Mohler: Love for God and man are twin motives for political action

Communications Staff — May 21, 2003

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) – Christians have a biblical mandate to work toward redeeming the culture for both the glory of God and the good of man, R. Albert Jr., told attendees of a conservative talk radio conference earlier this spring.

Speaking at the Salem Communications Talk Show Conference on March 21 in Washington, D.C., Mohler urged Christians to teach believers how to bring an eternal, biblically-informed perspective to bear on issues while living and serving society in this temporal world. Mohler hosts a weekly talk radio show called “Truth on the Line,” heard locally in Louisville and on the Internet at www.truthontheline.com.

“We must tell the truth and we must continue to tell the truth, explain, paint the big picture, seek to be persuasive,” Mohler said. “But in all things, (we must) be animated by a love of neighbor that is rooted in the love of God. We must have eternity on the horizon and we must have our mind set on eternal things in order that we may deal rightly with earthly things.”

Today’s society rejects norms that once served as bedrock foundations for a civil society such as fixed morality, absolute truth, ultimate meaning, authority, and belief in the God of the Bible, Mohler said. The postmodern mantra is an ode to the sovereign self, he said.

“The self becomes so sovereign that everything is determined by what the self wants, how the self feels, what the self desires, and now, what the self will define,” Mohler said. “And this replacement of truth with therapy leaves us in a situation in which people decide what is true on the basis of how they feel about it.”

Moral indignation over hot-button social issues is not enough, Mohler said. He urged radio hosts to articulate a view of Christian citizenship similar to that of fourth century church father Augustine in his classic book “The City of God.”

Augustine set forth a political theology on how Christians are to live as citizens of the city of man while simultaneously living as members of the city of God.

Augustine argued that the Christian’s motivation for loving the city of man and its citizens must ultimately be grounded in their love for God in accord with Scripture’s greatest command of Matthew 22:35-40.

This ‘first and greatest commandment’ says the believer must “love your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.” Christians are not to hide from the culture, but to engage it, Mohler said.

“If there is a danger in our age among Christians it is that we too would confuse the city of God for the city of man,” Mohler said. “We would confuse the heavenly city and the earthly city and we would exchange the proper love, which we should find in the heavenly city, for the truncated false love of the city of man.

“There are so many citizens of the city of man who do not even know about the city of God, but there should be no one in the city of God who does not know about the city of man. The Christian has a unique responsibility to both cities. We understand that our earthly calling is only a foretaste of things to come.”

Scripture is the final authority as to how Christians are to view their responsibility regarding the establishment of public policy, he said. Christians are to biblically redeem the culture for both the glory of God and the good of man.

“The liberal temptation is to confuse the city of man for the city of God,” Mohler said. “It might be that the conservative temptation is to ignore the city of man for the city of God. And both are forms of sin. Both are an abdication of Christian responsibility.”

In this day, even conservatives can fall prey to political temptation, he said.

“We are to love the city of God and we are to love those who are in the city of man. We are not to love both cities, but we are for the sake of the Creator, to love those whom He has created – the citizens of the kingdom of man.

“The proper proportion is difficult to achieve. The danger is that we will confuse the one city for the other and exchange the one love for the other. The only way to achieve this proper proportion is to make certain that we who are Christians set our sights on the city of heaven and measure our citizenship in the City of Man by the revealed Word given us from the heavenly city.”

Mohler urged radio hosts to make arguments from a comprehensive Christian worldview that is informed by Scripture instead of merely defending or rejecting a particular position of public policy.

Talk show hosts who are seeking to inform Christians on key issues of the day must establish credibility in areas of morality, cultural knowledge, argumentation, and theology. They must know the difference between true and false Christianity, he said.

“We must have moral credibility,” he said. “We must tie together the great issues of our day in a comprehensive moral worldview, rooted in understanding the City of God and in the City of Man, and this moral credibility means we have to make arguments, not just propose positions. We have to make moral arguments, not merely defend policy proposals.

“That is necessary, it is just not sufficient. We have to help our people to see, to form a big picture, to tie together the fabric and knit it all together. We must talk about cloning, euthanasia, justice, the death penalty, stem cell research, war and peace, and everything else, but we have to tie it together in some comprehensive worldview in a moral argument that helps persons to see.”

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