By Jeff Ziegler
Published May 1, 2001
How to Build a Christian Political Farm Team
The great dynasties of Major League Baseball have always maintained supremacy of the ball diamond through the development of supportive minor league teams, more commonly referred to as the farm system. When properly supported, the farm team-minor league organization cultivates young talent that can be employed for the “big leagues” when the need arises or a position has opened up. This is an inherently “bottom-up” approach which, in the long term, provides a particular franchise with stability and success.
In the political world, success is measured in the terms of victories, from which the projection of power determines policy. Even if one desires to decentralize and restrict political power, such policies must at some point be enacted from a position of authority. In order to achieve that influence, one must field candidates, win races, and control political parties at the local level. Unfortunately, most politically active Christians think in terms which cripple any long term development of local “talent.” Such talent could be called upon to cogently represent the claims of Christ in the “big leagues” of civil discourse and policy making.
In America, politically active Christians are eerily uniform in their reactive response to negative and sinful national trends. They are very good at the point of protest, and can marshal grass roots outrage on the national stage. Yet, even when victorious at blunting an onerous policy, such obsessions with all things national brings a woeful neglect to the gateways of political influence at the local level. This negligence ensures that explicitly Christian candidates are not developed. Therefore, the saints are nearly always left outside the political process, first at the local level, and then in the larger arenas. Local political farm systems support the development of national candidates. Yet, as most Christians hold to a “top-down” approach that deleteriously ignores such foundations, the saints are marginalized as protestors with little, if any, bite. Indeed, if I had a dime for every sincere saint who said something akin to, “I don’t care about this local stuff…look at what Clinton is doing to the nation,” I would be a very wealthy man.
When you add the varied conspiracy theories to the milieu, the saints are at a huge disadvantage. “Success” is deemed impossible in that even if some measured advance is noted, “the conspiracy,” either real or imagined, will succeed in thwarting any meaningful advance. Hence, local politics is seen as naive and without hope for promotion.
A Dominion Attitude
A dominion attitude rejects defeatist notions, and embraces long term biblical strategies which ensure a “little by little” conversion, or defeat, of entrenched political adversaries. Some of these strategies include:
- Training explicitly Christian candidates in issues of civil polity, campaigns, and theology.
- Building campaign organizations that are not dependent on the party; that is, a self-sustaining entity at every level of campaign involvement.
- Training precinct committeemen for party service. Concentration is on trained Christians who look to control the executive committee and various other committees (finance, public relations, candidate recruitment, etc.) with an eventual Christian party chairman.
- Running races at local and state levels; for instance, zoning boards, city council, county offices, health boards, school boards, state representative, etc.
Involvement in vital peripheral organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce.
- Discipleship of existing civil magistrates.
- Committees of correspondence and phone/email/fax networks to bring public pressure to bear on various issues.
- Cultivation of personal relationships with newspaper reporters. Lunch and dinner go a long way in helping to control your own press and keeping your name in the public eye for free.
- Using antithesis both in campaigns and in marketing to help define the battlefield in the community.
- After sufficient control is established in one local county party, branching out into the contiguous counties within the same congressional district.
- Encouraging Christian independents to run for non declarative races (city council) so as to raise up an alternative group of candidates that can assert pressures from outside the main parties.
- Start National Reform Association “open houses” in public libraries to educate and recruit new members.
The average Reformed church has a membership of approximately 190 people. If each church represented on the National Reform Association mailing list were able to activate 10% of their parishioners toward service in the civic realm, a great political force would arise.
The old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” may not be universally true. However, it does help to serve the purpose of this article. Illustrated here is a cross-section of men from Shiloh Christian Church in Leroy Township, Ohio. Their involvement spans five contiguous counties and is expanding. They represent approximately 10% of the total membership. May this short treatise, with an introduction of the “Shiloh farm team” along with the positions that are held, give practical inspiration for what can be done at the local level to enforce “The Crown Rights of Christ.”
Your comments are welcome!
High Quality Paperback — 219 pages
Foundations in Biblical Orthodoxy
Driving down a country road sometime, you might see a church with a sign proudly proclaiming: “No book but the Bible — No creed but Christ.” The problem with this statement is that the word creed (from the Latin: credo) simply means “belief.” All Christians have beliefs, regardless of whether they are written.
Yet a single book containing the actual texts of the most important creeds of the early Church will not often be found. Out of the multitude of works on the evangelical Christian book market today, those dealing with the creeds of the Church are scarce.
Why Creeds and Confessions? provides a foundation of biblical orthodoxy as a defense against the false and truly heretical doctrines advanced by the spirit of this age.
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Just what is Calvinism?
Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?
This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.
Running Time: 257 minutes
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Foundations in Biblical Eschatology
By Jay Rogers, Larry Waugh, Rodney Stortz, Joseph Meiring. High quality paperback, 167 pages.
All Christians believe that their great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return. Although we cannot know the exact time of His return, what exactly did Jesus mean when he spoke of the signs of His coming (Mat. 24)? How are we to interpret the prophecies in Isaiah regarding the time when “the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:19)? Should we expect a time of great tribulation and apostasy or revival and reformation before the Lord returns? Is the devil bound now, and are the saints reigning with Christ? Did you know that there are four hermeneutical approaches to the book of Daniel and Revelation?
These and many more questions are dealt with by four authors as they present the four views on the millennium. Each view is then critiqued by the other three authors.
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High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
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