Jump to content
Christian Forum


  • Content Count

  • Joined

Everything posted by davidtrump

  1. The Common Good The third major element of a Christian vision of government is the commitment to the common good. The common good consists of the political and the social conditions that enable individuals, families, and communities to “reach their fulfillment.” It is important to note that the common good does not equal the good of the state. Individuals are not simply cogs in the machine of the state. Further, the community cannot be reduced to the political community. This is a common error. Nor does common good equal the greatest good for the greatest number. It is not simply mor
  2. The State is Not the Final Arbiter of Justice The second main element, and a related one, is that the state is not the final arbiter of justice. The state is bound by the same moral laws as individuals. Christianity rebukes the idea that the dictator or the majority determines or equals truth and justice. Some things are intrinsically wrong, and no state power or majority vote can make this not so. Because of this, human law must always be subordinate to divine law and natural laws. As Augustine, Aquinas, and the vast majority of thinkers in the Christian tradition have always held:
  3. The State is Not Divine The first element of a Christian vision of government is that the state is not divine. In fact, the whole idea of the limited state is intrinsically connected to the Christian tradition. Why? Because Christianity de-sacralizes the state. The state no longer has a sacred character. As Lord Acton points out, when Jesus said: “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what it God’s” his words were revolutionary. They also have profound implications of how we understand the state. Not everything belonged to Caesar. In antiquity, as Lord Acton wrote: The vi
  4. The relationship between Christianity and politics is a complex one. The Church has played a mixed role in the history of political liberty to be sure. At times it has suppressed political, religious and economic liberty. Yet despite that, and unserious caricatures of history from secularists like Steven Pinker, Christianity has been one of the most important forces for liberty and the idea of a limited state. Though Christianity is not a political program it nevertheless gives us a certain way of thinking about the state and the role of politics. It is important to note that a Christian
  5. 4. Government restrains evil and promotes good. Government derives its authority from God to promote good and restrain evil. This mandate is expressly stated in Romans 13:1-7. Elsewhere, Paul urges that prayers be made “for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life” (1 Timothy 2:1-2). Paul understood the need for Christian participation in government. Government plays a role in the work of God’s kingdom on earth. Good government encourages an environment conducive for people living peaceably, whereas bad government fosters unrest and instabil
  6. 3. We need to love our neighbor. When questioned by religious authorities on the law, Jesus explained that loving God with heart, soul and mind was the greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37). He added that second in priority was: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). Followers of Christ are called to love and serve their neighbors (Matthew 28:19-20). When asked about the qualifications of “neighbor,” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37), indicating that irrespective of race, background, social status or occupation, neighborly love is owed.
  7. 2. Politics are unavoidable. As “sojourners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11), it can be tempting for Christians to adopt a mindset that earthly governing systems are inconsequential to the task of furthering the gospel. But ask a pastor in an underground church or a missionary attempting to access a closed country if politics are inconsequential. Religious liberty, passports and visas are not unnecessary luxuries but are often vital for pastors and missionaries seeking to preach and teach the gospel. Augustine’s City of God offers guidance on this point. Believers are citizens of the “City
  8. 1. The Christian worldview speaks to all areas of life. A frequently raised objection against Christian engagement with politics is that anything besides explicit preaching and teaching of the Bible is a distraction from the mission of the church. However, this is a limited understanding of the kingdom of God and contrary to examples in Scripture. The Christian worldview provides a comprehensive understanding of reality. It speaks to all areas of life, including political engagement. In fact, the Bible speaks about civil government and provides examples of faithful engagement. I
  9. During the course of a presidential campaign, it is common to hear evangelicals, especially younger ones, quip, “I’m just not that interested in politics,” or, “Politics just aren’t my thing.” These dismissive remarks are often delivered with a veneer of piousness implying that political engagement is inherently defiled, occupying an arena unfit for those serious about the gospel. For those inundated with television ads, robo-calls, campaign mail and the overall negative tone of politics, this might be a tempting position to adopt. However, it is not a position Bible-believing, gospel-loving C
  10. The Bible teaches that all human life is created in God’s image and so is intrinsically valuable from conception. At The Christian Institute we therefore seek to defend the sanctity of life. Abortion – destroying life somewhere between conception and birth – is wrong. The Bible states that the deliberate taking of an innocent human life breaks the sixth commandment: “You shall not murder”. In total, there have now been almost 9 million abortions in Great Britain since the 1967 Act was passed. Between 1968 (when the Abortion Act came into force) and 2016, there were 8,232,563 ab
  11. Pro-lifers must name infanticide everywhere it occurs, then. We speak with intensity and urgency because we recognize the efforts to make it more plausible, which others are willing to downplay or overlook. The pro-life witness still has only a marginal place in America’s organs of public speech. Our media-complex only reluctantly addressed the horrors enacted by Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell and routinely frames pro-life outrage as unsubstantial or unfounded. For those pro-lifers eager to reframe our political witness so that it might sound less histrionic, what options do we h
  12. When addressing infanticide, it is possible to oversimplify the argument and fail to acknowledge the complexities that arise for many women. But we can also remain clear-eyed about the stakes and ask: What do we owe “severely deformed” infants who may be viable outside the womb, when those infants are unwanted by their mothers and born against the will of the doctors? Such a question, in all its brutal starkness, draws out why these bills sanction infanticide and why pro-choice activists struggle to support efforts to protect the rights of infants born alive through abortion. Infanti
  13. As states push for pro-choice protections, Christians have a growing obligation to defend the lives of babies born as “burdens.” Over the past month, pro-lifers have been compelled to speak openly and loudly about the possibility of infanticide being permitted by our laws. On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, video spread of New York’s legislature giving a standing ovation for a bill that, among other things, removed requirements that infants born during abortion procedures receive legal protection as persons. Those concerns were stoked again last week, as video went viral of Virg
  14. In general, the Protestant Reformers retained the teaching of their time against abortion. Neither Martin Luther nor John Calvin wrote individual works discussing only the question of abortion per se, although in 1542, Luther wrote a pamphlet entitled Comfort for Women Who Have Had a Miscarriage. In his commentary on Exodus 21:22, John Calvin wrote: ...the unborn, though enclosed in the womb of his mother, is already a human being, and it is an almost monstrous crime to rob it of life which it has not yet begun to enjoy. If it seems more horrible to kill a man in his own house than i
  15. From the 4th to 16th Century AD, Christian philosophers, while maintaining the condemnation of abortion as wrong, had varying stances on whether abortion was murder. Under the first Christian Roman emperor Constantine, there was a relaxation of attitudes toward abortion and exposure of children. Bakke writes, "Since an increasing number of Christian parents were poor and found it difficult to look after their children, the theologians were forced to take into account this situation and reflect anew on the question. This made it possible to take a more tolerant attitude toward poor people who e
  16. In the late 1st century or early 2nd century, the Didache explicitly condemned abortion, as did the Apocalypse of Peter in the 2nd century. Some early Christians considered abortion wrong in all circumstances, and early synods imposed penalties for abortions that were combined with some form of sexual crime and on the making of abortifacient drugs: the early 4th-century Synod of Elvira imposed denial of communion even at the point of death on those who committed the "double crime" of adultery and subsequent abortion, and the Synod of Ancyra imposed ten years of exclusion from communion on manu
  17. Early Christian thought on abortion is interpreted in different ways. At different times, early Christians held different beliefs about abortion, while yet considering it a grievous sin. The earliest Christian texts on abortion condemn it with "no mention of any distinction in seriousness between the abortion of a formed foetus and that of an unformed embryo". According to sociologist Kristin Luker: After the beginning of the Christian era... legal regulation of abortion as existed in the Roman Empire was designed primarily to protect the rights of fathers rather than rights of
  18. Both ancient Greek thought and ancient Jewish thought are considered to have affected early Christian thought about abortion. According to Bakke and Clarke &Linzey, early Christians adhered to Aristotle's belief in delayed ensoulment, and consequently did not see abortion before ensoulment as homicide. Lars Østnor says this view was only "presaged" by Augustine, who belongs to a period later than that of early Christianity. According to David Albert Jones, this distinction appeared among Christian writers only in the late fourth and early fifth century, while the earlier writers made no di
  19. Christianity and abortion has a long and complex history. There is scholarly disagreement on how early Christians felt about abortion. Some scholars have concluded that early Christians took a nuanced stance on what is now called abortion, and that at different and in separate places early Christians have taken different stances. Other scholars have concluded that early Christians considered abortion a sin at all stages; though there is disagreement over their thoughts on what type of sin it was and how grave a sin it was held to be. Some early Christians believed that the embryo did not have
  20. Industry Christian music is supported by a segment of the general music industry which evolved as a parallel structure to the same. Beginning in the 1970s and developing out of the Jesus movement, the Christian music industry subsequently developed into a near-billion dollar enterprise. By the 1990s the genre had eclipsed classical, jazz, and new-age music, and artists began gaining acceptance in the general market. Media Today, Christian music is available through most available media. Christian music is broadcast over the radio, television, or the Internet. Christian Albums and vide
  21. From the latter half of the 20th century to the present day in Western Christendom—especially in the United States and in other countries with evangelical churches—various genres of music originally often related to pop rock, have been created under the label of Contemporary Christian Music ("CCM") for home-listening and concert use. It can be divided into several genres and subgenres, although the dividing lines and relationships between music genres are often subtle, sometimes open to individual interpretation, and occasionally controversial. These genres (sometimes referred to as "style") l
  22. In the West, the majority of Christian denominations use instruments such as an organ, piano, electronic keyboard, guitar, or other accompaniment, and occasionally by a band or orchestra, to accompany the singing. But some churches have historically not used instruments, citing their absence from the New Testament. During the last century or so several of these groups have revised this stance. The singing of the Eastern Orthodox is also generally unaccompanied, though in the United States organs are sometimes used as a result of Western influence. Instrumental music Some worship mu
  23. Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world. Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of Christian music varies according to culture and social context. Christian music is composed and performed for many purposes, ranging from aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, or with a positive message as an entertainment produc
  24. Some proponents of "standard" hymns generally dislike gospel music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For example, Patrick and Sydnor complain that commercial success led to a proliferation of such music, and "deterioration, even in a standard which to begin with was not high, resulted." They went on to say, "there is no doubt that a deterioration in taste follows the use of this type of hymn and tune; it fosters an attachment to the trivial and sensational which dulls and often destroys sense of the dignity and beauty which best befit the song that is used in the service of God."
  25. Christian country music Christian country music, sometimes referred to as country gospel music, is a subgenre of gospel music with a country flair, is also known as inspirational country. Christian country over the years has progressed into a mainstream country sound with inspirational or positive country lyrics. In the mid-1990s, Christian country hit its highest popularity. So much so that mainstream artists like Larry Gatlin, Charlie Daniels and Barbara Mandrell, just to name a few, began recording music that had this positive Christian country flair. These mainstream artists have now bec
  • Create New...