Monday, August 04, 2014

The Evangelical Left, Socialism and liberal policies

The question of immigration [in America] presents an interesting dilemma for majority-culture Christians. Immigrants and ethnic minorities are saving American Christianity. Immigrants and ethnic minorities tend to be socially and morally conservative. (If the religious right were committed to overturning Roe v. Wade, there is an easy solution. Give citizenship to the twelve million undocumented aliens, who are largely politically conservative and would turn the tide and momentum of the abortion debate.) Immigrant and ethnic minority churches are restoring spiritual vitality and fervor oftentimes missing in many white evangelical churches. Too often, the future of American evangelicalism is viewed as a battle over the heart and soul of middle America (i.e., white America), when the restoration of faith in American culture may actually depend on the ongoing growth of immigrant and ethnic minority Christian communities.

... Many Christian leaders have been hesitant to support genuine immigration reform—possibly reflecting the fear of a nonwhite America and a nonwhite American Christianity [Soong-Chan Rah, The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2009), 74-5]

“You shall not steal (Ex. 20:15)

The Evangelical Left, as with many mainline liberals, support politically liberal policies. Now, Scripture is primarily about God's redemptive action in history of Man from the bondage and power of sin, yet that does not mean that it has nothing to say about social issues. The Scripture instead give us principles to evaluate social policies, not the policies themselves. Thus, while I wouldn't say that there are biblical social policies, I will say that there are policies that are closer and policies that are further away from the principles of Scripture. In general, therefore, it is wiser for Christian ministers to avoid getting involved in specific debates since the intricacies of social policies are convoluted and outside their training and their responsibilities of a minister, limiting themselves to the broad general principles taught in Scripture.

The problem with many of the views of those in the Evangelical Left is that they ignore what their liberal, socialist policies actually entail. For example, socialism speaks about wealth distribution. Yet wealth distribution implies taking money away from some to give to others, and that is basically theft. Just because God calls the rich to use their wealth in good works in aiding the poor does not give the right of the State to steal from the rich to give to the poor. The State is not God. The rich is called by God to good works, and he is answerable to God for how he uses his wealth. His wealth is his own. Yes, he is ultimately a steward of this wealth, but he is steward of it under God, not under the State. The rich ought to be helping the poor out of his love for God and obedience to His commands, not because the State force him to give it up to help the poor!

Similar violations of biblical principles occur in the issue of immigration. The Bible does indeed speak of the obligation to take care of the alien, the immigrant. But nowhere in Scripture does it say that those who violate the law of the land have a right to remain in it. Illegal immigration is a violation of the law of any country that has actual procedures for handling requests for immigration. Especially in the case of America, amnesty would be a reward for those who basically committed a crime. It would also be unfair against legal immigrants who have obeyed the law in immigrating to the country. Scripture everywhere speaks about obedience to the laws of the land. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that disobedience should be rewarded.

As I have said, I do not believe in any divinely-sanctioned social, economic or political theories. But I do believe in biblical principles that should undergird any social, economic or political policies. While one can criticize any policy all he wants, the advocacy of policies by the Evangelical Left that violate biblical principles should show that their policies are wrong.

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