I Timothy 3: 1-13 states, “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Clearly, the God of the Bible has set forth a high standard for the leadership of the Church, though I believe the criteria reaches much farther.
I personally believe that these same attributes should be found in anyone aspiring to leadership and calling themselves by His name. I believe that in making our choices for political office, believers should examine the personal lives of the candidates and make our choices based upon what we discover there.
When South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford admitted last year to having had an extramarital affair with a woman in Argentina, having abandoned his post for more than a week during the escapade and having misappropriated tax dollars in order to do so, I was shocked as much by the lack of immediate outcry as I was by the admission. Two months after the announcement, the State’s Republican party announced they would censure him and then he offered his resignation.
Two months? The man had betrayed his wife, his family and the people who elected him, but nothing was done for two months?
When these events were taking place, I urged believing republican in our area to speak out about their disgust over the matter. Resoundingly, the responses I got were “it’s a personal matter between a man and his wife,” or “It’s South Carolina’s problem.”
Frankly it was not a problem merely for the people of South Carolina, but for every believing Republican in the country, considering that Sanford was the head of the Republican Governors Association. The man was making decisions that influenced every Republican governor in the nation, including our own Mich Daniel.
As I went around to some of the local pastors I know and urged them to use the situation as an opportunity to preach the importance of marital fidelity and of voting with one’s conscience, I was repeatedly told that such would violate the Constitutional mandate about the separation of Church and State. I tried desperately to tell these men that the words “Separate of Church and State” do not appear anywhere in the Constitution and that if we as believers do not influence the political direction of our nation then the world will.
Sadly, I must admit that these men, all of whom I love and consider Brothers, were hiding behind a lame excuse which holds no water. They were afraid of the response they would get from their congregations.
I can understand this, because I remember the response I got during the last presidential campaign, when I informed people in several churches where I went to preach, that the word Barack means “a curse” in Hebrew and specifically a curse which at first appears to be a blessing. However, I knew the facts, I saw what was coming and I shared it with anyone who would listen, because that is what we are called to do.
Now, with President Barack Hussein Obama having logged one whole year as president, I would ask those who chided me for my statements, how many of his campaign promises has he kept? Come on, name them.
He said there would be more transparency in government. He has repeatedly attempted to have his agenda passed by covert means, including midnight votes and closed door discussions.
He promised full disclosure of every bill on the internet prior to it being voted on. So, where is that website?
He promised less intrusion into the economy by the Federal Government. He seized control of a major American company, stripped it down for all it was worth, ran it into the ground and then sold what was left of it to a foreign rival.
He promised an end to the war in Iraq and withdraw of our troops in 2009. He has sent more of our troops into harm’s way and I learned earlier this week that one of my top karate students of all time, currently serving in the United States military, has been given deployment orders for April, 2011.
So the nay sayers were right, I was completely wrong in my judgment about Mr. Obama. Even I did not believe he could screw the country up so badly and so quickly.
To be continued, tomorrow …