Sound Teaching

This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

Index by Subject

Partisanship and Morality

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President Trump is a lightning rod for controversy. His pugnacious personality, outsider status and vulgarity is shocking to the sensibilities of both media and political opponents.

The criticisms of the President are well deserved on his part, as he is not a pleasant person. What is obvious to the unbiased, however, is that partisanship plays a large role in the criticism.

It is striking how often there is a willingness to overlook the failings of one’s own champion, while excoriating any perceived imperfection in the opponent’s man or woman.

Those who are familiar with recent American history know of the immorality of our leaders, especially our Presidents. Lyndon Johnson was known to be a prideful, profane manipulator of people. John Kennedy was a serial adulterer, as was Bill Clinton. Richard Nixon was a liar and a crook. The use of profanity by most or all of these men, and others who have held the office, is well known and documented.

The oval office has been occupied by racists, misogynists, criminals and liars throughout its existence. Part of this is because the pursuit of power itself is a leaven which tends to corrupt men. Part of it is because men themselves are imperfect, and often unrighteous.
The same kind of imperfections, biases and corrupt motives lead people to overlook such evil when it suits them. This is so evident to one “side” today, but it was equally evident to the other “side” less than a decade ago. This is what partisanship is, and leads people to “speak evil of dignitaries” (Jude 8). Note that in this verse, Jude was identifying people who were unrighteous and condemned.

How does this impact the Christian? Simply, we need to be careful we do not fall into partisanship in our interactions with others. While politics is the obvious application of this principle, there are many other places where this might be done.

“For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, ‘I am of Paul,’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos,’ are you not carnal?” (1 Corinthians 3:3-4). It is carnal, fleshly and unrighteous to be divisive. While Paul’s admonition was to the church in Corinth, and the internal relationships among them, the contribution to “envy, strife, and divisions” is always carnal.

This does not mean that division and conflict will not come. However, it does condemn the Christian being a cause or contributor to it. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).

Getting back to politics. It is wrong for a Christian to spread unfounded, unproveable, and often false “news” about another. This is true whether the one is a champion or opponent. It is wrong for a Christian to attribute motives to another. It is equally wrong for a Christian to rationalize the ungodliness of any man or woman just because you agree with the policy he or she espouses.

Put simply, a Christian is bound by principles such as honesty, righteousness and love for his fellow man. Because men are imperfect, voting is always a process of choosing “the lesser evil.” There will be times when Christians may differ on what the “lesser evil” is. There are times when Christians may have different qualms of conscience in these matters. Christians should never compromise their integrity in order to rationalize support for any man! To do so is an exchange of the soul for this world (cf. Matthew 16:26).