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April 24, 2007

Comments

Wow, I am not sure why he'd even be praying in Christ's name to begin with! I doubt where his position on many of the major issues of our day is consistent with Biblical teaching. (But I suppose that's beside the point. Just an observation.)

As for this:

'The words aren't just being sent out into the universe anonymously.'

I am not so sure. Most prayers I hear at public events are just expressions of wishful thinking.

I think this is what most people think prayer is anyway-some generic hoping for something, or some good feelings/thoughts toward someone. I can't tell you how many times in my online life I've heard requests for prayer and promises of prayer for this or that, and some from people who would deny that any kind of God exists!

Melinda,

What a tremendous post! Very insightful, thoughtful, and articulate. Well done.

Similar to what Mo said, in my experience a lot of public prayers don't seem to be God-directed; they are people-directed. I have noticed this in both church and multi-faith settings. It's easy to spot because the person praying speaks of God rather than to God. They speak of God in the 3rd, rather than 2nd person: e.g. "We know God is good" rather than "We know you are good."

While I understand that the prayer is being prayed publicly for the benefit of the people, it should not be directed at the people. I think people praying public prayers are often too concerned about not "saying something dumb" that they forget the whole purpose of the prayer. The attention is taken away from the God-directed and God-centered nature of prayer, and puts it on man. It's no surprise, then, that we end up directing our prayers to the audience rather than God.

Jason

"Wow, I am not sure why he'd even be praying in Christ's name to begin with! I doubt where his position on many of the major issues of our day is consistent with Biblical teaching. (But I suppose that's beside the point. Just an observation.)"

Hi Mo, by what standards do you question his faith? Can a liberal be a Christian? Here is his website:

http://johnedwards.com/about/issues/

I'm not Mo, but...

Alan A. writes:

"Can a liberal be a Christian?"

It depends on what you mean by each term.

Many (most?) people here, I think, understand a Christian to be somebody who aspires to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, and subscribes to "classical Christianity."

More specifically, it refers to someone who:

1. Understands truth as correspondence.

2. Believes the Bible to be divinely inspired in the original autographs.

3. Believes in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.

4. Believes Christians are obligated to evangelize.

Now, on to the definition of "liberal." This is a nearly impossible task, but let's say that liberals believe in:

1. No morally-justifiable wars.

2. No capital punishment.

3. No privately-held guns.

4. Abortion on demand.

5. Same-gender marriage.

6. Complete and total separation of church and state.

7. Increasing taxes to pay for social programs.

8. Imposing environmental restrictions on big business.

9. The second Great Commandment given by Jesus: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

Hope I didn't miss anything big or put up too much of a strawman here.

My own experience has been that, on many of the controversial questions above, a classical understanding of Christianity tends to push one towards the "conservative" viewpoint. For example, take capital punishment. Before I became a Christian, I was solidly against the death penalty. However, after becoming a Christian and in particular leading a Sunday School topical Bible study on the issue of capital punishment, I understood the Bible's position to be favorable towards it and changed my viewpoint. Given my adherence to points (1) and (2) in the above definition of Christianity, I'm obligated to do so.

I think it's possible for Christians to come down on either side of these issues, but I often see the "liberal" viewpoint accompanied by an overdose of item (9) above. Or rather, adherence to this part of Christianity to the exclusion of all others.

As all Christians should know, the _first_ Greatest Commandment given by Jesus was to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Loving God means keeping His Law. Doing this with all your mind means working to sincerely understand His will as reflected in the Bible, and not merely papering over controversial topics with "God is Love."

So, in summary, I suspect your question for Mo was directed to get him to think more about liberals and liberalism, and how they might fit into Christianity. I'm pretty sure you need to come at it from the other way round: understand your classical Christian theology first, and then see if the "liberal" take on some of these controversial issues is valid.

Well said Cliff.

Cliff!

I was trying to formulate an answer for Alan as well as trying to figure out whether he actually wants an answer or is just looking to bait people. And now you've done such a good job that I don't have to.

And I'm actually a 'she'. Anyway, thanks again for your well thought out and stated comment.

Cliff
WOW! Even if Alan is not satisfied with your answer, it serves as an outstanding example of how to answer this question.

After thinking about it, I realize it's lazy of me to rely on someone else's answer.

Being a Christian means being a follower of Jesus. If someone is a follower of Jesus it would make sense that they would believe and live according to what Jesus (and the Bible in general) teaches. Therefore, whatever party or political affiliation they claim would need to be consistent with Biblical teaching. The many examples that Cliff gave show that the teachings of liberalism are not in line with what the Bible teaches. In fact, the two are in direct opposition and conflict.

Mo,

Many apologies for getting your gender wrong. You can call me "Chris" in your next post if you like. :-)

Thanks for the kudos, although I don't think I really fully answered Alan's question. I just provided a framework to answer it. Mostly regurgitated from STR radio shows (the "what is a Christian?" part, anyway).

"The many examples that Cliff gave show that the teachings of liberalism are not in line with what the Bible teaches."

I would be careful here. I think I only gave one real example -- capital punishment -- and that was just describing my own personal investigation, not actually "showing my work" for said investigation. All the issues listed are "hot buttons" enough that we hear them and can't conceive how one could be a Christian and hold the liberal position. But many people do. And, in my experience, they often appear frustratingly reasonable. That's why we have to do our homework. :-)

http://johnedwards.com/about/issues/

Reads like typical election boiler-plate, nothing more.


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