Encouragement from Romania
For Christians observing American politics, 2023 has provided its share of frustration. For example, under the Biden administration, the U.S. State Department has aggressively exported LGBT ideology abroad, the Defense Department has unlawfully funded abortion, and the FBI has shown an alarming anti-Catholic bias. Additionally, elections in Ohio and Kentucky provided sobering reminders that many of our fellow citizens are still a long way from holding a consistent pro-life ethic. With a presidential election on the horizon, politics promises to add even more strain to the already-fraying social ties that hold many communities together.
But amid the divisiveness in America, Christians invested in politics and government can find some encouragement in a recent gathering in Romania. On November 25, the Alianta Renasterea Nationala (ARN) held its national conference in Brasov, Romania. The ARN is a Christian-oriented, conservative political party that champions the defense of marriage and the natural family, religious freedom, legal recognition of the right to life from conception to natural death, and the rule of law. The party also opposes pornography, gender ideology, and the legalization of prostitution. Founded by Peter Costea in 2020, the party is running for seats in both the European and Romanian parliaments in 2024.
I was invited to the annual conference to speak to ARN party organizers, activists, government officials, and pastors. In my first presentation, I spoke on Christian political engagement and the cornerstones of a biblical worldview. Specifically, I underscored two principles that ought to guide Christians in politics: stewardship and loving your neighbors.
Christians have the responsibility to be stewards of everything that God has entrusted to us. It is widely understood that we are supposed to be good stewards of resources like time and money. But I explained to my listeners my belief that we are called to be good stewards of everything God has blessed us with, and for those of us who live in constitutional republics like the United States or Romania, that includes our freedoms and political liberties.
Jesus said the second great commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31). From the parable of the Good Samaritan, Christians understand that everyone deserves neighbor love. I explained my belief that loving our neighbors in a holistic, comprehensive way involves engaging in politics, the arena where a society’s basic rights and freedom are shaped.
In my second presentation, I focused on abortion and gender ideology, issues increasingly on the horizon in Romanian culture. Using examples from the American political scene, I explained how a biblical worldview requires Christians to value unborn children as those made in the image of God. I also explained how the sexual revolution has successfully overturned centuries of norms concerning family and sexual mores, and I urged ministry and political leaders to oppose American and European ideological imperialism and re-affirm biblical teachings on marriage and the family.
Like most countries, Romania has multiple political parties represented in its parliament. Currently, nine different parties have representatives serving in the Romanian parliament, and 10 parties have representatives in the European parliament. At a time when the ostensibly conservative party in the United States sometimes struggles to robustly defend what Russell Kirk once described as the “permanent things” (i.e., life, marriage, and family), the very existence of the ARN, and their recently announced alliance with an Orthodox Christian party, is tremendously encouraging. With the horrors of the anti-God, anti-church communist regime of Nicolae Ceausescu (1974-1989) still a part of the living memory of most Romanians, a movement explicitly committed to bringing biblical principles into the public square is needed to counter the political apathy still present in many Romanian churches.
Finally, as part of my trip, I had the opportunity to speak in two of the largest Pentecostal churches in Brasov, the sixth-largest city in the country. Singing praise and worship with Romanian Christians was a highlight of my visit. At the second church, I preached from Matthew 16:13-20, the well-known account of Jesus and the disciples at Caesarea Philippi. I encouraged the church to consider Jesus’s identity and then walked through what George Barna has identified as the seven cornerstones of a biblical worldview. After sharing the data from FRC’s 2023 worldview study, I explained why an orthodox view of God, salvation, Scripture, and the human condition is crucial for Christian maturity and discipleship.
I may have visited Romania for the purpose of encouraging Romanian Christians, but I left feeling incredibly encouraged and blessed myself. The Romanian church is not perfect, but it is filled with brothers and sisters who love God and are committed to bringing His Word to bear on their families and communities. Although Americans will understandably be focused on our own political situation in 2024, I hope many believers in the United States join me in praying for God’s work in other countries, including Romania, where there appears to be an exciting work of God underway.
David Closson is Director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at Family Research Council.