I’m still a few hours away from finishing Philip Yancey’s Soul Survivor, a book that discusses the lives of thirteen unlikely people who have influenced his faith. One of those people Yancey discussed was the former surgeon general of the United States, Dr. C. Everett Koop, whom he likened to the prophet Daniel. The parallelism made me think, especially now that our church is having a series on the book of Daniel.
Let us first discuss the prophet Daniel. In essence, he was a foreigner that was trained to lead and hold a position of power and influence in a place with a culture and religion that was highly incompatible with and, immoral compared to, his beliefs. He studied, among other things, astrology and sorcery that we know would be condemned in the early churches of the New Testament. We could assume that the laws he implemented were more Babylonian, rather than Jewish in nature. Any fundamentalist could consider Daniel as someone who defiled himself, as someone who tolerated all the hateful (in the eyes of God) practices of the Babylonians, yet the scriptures clearly portray him as a role model for the youth (intelligent, good-looking, Godly). Not even once can we see Daniel lobbying laws that forbid or take away the Babylonians’ freedom to worship many gods, even when the king Nebuchadnezzar himself admitted how powerful the God of the Jews were.
Dr. Koop was a man of integrity who had welfare of America in mind. In the long run, his non-Christian critics learned to genuinely trust him as a sort of America’s family doctor, yet, at the same time, his Christian supporters rejected him, feeling betrayed at each “compromise” and “failure” he made. One such controversy was when “he declined to state that abortion procedures performed by qualified medical professionals posed a substantial health risk to the women whose pregnancies were being terminated, despite political pressure to endorse such a position.”
In the light of the upcoming elections, the current state of the local political landscape, and the Christians’ anticipation of “Christian” candidates, how should the potential voters act? Should we cast our votes on those who promise an agenda “righteous rule”? Or to those who would implement laws similar to the unwritten do’s and don’ts we have in most churches? Do we abstain if no morally suitable candidate is found? More importantly, what would our part be, after electing people into position?
For those who will be in position, the two great men stated above gives us good examples of what to look for:
- Unwavering moral integrity on what they believe in.
- The capacity to excellently do the tasks assigned to them.
- Compassion and concern for the people they serve
- Love for their God, and obedience to His commandments
For those believers who will put them into position, this, I think, is how we should be/act:
- Having a sense that the government is God’s tool for accomplishing His purposes, no matter how corrupt or nasty those in position are.
- Realizing that we as believers are not to impose whatever set of moral standards we have on the nation, but rather influence the nation through example and compassion, being the body of Christ to them.
- Obeying all known laws and submitting to authorities as long as these do not trudge on the Lordship of Christ.
As for SVCF’s outing with charm:
Quote for today:
“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence” – Sir Isaac Newton