Friday, December 15, 2006

Dr. John Stead: A Christian's Place In The Political Arena

The following is an excerpt from Dr. John Stead's chapel message he gave at The Master's College. The message is entitled: A Biblical View of Church and State. Note that he makes reference to Dr. Gregg Frazer's term "Theistic Rationalist" as a good representation of the religion of many of the key American founders. You can subscribe to this podcast here.

What kind of a nation is the United States of America? Well, I would submit to you that the United States is a nation where both Christians and non-Christians reside. That leads to a second question. Is there such a thing as a Christian nation?

I think it's totally clear from the new testament that the answer is absolutely no. And I believe that understanding this will bring a proper perspective as to what the role of the Christian should be in the political arena.

Now having said that, let me just say this, the primary framers of our constitution our founders, all believed that religion and morality had to be at the center of a core of democracy. Alexis de Tocqueville said this, "the more democracy a country has, the more religion and morality it needs." Washington, Madison, and Adams, all believed that the nation would only survive on what they both- all three called, a religious, and moral base. Now having said that, there's a great deal of difference from saying that and putting some kind of a theological context in the middle. There's a great deal of difference between religion and morality and the Christianity of the Bible. Most of the framers, the men that we look up to, were what Professor Frazer calls Theistic Rationalists. They did believe in a personal God, they did believe that God answered prayer, but they did not believe in miracles, they did not believe in the deity of Christ. Their view of religion and morality was primarily pragmatic. That for a democracy or a republic to be successful it had to have a religious or moral base.

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