Earlier this month, the Boston Globe published an article touting the depth of Elizabeth Warren’s Christian faith. While I won’t question the genuineness of her faith (or lack thereof, whatever the case may be), I do however question the timing of the Globe’s release of the article. Far too often, politicians have used faith to pander to the faithful for votes. Legal Insurrection’s William A. Jacobson explores this point in his piece:
Why this sudden focus on Warren’s Christianity? I consider it the start of the Warren rebranding for 2020. While a lot of potential Democrat candidate names are mentioned, Warren is at the top. Running hard left will help Warren win the primary, but will hurt in the general election. She’s going to have to appeal to those God-fearing Christians Democrats have long mocked as bitter clingers and deplorables.
He may well have a point. Those who have their eyes on either 2018 or 2020 may well start laying the foundations of their campaigns in the here and now. The New York Times pointed out Warren’s robust fund raising in their piece:
Ms. Warren has built a formidable online fund-raising operation, which has brought in $5.1 million this year for her 2018 re-election campaign and allowed her political action committee to donate $270,000 to other Democrats. Yet she also has joined a parade of would-be Democratic presidential contenders who have paid visits to the wealthy summer enclaves that serve as A.T.M.s for the party’s candidates.“I think Elizabeth is laying the groundwork for a run. She won’t admit it, but it looks like that,”
I admit that it may well be mere coincidence that stories about Warren’s “deep faith” are coming out around the same time as the New York Times is publishing articles about her “formidable online fund-raising operation. However, call me a cynic, but I doubt it. “Rebranding” oneself in the political sphere as a “devout follower of Jesus” may be a great ploy to woo naive Christians into casting a ballot for them.
Sadly, the use of religion as a tactic to sway the votes of the faithful has been used since time immemorial and it seems to work; otherwise, politicians wouldn’t keep doing it. The fact of the matter is a large portion of the country still identifies as religious in some form. Roughly 80% (depending on what poll you refer to) of America still identifies as some sect of Christianity. Practically speaking, it’s smart for a politician to dust off “The Good Book” and wave it around as if they’ve been a true believer all their lives. Many politicians have been guilty of this. From Trump’s now iconic “Two Corinthians” speech to Hillary Clinton waxing poetic in regards to being a Methodist while also stating that religious people need to “change their beliefs.” This is a phenomenon that is found both on the left and the right ends of the political spectrum.
Using Faith As A Prop
During the past presidential election, I didn’t support either candidate from the two major political parties. However, as a small-L libertarian, I was drawn to then Libertarian candidate Austin Petersen. I remember sharing a video clip with then-presidential candidate Petersen to my Facebook with words of approval. A fellow Christian commented on the video by saying, “Be careful. He’s an atheist.” My response was essentially one of, “Who cares?” Frankly, I found Pertersen’s honesty refreshing. Instead of pandering to me for my support with lies about his “deep faith”, he frankly admits that while he doesn’t believe as I do, he’ll fight to uphold the constitution, which includes my religious freedom.
However, I feel as though there are many among the faithful who would prefer the comfort of empty professions of faith, rather than hear truth: many politicians who claim to have faith, really have no faith at all. To that point, Jacobson is right to state that “…there’s very little historical evidence of Warren’s ‘deep’ religious faith, other than in a political context.” To contrast her professions of Christianity, he rightly recalls that proof Warren’s claims of possessing Native American heritage remain obscure at best:
…weaving stories from people completely unrelated to Warren as to their own experiences with Native America family lore or growing up as Native American in the 1950’s and 1960’s with bits and pieces of Warren’s story. The end result is an attempt to paint Warren as a victim of circumstance and the times she grew up in, as a means of explaining away the many inconsistencies in her story.
Yet when one digs down into the actual facts in the Globe story, it actually is quite devastating to Warren, proving that contrary to her many recent accounts, Native American ancestry was not central to her life at any time prior to the mid-1980s when she claimed “Minority Law Teacher” status in a national law faculty directory.
The fact of the matter is, that many already see Warren’s truthfulness as questionable due to the sketchy circumstances regarding her supposed Native American heritage. People of “deep faith”, particularly the Christian faith, should never allow themselves to be put into a position where their integrity is questioned. As Philippians 1:27 states, “Whatever happens, conduct yourself in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. (NIV)” That includes honesty about one’s own heritage.
Putting Faith In Its Proper Place
Our faith should inform our politics, not the other way around. That is not to say that as followers of Jesus, we must completely remove ourselves from the political sphere. Dr. Vincent Bacote points out in his book, “The Political Disciple“:
“While it is vitally important to proclaim the gospel, introduce people to Jesus, and help them move toward faithful discipleship as they participate in church life, it is also tremendously important for Christians to see that it has always been our responsibility to care for the world, cultivating the flourishing of life through our activity in culture, politics, education, medicine, business and every public area.”
However, he reminds readers:
“Even if we live in a country like the United States that, as G.K. Chesterton suggested, in some way has ‘the soul of a church,’ our loyalty to country can never be confused with our prime allegiance to the tribune God with whom we are in covenant relationship. “
It’s important to remember that our politics shouldn’t overshadow the faith. Our faith must come first in all things. That being said, we should also practice better discernment. As 1 John 4:1 suggests, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)”. True, John was speaking of religious leaders, but I think that same healthy skepticism should and must be applied to our politicians.
Whether Elizabeth Warren is a woman “of deep faith” as the Boston Globe claims or not, I don’t pretend to know. People of religious faith should not simply take politicians at their word when it comes to professions of faith; but they should look closely at their voting records, their stance on various issues, and hold their feet to the fire should those same politicians fail to deliver.
Ultimately the question shouldn’t be why politicians continue to use faith to pander to religious voters, the question is: why do we as religious people keep falling for it? I only hope that one day the throngs of the faithful will stop buying into the empty words of politicians as they hollowly wave Christianity around for votes.
Video: What is a Classical Liberal?
A short video making the point that the Left is no longer Liberal, having traded individualism for collectivism.
In one of their first animated video shorts, the Rubin Report discusses the vitally important topic of just who is a Classical Liberal.
OUR FIRST ANIMATED VIDEO! What is a Classical Liberal?
Liberalism has been confused with Leftism or progressivism, which is actually has nothing to do with classical Liberalism. Sadly the Left is no longer Liberal at all for it has traded individualism for collectivism.
The Rubin Report
Published on Jul 10, 2018
$.02: When is it OK to quit church?
Chris Sonsken of South Hills Church and founder Church BOOM penned a piece on Fox News that caught my attention on Twitter. It was a good column. Read the article here. The article addressed a Pew Research finding as to why people change churches. There finding as shown by Sonsken are:
- Sermon quality
- Welcoming environment/people
- Style of worship
Sonsken does a great job in arguing that there are biblically sound reasons for leaving a church and finding a new one.
1. It’s OK to leave if God calls us to leave.
2. It’s OK to leave for family and marriage.
3. It’s OK to leave a church if you have moved too far away to conveniently drive to your church.
4. It’s OK to leave if you cannot follow the church’s leadership.
5. It’s OK to leave if heresy is being preached.
Sonsken even mentions that unethical practices like abuse are reasons to leave, though not the norm for the majority of church swapping.
The reasons Sonsken gave are no cause for disagreement, and I’m sure his book Quit Church probably better articulates them.
Where I want to add my two sense on the matter is that I disagree with his assessment sermon quality is not a biblical reason for changing churches. The supposition that sermon quality is inherently a result of the person treating church like an object of consumption, as Sonsken suggests is not true. I believe sermon quality is an umbrella term for several reasons for not liking a Sunday message.
Too often people leave a church because of disagreement, not getting their way, or because the sermons are no longer deep enough. Often when we dig into the reason the sermons are not deep enough, it ultimately goes back to the person being offended or not having their faulty theologies endorsed from the pulpit. The same pastor who was previously deep enough becomes shallow once there is an offense. It’s incredibly difficult to hear from God in a sermon when we are offended by the person delivering the sermon.
This is true in many cases. A sin that is personal gets preached on and the offended party leaves. I don’t deny this to be the case. But I believe we should look deeper into the current trends of worship and focus on the mission of the church.
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-21 ESV
The church is to preach the gospel, but people accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior is only part of the mission. The Church is tasked with making disciples. The church is meant to teach. Not every follower is at the same level in their spiritual maturity or theological depth. Some churches, larger churches in particular dumb down the bible. In public education, this would be seen as lowering the bar. In church this practice could hold back believers in their growth. Small groups are a way to supplement this, and every church should employ bible study as a means to grow discipleship.
Many churches now are focused on metrics. This can lead to theologically watered down sermons and worship. Why risk offending that person who may leave with a sermon? But if a church is more focused on using a Sunday message to give a motivational speech using an out of context passage, what does it matter if they are doctrinally sound (in their written beliefs)?
There are a lot of heretical churches in America. We have issues like gay marriage to separate the sheep from the goats. But what about the sheep that suck? If a church has the right doctrine but is more focused on metrics than the power of the Holy Spirit, their head is in the wrong place. So it is biblically sound to change churches so that your head to remains in the right place.
That is not treating church like a consumer product. That is treating church like one’s means to grow spiritually, better recognizing the mission of the Great Commission.
That is my $.02 on the matter. I hope I added some meaningful word to this topic.
This post was originally publishd on Startup Christ. Startup Christ is a website for business and theology articles and columns.
Video: So, You Think You’re Tolerant?
Leftists like to fancy themselves as being tolerant and Liberal, but they fall way short in both qualities.
Leftists will tell you that they are the most tolerant people who have ever lived, they will also scream at you for being a racist, xenophobic troglodyte if you happen to mention that you’re a conservative. They are supposedly ‘Liberal’, being in favour of Liberty while demanding it’s polar opposite – socialism.
Yes, if there is one constant in the universe, its that Leftists cannot be honest about who they truly are. This is what we love about our wonderful opponents on the nation’s socialist Left, for they are nothing like another group that went by the same nomenclature who also screamed at people in the streets with the motto: Common Good Before Individual Good. [Gemeinnutz vor Eigennutz]
But let’s not talk about the epithets they project on their enemies, let’s talk about how they get along with everyone who just happens to agree with everything they say. A new PragerU video featuring Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report looked at who is really tolerant. He is a true Liberal that discovered that it is actually the Pro-Liberty Right that is more tolerant, go figure.
Jul 9, 2018
Are you tolerant? You probably think so. But who is tolerant in America today? Is it those on the left, or those on the right? In this video, Dave Rubin of The Rubin Report analyzes this question and shares his experience.