Beyond The Surface -- Rev Irvin Stapf, Christ Lutheran Germantown

Posted by Wittenberg Project on Sunday, February 18, 2024 with No comments

 Don’t settle for surface comments, even mine!

An editorial recently printed in our Frederick newspaper asked the question, What is an American? It was by Fred Fransen, President of Huntington Junior College in W.Va. He pointed out that our country was founded on ideas or principles that have endured up until recent decades. It is again time for Dr. Fransen to take a hard look at those values.
It seems to me that this means looking beyond the surface declarations to the substance upon which declarations are made. This is what I was referring to last week on the issue of abortion rights which has become central in our current election cycle. I pointed out that several other moral issues precede the need to consider an abortion. This need to look beyond the surface is apparent, or should be, in most of what we hear and read.
I’ve said that my basis for writing is as a Christian seeking to base my judgments on the values and will of our Lord as understood through God’s Word in Holy Scripture. It is pointed out that much of Mr. Trump’s support is from a large block of Evangelical Christians. But again, this is a statement that needs to be examined.
An article in The Economist Weekly of March 2021 asked the question “What is an evangelical Christian?” After looking at recent history since Jimmy Carter’s presidency in 1976, the article noted that “white evangelicals have established themselves as America’s most cohesive and influential religious voting block. ... They have become “the bedrock of the Republican Party. After insisting throughout the 1990's that character mattered, and that Bill Clinton was morally unfit for the presidency, they threw their support behind Donald Trump, a thrice-married rake.” It was then asked, “So what do evangelical Christians really believe?”
A recent article in World magazine noted that “some Americans who self-identify as ‘evangelicals’ to pollsters do not actually attend church regularly. Increasingly, the term is used more in a “political, cultural sense than a theological church sense,” said political scientist Ryan Burge. He predicted these “cultural evangelicals” will make up about 12 percent of Trump’s self-identified evangelical voters in 2024. Others have said that they are willing to overlook Mr. Trump’s moral issues because he is the only one who can beat Mr. Biden.
Thomas Edsall of The New Times had an article entitled “The Deification of Donald Trump Poses Some Interesting Questions”. I’ll let the article’s title speak for itself. You can look it up on the internet if you care to. I’ve already declared my personal opposition to Mr. Trump for President. I’ve said enough about that and it is not my central issue. I’m looking at the shallowness of our evaluations and our need to stand firm on a foundation of well-considered values.
Jesus, on trial and standing before Pontius Pilate said, “I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:37-38) That is our challenge, to determine what is the truth. I leave it with you to seriously consider. It is a very serious question and one that can lead to some personal sacrifice and pain. It certainly did for our Lord.
(Words we can trust: Jeremiah 18:1-6; 29:11; 31:3,
                  & above all Romans 8:38-39)
Irvin F. Stapf, Jr.
Pastor Emeritus
Christ Lutheran Church, TAALC
Germantown, Md. 
cell: 240-285-4472