In a recent post, Doug Wilson, someone I deeply respect argued–in some ways persuasively–that Paul’s rhetoric in last night’s debate proves that Ron Paul’s formal position is…secularist. The article makes some good points, and I have argued elsewhere that Ron Paul is a product of Lutheran pietism, and Baptist privatization worldview thinking. At the same time, Paul’s rhetoric, though flawed, and though not what Kuyperians like us would prefer is still to be preferred over the false and statist rhetoric of other candidates. In this sense, Adam McIntosh’s comments add a helpful caution:
Sure, it would be great if Paul was a Van-Tillian presuppositionalist and went all Bahnsen-y on that stage, but it would also be great for him to win the presidency. (Not saying a Van-Tillian can’t win the presidency, but we sometimes have to be wise like serpents in this immoral age, right?)
It’s hard for me to take this isolated incident as something to criticize Paul for. If anyone has ever read his books, he is unashamedly a Christian. He frequently quotes the Bible & Church history to support his platform. Sure, he buys into the whole natural law thing, but who doesn’t nowadays? Let’s remember to not adopt the purist attitude.
Paul has frequently defended his Christianity in interviews and on TV. He specifically said that he “gets to God through Christ.” The difference between Paul and Santorum is that Paul admits that he doesn’t want to use his faith as a tool for political gain. He references Matthew 6:5-6 as an example of what he tries to avoid. And for anyone who has seen his 2011 Values Voter speech, it couldn’t be clearer! What other candidate openly talks about Biblical stories and theology? Only Paul.
I certainly don’t understand praising someone for using better rhetoric, when that rhetoric is empty and irrelevant to the person’s agenda and voting record. Who is being more consistent with his stated worldview? Paul, by a long shot. There is a huge difference between using yourself to promote Christianity, and using Christianity to promote yourself.