Monday, August 17, 2009


I once heard someone defend our government's three-branch division using the Bible. In a curious case of proof-texting, the speaker stated that Isaiah 33:22 informs our Constitution. "For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us." I suppose, using the same method of stripping verses from their contexts, you could argue that Jesus Himself, as Prophet, Priest, and King, also prefigured our republic.

The problem is this: The government cannot save. (And proof-texting is bad interpretation.) The President, Capitol hill, and the Supreme court cannot deliver us from 'the present evil age' (Gal 1:4) and party politics. Like Paul, I want to call out, "O you foolish Americans! Who has bewitched you?" (Gal 3:1), but that, too, would be out of context.

Admittedly, my recent frustration has been fueled by Glenn Beck's Common Sense (which apparently is a Christian book because it is selling in my local Christian bookstore). And, to be fair (and balanced), some of my disapproval stems from overspending and short-sighted solutions to spiritually deep problems. Greed, gluttony, hate, and fear cannot be curbed with a quorum and Yes vote. Nor can mega-churches and self-help movements cure depravity.

Glenn Beck suggests we need more common sense in our country. I would not disagree, but I add that common sense does not save. Call me old-fashioned, conservative, or pithy, but salvation is found in Jesus alone (Acts 4:12). We need more Jesus and more people like Him. The early church fathers understood this well. Then again, they were not trying to establish a nation, but to resurrect it.

"I am the Vine, you are the branches; he who abides in me bears much fruit. For without Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

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