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8.11.2005    |    "Vote Christian in 2008"
Rev. Jerry Falwell can't seem to win for losing. He's had to retract a mini-campaign of his in which the tagline is "Vote Christian in 2008." The retraction came as a result of the predictable eruption of indignation from, among others, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The Rev apparently means well, but, well, has a tin ear to the realities of politics in America in the 21st century.

Perhaps this is all of a piece for Falwell, to whom is attributed the infamous statement, "God doesn't hear the prayers of the Jews." Or, it could have been former president of the SBC Bailey Smith, but it is this sort of thing for which some of us Baptists are known for, and for which we forever seem to be apologizing to others for. And rightly so. This isn't just having a tin ear; this is ignoring God's revelation of Himself to Israel, a revelation that has yet to be fully unfolded. God does not break His promises to the Jewish nation, or to anyone else.

But "Vote Christian in 2008"? Anti-Semitic, which is the underlying reason why the ADL got into the fray to begin with? Not really. Rev. Falwell, or anyone else, who embraces this slogan is simply saying, in non-PC words, "vote your faith." Falwell's faith is Christianity; urging others to vote in ways informed by their faith is hardly anti- anything. It is pro-God, which might annoy atheists, but they're going to hell anyway...

All of this does not mean that Falwell, and far too many others who are called evangelical, are absolved for being pro-Israel but just a tad anti-Semitic. We love Israel, don't you see, because of the role the restored Jerusalem must play in the end times. If only you Jews weren't so, well, you know, Jewish.

For a semi-humorous take on this subject, you'd do a lot worse than reading this Slate article by Jeffrey Goldberg. There's humor, some bathos, but, mostly, a typical misunderstanding by a Jew as to our unequivocal understanding of salvation through Christ alone. If not now, then at the end.

Does God hear the prayers of a Jew? Of course. In fact, assuming that God has an in-box, I'd have to assume that such prayers go right to the top. The Jews remain God's people, even as we Christians have joined them as chosen to bear witness to God in this world. God, of course, hasn't an in-box; He's always open, 24/7, 365 days a year. Prayers, from anyone, are heard.

Which changes nothing about God's revelation to us. Hearing, and answering, are two quite different things.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.