Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dr Dobson Responds to Controversy

Yesterday I told you about some controversy recently stirred up by one of my mentors, Dr Ed Dobson. Below is his response to the Cornerstone University family where he volunteers as vice president for spiritual formation. Please keep in mind that I am neither endorsing nor condoning everything involved. I believe Dr Dobson is very genuine and I have found his story to be quite thought-provoking. Here is what Dr Dobson wrote:

I know that my comments in the Grand Rapids Press, USA Today and on the Good Morning America Weekend show have created some discussion and controversy. Unfortunately, the main focus of my journey this year was lost - namely, to better understand the teachings of Jesus. I come away from the experience with a deeper appreciation for the life, teachings, sufferings, death and resurrection of Jesus. I wanted to take a few moments to react to two of the issues that are causing the most controversy: my vote for President-elect Obama and the issue of alcohol use.

I have always been and will continue to be pro-life. So why in the world did I vote the way I did? I am pro-life before birth and pro-life after birth. I am equally concerned with the violence on our streets, with people who are dying of HIV-AIDS, people who are suffering genocide in various places in the world, children who are growing up without adequate health care, etc. For me, being pro-life includes not only the protection of the unborn but also how we treat people who are already born. I felt that Mr. Obama was closer to the essence of Jesus' teachings - compassion for the poor and the oppressed, being a peacemaker, loving your enemies and other issues. I have also said, though it never was printed, that I have little faith in politicians of either party. The real work of reducing abortions and extending love and compassion to the poor and oppressed should be done by those of us who are devoted followers of Jesus.

Now, to the alcohol issue. Jesus himself was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. Obviously, he was neither! But he did eat food, and he did drink wine. He did frequent parties with tax collectors and sinners. So part of my journey was to try and emulate Jesus in this way. I know that this is not in sync with the Cornerstone lifestyle statement. However, I am not an employee. I do not get paid. I am a volunteer. I was not asked to sign the statement. Had I signed the statement, I would have followed that commitment because I have always strived to be a person of my word.

I regret any controversy that I may have caused our community at Cornerstone University. I love our students, personnel and the mission of the school, and I do not want to distract from the great things that God is doing on our campus. I look forward to sharing with you more of the things that God has taught me during the course of the past year.

Serving alongside you at Cornerstone,

Ed Dobson


Anonymous said...

I am pro-choice before birth and pro-choice after birth....Am I absurd?

Pastor Scott said...

Sorry, Dean, Im not understanding your comment/question.

Anonymous said...

What I meant was this: Dr. Dobson's reasoning suggests that McCain does not care about the social welfare of people once they are born which is completely absurd; and he used THAT as a reason to vote "pro-death". Isn't that absurd to you?


Pastor Scott said...

Now I see your point, Dean. I think you might be putting some words into Dr Dobson's mouth that he didn't say. He didn't say that McCain did not care. He simply said that he thought that Obama's policies did more for certain areas (i.e. poverty, aids, etc.) than McCains and that was a factor in deciding who he would vote for. In other words, he was saying that for him, being pro-life is more than being against abortion (which he is).

Ed "What the" Heckman said...

My problem with Dr. Dobson's choice is not that he cares about social issues. He is correct that Christians are to take care of those in need.

Where I think he goes astray is in thinking that it is the role of government to meet these needs. This is not a Biblical position.

According to the Bible, taking care of others is both our personal responsibility and that of the church as a whole.

Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
(James 1:27 NAS95S)

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!”
(Matthew 14:16 NAS95S)

And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.
(Acts 2:44-45 NAS95S)

If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.
(Deuteronomy 15:7-8 NAS95S)

“Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you.”
(Matthew 5:42 NAS95S)

But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
(1John 3:17 NAS95S)

And so on and so forth.

On the other hand, the role of government is to reward good behavior and punish evildoers.

For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
(Romans 13:3 NAS95S)

or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.
(1Peter 2:14 NAS95S)

We have plenty of examples from history of what happens when responsibilities are taken from their God ordained sphere and placed somewhere else. And I'm not just talking about social services. There are also the problems we've seen where government tries to take charge of the church.

In first Samuel 13:8-14, Saul disobeyed God's assignment of roles by presenting a burnt offering instead of allow the priests to do it as God had decreed, and he paid the price:

Samuel said to Saul, “You have acted foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of the LORD your God, which He commanded you, for now the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. “\But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”
(1Samuel 13:13-14 NAS95S)

In short, Dr. Dobson is correct that Jesus wants the needs of the poor to be met by His followers. Where he errs is in taking that role from the church and assigning it to the government.

ty getz said...

I don't know if Dr. Dobson really made some role assignment errors. If the Church refuses to step up to the plate and do what God has asked them to do is it wrong to get upset if the government steps up and does it? (not saying President Obama will but Dr. Dobson seems to think so)

For example, James 1:27 speaks of taking care of orphans. America has 130,000 orphaned children and about 300,000 churches nationwide. The American Church raises an uproar about the idea of abortion but doesn't seem to actually care about the children. Otherwise we would ban together and answer the call of James, the call of Jesus. My point being if Christians won't do their job then why not vote for the guy who might do our job for us (again, not saying he will)? But I don't think it is a sin to vote for Obama if he is about doing things that Jesus said needs to get done.

Sidenote: following the last post's line of reasoning we should not allow Christians to be in the military (Governement brings the hammer while Christians turn the other cheek. Right?)