I don’t usually make political comment. However, when certain events occur, which have bearing on, and reflect, certain modes of thinking, I do like to use them to point out flaws in the way we (by that I mean particularly fundamental Baptists) think. This is not to say that all the thought processes are wrong, but it is to say that we don’t often “think through” and take the long view when we advocate certain things, and take certain positions regarding political candidates and issues.
It is no secret that this country has fallen a long way from what it used to be. It is no secret that all levels of government in this country, from the Federal level on down to local offices routinely violate the trust reposited in them by virtue of constitutional authority and election to office. It is also no secret that many folks are frustrated by the fact that little seems to be done about it, and it only seems to get worse and not better.
Hence, many fundamental, unaffiliated Baptists have jumped on the bandwagon of openly supporting and campaigning for certain candidates and issues. This, in itself, is not necessarily wrong if — and this is a big if — the candidate actually and totally supports Scriptural doctrine. Otherwise, we end up tying the name of Christ to someone who ultimately reflects badly upon Christ, and tarnishes our witness and testimony. Additionally, it is difficult to witness to someone who supports the opposing candidate if they know that we are openly opposing the person they support. What will happen is that they will focus on our opposition to their candidate and not hear the gospel they so badly need. We must ask ourselves which is the more important — the soul of the person we are speaking to, or winning the vote of that person? I should think the answer is obvious.
However, the above cited issues are not the most egregious of errors in seeking a political solution to this country’s problems. Rather, it is the way of thinking that seeks a political solution, that is the problem. That way of thinking is actually well-encapsulated in the following quote by one of the current Presidential candidates. Mind you, it is an offensive quote to anyone who truly understands what the U.S. Constitution is all about.
“I think we can say that the Constitution reflected a enormous blindspot in this culture that carries on until this day, and the Framers had that same blindspot. I don’t think the two views are contradictory to say that it was a remarkable political document that paved the way for where we are now, and to say that it also it reflected the fundamental flaw of this country that continues to this day.”1
Now, this quote first appeared on the internet on YouTube, and is a snippet of some interview, or answer to some question Barack Obama was asked. However, unlike many quotes that are snippets, there is virtually no way to take this comment out of context. It uses terminology that is far too broad with reference to the subjects at hand to be taken out of context. The use of phrases such as “enormous blindspot” and “fundamental flaw that continues to this day” with reference to the U.S. Constitution and American society are far, far too encompassing.
The problem with this quote is not that it states there is an error in the Constitution. Indeed, many of the anti-federalists thought there were many flaws in the Constitution. It is not that Obama thinks that the flaw is still there. For there are some issues that could be dealt with more firmly by the Constitution. No, the problem with this quote is its inherent misapplication of the Constitution to American society and the problems in society.
While I do not know the context of the remark, I do know the U.S. Constitution and its purpose. The Constitution is the law for the government — a cage if you will. It was not, and is not designed for any other purpose. The Constitution was never designed to reform society, nor can it. The Founders knew that society is not reformed from the “top down,” but that society changes when the individuals in society change their views and consequent values.
Herein lies the problem: this statement by Obama reflects a view that is socialist/communist, in the which government can impose reforms on society, and change the fundamental thinking of individuals by external force, be it by law or otherwise. This kind of thinking was evident in the French Revolution and resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. And, this mindset is endemic to every socialist/communist government and has resulted in the deaths of tens of millions over the last century.
Granted, there are ills and disparities in this society, as there are in every society, but the “top down” approach is not the way to fix them — no matter how appealing and expedient it appears to be. We are warned in Scripture about such appealing, expeditious methods and their result.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverb 14:12)
Funny how the LORD gave us that warning, not once, but twice, for it appears again two chapters later in Proverbs 16:25. Hence, it is significant that the easier road, the more expedient path, is not the right one.
This is where we must make application to ourselves. Just as Barack Obama thinks that the ills of society should be resolved using the U.S. Constitution, there are many fundamental Baptists who think that simply electing the “right people” will resolve the issues we have in this country and society, and put us back on the right track.
Like Obama, they could not be more wrong. As stated earlier, the Founders of this nation understood that societies are not changed from the top down, but from the bottom up. They understood that government is only a reflection of the society it governs, which is a very Scriptural concept and understanding of the way the LORD God deals with man. We should understand that nations are the embodiment of societies, and societies are composed of individuals, and individuals act outwardly based upon what is within their hearts. Thus, we should know that the operative principle here stems directly from Jeremiah, chapter 17:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
So it is that electing the right people to office is not really the answer. The real answer to restoring the rule of the Constitution over government, and restoring respect for the law in this country, begins in the heart of every individual. However, that is not going to happen until the LORD’s people decide to follow what the LORD commands them, and have a proper witness and testimony so people see a true difference and distinction between those who claim Christ, and the rest of society. Otherwise, what is claimed is just so much hot air and wishful thinking.
Nonetheless, that also is not going to happen unless and until the LORD’s people change their thinking. Sadly, it is far too evident that many who claim Christ, and name themselves fundamental, unaffiliated Baptists, don’t bother to even learn how the LORD looks at things, let alone how He knows them to be — and thus, how we should think about them.
On a final note: we should understand that, historically, the top down approach to changing society has never worked. Without going into detail, there is no instance in the history of man where any society has ever been permanently changed by imposition of massive, intrusive government control over individual behavior. Rather, every government that has attempted such action has found itself consigned to destruction — usually within a generation or so of attempting to impose such change. In contrast, the LORD’s approach of dealing with the individual, their heart and where they stand before God, changed an entire civilization. We would not know Western Civilization were it not for the influence of the gospel and the Scriptures.
The evidence is pretty plain; it is just sad that of all people, the LORD’s people cannot see it, and thus elect to take a different road — the end of which will be no different for them than it has been for all others who have thought to change society by force of law.
Oh, by the way, Obama is a communist. So I ask: Should fundamental Baptists think the same way communists think?
- Barack Obama, date not cited [↩]