The introduction, given by Dr. Monsma, raised several questions concerning moral action movements and the problem which they create for Christians. First, there often are no Biblical bases for their defense. Second, can achievements be the same whether performed by a Christian or not? And third, can we, as Christians, join and/or support moral action groups?
Biblical examples of a Christian’s responsibility in the world were then given, e.g.: Jonah in Ninevah, Joseph in Egypt, Abraham in Sodom, Christ in Jerusalem, and Paul in Rome. The difference of the Old and New Testaments’ effect on moral movements was brought up. The point was made that the Old Testament dealt exclusively with the government and nation of Israel, whereas the New Testament involved Christians throughout the world. Christ also was involved in a “moral action” when he replied to the Pharisees “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matt. 22:21) It was emphasized that discussion focus on Art. 36 of the Netherlands Confession.
Our discussion group began by giving a few examples of moral problems (e.g. abortion, nuclear war, drugs, alcohol). We then discussed what our responsibilities to these problems were: We have an obligation to let our light shine; therefore, we should take a stand and show our light.
The problem of our monetary responsibilities as it related to the support of moral problems such as abortion and nuclear arms through taxes was debated. We have an obligation to pay taxes, and the use of it is beyond our control. But, it is our money, given us by God, and our responsibility: therefore, because we obey God, not man, we cannot pay taxes. However, we look to Paul who wrote in Rom. 13:6 “For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers. . .” Our responsibility is to answer to God what we, as stewards, have dealt with the government, our neighbor. Paul tells the Romans to pay taxes, money from which supported the evils of the Empire and persecution of Christians! The government, too, must answer to God. However, as Christians, we can combat and balance moral abuses by letting our light shine, and working to oppose such activities.
The discussion then led to what, and how much we should do. We agreed that involvement should strictly be by the individual, not by the Church as a group. We discussed why the world organizes and concluded that some were for evil purposes (e.g. Unions) whereas others had sound moral goals (e.g. Right to Life). But, can we join just because we agree with their goals, and not necessarily their reasons? We decided that we can agree, but only because we believe in the Bible; and that is the difference between them and us.
We cannot have an indifferent attitude: We must do something, for it is our responsibility to speak the Word. This must be a personal, individual activity, not necessarily in big things nor in protest against the law, but fulfillment individually through ourselves, our children, and in our action towards friends and neighbors. We must understand the times and the world we live in and act accordingly as the Bible and Holy Spirit guide us. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Matt. 5:16.