found out I wasn't going to support their candidate. I don't think they can be reasoned with, so I will just ignore them from here on out. Good night. :)

John Lofton, Recovering Republican said...

Christians should not vote for anyone who does not have a Biblical view of civil government. Paul does not have a Biblical view of civil government, or even a Biblical view on certain things like murder and homosexuality, as you can hear in this 2008 interview I did with him. Comments welcome....

John Lofton, Editor, Archive.TheAmericanView.com
Blog: JohnLofton.com
Recovering Republican
JLof@aol.com

118: Exclusive Interview: Ron Paul On God/Government; Abortion; Homosexuality; And Much More

http://archive.theamericanview.com/index.php?id=898

Excerpts From Our Exclusive Ron Paul Interview

— God, the Bible and civil government. Paul agrees it is not the role of civil government, at any level — Federal, state or local — to feed, house, clothe or educate anybody and that this would also be un-Constitutional. He believes Scripture is God’s Word and thus inerrant and infallible. He says: “Defiance of God’s Law will eventually bring havoc to a society.” He believes our country came together by God’s Providence “just as, Providentially, it may end, by God’s Will.”

— Abortion. Yes, Paul thinks abortion is murder but there is a difference between taking a so-called “morning after pill” and a person committing “the horrible murder when you see someone lying in the floor and someone takes a gun and puts it to their head. I don’t equate those and don’t expect the law or juries to treat them exactly alike.” He says, however, he lacks the wisdom to say what the penalty ought to be for abortionists or those getting abortions.

Paul says he doesn’t know if he “accepts completely” that God has decreed the death penalty for murder though he believes all States have the right to impose capital punishment. He is “so skeptical” of the Federal Government’s judgment that he doesn’t like the idea of the Feds pretending they know whose life they are going to take.

— Homosexuality And The Military. Is homosexuality a sin? Paul says he’s “not as judgmental about that probably because of my medical background. I don’t see it in [such] simplistic terms. I think it’s a complex issue to think it’s a sin or other problems with the way people are born. It’s too complex to give an answer as simple as that [that homosexuality is a sin.]”

Does he believe God says homosexuality is a sin? “Well, I believe a lot of people understand it that way but I think everybody is God’s child, too, so, you know, I have trouble with that.”

Sagunto said...

John Lofton -

wrote:

"Christians should not vote for anyone who does not have a Biblical view of civil government."

Perhaps better make that your particular Biblical view, provided by a particular brand of Christianity.

Here's Ron Paul's biblical view, and sound information on what constitues civil government, and, even more important, who is the true sovereign here.

Aures habent et non audient..

PuryearRP said...

Ron Paul sponsored the sanctity of life bill a number of times. The bill defined life as beginning at conception and took control of any ruling away from the supreme court. If the other "pro-lifers" would have supported it, it would have ended roe vs wade and allowed the states to prosecute abortions.
How in the world is that not good on the abortion issue? Because he does not want to write the state laws that say how the doctors should be handled in that case? Well even in the old testament, killing a baby in the womb was not always murder punishable by death.
There is a difference between the morning after pill and shooting someone in the alley. You don't know for sure if the morning after pill killed anything or not. There may have been a fertilized egg, there may not have. So you obviously from a Law stand point have difficulty treating them the same way. Especially since they would have to witness against themselves.
You have the same problem with homosexuality. Unless the person doing it comes out and confesses it, you would have to invade everyone's privacy to find the few that engage in it in private.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

"Well even in the old testament, killing a baby in the womb was not always murder punishable by death."
I disagree with this