And to quote an old joke, "It's not paranoia, Mr. Corn, if they really are out to get you." If you watch what the pope's been saying about ending the Protestant reformation lately and joining up with evangelical charismatics, and if you remember the history of the Roman church at all, such events at this time in history do give one pause, especially if you've studied prophecy any at all. If you look at the powerful pressure being exerted worldwide to, as Pope Benedict suggested in an encyclical a few years ago, create a “true world political authority” with “real teeth,” wielding sufficient power to govern economics, food, energy, armaments, environmental protection, and migration for the whole world", it sounds reasonable to be a little concerned about the papacy's role in what seems to me to be a march toward global theological Marxism. In the same encyclical, Benedict said that trade unions, international political parties (there's only one of those - the International Communist Party), trade associations, world political and church leaders should all get together to form this new global government. He also suggested that powerful countries like the United States should be forced to submit to this world government - that's the bit about having "real teeth".
If that doesn't send a shiver up your Adventist spine, I'm not sure you've been reading your Sabbath School Quarterly.
But whatever happens with regard to religious events in the world, the United States is forbidden by its constitution to establish any religion that is supported by the government. As a practicing Adventist, Carson will stand firm in protecting that bit of the Constitution, whatever any other church or organization may attempt to do. Carson has also said he believes if you mess up the environment, you should clean up after yourself. That sounds like a sound environmental policy to me. He says he has no problem using the military to defend the citizens of the United States. That's sound Biblical governance straight out of the Old Testament.
Everything Adventists believe might happen at the end of time can be addressed simply by keeping the US government in line with the Constitution. That's a very presidential thing to do. It's also a very Christian thing to do. Many other Christians also believe that the end is near. Few of us in the Christian faith believe in turning the US into a theocracy. Those who do are de facto enemies of the state because we are prohibited from allowing any establishment of a national religion by the Constitution. I can see, however, why leftists, Adventist or otherwise, might have some issues with Carson's protectiveness toward the Constitution, given the left's complaints that the Constitution only tells what the government can't do, not what it should do. Believe me, the left has whole new amendments about that subject ready and waiting to do some "adjustment" to the founding documents. Carson, would clearly resist meddling with the Bill of Rights especially.
Adventists are down with that. We have long printed a church-run magazine called "Liberty" which is devoted entirely to promoting religious liberty in the US. We are free-market missionaries. We run extensive medical work and have the second largest parochial school system in the country including the prestigious Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Many of our missionaries are even self-supporting. We Adventist run missions all over the world. We are first on the scene with the Red Cross and Salvation Army at disasters. We dig wells, educate children and help people achieve economic independence, good health and peace of spirit in every corner of the Earth. We have more members outside the United States than inside it.
The church's beliefs about the end times do not prevent us from being loyal Americans, loving our neighbors as ourselves and planning for the future as a nation, whether Jesus gets here in 10 years or 200. This has absolutely zero impact on Carson's potential service as president. The Adventist negative reaction toward Carson within the church is more about him being a Republican as, for some odd reason, there are quite a the number of SDAs who are lifelong Democrats. Left-wing SDAS find Carson's conservative politics very unsettling. Historically, most elected SDA politicians have been Democrats including the infamous (and to me entirely embarrassing) Sheila Jackson Lee who claims to be an Adventist. Lee is so far out there that even her Democrat colleagues are wary of enlisting her aid lest she humiliate them with one of her classically ridiculous rants.
I think if Carson were a Democrat he'd be getting less harassment from members of his own church. Even in the Adventist church, if you're black you're expected to be a Democrat. It's kind of sad, considering the Democrat Party's history with regard to slavery, Jim Crow Laws, segregation, lynchings, the KKK, Sunday Blue Laws and the assassination of Dr. King (James Earl Ray was an ardent Democrat). You'd think black Adventists would lean toward being Republicans, but that's a national conundrum, not a church problem.
There is also a good deal of fear among the members and even the clergy, that Carson's candidacy will shine an unwelcome light on the church and its beliefs by standing for the highest office in the land. The fear among some Adventists, I think, is that the scrutiny of the media on Carson's faith will bring on the time of trouble, which many SDAs fear, thanks to some pretty scary evangelist meetings we all went to as kids.
Not me, though. I am not afraid and I welcome the scrutiny our church will get during the Carson campaign. It may even serve to flush out some of the nonsense that takes place in the dark corners of Adventism - things that should be flushed out. There's nothing like having to defend your beliefs to bring your belief system into sharp focus.
I'm proud to believe the things I believe. I'm not afraid of wading into the debate over my faith that is sure to come. The mainstream press and Washington good old boy network is terrified at the idea of an honest man in the Oval Office. I think some Adventists are afraid Carson will make us look bad or that, once in the public spotlight, he'll draw fire down on the church. God, however, commands us to go into all the world preaching the gospel. I don't think Christ would have a problem if the world came to us asking us what is our testimony about him. Time for proclaiming that Three Angels Message we're always talking about.
Me I think Carson has been called by God for such a time as this. He didn't seek this out, it was pretty much thrust upon him because he had the courage to tell the truth to power at a National Prayer Breakfast. I think he's already show his ability to handle the kind of dirty media tricks they will throw at him. Even if he doesn't win, it's going to put our church on display and that's not a bad thing. Maybe we can stop straining at gnats and take on some of those camels that are the real problems in this world and in the church.
|Time to stand in the breach...|
The theology of my church is imminently logical, scriptural and the only way to make it bad or weird is to distort those beliefs all out of whack. Like Carson's response to the medias attempts to trash his record and reputation, I believe it is time for Adventist to stand up and say, "I'm proud to believe what we believe!" and to defend ourselves before principalities and powers. Why not? The truth is on our side is it not? And repeating our defense over and over in the media will certainly land us more free public relations than we ever could have gotten otherwise.
And there's no reason to worry about an Adventist president upsetting relations with anyone because of his religion. We believe in the Golden Rule (something both Trump and Clinton apparently don't mind bending to suit their own ambitions). SDAs aren't anti-anybody, much less anti-Catholic. We've been getting along with our fellow Catholic and Protestant brethren for better than 150 years now. There are a lot of folk who believe in the Rapture and the rise of an anti-Christ. Some have even occupied the White House. Is THAT going to make them bad leaders of our country and unelectable? Of course not.
Christians don't believe we have to conquer the world and force everyone to obey our religion before the Messiah can come. That's Islam (which accounts for what Carson said about a Muslim President). The Christian faith on the other hand tells us to not lie, kill, cheat, steal, commit adultery, disrespect our parents or be greedy or even to rebel against our government except where it conflicts with our duty to God. That's pretty straight American patriotism. The Pledge of Allegiance even has that line about "one nation, under God." Even the pledge allows for God's sovereignty over the state. Sounds like an excellent set of values for someone we are going to choose to be the chief executive of our government.
It sounds to me that what a lot of Atheists, Christians, Catholics and even some Adventists are trying to say is that the president needs to be an atheist (or a nice acceptable kind of lukewarm Christian) with no firm religious belief system other than what the herd believes about socialism, evolution, atheism and environmentalism in order for that person to be an acceptable candidate for the presidency. Every US president in history has been a believer of some sort. We've managed to muddle along without their religion turning the United States into a religious gulag. I think an Adventist neurosurgeon is smart enough to handle it.
Time to put on our big boy pants and enter the arena my Adventist brothers and sisters. Stop being afraid of the time of trouble. Will God not bring you through it, if you believe. Shouldn't we be prepared to testify as to our faith? I think what may be confusing us is that we thought all along that we'd be testifying before priests, judges and soldiers. Who knew it might well be before TV cameras and Klieg lights?