Sound Off on the Election Results, by Pr. Rossow

For sure BJS is not a political blog. I am actually surprised and pleased at how seldom the BJS nation inserts political commentary into the blog comments.

As a reward, or maybe not, let’s take this one post and use it to sound off on the national and local elections. For sure, as President Harrison proved in Washington D. C. a few months ago, this election has huge implications for the Church.

I am disappointed by the outcome. Here are a few thoughts from your BJS Editor and erstwhile amateur political commentator that will hopefully prime the pump for your more insightful comments.

First of all, I am fearful of health and human care policies for our country. The Church will survive this since the gates of hell shall not prevail against It. However, there may be some persecution prices to pay for standing up against immoral policies against human life. (We just may see President Harrison sitting next to that Baptist guy in the jail cell.)

Secondly, I fear that President Obama’s good intentions to take from the rich to help the poor in the long run are counter productive and unscriptural. Overly liberal handouts create slothfulness and work against creating the responsibility that the constitution of this country requires if we are to be free to create our own economic and political destiny.

Thirdly, I fear that President Obama’s economic policies will make things worse and this will then decrease church offerings. For sure, the church does not live off of its offerings but off of the mercy and grace of God in Christ. But I do not think four more years bodes well for the bottom line. Thankfully economic realities often have a cyclical life of their own apart from national politics. May that be true so that our ailing economy can turn around.

Oh, and don’t worry, BJS is not going to go all political now. This post is a one time treat for the other amateur political hacks out there. I don’t expect you to agree with me. Feel free to take issue with what I have said (like I needed to say that) and for sure, feel free to offer something more profound, more to the point, more churchly, more visceral, more whatever. Have at it if you like…

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.

Comments

Sound Off on the Election Results, by Pr. Rossow — 214 Comments

  1. John Eidsmoe :Pastor Kirchner,In constitutional jurisprudence the terms “strict scrutiny” and “compelling interest” are virtually interchangeable. Once the court has determined that a right is fundamental, an infringement on that right will be permitted only if the state can demonstrate that it has a compelling interest that cannot be achieved by less restrictive means.

    With your addition of the last phrase, I agree. Upon showing a compelling interest the state must then demonstrate that the legislation is narrowly tailored to achieve the intended result. That’s why I put it all under the strict scrutiny label.

    Thanks.

  2. Pastor Kirchner, I did not add anything to the compelling interest test. Any constitutional lawyer knows that “less restrictive means” is an inherent part of the compelling interest test, also known as the strict scrutiny test. There is some tendency to use the term “compelling interest test” when speaking of First Amendment freedom of expression cases and “strict scrutiny test” when speaking of Fourteenth Amendment equal protection issues, but that distinction is far from universal.

    Never did I say or imply that you would support or defend Roe v. Wade. I am only saying that, just because the Court has made a decision, that doesn’t mean the Court’s decision is necessarily right or no longer debatable. The Court itself sometimes overrules previous decisions.

    Godspeed,
    John Eidsmoe, Colonel(AL)
    Alabama State Defense Force

  3. @Pr. Don Kirchner #1

    @John Eidsmoe #2

    > Never did I say or imply that you would support or defend Roe v. Wade.

    I regret any confusion I may have introduced on this. Bringing this up was entirely my work. Please forgive me. I did try to state a good reason that I brought it up. We are not disputing Roe vs Wade per se.

  4. As the prevalent ethos seems to be one of cynicism, despair, and disappointment, I will say that I find this attitude unsettling. Never in history has such an opportunity arisen for informing the peoples who live in ignorance of the teachings of our Lord and Savior. This would include those within the Church itself, who in a misguided fashion, seem more interested in social activism, the decorative and musical arts, and community organization than in earnest study and appreciation of Christianity and its tenets. It must never be forgotten that the core of our faith lies in the example of Our Lord and his teachings on how we should try to conduct ourselves in this world, which is merely a sort of way-station for our souls. A disdain for vanity, an extreme sympathy for the disadvantaged, and most of all the realization that we neither need to know or should know what our Lord means to do and when He means to do it lies at the foundation of my personal faith. I neither approve of nor am amused by those who try to pass an intellectually precarious judgment on events in the guise of being scholars or missionaries. The steady and devoted exposition of his teachings has resulted in enfranchisement and representation to become a reality in the centers of earthly power for the common man and woman to an extent never imagined heretofore; it has penetrated every mass culture, and altered for eternity the ideas of the human race. It continues to do so at an increasing rate, and I have no problem seeing the hand of the Lord at work in every moment of my existence or in my layman’s absorption of the river of information available to me or anyone serious about this interlude of discovery offered to us. Yes, the dark side of a savage and vicious barbarism is and always has been against us, and will not pass away until He mandates it. It is the fertile, blood-soaked soil of human suffering that has grown the most important ideals and philosophies yet attempted by mankind to attempt to understand and explain the mystery of our Lord’s will. No matter what, his grace and mercy will triumph, and those who think otherwise are truly whistling in the graveyard. Optimism and hope should be welcome companions to be taken by the grateful hand of believers, not be ridiculed as naïve or simplistic.

  5. @John Eidsmoe #2

    > just because the Court has made a decision, that doesn’t mean the Court’s decision is necessarily right or no longer debatable.

    It is not much debatable if the focus is on what the law of men actually is in a given case. In some sense, that ought to be trivial, though I don’t take anything away from the complexity most evident to those who are doctors in the subject.

    Otherwise, it had better be debatable.

  6. @John P. (Pat) Chambers #4

    > It must never be forgotten that the core of our faith lies in the example of Our Lord and his teachings on how we should try to conduct ourselves in this world

    Sir, our Lord’s example is perfect, sinless and everything Good. But it is not the core of our faith. His teaching is that the core of our faith is what He did for us, with us being entirely passive, and even actively against Him. Those who know, believe and trust Him for this salvation are empowered to conduct themselves in this world, though only imperfectly (that is, along with sin).

  7. @mbw #3

    MBW, You have not offended me. You have made some very valuable contributions to this discussion, and I especially appreciate your Christian spirit.

  8. LCMS Board for International Mission Chairman Bernie Seter stated on the WMLTblog:

    “After the results of the election and the various dissections and interpretations, I have to believe that we live in an absolutely secularized culture in which the Government has appropriated the place once held by the church. To hear from confessional Lutherans around the world who have lived in that reality for years was fascinating and informative. To see Lutheran theology as a means to bridge the gaps in our culture is a concept that we must seek to master, because according to many, Luther is uniquely able to make the connection that is needed in a secular culture that still seeks answers to religious questions. One of the speakers said that we need to have a ‘critical reappropriation’ of our heritage so that we can translate it into our culture.”

    On one point I would suggest that the secularized culture in the U.S. is not seeking answers to religious questions, but the removal of religious questions and answers altogether, other than in the isolated closets of Christian churches. On some other points I’m wondering what they mean.

  9. My only question is one I have wrestled with for the entirety of my 18 years in the office. How much should a pastor say in regards to the election of particular individuals? To be sure, we should address issues from the perspective of the Word. Additionally, it is difficult at times to separate issues from those who are elected. However, it seems to me that at times we make the duties of our office more difficult by expressing a concern over who was or was not elected.

  10. Good question, Robert, and I’m not sure there is a bright-line rule that governs this. Generally, I think pastors should preach the whole counsel of God, including what God says in Scripture about law and government. In other words, I pastor should make sure his flock is aware of what the Bible says about the nature and origin of civil government, our duties toward government including the duty to disobey in some circumstances, what the Bible says about the sanctity of life, citizenship, war and peace, crime and punishment, our responsibility to the poor (as individuals as well as government), etc., then let the people take those principles and apply them to the issues and the candidates of the day. But this may vary with the needs and desires of your congregation, as well as your own areas of expertise.

    If a pastor want to teach a special class on Christian citizenship issues, he would probably have considerably more freedom to expand on these matters in that kind of class. If parishioners ask him questions about more specific matters like issues or candidates, he probably has more freedom to answer those questions than he would to bring up those matters on his own initiative.

    Of course, there are provisions in 501(c)(3) about influencing elections and influencing legislation. I believe these provisions are unconstitutional, but the court won’t necessarily agree with me on that. How you want to deal with those provisions is between you, your congregation, and the Lord.

    Godspeed,

    John A. Eidsmoe, Colonel, ASDF

  11. Robert Weller :How much should a pastor say in regards to the election of particular individuals?

    I wrestle with that question, too, especially when one candidate is clearly violating this part of Scripture, while the alternate violates another…

    They didn’t blatantly spell out exactly whom they were endorsing, but did Rome cross the line with this:

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