Finding God's Will, or Hearing God's Voice?

Rejecting formulas to find guidance
By Richard P. Hansen

Bruce Waltke is fed up. Christians "ought to stamp out of our vocabulary the nonbiblical and misleading expression 'finding God's will.'" God is not a divine sleight-of-hand artist with an elusive will that we must find like the proverbial pea in a heavenly shell game. God's will, after all, is clear! God wants us to be holy, to be mature, to be more like Jesus. God is all about forging our character and welcoming us into greater intimacy with him.

Who or what is to blame for this unwholesome fixation on God's will? In Finding the Will of God: A Pagan Notion?, Waltke blames disintegrating authority structures, lamenting the loss of guidance that family used to provide, but he especially fingers spiritual immaturity. Christians today, Waltke says,

are willing to try to follow a specific pattern of behavior their pastor draws out for them, but the abstract concept of "loving God" is harder to grasp. Consequently, they are leery of someone telling them to, in the words of Calvin, "love God and do what you please." They would prefer that someone tell them exactly what to do. That's why they resort to divination to seek God's will.

Conservative evangelical churches are often guilty as charged. As Waltke observes, far too many sermons promise "5 Steps to a Better _____ (you fill in the blank)," based on a view of the Bible as an AAA map to life—all road hazards clearly highlighted, of course—rather than as the essential book of stories we need to sustain us on the journey. In such a culture, perhaps it's natural that God morphs into a heavenly computer ready to spit out answers, but only with the correct passwords—in short, divination.

All techniques to "find" God's will—letting the Bible fall open to the first verse you see, laying out fleeces, analyzing signs and the like—Waltke labels as nothing more than pagan divination (hence his subtitle). An Old Testament scholar, he offers a thorough survey of divination techniques. (Did you know rhabdomancy means using arrows to get a sign from God?) After the disciples cast lots to select Matthias to replace Judas (Acts 1:24ff), Waltke says, never again in the New Testament does the church seek God's will with such means. In fact, he adds, whenever God does offer miraculous guidance (Peter's rooftop dream, for example), it is to people who have neither asked for nor are expecting it.

Having established that Christians are too often caught up in seeking shallow formulas that "tell them exactly what to do," Waltke proceeds to devote the final three-fourths of his book to his own six-point program! The six points are familiar—Scripture, a heart for God, counsel from others, providential circumstances, our own good judgment, divine intervention—but he stresses that we must take them in prioritized sequence if we expect to hear from God. While most would agree, for example, that Scripture should take precedence over circumstances, seasoned believers realize God is not contained in six-point systems. God begins at different points with different people—circumstances may drive us to Scripture, or the Lord might first capture our attention by a word from a friend. Chapters on each of the six points offer conventional advice—occasionally quite good—but cannot shake the shadow of the formulaic mindset Waltke himself criticizes.

If Waltke wants to save us from veering off into the stagnant shallows called "finding God's will," Henry Blackaby and his son Richard's more comprehensive Hearing God's Voice keeps us in the strong center of the current. Terminology is important. Whereas "God's will" is static and nonpersonal (something to find like a misplaced map), hearing God's voice is personal and relational. Just as in Henry Blackaby's Experiencing God series, used in churches throughout North America (including the one I serve), the strength of Hearing God's Voice is that the authors never tire in expressing a simple but surprisingly elusive truth: God really wants a relationship with us! "God's choice to communicate in so many diverse ways forces us to put our faith in him, not a method," the Blackabys write. "We do not seek a word from God to prove he is real so we can have a relationship with him. Rather, as we seek to develop an intimate relationship with him, we will hear him speak to us."

Guidance is not complicated: the better we know God, the better we will recognize God's voice. We may not identify every voice on the telephone, but we (hopefully) never mistake our own spouse's or child's voice. The Blackabys ask: do we have hearts, minds, and spirits becoming increasingly familiar with God's voice? In the parable of the sower, the seed is scattered evenly; the crucial variable is the receptiveness of the soil. God is speaking—are we listening and willing to obey?

The Blackabys investigate other methods by which God speaks—inner witness of the Holy Spirit, Scripture, prayer, circumstances, other people—along with novel suggestions about family history and spiritual heritage. However, methods are never raised above relationship or presented in lockstep formulas. For example, the chapter on hearing God through the Bible tells how God spoke to George Muller to establish orphanages for homeless children in 19th-century industrial Britain. Muller began feeling a personal burden to meet this particular social need among many others. He prayed and asked God to examine his motives. He sought advice from trusted Christian friends. Finally, he heard God speak in the Scriptures and knew he should move forward, even though he had no money, expertise, or other resources. God speaks by different methods—and confirmation comes (or not) as we keep listening.

Two other emphases are noteworthy. Too often "God's will" (i.e., what I need to ensure a good life for myself—marrying the right person, pursuing the best career, etc.) is framed as the end, with God as the means. The Blackabys never diminish God as a means to our ends. On the contrary: "At times Christ is inaccurately viewed as a cosmic best friend who only exists to make us happy and successful. God turns our focus away from us and on to him." Yes! The primary reason we should listen is because it is God who is speaking.

Coupled with this refreshing emphasis are strong statements challenging American individualism. Hearing God's voice is a community process—not the quest for a personal holy grail. I wish more books about discovering God's guidance were saying this: "God designed people for interdependence and community. As Christians commit themselves to their fellow believers, God speaks through the church to benefit every member. Estranged from the church, Christians will not hear all God has to say to them."

This is meat-and-potatoes writing. If one might at times wish for some pinches of intellectual seasoning, it is always sane, nourishing, and easy to digest. Richard Blackaby shares a couple of humorous personal stories, instances where he fails to hear God's voice, but overall there are few nods to the mystery, paradox, or human frailty many experience in seeking divine guidance. While I agree that the reasons we fail to hear God's voice are not God's problem, a little more empathy for the hard task of dissolving our own blockages would be welcome. Maybe I am one of only a few modern Samuels who does not always recognize God's voice right away, but I suspect not.

Indeed, the one significant shortcoming of this solid work is the authors' insistence that anyone who wrestles or argues with God's voice "obviously does not really know God." For the Blackabys, this is a no-brainer. If indeed God is perfect love (1 John 4:7-8), who could (or should) argue with him? And yes, some in the Bible who wrestled with God suffered consequences—Jacob walked with a limp, Zacharias was struck mute after questioning the birth of his son John the Baptist. But others who "really knew God" in Scripture did wrestle, sometimes strenuously—Abraham argued to save Sodom for a few righteous men, Moses argued for the wayward Israelites when the Lord was ready to annihilate them, Jeremiah argued against his prophetic call, and, most famously, Jesus certainly wrestled in Gethsemane with what he was hearing his Father ask of him. In the first two cases, the Lord even modified his plans in response to the argument, however we understand that theologically.

Is not occasionally wrestling with what we hear from God exactly what we might expect if we are in relationship with a Person? Do not all authentic relationships—even the relationship between Perfect Love and far from perfect creatures—have at least some wrestling intrinsic, even necessary, to their growth? (On our side, at least.) Allowing more room to be honest with each other about such give and take might be just what we need to hang in there and keep listening.

Richard P. Hansen is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Visalia, California.


Is Media Ethics A Matter of Media Perception?

Media Code of Ethics

Source: Uncyclopedia

On Seeking the Truth

Journalists can be honest, fair and courageous in reporting and interpreting information but only when it is profitable, in which case it usually isn't. In all other cases, just tell people what they want to hear.

Journalists should:

* Test the accuracy of information by fastening the information to a rock and throwing it in the nearest lake. If it sinks, it is ok to print.

* Make shit up. Deliberate distortion of the news is really funny.

* Identify anonymous sources if what they did was really embarrassing or if beastiality was involved. Public figures should always be identified since that is a great way to blackmail them for cash.

* Understand that sources give their quotes with the full knowledge that it will be printed or broadcast which automatically makes whatever they have to say irrelevant. Just get them to say the most ridiculous thing they can think of and fix it up later with some creative editing.

* Understand that misleading re-enactments or staged news events are ok mostly because the public is too stupid to know the difference. And if a re-enactment is necessary, throw a ragdoll dummy off a roof at some point, that shit is always good for a cheap laugh, especially if broadcast in slow-motion.

* Seek out and publish only one side to an argument and then, later, seek out the other after they are good and pissed off. You get better quotes that way.

* Jump to conclusions. Truth and accuracy matter little because making the deadline is way more important

* Plagiarize. Chances are, whatever it is, someone else has written it better then you can so why kid yourself? Change a few key words and hope nobody does any checking.

* Only support the open exchange of views if you can be sure that no freaks or weirdos are present to fuck things up.

* Doctor pictures and video. Sometimes news photos aren't "exciting" enough and they need to be played with for dramatic effect. Photoshop was invented for a reason folks.

* Stereotype. It is really the easiest way to represent people. For example, since there are no Jews in Arkansas a picture of Woody Allen is a great way to represent any Jew in an Arkansas publications. Like they can tell the difference.

* Trap people and lie for a good story. Stories from undercover journalists are a great way to catch people with their pants down, literally. Because the media itself is the only thing standing in the way of millions of sick pedophiles out there.

* Pay little attention if any headlines, news teases, promotional materials, photos, videos, sound bites, graphics, and quotations misrepresent their source. People take stuff out of context anyway so why bother being right as long as it looks good.

* Ignore diversity. The cultures of other people are weird and difficult to understand and people cannot view them without some degree of condescension and awe. Therefore, explaining these cultures is really a waste of time, time better spent laughing at stuff like praying towards Mecca or arranged marriages. Remember that people view diversity as a necessary evil. The world would work so much better if everyone thought and acted alike.

* Understand that it is ok to print insulting political cartoons and the like as long as the subject of ridicule has little chance of seeing the offending material.

* Insert themselves in their stories. Would you rather hear a story from someone who was there and a participant or someone that heard about the story and told you from someone else's point of view? Just make sure you're loaded on LSD when you cover an event because things like political debates are so much better that way.

* Overanalyze everything. If praying mantises are dying by the thousands, surely there are twenty "experts" out there we can interview about it. And, if not, then a local science teacher would be a good stand-in.

* Remember that whatever we say is the "official record." Whenever we report one thing and ignore another, we are advocating the thing we report. Since we cannot report on everything we should only choose stuff that we like. Someone else will surely report about the other stuff.

* Cause panic. Nothing gets the people of the world to stop what they are doing and glue themselves to the TV set like a good old fashioned media panic. So what if the Swine Flu has only killed a handful of people and is milder than the regular flu, which kills thousands each year? Forget that part and keep repeating that there is no cure and that the virus can mutate at any time and wipe out civilization as we know it. That is the stuff that sells ads.

On Maximizing Profit

Journalism is really a business. We like to think this is to keep us independent of governments and outside interests but really this is the only way the owners of the media can make any money. Remember, pledge drives are for pussies.

Journalists should:

* Hire only the least qualified individuals for any open position. Bonus points if they are a minority or a woman, we don't want to lose readers by pissing these people off.

* Increase space for advertising at the expense of content. Never pass up an opportunity to peddle some shit to someone.

* Not release any stories that will piss off our advertisers.

* Watch movies, take vacations, read books and play video games all for free. Journalists can do this by saying they are a "reviewer" when in actuality our opinions only carry weight because thousands of people will see them.

* Mislead the public. Advertising is so prevalent in our society that people actually expect to see it everywhere. This makes it ok to blur the lines between news and advertising. Besides, if newspapers cost 75 cents each, and the nightly news is free to anyone who owns a TV, how the fuck are we going to make money?

* Jam advertising down people's throats. We're in the advertising business, not the news business.

* Get a sponsor for everything. Anything can be sold, stadium naming rights, titles on opinions pages, the fucking superimposed first down marker on Monday night football. Never pass up an opprotunity to sell ad space. They may not know it, but people like it.

* "Mistakenly" air the same commercial three times during the same commercial break. Because people need to understand that ALL is the Stain Lifter, and you can't get anything clean using that Tide shit. And ALL paid us twice as much as Tide did.

On People Exploitation

Journalists must show no interest in respecting people, especially if they are celebrities. The news and the money and prestige involved is way more important than human decency. Remember, if we did not exploit people, we would all be working at Jack in the Box.

Journalists should:

* Be annoying. Let's say someone dies in a horrible motorcycle accident. It would be nice if we could show his gory corpse smeared on the highway, a bloody trail left behind as his body was reduced to a human crayon. Rather, the best way to get good video is to shove TV cameras in the faces of the victim's family as they arrive on the scene.

* Play up anything involving violence. Since newscasts can bypass that idiotic V-chip anything involving violence should be given precedence over all other news. This way, we can provide the youth of America with what they really need. Graphic content.

* Make as much money as possible off of celebrities. If Ben Affleck is spotted buying condoms at the local Wal-Mart, the media reaction should include nothing less then "total coverage." Interrupt broadcasts, hire helicopters, interview eyewitnesses. You never know when Ben Affleck will come back.

* Understand pandering. The era of good taste is gone so if a show where people eat slugs for cash is what people want to watch, then that is what they're going to get.

* Know that victims of sex crimes deserve no protection. Dude, they totally wanted it and they know it.

* In case of disaster like flood, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fire, herpes outbreaks, or earthquakes, head to the poorest parts of town. Poor people in distress or floating dead in a canal makes great news.

* Know that the best place to interview an elusive newsmaker is by standing in their front lawn and yelling a lot.

* Understand children are worthless sources, unless they are saying funny stuff. Record them talking about feces or their body parts or mispronouncing words like "berfday." This is good stuff to save for slow news days.

* Treat reluctant sources with care. Once they realize we don't give a damn about their situation and are only after a story that will make us look good, we will never see them again. Unless we give them money.

* Understand that libel laws are vague and libel lawsuits will eventually go away if we ignore the little ones and throw plenty of money at the really bad ones.

* Beat breaking news to death. People who were alive at the time will always remember the OJ Simpson trial or Elian Gonzalez because these events made us experts at making trivial shit seem important. Keep this up. Whenever a white girl goes missing in a foreign country or some celebrity gets embarrassed by some lame scandal put in 100% and don't let up until the next media circus comes along. Remember the glory days of Pulitzer and Hearst? Strive for that.

* Realize gathering and reporting information will cause harm and discomfort, mostly because the people that work in the media are complete assholes and arrogant social outcasts. Yeah, there's no way around this, sorry.

We Are Spineless Toadies

News Coverage and the media are all predisposed by hundreds of outside influences; advertisers, pissed off interest groups, religion, government, your mom. This will never change and the best way to deal with bias is to ignore the fact it exists and move on.

Journalists should:

* Understand that sometimes, bias and conflicts of interest are unavoidable. By simply saying this it allows us to continue all biased reporting unabated.

* Understand that with any controversial issue, the media inevitably will be associated with one side or another. Try to choose the side that will win.

* Skew coverage of all politics. Since complete objectivity is impossible to achieve we, the media, can do one of two things about it. Ignore the fact that bias exists, or blow it completely out of proportion and call people who think differently idiots. Always remember, Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter actually make money for being pompous assholes.

* Allow advertisers to influence news coverage, especially if they threaten to pull their ads. Conflicts between advertisers should always be resolved by the potential dollar amount of their advertising. Remember: Wal-Mart is always better than Ed's Mattress Emporium.

* Technically hold those in power accountable but we can only do so if it looks like they will be out of power soon. Openly criticizing the government is in violation of The Patriot Act and will piss off a lot of people. Mostly rednecks.

* Understand that if a source offers information for money, then he is greedier then we are and should be offered a job.

* Take comfort in the fact that there will always be idiot attention-whore celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears who use us to stroke their already overblown egos. Don't piss them off and be sure to bow to their every wish otherwise it will be our competition that will benefit.

We Have A Job To Do?

Journalists know that readers, listeners and viewers exist and that in turn makes us rock stars. Hell yeah motherfuckers! People are reading our shit! Keep in mind though that the majority of our readers are idiots and should be treated as such. Responsibility? Psssh! There are ways around that.

Journalists should:

* Understand that complicated things are best left to "serious" news networks like C-SPAN and NPR. Serious stuff is boring anyway.

* Keep an ethics expert, called an Ombudsman on retainer. Of course, this job is of little significance and has no responsibility other than to provide the appearance of respectability and accountability of news reporting. Retiring janitors make great ombudsmen.

* Memorize the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is the only thing that routinely saves our asses from unemployment or lengthy jail time.

* Encourage the public to voice grievances against competing media outlets. Stifle any disasterous criticism.

* Expose the unethical practices of competing news media networks in an effort to steal their advertising revenue.

* Admit mistakes only if found. And then only print or broadcast corrections when and where nobody will see them.

* Understand that journalism is the first draft of history. To us, this means we can be as careless and alarmist as we want with the news just to make more money. People will come later and fix what we screw up.

* Know we are the voice of the people! If there is any doubt as to what is important, remember that the people would rather talk about Lost or the Super Bowl then wars or famine or genocide. Those types of things only happen in other countries anyway.

* Hold dear the truth that most people are retards. Remember, we the media have spent decades cultivating a society that cares more about the results of American Idol then actual worldly problems. Gloss over hard news because nobody really cares and get to the good stuff, like what Eva Longoria wore to the Emmy's or the score of the Dallas Cowboys / Washington Redskins game.

* Remember that we are not doctors, or lawyers or accountants. If we fuck up, chances are nobody will die or be financially ruined. We're pretty much wannabes and scumsucking, parasitic bootlickers, making our way in life off the pain, suffering and success of others. Our jobs can easily be eliminated and nobody will know the difference. This all means we really have no responsibility and therefore no obligation to adhere to any high standards or anything like that.


So Help Me, God: The Expectation of Leadership

By T.M. Moore, BreakPoint

The old saw makes an all-too-true point: How can you tell when a politician is lying? Are his lips moving? Americans have become increasingly cynical about their leaders.

“Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”
(2 Chronicles 19:7) We want to trust them, and we hope they’ll tell us the truth and keep their word. But it seems that, when push comes to shove, politicians are only interested in their own agendas.

Campaign promises go out the window in the heat of political debate, and everyone seems to care only about scoring points and enlarging their base of power. Compromise and spin become the order of the day as politicians fear nothing so much as the latest polls and work hardest at making their decisions palatable to their constituents.

Do we have a right to expect more of our political leaders? Should legislators, executives, and judges be held to a higher standard than mere pragmatism? Almost every officer-holder in the land embarks upon his service by swearing to serve the people, “So help me, God.” We should not allow them to take this invocation of the Lord’s name in a frivolous manner. If they’re going to use it, we should hold them to it.

What God requires of rulers

The Scriptures are abundantly clear on this matter. Those who take up the responsibility of governing a people in the name of the Lord must be prepared to adhere to His requirements. These are spelled out in Deuteronomy 16:18-20, where God says to those who accept the calling to rule, “They shall judge the people with righteous judgment. You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe...Justice and only justice, you shall follow...”

But what does this involve? What do we have a right to expect of those who agree to govern us, calling upon the help of the Lord?

When King Jehoshaphat of Judah took up the responsibility of appointing judges and rulers in the cities of the nation, he charged them solemnly with this mandate. From his words in 2 Chronicles 19:4-7, we can discern precisely what it means for rulers to govern in the help of the Lord.

Govern as unto the Lord

Jehoshaphat’s first injunction to rulers establishes the framework within which we must expect them to govern: “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the LORD” (v. 6). When public officials engage their duties with the words, “So help me, God,” we must presume that they mean what they say. We have a right to expect that legislators, executives, and judges will weigh their actions before the Lord, looking to him in prayer, seeking the advice of wise and God-fearing counselors, and considering the teaching of Scripture and the precedents of God-fearing forebears.

How then can we reconcile this invocation with the resolute effort of public officials to keep “religion” out of the public square? Do they really want to govern as unto the Lord and not unto men? Are they merely submitting to some custom or tradition when they declare this invocation, silently agreeing with all who see them that it is but a trivial procedure and means nothing? If we would help our politicians to make their words matter, then we must remind them of their invocation and encourage them to practice their trust in the Lord daily, and not to give in to the pressures of lobbyists, special interest groups, or their own selfish ambition when it comes to the prosecution of that with which they have been entrusted.

Walk with the Lord

Jehoshaphat’s second admonition follows from this: “He is with you in giving judgment.” We must remind our rulers that God is concerned about every aspect of their work and their lives. He is with them to aid them in ruling the nation, and He forms the kind of person they will be as rulers in the day-to-day details of their lives.

Do we have a right, therefore, to expect of those who invoke the help of God in the performance of their civic duties that they should be people of faith? That they should take seriously such disciplines as prayer, fellowship with other believers, worship, and meditation in the Truth of God? How shall our rulers know the presence of God with them in their law-making, policy-setting, or judging capacities if they do not practice His presence with them in all their daily activities?

Here again, by prayer and continuous encouragement we should come to the aid of our public officials who have sought the help of the Lord in fulfilling the duties of their office. By reminding them of their words and pointing them to resources and people who can help them in their daily walk and in the conduct of their offices, we may be able to guide them to a richer and more meaningful experience of the presence of the Lord in their lives and work.

Fear the Lord

Jefferson once reflected with trembling on the implications of God’s justice for a wayward people such as Americans tend to be. He was right to voice such concern. Jehoshaphat insisted of those who accepted the call to public office in the name of the Lord, “Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you.” In the Scriptures God is clear about His attitude toward those who scorn His Law and ignore His will in the performance of their duties and the conduct of their lives. God hates sin; He hates it even more when public officials breed sin into the systems by which they govern their people. Those kings and rulers—like Jehoshaphat—who truly feared the Lord were well aware of the fact that He is no remote or disinterested deity. He watches over the affairs of men and nations and prefers His own counsel to theirs (Psalm 33:10-12).

They who call upon the name of the Lord at the inception of their public service must nurture the fear of Him as the ground for their lives and duties. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psalm 111:10). The fear of the Lord encourages a close walk with Him, nurtures deep and abiding love for Him, and leads to faithfulness in His service (Deuteronomy 10:12,13). Unless public officials fear the Lord they will not be inclined to seek Him or follow Him as He accompanies them in the fulfillment of their duties.

Be careful in all they do

Finally, Jehoshaphat instructed the rulers he appointed over the people of Judah to “be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.” Rulers must be expected to act in a circumspect manner, with regard for the will of God and the common weal, before they make any decisions or take any actions. They must resist every self-serving inclination or opportunity lest they fall afoul of the justice and goodness of the Lord. They must “deal courageously” (v. 11) in following the way of the Lord in all they do, trusting that He will be with those who act according to His goodness and truth and will bless both them and the people they serve.

Those who invoke the help of the Lord in taking up the call to public service should not expect to have God as their Servant, to do all their bidding whenever they may choose to consult Him. Nor must they renege on their oath in the performance of their duties; the taking of public oaths is a solemn affair, and must not be trivialized or transgressed. If our rulers want us—and the Lord—to take them seriously, then they must seek and receive the help of the Lord according to the guidelines He Himself has provided in His Word.

Mere talk?

Are these words of advice to rulers mere talk? Are we kidding ourselves to think that we could expect our rulers to take their own words seriously? Does Caesar really owe anything to the God he invokes upon taking up the duties to which he has been called? What about separation of Church and State? Are we seeking to establish a theocracy in America? As Paul might have said, “May it never be!”

All we ask is that our politicians begin to redeem the words by which they govern us, and the work they perform on our behalf, by making their “yes” mean “yes” and their “no” mean “no.” And we want them to do so at the very beginning of their service, as well as throughout.

But many will say, “It is unreasonable to expect politicians to govern us as unto the Lord, according to their invocation. We are not a Christian nation.” I do not believe that we should not hold our public officials to their word; if we are to do so, then let us take one of two courses.

First, let us consistently and continuously remind our politicians that they are not acting in the performance of their office according to their words of invocation. Let us become like Elijah or Micaiah, who troubled the King of Israel by their constant insistence on his acting in good faith toward the God they pretended to serve. Let them deny publicly any intention of seeking the Lord in prayer, of leaning on wise and Godly counselors, or of allowing the Word or biblical precedent to inform their actions. Let them stand before us all and say, “I didn’t really mean that. It was just a formality, you know.”

Then, second, if indeed such is to be the case, let us dispense with the formality. Let legislators, presidents, and judges say what they will at their swearing in. Let us require them to declare their sources, invoke the help of particular advisors, known political philosophies, and their own best hunches.

Let them resolve in solemn oaths to look to the god of reason, or prosperity, or political advancement in all their actions. Let them be required, in other words, to tell us, right up front, what they will depend on in governing us, to whom or what they will look, and what will be the formative influences in all their actions as our leaders. And let them say clearly to what extent, if any, they intend to look to God for help at all.

For I rather suspect, given the large Christian population of this nation, and the staying power of a long tradition that—to the chagrin of many—will not go away, that any public official who would choose that course, and who would declare beforehand that he will not look to the help of the Lord in the ways we have described, would find his hopes for attaining political office severely diminished.

For reflection

Is this a reasonable expectation for Christians to hold out to public officials? How might you begin to practice such expectations?