Why I Emphasize The Spiritual First, Then Moral, Then Cultural, Then Political


You’ve probably heard the saying that “politics is downstream from culture.” I agree but would add that culture is downstream from morality, which in turn is downstream from spirituality. That’s why my own emphasis is spiritual first, then moral, then cultural, then political.

That focus is why I started preaching in 1973 (at the age of 18) but didn’t become a talk radio host, addressing cultural and political issues, until 2008 (at the age of 53). I didn’t start writing regular op-ed pieces on culture and politics until 2012. Despite publishing roughly 2,500 op-eds since then, I do not fashion myself a conservative commentator. And I am certainly not a political pundit.

For me, everything begins with my relationship with God, and it is as a Jewish follower of Jesus that I write, speak, teach and preach.

That’s why the sanctity of life is important to me. That’s why biblical justice is important to me. That’s why marriage, family and sexuality are important to me. And, to the extent that the world of politics intersects with these worlds, politics is important to me as well. Otherwise, politics leave me dry.

Many of you reading these words can relate to this perspective, adding your personal Amen. For other readers, my spiritual-first perspective is immaterial, and for some, it is drivel.

But understanding this sheds light on why my points of focus are fairly narrow.

I speak and write out of a burden, and sense of calling which has been focused toward a number of key issues for many years. It is to those issues that I have given countless hours of prayer, study, reflection and interaction. And it is to those issues that I confidently often speak.

As for politics in general, or questions regarding the important topics of the economy, immigration, or global warming I don’t comment much on them because I’m neither burdened to do so nor qualified to do so. Of what use are the opinions of a person whose specializations demand his time be focused on different issues. Why waste your valuable time with mere speculation?

As for my points of emphasis, since I believe we are fighting a spiritual war, I believe in the importance of spiritual weapons, such as prayer and preaching the truth. Worldly systems such as politics and the courts, while they play an important role in our society, cannot turn the moral tide of a nation or rescue a confused and lost generation.

Consider the issue of abortion for a moment.

I’m thrilled that Roe was overturned, and believe that this is in the best interest of the nation. But unless hearts and minds are changed as well, babies will continue to be slaughtered in the womb by the hundreds of thousands every single year. 

That’s why there must be moral and intellectual conversions as well as righteous legal decisions, and the best way to see a lasting moral and intellectual conversion is through a deep spiritual conversion. The transformation and renewal of our inner being will produce a change in our thinking and in our life. It was the revival scholar James Edwin Orr who once commented that the only proof of the new birth is the new life.

To be sure, there is plenty of hypocrisy in the world of religion, and there are people who do evil things in the name of God. No one is denying that.

But hypocrisy simply exposes the hypocrites. It uncovers those who claim to be what they are not. It reveals those who say one thing and do another. And when it comes to professing Christians who live like the devil, it is the Bible itself which calls them out.

But when it comes to the condition of our nation, as important as the elections are, the Republican Party will not save us. For left-leaning readers here, the Democratic Party will certainly not save us either. Neither is there a single candidate who can bring fundamental change to the nation.

That change must ultimately come from the grassroots up, which should stem from the spiritual-first emphasis. A real revival in the Church would lead to a powerful awakening in the society. Conversely, a shallow, self-centered, compromised state of the American Church has led to the deterioration of the nation.

As I have said for many years now, the biggest reason that our country is so messed up is that so much of the Church is messed up. And the reason that so much of the Church is messed up is because so many Church leaders are messed up. I write these words as a Church leader myself. The repentance begins with “us.”

That’s also why I have said again and again that I’m less concerned about the presence of darkness and more about the absence of light. After all, when you walk into a dark room and flip on the light switch but nothing happens, you don’t curse the darkness. Instead, you ask, “What’s wrong with the light?”

That remains the question of the hour here in America, where 70% of the population still claims to be Christian and where tens of millions of Americans call themselves Bible-believers. What’s wrong with our light?

To remind us of the words of Jesus from The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew), His followers are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But if the light within us is darkness, the darkness will be great.

Let’s get the light fixed so that everyone can see better. That’s where we need to start.

Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries and is the author of 40 books. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or YouTube.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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