New Book Calls Christians' Civic Neglect "Sinful Silence"
- Wednesday, August 18, 2004
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Failure to carry out a divine mandate for Christians to uphold God's standards in civil government could result in dire consequences for nations, churches and families, Ken Connor and John Revell write in a new book.
Within the pages of "Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Civic Duty," Connor and Revell unpack insights from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah concerning a believer's responsibility to participate in the civil process of his or her nation.
Connor is an attorney in Washington, D.C., and former president of the Family Research Council. Revell serves as associate editor of "SBC LIFE," the official journal of the Southern Baptist Convention.
"Sinful Silence," released by Ginosko Publishing, presents “biblical principles that will remove any doubt as to God's heart on the issue of civil involvement," the authors write in the introduction. "We have attempted to present a compelling case from the writings of the prophet Isaiah – a case that will likely alarm you – but a case that will hopefully draw you into a closer walk with God."
The book's opening chapter argues that when citizens have a vote in the selection of their leaders, God holds both the leaders and the citizens accountable for the actions of the government.
"Through the Scriptures we can determine God's expectations of our government," Connor and Revell write. "... [E]ach of us has direct access to the decision-making process in our states and in our nation. We have no excuse! If we are irresponsible in our voting or if we fail to vote, we cannot escape accountability before God."
When Christians recognize violations of God's standards in government but fail to address those violations, they may experience a hindered relationship with the Lord, the authors write.
"If the majority of Christians know God's heart on issues of civil immorality but continually refuse to address these civil sins through their vote and access to elected representatives, then it stands to reason that ... God would reject the majority of our worship in this nation," Connor and Revell write.
In the middle chapters of the book, the authors examine God's standards of justice for civil governments: Chapter three outlines general principles that a just government must uphold while chapter four specifically looks at the moral shortcomings of government in America. Chapter five argues that God's own character and the standards to which He holds His people demand that Christians speak out against governmental injustices.
"When we remain silent at the polls or when we don't call our representatives to action in these areas, the watching world could falsely conclude from our actions that God is not really concerned about these issues," the authors write. "They then could logically conclude that the vocal minority of politically active Christians don't truly represent God's heart, but are instead 'religious right' fringe fanatics who should be dismissed and ignored as such."
The remedy for governmental injustice in America is for believers to reject the world's values and refocus on God's priorities in the areas of justice, relief for the oppressed and protection for the helpless, Connor and Revell write. Christians must pray for their nation, become informed of the important issues and exercise their right to vote, they write.
"In order for us to address the civil immorality in our nation, we must first repent of (our) sins and turn our love back to the One who loves us," the authors write.
“When we do, we will once again embrace the most pressing issues – priorities of the One who is King over all civil authorities. Perhaps then He will have mercy upon our nation."
© 2004 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
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