POWERS SEEN AND UNSEEN

As anyone could see, the power all belonged to Nicolae Ceausescu, ruthless dictator of communist Romania. The powerless man was Christian pastor and humanitarian activist Petru Dugulescu. His weapons were words--about truth and dignity and freedom. Words written in poems and essays. Words spoken in sermons and conversations. And, so you see, Petru Dugulescu endured years of persecution, including … [Read more...]

TAX-TIME, GOD & CAESAR

"In view of governmental waste and funding of some projects which I consider immoral," someone asks, "can a Christian properly protest by refusing to pay income taxes on April 15?" (which is annual income tax day in the USA.) *          *          * Most thoughtful tax-payers probably share your frustration from time to time, but the biblical command is too clear to avoid. "Render to all what is … [Read more...]

ON CRITICIZING CIVIL LEADERS

Somewhere over the past couple of decades, civility seems to have gone missing in much public discourse in the USA. Whether we listen to the political Right or Left, we hear shrill and intemperate voices charging national leaders with immorality, illegal actions, lying and cover-ups. Both sides have been represented in the melee and neither side has been spared from accusation. How ought … [Read more...]

VOTING ONE’S CONSCIENCE

An American husband and wife who are gracEmail subscribers ask if they must vote for a particular political candidate and his party in order to be "good" Christians. Another subscriber, who is a pastor, asks how morality should affect our voting as Christians. * * * Over the years, I have voted for Democrats, Independents, Republicans and Libertarians. That said, I must add that a Christian has … [Read more...]

POLITICS

A gracEmail reader writes, "I am so discouraged by the shenanigans of our national politicians in both parties. But it seems to me the strongest 'Christian' voices are often overly simplistic and sometimes extreme in their views as well. What are we to do?" * * * The best we can, my friend. The best we can. Measured by God's standard, no human act or agenda, platform or program is totally pure. … [Read more...]

KING OF THE NATIONS

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was a slow learner, but after seven demented years he finally recognized that "the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whomever He wishes" (Dan. 4:32). God created the people of every nation and determined when and where they would live -- that all might seek him (Acts 17:26-27). Earthly rulers have no power apart from God's consent (Rom. … [Read more...]

THE RIGHTEOUS RULER

For nearly 2,000 years, Christian believers have differed concerning the proper role of earthly governments and what, if anything, Christians should seek to accomplish through them. For more than four centuries, they lived under the authority of imperial Rome, which sometimes looked like God's agent (Rom. 13:1-7) and at other times like an enemy beast (Rev. 13). Jesus acknowledged Caesar's limited … [Read more...]

The Declaration of Independence Simplified

This unusually lengthy gracEmail is political rather than spiritual (although it contains some spiritual allusions). This Saturday is Independence Day here in the USA, marking the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Because of the Declaration's significance, and because of its elevated formal language, I thought it might be interesting to restate it in simple modern … [Read more...]

INAUGURATION 2009

Following are my personal reflections on the inauguration of Barack Obama as President of the United States. I did not vote for Mr. Obama, but as a Christian who grew up in segregated Alabama, it feels profoundly right to me to witness a Black family moving into the White House. I was pleased that Rick Warren, a Bible-preaching Southern Baptist minister whose view of God's agenda extends to … [Read more...]

ELECTION DAY USA

  This Tuesday, November 4, 2008, millions of Americans will go to the polls and register their choices for President and Vice-President. For the first time ever, voters will choose between two sitting U.S. Senators for President, neither of whom was born within the continental United States. A number of gracEmail subscribers have asked my political opinions; others have kindly sent me theirs. And … [Read more...]