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Friday, June 30, 2017

Faith Steps: Why and How People of Faith Can Engage in Public Policy and Controversial Issues



Recently I enjoyed the privilege of meeting with Christian Medical Association members for a media training session and discussed how people of faith can engage in public policy—including on highly controversial issues such as abortion, assisted suicide, sex, embryonic stem cell research, marriage and more.
My presentation to the doctors drew from the principles outlined in my book and study guide on this topic, Faith Steps.
The key principle of Faith Steps is this: Receiving and responding to God's revelation–by taking moral steps aligned with God's principles–keeps our minds open to His enlightenment and our hearts softened toward Him.
We all hold to a worldview--a set of internal values and responses to questions about what's right, what's wrong, and if there even is a right and a wrong.
The Christian worldview is based on the fact that God reveals Himself and His principles to us:
a.      through His natural creation and our consciences;
b.      through His written Word, the Scriptures;
c.      through the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ.
The Scriptures teach that rejecting this revelation darkens our minds (as we reject the truth about ourselves and our world) and hardens our hearts (as we reject the living God who reaches out to us). 
Rejecting God's revelation results in
futile thinking and a hard heart

The bad news

Romans 1:19-21:
…what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Romans 2:14-15
(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law.
They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
Rejecting God’s revealed principles leads to alienation from God and others:
1.      Choosing adultery instead of faithfulness shatters relationships and families.
2.      Choosing to defy rather than honor parents removes the protective relationship that children and teens need.
3.      Choosing to be selfish instead of helping others leaves us unfulfilled and lonely.
Receiving God's revelation keeps our minds open and
our hearts softened toward Him

The good news

Romans 1 and 2 focus on those who reject God's revelation, the result of which is wrong thinking and hardened hearts.
The converse of this principle, for those who receive God's revelation, is this:
Receiving and responding to God's revelation–by taking moral steps aligned with God's principles–keeps our minds open to His enlightenment and our hearts softened toward Him.
Receiving God’s revelation can lead to a relationship with God and others. Examples:
·        Staying faithful to your spouse builds love and protects children.
·        Children who honor parents benefit from strong family relationships.
·        Helping others makes you the kind of person everyone wants as a friend.
Ultimately these steps in God's direction, this spiritual preparation of our minds and our hearts through the decisions we make, can lead us toward a real relationship with God by His grace, through faith in Jesus Christ. Therefore, as we counsel friends toward God's principles and pursue justice and God's principles in law and public policy, we are laying the circuitry for spiritual life.
Philosopher and theologian Francis Schaeffer explains a principle that parallels Faith Steps in his classic, The God Who is There:
"The truth that we let in first is not a dogmatic statement of the truth of the Scriptures but the truth of the external world and the truth of what man himself is. This is what shows him his need. The Scriptures then show him the nature of his lostness and the answer to it. This, I am convinced, is the true order for our apologetics…."

As we counsel friends toward God's principles 
and pursue justice and God's principles in law and public policy, 
we are laying the circuitry for spiritual life.
To read more about how Faith Steps work and how we can winsomely and effectively engage our coworkers and our culture on controversial issues, visit Freedom2Care.