Monday, February 05, 2007

God and Governing: A Conference on Ethics, Virtue, and Statesmanship

Trinity International Universities' California Campus is putting on a conference on Ethics and Government. The text bellow, taken from the Trinity site describes the reason for the conference. An ad for the conference appeared in Christianity Today and other magazines this February. Go to for additional information.

Evangelical Christians and Politics
According to the news media, evangelical Christianity obtained an unparalleled level of political power in Washington, D.C., during the last fifteen years. Newspaper and magazine editors have warned of "theocracy" and of the coming of a regime of oppressive Christian morality. But, not only have these warnings not been justified, evangelicals themselves have been disappointed with the ineffectiveness of their political contacts in Washington.
Professed friends of the so-called "religious right" have been caught up in ethical scandals. Leaders associated with evangelical Christianity in the popular mind have alienated many people through their intemperate statements and actions. Despite claims of evangelical power, little or no progress has been made upon implementing the perceived agenda of evangelical Christians on moral issues such as abortion, embryonic stem cell research, bioethics, the protection of the family, care for the poor, ending international religious persecution, securing educational freedom, and caring for the weak and powerless among us. Instead, many voices claim that evangelicals have been used and manipulated for their votes and money without policy makers having any real intention of following through on their promises to the evangelical community.
Appropriate Christian Involvement
We know from the Scripture that we must not place too much hope in human governments. The interests of the kingdom of God are furthered by the preaching of the Gospel and by discipleship, not by the work of government. But the Scripture does command us to seek justice, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to seek freedom for the oppressed and liberty for the captive, to rescue those being led away to death, and to stand up for the powerless and the widow and orphan. These biblical injunctions would seem to encourage some political involvement, especially in a republic.
But why, if evangelicals have really been so powerful, have they been so ineffective in helping the poor and oppressed? Why has it been difficult to achieve reasonable limited results?
Practical Answers
This conference on God and Governing seeks real practical answers to these questions. We do not gather to condemn all Christian calling to statesmanship and politics, nor do we gather to validate the false claim that the kingdom of God can be brought in through the work of human governments. Instead, we seek to discuss the practical ways in which Christians can execute their duty to love their neighbor and help the oppressed, in the context of politics, with greater effectiveness and greater glory to Jesus Christ.
At the God and Governing Conference, which is being held at the Westin Hotel South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California, major figures from the Christian world of ideas will wrestle with this difficult topic. In addition to the major presentations and speeches by the likes of Os Guinness, Dallas Willard, David Wells, Paul Marshall, Vishal Mangalwadi, and Stephen Kennedy, there will be critiques and discussions by panel members who will include pastors, lawyers, and Christian professors.
This opportunity for finding and renewing a commitment to mature character, virtue, and just purposes in Christian involvement in politics should not be missed by Christian leaders who have an interest in political or media affairs. At the edge of the presidential primary season, this conference is provocatively timed relevant to the questions Christians will need to be asking as they go to the polls and if they go to Washington.
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