Today Is My Birthday, Or Perhaps the Anniversary, That Is, Of My Calling.

AUGUST 13, 1956
May I have permission to be autobiographical? Today is my birthday. I don’t mean that August 13 was the day I was born. It is not. Maybe I should call it an anniversary. August 13 was the day that a “calling” came upon me when I was a child.
Can a person be “called” by God to a life pursuit at a very young age? The answer is yes. Jeremiah was called, that is, appointed by God to be a prophet while he was still in the womb: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. (That alone is evidence that God views life as beginning at conception.)
I have heard of many persons who sensed a call of God on their lives at ages as early as four or five or six. At the same time, it is never too late to receive God’s special “tap on the shoulder.” For some, it comes much later in life.
At nine years of age – August 13, 1956 – I watched the first day of the four-day Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  I watched every second of it.  I was intrigued and hooked.
TV was still relatively new, especially in rural areas. Of course, it was black and white. We were the second family in our community to get a TV. How did you know who had a TV? To see anything on TV in rural areas, you had to have a very tall – about 30 feet – tower mounted either on top of your house or next to your house, which would be rotated different directions, so you could receive the three available channels (ABC, CBS and NBC). City folks had “rabbit ears” they adjusted. Farm people had towers. In our case, we were only able to get two channels, KOLN, Lincoln, Nebraska and WIBW, Topeka, Kansas. We thought that was amazing.
I remember right where I was in the living room of our old two story, “box-y,” white frame farmhouse three miles west of Ames, KS (population approximately 75 or so at the time, I suppose) when my “calling” came. The house was built in the 1890’s, with the huge window water cooler running (blasting), as I watched our Zenith TV with the antennae rotator on top. I remember talking to my Uncle Vernon and Aunt Evelyn about governmental things the next day or so, with great excitement.
The 1956 Democratic National Convention – held once every four years – opened on August 13. I was spellbound. Nominees included Stuart Symington, Averell Harriman, and Lyndon Baines Johnson. The winner was Adlai Stevenson. (He had been the nominee in 1952 and had lost then against Eisenhower in the general election, just as he would do again later in November of 1956.) Estes Kefauver was selected (through popular ballot, not by the nominee!) to be the Vice-Presidential nominee. It was the first time, to my knowledge, that the name of John Fitzgerald Kennedy was seriously considered – perhaps even stated – at a Democratic National Convention.
I remember those days in August of 1956 as if it was 15 minutes ago.  I suspect that no one cares or remembers it, except me. But it was profoundly impactful. It shaped the trajectory of my life.
By the way, the Democratic Party was very different then from what it has now become. It had a respectable platform. No one suggested destroying pre-born babies. No one affirmed immorality. No one suggested destroying marriage. No one suggested affirming that for which God had destroyed Sodom. No one suggested that men should put dresses on and use girl’s restrooms. No one suggested that young women in the military would be forced to shower and live in barracks with fully intact males. No one suggested that little boys and little girls should be chemically castrated and surgically mutilated. No one suggested that looting and rioting would be viewed as reparations. No one suggested that we should run the national debt so high that there would be no hope of ever repaying it. No one suggested that we should become energy dependent on our enemies. No one suggested that we should force people to take jabs they did not want. No one suggested that the free market was evil, and socialism was good. No one hated America. Unfortunately, much has changed.  Although my family and I were never Democrats, the gap between Republicans and Democrats was much narrower back then.
Christians seem to understand that the Bible speaks to the personal issues. That is called self-governance. Christians understand that the Bible speaks to the issues of family life, which is called family-governance. Most Christians understand that the Bible speaks to the issue of the structure of church or congregational life. That is called church governance. But unfortunately, very few Christians understand that the Bible speaks to the issue of civil governance, how a city, state or nation is supposed to function. There seems to be very little awareness that God is so loving and cares so much that He gives us clear guidance on the governmental or political issues that we face.
The reality is: (1) God loves us. (2) He cares for us so much that he arranged for a book to be available to help us navigate how to govern. God did not finish “the book” and go, “Oh wow, I forgot about the whole government thing!” (3) God established government. (4) He establishes nations. (5) He cares about our communities. He desires us to have quiet and peaceful lives.
In fact, to the extent that a nation, long-term, follows the Biblical principles of governance, one will see that human pain, suffering and poverty will be reduced. To the extent that a nation, long-term, violates the Biblical principles of governance, then human pain, suffering and poverty will be increased. That is the reason the Scripture makes the bold claim: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalm 33:12).
For years I have tried to explain to others “who I am.”  I am not talking about a psycho-babble type of “who am I” when I say this. Rather I am talking about the gifts God gives to each of us. All of us must find our own unique giftings and callings.
I have watched the news on governmentally related events virtually every day since age nine, and have participated in countless campaigns for righteousness and holiness to be lifted up in the marketplace of governmental ideas. As a result of the governmental interest, I have been (wrongly) labeled “political.” The truth is, I am Biblical.
Some might say I became “hooked on politics.” That is not the case. It was – as my wife Rosemary would label it many decades later – a “governmental anointing.” It was holy. Those of you who love and reverence the Name of the Lord know what it is to hear His voice. My call was not a voice. In my case, God used an event to draw me to His calling for me. Repeating for emphasis: the calling was not to “politics.” It was to government. There is a difference.

If you are consumed only with “politics,” you only care about winning elections every other year. In contrast, if you are called to “government,” or to “Biblical governance,” you care deeply for your city, state, or nation, desiring it to have the blessing of God. You long for nations to have peace and tranquility. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12) is a living reality. Biblical governance most surely impacts politics, but it is so much more than that.

It was never about “political activism,” although political activism is a good thing, in fact, a very good thing. What my governmental anointing means to me is the practice of “biblical applicational-ism,” that is the application of the Scriptures to all of life, including the governmental. Simply stated, I want people – when they think about government – to think Biblical. I want them to take Jesus into the voting booth.
"Biblical applicationalism" is the attempt to help people understand that Scripture is the foundation of government itself – and by default – the candidates. Biblical applicationalism is to help people see that for every challenging political and social problem we have today, THE BIBLE HAS THE ANSWERS THAT WORK IN SOCIETY. It is to help every follower of Jesus (and non-followers too) grasp how the Bible applies to every aspect of governmental life.
That is why I try to teach people how to respond Biblically to the many critical social and “political” issues of our day! That is the reason we go to Congress or the various agencies in Washington, DC, or to the United Nations in New York City or Geneva or go to various countries to meet with Members of Parliament.
That is why I wrote Well Versed, which covers the Biblical foundations to 30 governmental issues. That is why I am currently writing Well Versed in a Woke World, laying out Biblical foundations to 60 governmental topics.
Some Christians think this is about politics.  Oh, how I wish they understood it is so much more! It is not ultimately “political.” It is biblical.
Some pastors, avoiding the governmental, say, “I just preach Jesus.” Well so do I. But I also preach what Jesus preached: The Kingdom. And if there is a Kingdom, there is a King. And Jesus is that King. And what is He King over? Answer: Everything. Including civil government.
The “left” misunderstands this type of calling as advocating a “theocracy” or “dominionism,” or “culture religion,” or now the new one, “Christian nationalism,” or simply being “right wing.”
However, it is not “right vs. left.” It is “right vs. wrong.” And the Bible is right. And everything else is wrong. And to my “lefty friends,” I fully understand that we do not live in a theocracy but that we live in a constitutional republic that operates democratically.
I understand my calling. I enjoy walking it out. I have a “governmental anointing” for “biblical applicationalism.” Only with biblical applicationalism can our nation – or any nation – be preserved or experience its true potential and greatness.
I thank God for the callings and anointings he puts on all of us. You included! I praise Him this day for the calling he placed on a nine year old, 67 years ago today.
On this anniversary, would you join us in making a donation to Well Versed?
Dr. Jim Garlow
Well Versed

Rosemary Schindler Garlow
Well Versed
Consider giving a tax-deductible donation to Well Versed, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, to continue bringing biblical principles of governance to government leaders and YOU!

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