First: If you haven't read "Electability" (my January 19 post) you might want to. In it I lay out why I think that word is a subtle way of watering down our faith, causing us to pick a candidate who might not match our faith well over one who does. In it I talked about Rick Santorum (hardly on the radar screen at the time in many people's minds), and about how the Bible is full of examples of times when what was "wise" to the world was not honored by God, but rather God tested the heart of His people to see if they would choose faith over "conventional" wisdom (the same worldly system of wisdom, by the way, that tells you that your relatives down the line were monkeys and fish). Reading that post will help you understand me better, and where I am coming from, in this post.
Second: I recognize there are significant issues with Catholicism that Protestants and Evangelicals have. I disagree with Catholics on many issues of the faith. But, that said, I also know many individual Catholics who I am far more convinced are born again Christians than many professing non-Catholic "Christians" I have met who might be quick to point out Catholic faults. I am just glad none of us need perfect theology to be saved, because if we did none of us would be.
Third: No candidate is perfect. None of us are. I doubt any of us would want someone demanding perfection from our entire life, or someone going back and scrutinizing everything we have said, done, written, etc. over the last 20 years and then us having to defend it in 10 second sound bites. Whether you are voting for Santorum or not, I believe what I am about to say will be thought provoking and of value to you.
With That Said, God is On the Move . . .
I can't tell you how exciting it has been for Mary Ann and I to watch the news at night in the last week or two and see the discussions that Rick's Santorum's vetting is causing. Combine that with Tebowmania and now Linsanity and I can't remember a season when I have heard discussions of faith—specifically Christian faith!—so often in the media. (Even after 9/11 I remember God being talked about a lot as comfort and a place to turn, but never this extent of discussion about larger issues of world view.)
What is so exciting to me is that I am hearing things talked about now that I can not ever remember being addressed on such a scale. It seems so often that Christians are relegated (often self relegated) to abortion and gay marriage and a few specific button issues in election cycles. This shallow focus allows Christians to accept or reject individual issues without having to be confronted with a call to consistency in their faith across the board. But Santorum's vetting and the close examination of his statements now and in the past are confronting professing Christians on a much higher level, and I am shouting out, "At last!" Our faith and world view provides the framework and reason for our individual stands—and our individual stands without the full expression of our faith and world view make us be simply seen as angry, judgmental people. But, if our world view (the gospel, the love of God, the reality of sin, the hope of faith, the reality of spiritual warfare and evil, etc.) is shared in fulness and in full context it will, I believe draw many to it—or at least help them understand us better, and help Christians identify inconsistencies between their profession of belief and their lives and choices and priorities and thoughts.
Like him or not, I can't remember a major candidate in recent times who has made it this far seeming to be so across the board in consistency with his world view and his policies as Santorum is. You can't listen to him and not see that this man has a world view and he sticks to it and brings all his other views into consistency with it. If you have read my blog for any length of time you know that this is a major cry of mine—it is ignorant and shallow to expect to separate a candidate from their world view and faith as, if that world view and faith is truly held, it should impact all they are and do.
And, the world view being discussed, is one that should excite Christians beyond measure! Finally, in the major media, we are hearing discussions about Satan, and good and evil, and spiritual warfare, and Satan's attacks on America—and we are being given a much bigger picture of why life is sacred, why people are precious, why religious liberty is so important, why we must support Israel and see some things in the world as truly evil, why the earth is for people's use and stewardship (but not above or equal to people), etc. We are seeing convenient Christianity challenged (meaning people can't just throw out that they are a Christian to get elected, but their lives are being examined for consistency). We are seeing the Protestant denominations called out on their collapse to the world. (Criticize Catholics for what you will, but at least they have stood strong on many of the issues many Protestant denominations have completely caved in on.) When we have CNN printing some things like the following, it should excite us!
"This is not a political war at all, this is not a culture war at all, this is a spiritual war," Santorum said . . . "And the father of lies has his sights on what you think the father of lies, Satan, would have his sights on. A good, decent, powerful, influential country, the United States of America."
Santorum said Satan was first, and most successfully, attacked academia. Once academia fell to pride and its own truths, he said, the Protestant Church fell next in the United States. "We look at the shape of mainline Protestantism in this country, and it is in shambles, it is gone from the world of Christianity as I see it," he said.Again, like Santorum or not, we finally are seeing the core issues addressed and I believe it will (or should) force individual Christians to decide where they stand. No longer can we simply reject an issue (choose economy over abortion as a priority, for example). The Santorum debate is forcing us to choose a world view and to see how many of our individual choices may be inconsistent with the world view we claim to believe in. It is forcing us to decide what we believe about the Bible. It is forcing us to look deep and decide, who are we going to serve? Our heart we will have to have been confronted. And, maybe, God, who values our heart and faith over external circumstances, is simply checking the heart of His children and beginning to force issues that will force Christians to decide who they are going to follow—Him, or the world. And, by having opposing world views so prominently displayed and contrasted, we may not be able, any more, to walk with one foot on each side of the fence. And that would be exciting to me, to see God's children finally have to choose!