By Carol Rushton
During my life, I have encountered Christians with political positions much different from mine. I have been baffled how we could read the same Bible and have such opposite points of view about certain issues. I believe the Bible comes down decidedly in favor of conservative values. Since this is the start of a new year, I thought I would explain not only why I am a conservative both religiously and politically but why I believe that the Bible supports conservative principles.
First, it is important to define what a conservative is. Dictionary.com states that conservative means “disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change . . . a person who is conservative in principles, actions, habits, etc.” and “a supporter of conservative political policies.”
Conservatives generally believe in a strict or originalist interpretation of the Constitution, small, limited government, low taxes, and are usually pro-life. Examples would be President Ronald Reagan, President Calvin Coolidge, Congressman Jack Kemp; economists Milton Friedman, Frederick von Hayek, and Thomas Sowell; Supreme Court Judges Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas; and talk show hosts Mark Levin, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Glenn Beck, just to name a few. Conservatives do not always agree on every single issue but they always agree on general principles.
Obviously, I cannot go into every single issue supported by the Bible but I can briefly cover three of the major ones that Christians on different sides of the political fence disagree on today.
- Work and the welfare state.
Liberals are famous for claiming that the government must help our fellowmen (and women) by giving them money when they don’t have jobs because the Bible constantly tells us that we must help the poor.
While I am as compassionate as anyone and definitely love to help people, the Bible never urges Christians to financially help able bodied people who don’t have jobs and refuse to work. The exact opposite is true.
Work for mankind was ordained by God from the beginning. After God created Adam, Genesis 2:15 says, “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”
Dictionary.com defines the verb “to dress” in this context as “to cultivate (lands, fields, etc.).” Dictoniary.com also defines the verb “to cultivate” as “to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops . . . to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.” Adam was not supposed to lay in hammock all day long and nap and daydream while angels brought him food on a silver platter. He was supposed to work, to maintain the fertility, growth, and beauty of the portion of earth that the Lord had given him responsibility for.
When the Lord gave the Moses the law on Mount Sinai, He made Moses and the children of Israel understood that they were supposed to work six days out of seven. “Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath . . .” (Exodus 20:9-10). Every person beyond a certain age was expected to work and provide for themselves and their families.
The only exception made was for orphans and widows. The Jews were commanded to provide for them. “At the end of three years thou shalt bring forth all the tithe of thine increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within they gates . . . and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within thy gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hand which thou doest” (Deut. 28-29).
Jews were also commanded that when they harvested their crops, there were supposed to leave a portion for the poor so they could provide for themselves. “And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:22).
The provision for the poor provided a solution to several issues that we are faced with today. First, leaving some of the harvest and gleanings allowed the poor to have some type of sustenance so they were would not be a burden to the nation of Israel, eliminating the need for a welfare state. But it wasn’t a straight handout, either. The poor had to go out to the fields and actually do some work to pick up the gleanings. This meant that the poor weren’t just sitting around expecting other people to provide for them and it gave them the dignity of working some for themselves. The Book of Ruth gives the most famous example of this principle and how it worked.
The New Testament makes no difference in this area. Jesus worked as a carpenter and was known as such among His friends and neighbors before starting His ministry at the age of 30. This is why they rejected Jesus as anything more than a carpenter. When Jesus returned to Nazareth with His disciples and taught in the local synagogue from the Scriptures one Sabbath, Mark 6:2-3 records their reaction. “And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? And what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.”
The Apostle Paul set the example for Gentile Christians, often working as a tent maker to make sure he had money for food and lodging so that the churches would not have the burden of supporting him as he preached the gospel from city to city. Below are just a few of the verses taken from Paul’s letters to the churches.
Ephesians 4:28, “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”
II Thessalonians 3:10-12, “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busy bodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”
At no time did either Jesus or Paul or any of the disciples ever even intimate that people should not work if they are able, nor did they ever command or infer that people apply for government assistance if they were not working. Those that are not able are a different story. Their families should take care of them, and if the family could not, only then should the local church step in and help provide for the truly needy.
I Timothy 5:8, “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
I Timothy 5:16, “If any man or woman that believeth have widows, let them relieve them, and let not the church be charged; that it may relieve them that are widows indeed.”
James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction . . . “
Yes, as strange as it may seem, some Christians actually support the murdering of unborn babies.
The God of the Bible unequivocally and emphatically states over and over in Scripture that He knows each person before they are even conceived. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Job 31:15 says, “Did not he that made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?”
Psalm 139 is one of the most famous passages of Scripture that detail God’s foreknowledge of men and women before they are born. “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb . . . I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . .Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written . . . when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:13-16).
Opposing the murder of unborn babies has been a conservative position from the beginning. How any Christian can support murdering any life is beyond me, but some claiming to be Christians support abortion like the following reported by CBNNews.com on October 30, 2018 by Steve Warren, “‘Like Priests standing Outside the Gas Chambers at Auschwitz,’ Religious Leaders Bless Abortion Clinic as ‘Sacred Space.’”
Billed as an “interfaith gathering,” the Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice dedicated a new abortion clinic in Cleveland, Ohio Monday by having a United Church of Christ minister on hand to bless “the sacred space of decision.”
On Nov. 9, the group will also have “faith leaders” perform a blessing of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Columbus, Ohio . . . “anti-abortion advocates do not have the monopoly on faith or god.” The notice read. “Many faith leaders and people of faith hold that accessing and providing abortions are good and godly decisions.”
A baby is a baby is a baby. The Ohio Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice can spout all the platitudes they want. God’s Word states the opposite.
- Traditional Marriage.
Marriage between a man and a woman was never an issue throughout thousands of years of history until recently. Genesis 2 records that God created Adam, a man, and provided a “helpmeet” for him, which Adam named Eve. When the Lord brought Eve to Adam, Adam proclaimed, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
It is shocking that some Christians try to make those of us who support traditional marriage feel guilty, saying that Jesus never condemned homosexuality. They even have the gall to claim that Jesus would make a wedding cake for a homosexual or lesbian couple!
Evidently, they have never read Jesus’ statement in Matthew 19:4-5. “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?”
Jesus did not say that a man would leave his mother and father and cleave to his “partner,” cleave to his “husband,” or cleave to his “significant other.” Jesus said that a man would leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. All you have to do is read Romans 1 regarding Paul’s condemnation of both homosexuality and lesbianism. Paul would never have written those words if Jesus had supported homosexuality.
Incredibly, more and more Christians are supporting efforts like the Revoice Conference held at the Memorial Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri in July 2018 and again scheduled in St. Louis in June 2019. The homepage of the Revoice Conference makes the following shocking mission statement. “Supporting, encouraging, and empowering gay, lesbian, same-sex-attracted, and other gender and sexual minority Christians so they can flourish while observing the historic, Christian doctrine of marriage and sexuality.”
Until the last ten to fifteen years, homosexuality, lesbianism, transgenderism, polyamory, incest, and bestiality have all been considered deviant behavior. Only marriage between a man and a woman was considered the norm and generally acknowledged by Christians and non-Christians alike as supported in the Bible. The Bible does not condone homosexuality, lesbianism, or marriage between same-sex couples, and no amount of playing with Scripture verses can make it so.
On these three issues alone it is very clear that the Bible supports conservative principles, and this explains why I as a Christian am also a conservative.