Monday, August 10, 2015


Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair

     Bill Crocker is the former Republican National Committeeman from Texas.  He served on the RNC for eight years (2 terms) and was General Counsel for the committee for the final year of his tenure.  Crocker is a Baylor graduate and a dedicated Christian as well as an able theologian.  At last week’s RNC meeting he told me the Bible clearly outlined the qualifications for leaders.  “Exodus 18:21 gives us clear qualifications for those who are in leadership,” Crocker said.  “Read it and see if you agree,” he challenged.   Exodus 18:21 says, “ Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:”  After looking at the passage and studying it within the context, I agree with Crocker.  In this passage, Moses is being advised by his father-in-law, Jethro, on what attributes the leaders in the nation of Israel should possess before being appointed to a position of supervision.  The passage lists four qualifications for leaders in secular society. 
     First, secular leaders should be ‘able’ men.  That means a candidate for office must be capable and qualified for the position.  They should not be a novice or amateur in life or in politics.  John Gill says this qualification means they are be ‘men of strong and robust constitutions who have strength of heart, are not afraid to do justice and boldness to deliver the oppressed from the hands of the oppressor.’  All too often, those who win elections are trained on the job by special interest groups.  They often have no clue what the job involves and it shouldn’t surprise us when they disappoint.
     Second, leaders must ‘fear God.’  John McArthur says those who fear God have a reverential respect and awe of God.  He says understanding the attributes of God is critical to learning to ‘fear God.’  McArthur says teaching that God has the right to punish, chasten and judge His creatures will produce a ‘healthy sense of apprehension’ in a person’s life.   Alexander McLaren says, “The fear of God underlies the noblest lives. “  We live in a society where the fear of God is ignored and ridiculed by our leaders and citizens alike. Solomon said the fear of God was the beginning of wisdom.     
     Third, leaders must ‘hate covetousness.’  Covetousness is defined as being inordinately or wrongly desirous of wealth or possessions; greedy especially the wealth or possessions of another.  The Bible widely condemns covetousness as a root sin.  Covetousness is at the heart of selfishness.  John Piper defines covetousness as desiring something so much that you lose your contentment in God. Those who want something for nothing are covetous.  We live in a very covetous society.  Good leaders understand government shouldn’t do anything that expands or embraces covetousness, no matter how much their constituency may clamor.
     Fourth, leaders must be truthful.  Matthew Poole says this means not only hating lies, but slanders as well.   John Gill says real leaders should take pain to get at the truth of a cause and discourage the most insignificant falsehood.  What is often called ‘political spin’ is simply lying to make a candidate or elected official look more favorable.  Honesty is not the best policy to the average politico.  Americans have become accepting of lying as standard operating procedure in politics. 
     It is clear many of our current elected officials in America are not qualified and truthful.  They don’t hate covetousness or fear God.  They often campaign one way and vote the other.  They are willing to lie, cheat and steal to win an election and to stay in office.  Until American Christians vet candidates more thoroughly and apply the standards God outlines in this passage, we can expect our leaders will remain ineffective and disappointing.

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