renewamerica.us, D.C
March 17 2005

Theology means little when it comes to activism


Chuck Baldwin


As most of my readers probably know, I am a pre-millennial Baptist.
That means I am dispensational in my understanding of eschatology.
Yes, Gertrude, I believe in the Rapture. However, many of my
Christian friends hold to Covenant or Reformed Theology and are
post-millennial in their understanding of eschatology. Still others
are Roman Catholic, and some claim no theology at all. When it comes
to civic activism, it doesn't seem to make much difference.

Many post-millennialists believe that the reason more of my
dispensational brethren are not engaged in the political affairs of
this country is because of their theology. I know many Armenians who
feel the same way about Calvinists.

The fact is, one can find activists and the apathetic in every
theological camp. I know many Calvinists who are totally disengaged
when it comes to Christian activism, while dispensationalists are
very much engaged. The same can be said of Armenians, Catholics, etc.

Adding more quandary to the formula is the fact that there are many
non-Christians who are extremely involved in moral and spiritual
causes while many of their Christian counterparts (of any persuasion)
are noticeably absent from the public square. This has always amazed
me.

How is it that unsaved people can have more discernment and courage
regarding the crucial issues impacting our country than saved people?
But this seems to be the case many times over.

I even know Mormons (whom I believe are heretical regarding cardinal
doctrines of Christianity) who demonstrate more courage and more
appreciation for America's founding principles than many of my
Baptist brethren. Incredible!

Rather than theology, it seems that personal zeal and courage are the
deciding factors that motivate people to activism. If one lacks
these, it really doesn't seem to matter what brand of theology he or
she embraces.

For example, I often hear people criticizing pastors and churches for
accepting the IRS tax exempt status, because they believe this is why
pastors and Christians are not involved. However, as a Baptist pastor
for nearly thirty years, I see it differently.

In my opinion, the 501(c)3 tax status is only a tree that pastors use
to hide behind. If suddenly the tree is removed, they would find
another tree to hide behind. The problem is not the tree; it is the
cowardice of the one who hides behind it! The same could be said for
any other excuse pastors and Christians are using to not engage the
culture.

Of course, courage and personal responsibility are virtues that are
generated from within; they are not forced from without. One is
either willing or not, laws, regulations, and other interferences
notwithstanding.

Therefore, I think it is time to stop blaming outside encumbrances or
denominational nuances and start putting the blame where it rightly
belongs: upon the shoulders of each and every one of us as American
citizens (regardless of our theology) to stand for the principles
upon which our country was established!

One will find just about every denomination of the Christian faith
represented among America's founding generation. Yet, they all
accepted their personal responsibility to actively engage the
cultural and political direction of the country. So must we!