Churchmen possessed by political certainty: lessons from history (II)

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


On the positive side of this ledger? Look at how the elderly John Wesley inspired the young William Wilberforce to take up arms against slavery and the slave trade. Wesley could never have been a politician and Wilberforce could never have been an evangelist (I don’t think).

If this pattern applies now, it means that Reformed church officers are not called into secular politics; but they are called to inspire and shepherd the men who are. Thoughts?

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Absolutely. But note that it was Wilberforce who spoke and acted, publicly. Wesley was not belligerating against his civil authorities. Critical point. We have always exhorted and warned and taught and preached to our civil magistrates in the body of Christ, and always pointed out that every pastor should do so.


When Doug Wilson or Tim Bayly comment on politics, I often agree, though not always. I often learn something. When I agree and learn something, it’s usually because what they are saying is derivative: they’ve picked up something from a man like Joe Sobran, who did dedicate his life to studying politics and culture. I’m usually better off getting it straight from the source.

You can’t be good at everything. Some political commentary is fine; an excess is a bad sign.

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Being derivative is no fault. Being nonderivative is. Sobran was derivative, to the max. I think good men feed on humble men who repeat what they heard and were taught, and by God’s grace, they learn to pass it on themselves. What we don’t want to pass on is our following a bad stream with bad history and bad fruit, and originality runs thick in such streams.

BTW, you talk a lot more than I did your age. I tell my wife you are so wise. May God make your life as wise as your words.

At my recommendation, Mary Lee just read this. It had just been a balm of Gilead for me. What’s noteworthy is the depth of our condition when we observe it rightly diagnosed. Covid has passed, but soon there will be a Next Thing which will be used to gain disciples.


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On further thought, what you say here also applies to civil servants (public servants, State or Federal government employees). They (well, we) can make a difference as well.

During the pandemic, the local equivalent of Anthony Fauci was leading on mask mandates, not being able to meet in church, and - once it was available - the need to vaccinate. But we in the churches listened to him and took his advice on board without any of the angst seen in churches elsewhere. Why? Because word got out in the churches that he was “family” - that is, a Christian, active in a community Baptist church. In effect, he was trusted.

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