Christian Political Apologetic
I support a Christian Political Apologetic described as embracing, supporting, and leading change that results in “a more perfect Union.” This apologetic is supported by building on the fundamental interdependencies among Christianity, Quality Management, and Citizenship.
- In her essay A Christian Political Apologetic: Why, What, and How, Jennifer A Marshall reinforces the following (1) :
- For the Christian, citizenship is about stewardship. That’s especially true in a country where our most important governing document begins with “We the People.” That means we have a lot of responsibility. In a free society, citizenship requires us to think through many decisions deeply and personally. Outsourcing our opinions on issues isn’t an option.
- A biblical worldview should shape our diagnosis of the problems politics seeks to address and our vision of how to resolve them. What we call politics is one part of a much larger human quest to order our lives together.
- Christians need a sound political apologetic—a framework for why, what, and how to engage in politics for the glory of God and the good of our neighbors.
Stewardship from a Christian perspective is focused on improvement by applying the teachings of Jesus Christ that result in less imperfection. Jesus is the role model for living in obedience to God’s will.
- “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
- “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
The focus of the apologetic from a Citizen perspective is on reducing variation from the ideal. Reducing variation is synonymous with reducing imperfection. Many of the Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian principles and designed a system of government that could be continuously improved. The U.S. Constitution enables “We the People” to work together to achieve “a more perfect Union.”
- We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. Reference: U.S. Constitution.
Quality Management Perspective
From a Quality Management perspective, reducing variation from the ideal results in higher quality and lower costs. According to the Law of Variation described by the American Society for Quality (1):
- Variation is defined as the difference between an ideal and an actual situation. An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence defined by stakeholders …
- According to the Law of Variation: “Everything varies; In other words, no two things are exactly alike.”
- “Groups of things from a constant system of causes tend to be predictable. We can’t predict the behavior or characteristics of any one thing. Predictions only become possible for groups of things where patterns can be observed.”
A shared method for reducing variation from the ideal would include the following steps: Describe the situation and identify the reason and purpose for a particular improvement. Collect facts and data. Identify the desired outcomes from all the stakeholders and identify what everyone would agree would be the ideal outcome. Identify the causes of the issues and identify common causes. Develop a plan of action and execute the plan to reduce the common causes of variation.
This process parallels the concept applied in developing the U.S. system of government. Citizens determined that the facts concerning the rule by a monarchy were unacceptable and their efforts were not leading to the desired change. The Declaration of Independence identified the desired end state and plan of action. In the development of the Constitution, the Founders disagreed on many issues to include who could vote, slavery, the role of the federal government vs the States. The agreed to a system (constitutional republic) that could be continually improved that included the development of new Amendments. The 13th Amendment abolished Slavery and the 19th Amendment provided women with the right to vote.
All individual action is accomplished through a process (s) in the context of a system. The system determines the majority if not all in some cases, of the outcome. This principle is commonly expressed in the statement: “If you (and groups) always do what you always did, on average, you will a usually get what you always got.”
Quality management includes principles, methods, and tools that support reducing variation in systems and processes. Methods include applying a Plan, Do, Study, Act based cycle (PDSA) to lead and guide change efforts and to assess if the change resulted in improvement as defined by fellow citizens. Repeat the PDSA cycle until the desired outcome (s) are achieved.
What is the meaning of perfection in the Bible?
Example of the Abortion Issue. In an imperfect world, termination of a pregnancy will not be eliminated but the number can be continually reduced. The ideal has been described as abortions being available, safe, but rare. Desired outcomes by stakeholders identify the polarity on the issue that range from abortion anytime, anywhere, to making it illegal with harsh penalties for violation of the law. The causes that lead to the decision for termination include that the infant is not wanted, financial hardship, education, do not believe a fetus is a human life, federal and state polices and laws that identify the conditions
Biblical Description and Context for Perfection
- Absolute perfection is a quality that belongs to God alone. Yet only in Matthew 5:48 does the Bible explicitly state that God is by nature perfect: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” As God is the perfect being, all that He does is perfect: “He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he” (Deuteronomy 32:4). His knowledge is perfect (Job 37:16). His way is perfect, and His Word is flawless: “As for God, his way is perfect: The LORD’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 18:30). God’s laws are also perfect (Psalm 19:7; James 1:25). The apostle Paul describes God’s will as perfect: “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Reference: Got Questions
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Jeses is the model for Christians
Methods … Ideal, desired, facts, common causes
Human Needs – will never be perfectly met in these times. Needs include:
- Physical – security, food, air, water, medical care, shelter, education
- Psychological – Love, fellowship, peace, belonging, contribution, testimony
Law of Variation: Everything varies; no two people or things are exactly alike.
Ideal. An ideal situation represents a standard of perfection—or the highest standard of excellence.
- Perfection. “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48
Excellence– The result of doing more of the right things, right. Efficiency is doing things right; Effectiveness is doing the right things. Reducing variation from the ideal results in better quality and lower costs. Quality Chain Reaction:
U.S. Constitution. “We the People” own the system of government – we are responsible for working together towards achieving “a more perfect Union.”
- The U.S. Founding Fathers were influenced by Judeo-Christian principles. They understood human nature and designed a system of government with checks and balances on power that could be continuously improved in pursuit of “a more perfect Union.”
- Revelations identify that an imbalance and centralization of power will lead to a one world government and religion that leads to the Great Tribulation ((2 Timothy 3:1; Daniel 12:4, New American Bible) followed by the Millennium (Revelation 5:9, 10; 20:4, 6)
American Society for Quality (ASQ). ASQ was formed after WWII to help sustain and develop the quality management methods and tools that were classified during the war. ASQ is a global organization with members in more than 130 countries committed to helping members advance their products, services, and industries.
Internal Organization for Standardization (ISO). Almost every successful business organization in the world has needed to incorporate a strategy for quality improvement. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) works to develop and improve quality management standards and practices throughout the world. The ISO 9001 standards evolved from the standards developed in the United States. In 1996, the U.S. government in 1996 made a policy decision to support industry consensus standards over government directives.
- Hebrews 7:19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God
- Matthew 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
The Bible provides the moral code and Jesus the example: “Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them”. Sermon on the Mount
- Psalm 19:7 ESV / The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
- Corinthians 7:1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
- James 1:4 – And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
- Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
- Psalm 18:30 ESV /
Continuous Improvement and Learning
Without a more conscious awareness and understanding of variation and systems, the majority of changes result in no improvement. On a personal level for example, what percent of New Year Resolutions result in a permanent and fundamental change, e.g., an improvement?
Quality chain reaction –When you … Improve Quality, Costs decrease because of less rework, fewer mistakes, fewer delays, snags, better use of machine-time and materials; Productivity Improves; Capture the market with better quality and lower price; Stay in Business, and Provide jobs and more jobs.
Continuous improvement and learning can lead to more knowledge and knowledge to Wisdom.
- If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. James 3:13
Law of Variation. Everything and everyone varies; no two things or people are ever exactly alike. The Bible provides a moral code as to right and wrong. Jesus through his words and deeds (action) provides a standard of perfection for us to strive to emulate.
The aim of action (good deeds) is to reduce variation from the ideal (more perfect) that results in more needs being met. Variation either gets better (more human needs being met) or it gets worse – needs remain unmet.
- Example Healthcare. What percent of needs are being met? Do trends indicate improvement?
- The more ideal, the higher the quality. In the quality profession, it’s been proven that the more a product or service meetings the ideal (optimum, nominal, more perfect), the higher the quality and lower the cost.
- Jesus came to Harvard
Actions (Deeds) – Doing and Sharing your Story – Testimony through repeated application of the Plan, Do, Study, Act (PDSA) Cycle.
- Plan: What do or did you want to do to reduce variation (imperfection) and why?
- Do (deeds). What did or will you be doing to make this happen?
- Study. What feedback will or did your need to determine results?
- Act. How did or would you summarize your experience?
Matthew 10:32 ESV / So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,
1 Peter 3:15 ESV / But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Psalm 119:46 ESV / I will also speak of your testimonies before kings and shall not be put to shame,
Matthew 5:16 ESV / In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
John 5:31 ESV / 38 helpful votes If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.
- In Congress, July 4, 1776. The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
- U.S. Constitution – Preamble. We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
- Lincolns address at Gettysburg:
- Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
- … we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.