So What's This All About?

In case you didn't know, I'm in the multi-year-long process of posting a Christian devotional at the TAWG Blog. The TAWG Blog is, and always will be, mostly apolitical. For the most part, Bible-believing Christians will find little to disagree with there. But I also firmly believe that God's word can--and should--inform everything in life, and this should include politics and popular culture. How should we vote? How should we respond to hot topics such as abortion, capital punishment, taxes, and other issues? Which party, if either, is closer to the Biblical ideal? Tony Campolo and Ron Sider, Evangelicals whose political leanings are on the Left, have made the case in several of their writings that God wants his followers to vote politically on the Left more than on the Right. At times, some of them have gone so far as to equate voting on the Left with obedience to Christ, either subtly or not-so-subtly contending that the converse is true as well: If you vote Republican, you're sinning against the Savior.
I don't agree. I think that to the degree they actually resort to the Bible, they're misinterpreting it. With a whole bunch of caveats, I think politically conservative positions are a lot more compatible with the Scriptures than the Leftist positions.
Just to clarify, I would never accuse people who disagree with me--especially siblings in Christ--of what they accuse me of. I don't judge my own heart, much less anyone else's, and I don't equate political disagreement with theological fidelity to God. I have no reason to doubt their love for the Lord and "for the least of these," but I believe that they're sincerely wrong.
So there are two main purposes for this blog. One is to make a case for my political beliefs based on Scripture. The other is a bit more vague, basically to work out my political beliefs and figure out what's based on Scripture and what's based on my own biases. I certainly don't have all the answers. Some of this stuff I'm still figuring out. And I'm certainly open to correction. As long as you make your case civilly and based on Scripture, feel free to make a comment, and I promise I'll post it and consider your arguments thoughtfully and prayerfully. Who knows? Maybe we'll learn a little something from each other.
May God bless our common striving together towards both the "little t" truth and "Big T" Truth. Our watchword here is a line from C. S. Lewis's The Last Battle: "Further up and further in!"

P.S. -- Below on the left is "Topics I've Covered" which lists everything I've posted topically. It's come to my attention that some people would like to see everything just listed for them. If that's you, you can get it here. Thanks to my friend Stephen Young for the tip!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Two And Three-Quarters Cheers: A Billion People

I'd like to insert an addendum on this series with a jaw-dropping statistic. According to the Economist, almost one billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty in the last 20 years. One. Billion. People. And according to the article, what's the main cause? Well, the writer calls it "capitalism," but I much prefer calling it the "Free Market System" or "economic freedom." It's allowing people to voluntarily trade for mutual benefit with a minimum of government interference (including corruption). It's letting people make their own economic decisions instead of a government bureaucrat making them for them. That's what gets people out of dire poverty over the long-term, not charity, and especially not government aid. Charity is wonderful for keeping people from dying in the short-term due to disasters, either man-made or natural. I'm all for that. But if you want to get people out of sustenance-level poverty in the long-term, there's only one thing that's worked. It's the FMS, made up of voluntary exchange for mutual benefit, and (according to Jay W. Richards) also includes such concepts as "property rights, rule of law, personal virtues like diligence and thrift, ingenuity, cultural values like trust, an orientation to the future, and a willingness to delay gratification." As Richards also puts it, when it comes to actually helping the poor, "[we] Christians need to decide if we want to keep advocating what is hip and fashionable, or the oatmeal-variety stuff that actually works."

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