Romney, Pietism, and the Shame of the American Church
By Pastor Matt Trewhella
November 6th, 2012, was election day. And once again, we see the continuing descent of American morality. We got the latest reading on the character of the American people. The results: We are a decadent, self-absorbed, immoral, rebellious people who impugn and spurn the law and word of God. I do not say this just because Obama won the election. I say it because look at the two main contenders – the two men that tens of millions of Christians voted for. Both of these men are Christ-hating, socialist, immoral men
Most Christians I know seem to get that Obama is a Christ-hating, socialist, immoral man, but they wonder how I can say that about Romney. Just consider, for example, the area of homosex. Romney made clear he would not repeal the homosexualization of our military which Obama had done. He made clear he would not repeal the hate crimes laws which Obama pushed through. He declared his support of homosexuals adopting children. He exhorted the Boy Scouts of America to allow homosexual leaders of young boys and men. He was governor of the first state that legalized same-sex marriage, and he used his office with executive orders to proliferate it once it was legalized in his state. He now claims to only be for civil unions for homosexuals, but everyone knows that is just a semantical game and legally means the same as marriage. He instituted homosexual friendly education in Massachusetts, including grade school children. By his own bragging lips, he fancies himself as a champion of the homosexual.
So, we're not talking about being nit-picky here. Rather, we're talking about a man who openly and unashamedly impugns the law and word of God.
How did Christians justify voting for Romney?
First, their pietism. Most Christians think that God’s Word has nothing to say about government (except that you should always obey) or culture or society. They think God’s Word is silent about government leaders and the governance of a nation. But the truth is God speaks to all matters of life. His Word should impact every area of our life and every area of life.
A popular saying by the Romney Christians was –“we are not electing a pastor.” This is the type of nonsense you come up with when your politics is detached from the law and word of God. This is pietism – your Christianity is a private matter and has nothing to do with the public. The person who came up with this little slogan was John MacArthur. John MacArthur is a pietist. He came out of his pietist ivory tower just long enough to rebuke the Democrats for their party platform and to carry water for Romney. He decried the Democrats for having a platform which violated Romans 1, but in the process promoted Romney who is a candidate who violates Romans 1.
On his ministry website – Grace to You - where you go to listen to what Macarthur had to say about the Democrats, the very opening lines say: “If you followed John MacArthur’s teaching for any length of time, you know he rarely says much about politics, culture, or society. It’s not that he’s uninformed on those topics. It’s that they’re often an intrusion upon the teaching of God’s Word.” MacArthur views speaking of politics, culture, or societal matters as an “intrusion” upon God’s Word, as though the Word of God does not address them repeatedly. MacArthur, in fact, encourages Christians not to have anything to do with politics, the culture, and society – and then stands surprised that the nation is in such a mess. This is Pietism. This is the stench of Pietism. It is precisely this Pietism, embraced by most American ministers, that has brought our nation to its present condition.
Secondly, Christians were able to justify voting for Romney because they have tied their wagon to conservative politics. Christians need to realize that as Western Civilization continues to decay, the pragmatism of "conservatives" will be revealed (that they are willing to accommodate themselves to anything which contravenes the law and word of God), and the true Christian will increasingly find himself at odds with "conservatives", and unable to support "conservative" politics.
Robert Dabney, the great American theologian, wrote in the year 1894, the following about “conservatism.” He said:
“Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is to-day one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will to-morrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution, to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. This pretended salt hath utterly lost its savor: wherewith shall it be salted? Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom.”
While my Christian friends were exhorting me to vote for Romney, I kept wondering, “Why would I vote for a man who mandated the first state in America to murder the preborn on the taxpayers dime? Why would I vote for a man who oversaw the first state in America to legalize same-sex marriage, and issued executive orders to see it implemented? Why would I vote for a man who brought the first state in America mandated, socialized medicine?”
Family and civil government are to mirror the law and justice of God. I therefore teach my children that homosexuality is wrong, sinful, and a crime. If I then turn around and vote for a man who openly supports and advocates homosexuality - what kind of father am I?
As a Christian, and a minister of the gospel, I teach people that homosexuality is wrong, sinful, and a crime. If I then go into the voting booth and vote for someone who wants to use the arm of the State to foist that very immorality upon our nation – what kind of Christian or minister am I?
Romans 13 makes it clear that the civil magistrate is to mirror the justice and law of God in the earth. They are to reward those who do good, and punish those who do evil. When the magistrate makes or advocates law which contravenes the law of God, the Christian has the duty to resist and oppose such law. But instead, Christians by the millions went out and actually voted for two men who openly impugn the law and word of God, rather than stand true to Christ and resist them.
In the days ahead, may we demonstrate fealty to Christ and vote for no man who openly impugns the law and word of God.