Ben Is A Straight Shooter

We live in a time when telling the truth is not fashionable, when it’s considered a little gauche (unsophisticated, awkward) to speak the truth plainly. More than that it’s considered a little old-fashioned to talk about truth at all. As far as many are concerned, there’s “your truth” and “my truth” but as a culture and as Christians influenced by the broader culture, we’ve become increasingly reluctant to talk about objective truth. I have the strong impression that there is a growing reluctance to say the truth for fear of the consequences. There’s some reason for that. Think of the Twitter mob that besieged a PR exec for a tweet for what was a poorly-worded tweet, a hip attempt to be ironic, or a comment in bad taste. Whatever her intent, she posted the tweet before she got on the plane and was she was fired from her job before she landed.

Of course there are challenges in getting to the truth. There is a subjective element. Knowledge is personal (Michael Polanyi). People study and tell truth and so there are mistakes and there is revision. Nevertheless, there is truth and we all know it and we can say it. Here’s a post on the problem of subjectivism. Of course there is truth. There is traffic. Your subjective experience does not change the reality of the car bearing down on you. The objective reality is that you must move or get hit.

So, in light of the drift of the culture and the Christian accommodation to that drift, it has been interesting to watch Ben Sasse’s campaign for the U. S. Senate from Nebraska. It almost seems like more than a campaign for political office. There may be a reason for that. You might know Ben as co-editor, with James Montgomery Boice, of Here We Stand: A Call From Confessing Evangelicals For a Modern Reformation (1996; repr. 2004). Since that time he’s earned a PhD, served in the Bush Administration, and served as president of Midland College, among other things. As we say back home, he’s a go-getter. My interest in the video is in his willingness to stand up and say, “This is what I think” and to do so without equivocation. It has some nice footage of Nebraska and that’s always a good thing.

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  1. He seems like a great guy and the type of candidate I would be happy to support. Nevertheless, if telling voters exactly what they want to hear (You are WONDERFUL and all the problems are caused by people in D.C.) counts as straight-talk, then no wonder our politics is such a mess. I grant that flattering voters is a time-honored approach to getting elected but it doesn’t even live in the same zip code as straight-talk.

    • David,

      Fair enough. It’s a campaign video but It seems as if he’s doing more than flattering his state and criticizing “those easterners.” He’s doing that but also noting the reluctance to speak up. I thought the closing line was interesting.

      I’m looking for people, in whatever endeavor, to stand up unapologetically for their convictions.

  2. Sounds like a great candidate for me, whose U.S. Senate delegation consists of liberal Pat Leahy and Socialist Bernie Sanders. I would love to be able to vote for him.

    But I wonder what his position would be on agricultural subsidies…

  3. Oops. I was looking for the 2k Heidelblog but must have taken a wrong turn and arrived at the Christian Coalition.

  4. I admit I was being a tad snarky. However, this post amounts to, essentially, a “party political broadcast”. It seems a bit of a double standard to criticise the worldviewers for their entanglement with politics and then post this. What has this person’s candidacy to do with recovering the Reformed confession? Is that one of the planks of his platform? Would you have posted a similar post about Sarah P? Mr Sasse’s bringing the Capitol to Nebraska is certainly in the mould of her politics. (That’s not necessarily a criticism.)

    But, as I say, I was being deliberately snarky.

    • Alexander,

      Yes, it’s a political campaign video. What does this video have to do with the Christian Coalition? Where does Ben make?

      What about the twofold kingdom means that Christians cannot engage the civil realm?

  5. Mr. Sasse’s photography appeared on the cover of this week’s print National Review, under the headline “Obamacare’s Nebraska Nemesis: Rising Conservative Star Ben Sasse.” (

    Sasse is Harvard- and Yale-educated, and he has worked for the Boston Consulting Group, the Bush Justice Dept, and Congressman Fortenberry from Nebraska.

    As far as I can tell, his conservative bona fides are unconfirmed.

    In response to Alexander’s comment, gee whiz, it’s Dr. Clark’s website. And since when haven’t religion and politics been bound up together? The legal mechanics of Christ’s execution were political, as were the Christianization of the Roman Empire, the Reformation, and the migration of our Pilgrim Fathers and Dutch Reformed forebears. And of course, the attacks on Christ’s church in our day and age are political–whether they come from Muslim extremists, the lost and angry atheists of the Left, or those “Christians” whose untethered worldview has enabled them to drift into the darkness of moral equivalence.

    To paraphrase Trotsky, Christians may not be interested in the civil realm, but the civil realm is certainly interested in them.

  6. Only that I’d expect such partisan promulgating from the Christian Coalition, not from a website that bangs on about the two kingdoms and thinks clothing bearing the image of a false god/prophet is hunky dorey.

    Scott- Gee whiz, it is his site but it’s a site purporting to promote the Biblical faith not the Scott Clark faith. But I guess some men are just above criticism, eh? And I guess that the major principled difference between this sort of political engagement and that of the “worldviewers” is just too subtle for me to grasp.

    • Alexander,

      You’ve had an opportunity to vent and to be snarky. Now, once more, what is it about the twofold kingdom that prevents Christians from observing and commenting on the civil/political sphere?

  7. Alexander, I just don’t think religion and politics can be truly disentangled, especially when politics decides there isn’t enough room in town for the two of them. I don’t think Dr. Clark is off base to post a few items featuring a Christian politician.

    In response to your comment, I’m going to repost Bert Van Solkema’s comment and Machen quote from today’s posting about Ben Sasse…

    Bert VanSolkema
    January 17, 2014 @ 6:51 AM

    Good to see Mr. Sasse trying to apply solid Machen like Biblical principles.

    “…the field of Christianity is the world. The Christian cannot be satisfied so long as any human activity is either opposed to Christianity or out of all connection with Christianity. Christianity must pervade not merely all nations, but also all of human thought. The Christian, therefore, cannot be indifferent to any branch of earnest human endeavor. It must all be brought into some relation to the gospel. It must be studied either in order to be demonstrated as false, or else in order to be made useful in advancing the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom must be advanced not merely extensively, but also intensively. The Church must seek to conquer not merely every man for Christ, but also the whole of man.” ~ J. Gresham Machen, “Christianity and Culture,” p. 5

    • This wonderful Machen quote is precisely what 2k denies. Clark, Hart, Vandrunen, and Horton are 2k. Thus the question about the post. My Sassey question is: wonder where he stands on endless war for endless peace? For all I can tell he hopes to ride back to DC by being anti-ObamaCare, but I’d like to hear more. It would be near to impossible to lose if you are anti-Affordable Care Act at this point.

    • Here is Horton on 2K.

      “But we need not choose between these two kingdoms. Citizens of both, we carry out our vocations in the church and the world in distinct ways through distinct means. We need not “Christianize” culture in order to appreciate it and participate in it with the gifts that God has given us as well as our non-Christian neighbors. Though called to be faithful in our callings until Christ returns, with Abraham, we are ‘looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God’ ” (Heb 11:10, hcsb). (

      We live in two jurisdictions, one civil and one spiritual, each distinct. The City of Man is not the City of God.

      But Christians can be, and should be, political actors. And their politics must be informed by their Christianity. Church and state are, and ought to be, separate, but that does not mean that Christians and the state should be separate.

      Does that mean that Christians should advocate for theocracy? No. Mankind is individually depraved and corporately flawed. We cannot create heaven on earth, and shouldn’t try. Should pastors preach politics and politicians from the pulpit? No. But the Christian can and should fight for common decency in public life, even if the reality will always fall short of the ideal. The Christian can and should stand for civic virtue, for public acknowledgement of the law that is written on each man’s heart. In a nation and a world that is increasingly rejecting Christianity and holds as ridiculously outdated tenets of simple common decency, Christians must stand up and be counted.

  8. And I have just noticed that Sasse won the Nebraska primary. This is good news!

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