Article VI Blog

"Religion, Politics, the Presidency: Commentary by a Mormon, an Evangelical, and an Orthodox Christian"

United States Constitution — Article VI:

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Beyond Moralism and Salvation…

Posted by: John Schroeder at 07:27 am, January 25th 2013     —    3 Comments »

Instapundit linked this morning to a story about a call to shun obese people.  As a formerly morbidly  obese person such things catch my eye.  I will resist the temptation to go on about that issue specifically, but I was stunned by the fact that we are now being called upon to shun smokers and the obese while embracing the homosexual.  That is a massive moral shift.  Not that smoking or obesity are good things, but are they worthy of the outcast status being thrust upon them?  There are gradations of bad.

But then it requires a great deal of both learning and thought to understand such gradations.

The I turned to a Scott Johnson post at Powerline discussing at great length the economic and societal ills born of social welfare programs.  My initial, visceral, reaction to it was to be put off.  It seemed somehow uncharitable.  I turned to my Bible and read about how we are called to care for those in need.  I was searching for a response to the piece.  But then it dawned on me, the issue isn’t the charity, but the use  government coercion, to accomplish charitable ends.

Again, that is a subtle argument and one that has a powerful counter – private charity generally proves insufficient to the poverty it faces.  (Never mind that government coerced “charity” suffers the same issue – but that is off point of this post.)

One must ask, why is the nation seemingly unable to deal with these subtle argument?  A second question here raised – Why is private charity always insufficient – an be answered at the same time.

My devotional reading this morning contained this rather astonishing statement:

We might be tempted to associate feelings with our sinfulness, but to exonerate our thinking. Rationality can seem to be pure, untainted by sin and its corruption. Yet this is not the case according to Ephesians 2:3. According to this verse, we are naturally inclined to gratify the cravings of our flesh, “following its desires and thoughts.” Did you catch that? “And thoughts.” Sin has tarnished, not just our feeling, but also our thinking. Left to our own devices, we are not able to think rightly, discerning without error what is true and false.

OK, quoting scripture is a bit “too religious” for this blog, but the point made is truly important.  The thinking in the nation is tarnished because the church has not done a sufficient job of fixing the root problem, which Christians describe as “sin.”

Oh sure the church, and particularly its evangelical expressions, preach salvation and promote a moral code, but does it improve people at their core?  Does it educate them to straighten out their thinking?  Which I think is also instructive on the matter of charity.  Private charity is generally insufficient, as is government coerced charity, because there are not enough charitable people.  Most churches seem very good at promoting charity to the church, but what about charity among individuals?

It seems that the church today is satisfied with affiliation.  But the job of the church is far more than merely gaining affiliates.  The job of the church is to make good people – rational, charitable people.


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