Abolitionist William Wilberforce recognized the impossibility of passing or sustaining legislation to outlaw the slave trade without first bringing about widespread reformation of manners and morals in society. . . .
Christians can be heard referring excitedly to their evangelical contacts at the top of the power heap in Washington,, such as the entire leadership of the House of Representatives. The fact that not one evangelical can be identified running a cultural institution such as CNN, NPR, a secular philanthropy, or a Hollywood film studio, is never even a matter of conversation, much less concerted action. The unmistakable inference from this preoccupation with legal matters is that society and culture are subsidiaries of the state, not vice versa, a belief, which if actually held, is a dangerous heresy. . . .
In no place in the New Testament is the slightest suggestion given that Christians should attempt to commandeer political or governmental institutions. In the brief New Testament passages that even address the issue, believers are called to submit to and respect "every authority" without a hint that they be worthy of respect as a precondition. . . .
The founders framed a constitutional republic, predicated upon a rather thin theism, not a muscular, prescriptive Christianity. Perhaps in doing this they were acknowledging that New Covenant Christianity is about the redemption of elect individuals, not special covenant relations with elect nations. . . .
. . . anytime we embellish a particular cultural, political, or moral agenda with the authority of the Christian Gospel, the result is a manifestation of "works-righteousness" which is "ipso facto, an act of apostasy." . . .
The idea, says C.S. Lewis, "that Christianity brought a new ethical code into the world is a grave error." Lewis adds, Christianity's founder and early followers "came demanding repentance and offering forgiveness in Christ, a demand and an offer both meaningless except on the assumption of a moral law already known and already broken. Moral law, along with numerous other facts of our existence, including the institutions of marriage, the family, the state, the social order, all came to us via God's creation, and are thus a part of his common grace." . . .
[Alexis de Tocqueville] said religion "exercises but little influence upon the laws and upon the details of public opinion; but it directs the customs of community and by regulating domestic life, it regulates the states." The clergymen, he said, were careful to preserve the unique and honored station they occupied in society. Ministers of the Gospel "eschewed all parties," filled no public appointments, and were "excluded by public opinion" from serving in political roles.
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