Ralph Reed calls Christians to engage as dual citizens
Ralph Reed, founder and chair of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, made a passionate plea to Christian Americans during Liberty University’s Convocation on Monday, urging them to treat civic activism as a spiritual responsibility.
Liberty’s president, Jerry Falwell, introduced Reed as a man who has been “at the center of public policy and at the center of influencing our leaders for Christian values for years.”
Reed served as a senior advisor to the Bush/Cheney campaigns in both 2000 and 2004. He is the leader of a public relations and advocacy firm, and, prior to founding his current organization, headed the Christian Coalition, which is considered one of the most effective public policy organizations in recent political history. He is also a best-selling author.
Reed said Christians have a dual-citizenship: God’s Kingdom in heaven and the nation in which they live.
“Each of those citizenships carries with it certain duties and responsibilities that we should take very seriously,” he said. “We should be diligent and muscular in carrying out both of those citizenships.”
As citizens of heaven, Reed explained, we should pray, read the Bible, fellowship with other Christians, worship God, tithe, care for the poor, and serve others. As earthly citizens, specifically in America, he said we should pay taxes, be informed on issues, register to vote, vote, and engage in conversation with elected officials.
Reed turned to church history to defend the latter, explaining that though the Apostle Paul was very active in building the early church, he did not abandon or neglect his community.
“Like Paul,” Reed said, “we are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ, and we are called to use the gift of our earthly citizenship to share our faith, to advance the good, to resist evil, and to build and establish the Kingdom of God.”
He urged the students, many of them voting for the first time, not to sit on the sidelines during the current political election or throw away their votes for unviable candidates.
“We cannot, and we must not, surrender our precious right as voters and citizens,” Reed said. “(It is) a right that has been purchased with the blood of patriots, who gave their lives and their limbs and all they had to give us that right … for me it is too precious a thing to waste on Nov. 8.”
Reed expressed his hope to see political discourse become more positive and issues-centered.
“There is so much negativity in politics,” Reed said. Quoting Philippians 4:8, he added: “I believe we should focus on the true, and the honorable, and the right, and the pure, and the lovely, and anything that is of excellence and worthy of praise; we should be cheerful, we should be winsome, and we should always be prepared to defend our faith unapologetically.”
After his message, Reed sat down with Falwell for a brief Q & A, sharing more thoughts about the election and advising students to stand firm in their faith amidst resistance. He encouraged them to fight to help keep America morally grounded. Without a solid foundation, Reed warned, the country will crumble.
“The thing that makes America great isn’t its money or its wealth or its cities or its power,” Reed said, “it has been its moral goodness — and if we lose that, we are lost.”
Phil Wickham leads worship
Before Monday’s Convocation message, Christian recording artist Phil Wickham joined Liberty’s Worship Collective to lead a time of praise. His songs included “Heaven Song” and “This is Amazing Grace,” the 2015 BMI Christian Music Awards Song of the Year.
After Convocation, Wickham spent time writing music with members of the Collective before continuing to New York on his “Children of God” tour.