Adventists and Social Action- part 3

imprrh@gmail.com —  March 17, 2015

This week we finish our three part series on being “other-centered.” That process is started by asking yourself two foundational questions every day:

What breaks my heart?

What am I going to do about it?

Growing up, I was led to believe that politics, politicians, or government in general was to be avoided, even feared. After all, you can’t really partner with someone who is going to persecute you!

Consider the following two points:

  1. The Bible, government and politics.

I wonder how the people in our churches who oppose Adventists running for office and being part of the government would feel with:

Esther- wife of a king. Not outspoken about her faith initially (prayer, God and church are words you never find in the book of Esther) was used by God to make avail of her political influence to avoid disaster for the Jews.

Joseph- second in command, was used by God to publically and enthusiastically share the meaning of dreams and saved a country from starvation.

Daniel- public servant, public faith. God rewarded his faithfulness to impact not one but two world empires.

The Ethiopian- worked for the powers that be, catalyst for Christianity in his country.

If working for politicians or being one was so offensive to God, why all the examples? I don’t know about you, but I prefer a person in office who shares my passion for changing systems to impact our community in positive ways while at the same time understanding that faith based organizations have in the past and should in the future have a place at the table for the betterment of the people.

 

  1. Ellen White and balance.

I don’t believe we should make worship services political rallies. I understand that there are dangers to the mix of politics and religion. At the same time, remember that ruthless pagan leadership was not a deterrent to the above mentioned examples of God fearing individuals getting involved in government. Just because I don’t endorse political candidates from the pulpit, does not mean I should not work with them for a shared cause. I feel very comfortable with Adventists speaking to, working with, and helping governments with issues that deal with the needs of the least of these. You are probably familiar with the quotes against any type of political associations. Here are a couple that bring balance to the conversation. Read them and draw your own conclusions:

“A religion that leads men to place a low estimate upon human beings, whom Christ has esteemed of such value as to give Himself for them; a religion that would lead us to be careless of human needs, sufferings, or rights, is a spurious religion. In slighting the claims of the poor, the suffering, and the sinful, we are proving ourselves traitors to Christ. It is because men take upon themselves the name of Christ, while in life they deny His character, that Christianity has so little power in the world. The name of the Lord is blasphemed because of these things.” (Mount of Blessings 137)

 

God’s Word prohibits policies that will enrich one class of persons through the oppression and suffering of another class. The person who takes advantage of someone’s misfortunes for monetary benefit, or who seeks a profit through another’s AC 93.5

Have you thoughts that you dare not express, that you may one day stand upon the summit of intellectual greatness; that you may sit in deliberative and legislative councils, and help to enact laws for the nation? There is nothing wrong in these aspirations. You may every one of you make your mark. You should be content with no mean attainments. Aim high, and spare no pains to reach the standard. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 82)

The advocates of temperance fail to do their whole duty unless they exert their influence by precept and example—by voice and pen and vote— in favor of prohibition and total abstinence. We need not expect that God will work a miracle to bring about this reform, and thus remove the necessity for our exertion. We ourselves must grapple with this giant foe, our motto, No compromise and no cessation of our efforts till the victory is gained…. (Gospel Workers, p. 387)

 

What breaks your heart?

What are you going to do about it?

imprrh@gmail.com

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2 responses to Adventists and Social Action- part 3

  1. Good points. Great quotes.
    Keep in mind that three of the examples (Joseph, Daniel and Esther) were not there by choice. They made the best of their situation and God blessed them.