May 17, 2007

About Jerry Falwell, Christians and the Republican Party

by @ 4:44 pm. Filed under Rest in Peace, The Truth Shall Set you Free!

I was not going to speak on the passing of Jerry Falwell. Sometimes you’ve got to know when you don’t have the best words and it’s not the right time for them. As for what I know of him I feel certain that Reverend Falwell rest in peace with the Lord. However, there are some matters we Christians need to put into proper focus. I have found that Cal Thomas is a man who the Lord Jesus Christ has obviously anointed with words that are most fitting for this moment. I agree with his commentary on this matter, that I encourage you to read in full. I’m offering excerpts here that I feel must be highlighted.

The legacy of Jerry Falwell by Cal Thomas

As a vice president of the Moral Majority from 1980 to 1985, I witnessed the rise of this movement from the inside. It had its positives, including a focus on “moral issues,” such as abortion, same-sex marriage, a strong national defense and the cultural decline of the nation and the registering of many previously inactive people to participate in the political life of their nation. All of these remain hot-button issues.

The movement also had its downside, because it tended to detract from a Christian’s primary responsibility of telling people the “good news” that redemption comes only through Jesus Christ. At times, this central message seemed to be replaced by one suggesting that a shortcut to moral renewal might come through Washington and the Republican Party.

Mainstream media loved the story of Christian conservatives coming out of the political catacombs, because it created controversy.

It was the high court’s 1973 abortion ruling, however, that became the tipping point for religious conservatives.

The flaw in the movement was the perception that the church had become an appendage to the Republican Party and one more special interest group to be pampered. If one examines the results of the Moral Majority’s agenda, little was accomplished in the political arena and much was lost in the spiritual realm, as many came to believe that to be a Christian meant you also must be “converted” to the Republican Party and adopt the GOP agenda and its tactics.

One had only to look at the history of the religious left to see the danger in a shotgun marriage between church and state. Most liberal theologians long ago gave up preaching about another king and another kingdom in favor of baptizing the earthly agenda of the Democratic Party. That too many conservative Christians followed their liberal opposites into the same error was to their shame and demonstrated they had missed an important lesson.

Jerry liked to say that when he passed away, they’d put “and the beggar died” on his tombstone because he was constantly asking for money. That won’t happen. His legacy will be his university. He once said he wanted it to be like Harvard. All of the rest is “wood, hay and stubble.”

While on political matters I disagree with Mr. Thomas’ thoughts on Mitt Romney, Cal and I both understand that we should not allow earthly politics to overshadow our work in spreading the message of Jesus Christ.

With Falwell gone, I’m just praying that this guy does not get more attention.

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