Questions & Answers: January/February 2019

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January/February 2019

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Questions & Answers: January/February 2019

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Jesus Christ said His Kingdom is not in or of this world (John 18:36 John 18:36Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
American King James Version×
). But that’s not to say that God doesn’t have definite opinions about major cultural issues that divide people today. God’s opinions are defined by His law and His Word, the Bible. These reflect His thinking, His mind and His character.

God doesn’t support a particular political party or parties. However, views on many major cultural issues often either align with or directly oppose God’s laws as spelled out in His Word. This is crucial to understand. God’s support is of the issue , not of a political party. The same goes for His support of any person, including government leaders or presidents. As the apostle Peter said: “God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness [alignment with His laws] is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:34-35 Acts 10:34-35 34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that fears him, and works righteousness, is accepted with him.
American King James Version×
).

There are no saviors among political leaders or parties. Beyond Today magazine and its publisher, the United Church of God, are not aligned with any political party, government official or news network. Our articles, Beyond Today TV programs and sermons given in our Sabbath services are to reflect the Word of God —no matter what side of the political or social spectrum that may fall on.

As an example, let’s consider two major issues that are very divisive in American society and politics today—abortion and the removal of God from public life.

The toll of legalized abortion

Abortion was legalized in the United States in 1973 in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision. This decision struck down a Texas law banning abortion and effectively legalized the procedure across the United States. Before this decision abortion had been illegal in much of the country.

What is God’s view of abortion? He declares, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13 Exodus 20:13You shall not kill.
American King James Version×
). Aborting the unborn is the taking of innocent human life.

God addressed this issue long before there were any political parties. Every civilized society recognizes that murder is a crime and treats it as such. Yet people have come up with various reasons to excuse the murder of the most innocent of all—the unborn.

God is neither Democrat nor Republican, but He is very pro-life. God wants to give billions of people eternal life (1 Timothy 2:4 1 Timothy 2:4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
American King James Version×
), for them to live with Him forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17 1 Thessalonians 4:17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
American King James Version×
).

Of the two major American political parties, one is more conservative and pro-life (opposed to abortion) while the other, claiming support for women’s rights, is more liberal and fiercely dedicated to keeping abortion legal—even though the practice kills hundreds of thousands of female babies in the nation every year.

How must God view this large-scale killing of the unborn—close to a million a year in the United States alone? And how must He view those who support it? No one who calls himself or herself Christian should support a heinous practice that is so utterly contrary to God’s nature and character and His desire for mankind.

Removing God from public life

Over recent decades conservatives and liberals have argued whether religious displays could be placed on government property—a clear violation, some liberals say, of the separation of church and state. But is this factual?

The phrase “separation of church and state” has been repeated so often and so frequently that many people assume it is part of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Those who endlessly repeat it want to see God, the Bible and references to them removed from all aspects of public life and even from America’s history. But the simple truth is that the words “separation” and “church” appear nowhere in the text of the U.S. Constitution or its amendments (“state” appears only when referring to the individual U.S. states, foreign nations, the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and the presidential state of the union address).

In 1962 the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional any school-sponsored prayer in public schools. The following year it expanded its ban to include any school-sponsored Bible reading. This was in spite of the First Amendment’s clear wording that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …” These rulings, while emphasizing the first part of the First Amendment, ignored the second part.

In 2005 the Supreme Court ruled against the display of the Ten Commandments in court buildings or on government property, even though the Supreme Court building itself prominently shows Moses holding tablets bearing the Ten Commandments.

Again we have a major cultural issue where one political party has consistently pushed for removing God, His laws and religious freedom from public life, while the other has tried to preserve them.

How must God view this? In the very first of God’s Ten Commandments He says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3 Exodus 20:3You shall have no other gods before me.
American King James Version×
). But today society exalts many things above God, ignoring Him and His instruction for us. He warns of the consequences of choosing our own ways above His: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death ” (Proverbs 14:12 Proverbs 14:12There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×
; Proverbs 16:25 Proverbs 16:25There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
American King James Version×
, New International Version, emphasis added throughout).

God does give us the choice as to whether we will obey Him. He tells us: “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses … Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 Deuteronomy 30:19-20 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live: 20 That you may love the LORD your God, and that you may obey his voice, and that you may hold to him: for he is your life, and the length of your days: that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation).

God presents a simple choice. Obeying and honoring Him leads to life and blessings; disobeying and ignoring Him leads to curses and death. When we at Beyond Today examine social and cultural issues, our goal is also simple—to explain what the Bible says on the subject. Today, many want to remove God from public life. When Jesus Christ returns, God will remove such corrupt and misguided thinking from public life. Only by so doing can God bless and save all human beings who honor and follow His “perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25 James 1:25But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
American King James Version×
).

To learn more, read our free study guide The Ten Commandments .

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