Robert Meyer
September 14, 2004
What is a conservative Christian worldview?
By Robert Meyer

In the biography under my articles, it says that I believe in the precepts of a conservative Christian worldview. One reader questioned me as to the meaning of that phrase, but before I define it, I will tell you what it is not. I am not claiming that if Jesus were to come back today, he would be compelled to lead a right-wing political party. Nor am I asserting that some country or political movement has God on their side by default. In fact, I think the implications are that we must change our views to be sure we are on God's side. Interestingly enough, that is exactly what the icon of conservativism, Ronald Reagan, said in a speech during his presidency.

The term worldview, comes from the German word weltanschauung. It implies all encompassing, unifying and underlying principles that define an approach to all aspects of life. The wordview acts as a filtering mechanism for discerning truth. It is much like the original meaning of the term university; which is to say unity with diversity, a common concept that unites a diversity of disciplines in a didactic setting.

Having a Christian worldview means that the realm of Christ is not limited to spiritual salvation, but he is Lord over all of life. Thus my duty is to think "Christianly" in my approach to law, politics, economics, education, business, the family, social sciences, the nature and state of humanity, etc. This is perhaps where the idea of conservativism imposes itself. At one time in history, I might easily have been a liberal Christian, if the meaning of "liberal" had simply meant generousity and graciousness. But unfortunately today, that moniker comes with some very negative connotations.

The concept of Christianity today has been secularized, so that being a "Christian" often is nothing more than taking an activist position on a set of proscribed social issues du jour. For example, we will hear that Jesus said "judge not," so that means we can't call immorality wrong anymore. Jesus rebuked a few rich men, therefore any economic policy that fails to horse whip the wealthy is called unchristian. Jesus said that those who live by the sword shall die by sword, therefore we must be pacifists. Jesus said that we should turn the other cheek, so that applies to our military collectively, as much as the individual. Most of these assumptions result from a theology of pretext and platitudes. So many of these same people de-emphasize personal conduct and responsibility as important to Christian duty.

Ironically it is from liberal quarters that we so often hear mantra, "separation of church and state," yet they fail to properly apply the concept. For instance, we observe many a liberal commentator complaining about president Bush's "God talk" violating this hallowed separation. Then the same editorial later condemns Bush for not acting like Mohatma Gandi in his approach to prosecuting the war on terror. If a man gives away the public's money he is compassionate. If he gives away his own nobody notices. Consistently inconsistent if ever I saw it.

This is where the conservative approach comes to play. Conservative Christianity takes an approach that was highly refined in the Reformation. A biblical system that distinquishes between two kingdoms or realms of authority; the church and the state, in which both are under God. The church has the ministry of grace, while the state administers justice. Thus, the true understanding of separation is a functional and jurisdictional division of duty and responsibility The phrase "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's," implys distinct jurisdiction to powers of the state. Liberals view that separation as an ideological seclusion of the sacred from the secular. This result is misguided public policy as well as downplaying individual accountability.

For example, the idea of governmental charity through coerced transfer payments is wrong because it invalidates the duties of the church and individual. It also destroys the voluntary aspects of true charity, and makes benefit rights a tool of governmental power. Gratuitous handouts rather then helping hands foster unnecessary dependence on government. The liberal view has the government taking more and more of the duties of church and individual, so that the church is irrelevant in all but abstract spiritual affairs.

The primary role of the government under a biblical paradigm(as seen in Roman chapter13), is to protect the general welfare by punishing the evil doer. This principle extends to just warfare. That is why there is nothing hypocritical about a leader turning the other cheek in his private life, but conducting a war in his capacity as civil or military leader. Look at it another way. Suppose a banker comes across a homeless individual in need of help. It may be his duty to help that person with his own money, but he can't use the funds of his depositors. That would be embezzlement, because it is not his money to give. Likewise a president cannot turn the other cheek on behalf of a country, that is not his ordained duty, and it violates his covenant oath.

And look how this misapplication spills over into individual morality. Liberals seem to downplay issues like marital infidelity, abstinence, homosexual unions or personal vices. This is because morality is deemed a function of social issues, not private conduct. Lying doesn't matter if nobody dies. Marital infidelity is fine if someone does their job, or if the economy is okay. The contemporary view of tolerance always guarantees that problems are dealt with only after they become epidemics. Compartmentalization is the operant methodology. People see no relationship between their "faith" on the weekend, and their normal affairs during the week.

The conservative Christian worldview also recognizes that education is the responsibility of parents, not the government. It is not surprising they would favor a system of tuition tax credits, private or home school to public education. So often instruction from the home and church is circumvented in a public school setting.

In issues of law, we understand that there must be a fixed principle of legal interpretation, or there is ultimately no law at all. The judge rises above the statute. Legal positivism and evolving standards render legislation, and thus representation, a voice of irrelevance. This is the forsaking of biblical standards, and substituting a Darwinian/Spencerian approach to law I desire that we put more emphasis on a restitution form of justice, which would conform to the biblical pattern.

In the realm of business, it is right to point the finger at greedy enterprises. In doing so let us not forget that coveting and envy are equally destructive. Too often the liberal solution is a social egalitarianism engineered by pulling down the ones on the top. We should instead encourage a rising tide, by the lifting of all boats through the work ethic and ingenuity.

This is a definition of Christian conservativism that barely hits the tip of the iceberg. But it is capable of curtailing the problems brought on by the scourge of postmodernism.

© Robert Meyer

 

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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)

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