//
you're reading...
Politics, Religion/Philosophy, Uncategorized

How Christians Should Respond to the Election

election_2008

There is indeed much to reflect on as we enter into a new day here in America. For most of us that are evangelical Christians, the candidate we voted for will not be assuming the office of President of the United States for the coming four years. There is a great deal of uncertainty, and for many, fear, regarding the future for America and for its citizens. Only time will tell what the next few years will indeed be like. Nevertheless, it is an excellent time for those that are Christians here in America to meditate and reflect on the future from a biblical perspective. I offer some thoughts as we enter into these curious days.

First, Isaiah 6:1 is a timely reminder for us that the white house is not the throne room of heaven, and the man who sits in the oval office is not high and lifted up. Many of us are aware of this. Still, our fears and concerns challenge our theology. Jesus is indeed King of the earth. His control is supreme. He appoints kings and rulers and he removes them. Make no mistake, the man God wants to be the President of the United States is the President of the United States. We must trust his sovereignty.

Second, we are citizens of heaven before we are citizens of the United States of America. And (a big and here, and one that will probably challenge you), God’s agenda is not the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere does God promise us freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, and so on and so forth. God’s priority is not that we find pleasure in worldly life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. God’s priority is not our ease and comfort.  America’s, and our own individual economic prosperity is not the reason God exists.  Not that any of these things are necessarily bad things, or should not be protected and preserved to a certain degree. But these are not the means by which God accomplishes His sovereign will. These are not the end for which God has saved us and called us to His purpose and plan. These are not what His kingdom is all about. We must be mindful of our citizenship. If something happens to the things that make America “great” or make America America, our lives are not destroyed. They are not over. We should have found little security in them in the first place.

Third, our task is not primarily a political one. Yes, we as Christians should be engaged in the political discourse of the nation. We should seek to preserve the life of unborn children. We should seek to protect God’s design for marriage. We should seek the right of all to be treated with dignity and respect. Of course we should. However, we put our faith in a Savior and Lord, not a president or a political party. America needs Jesus, not Barack Obama or John McCain. America will be transformed for the better when God’s people rise up and declare the truth of the gospel with boldness, conviction, and power. It is the path to true transformation. True “CHANGE.” The President of the United States has no bearing on our ability to pursue this task. It may indeed have a bearing on the price that may be required of us to be faithful to this task, but it does not change our call in the least. In a surprising reversal of perspective, maybe the gospel will be better furthered as a result of this election than we may have thought.

Fourth, the answer for those of us who are believers is not to respond with the same type of animosity, hostility, and hatred for our next President, agree or disagree, as so many have responded to our current President over the last four years. Regardless of how one judges the current administration’s performance, the way much of America has responded has been wrong and shameful. We must not respond with the same spirit. This does not mean that we should not oppose those actions that would go against our convictions regarding what is right, but we must not attack the person. Biblically we are to pray for him, and in so doing, reveal our trust in God, not in any man. This will also display our commitment to a task that is bigger than any political agenda, as we have already discussed in the previous point.

Maybe in the near future I will offer some more thoughts on the events of this evening and how we as Christians are to respond appropriately. These are initial, but hopefully helpful, and hopefully encouraging. I find great comfort, great certainty, and great focus in them. Let us be grateful to God for the opportunity to be reminded of who we truly are as His people, where we truly find our purpose, where we truly search for our joy and satisfaction, and where we truly place our security. Maybe less should “CHANGE” for us than we think if we are truly mindful of these things.

Note: for some great additional reflection on the election, check out John Piper’s thoughts at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGjGbZNyIBY

Advertisements

Discussion

14 thoughts on “How Christians Should Respond to the Election

  1. Josh,

    This was the finest thing I have read so far on the election. You have a real gift for expressing your Christian views. I can see you writing one day for a Christian magazine or a one of our state newspapers. What are you thinking in regard to your future?

    I can’t believe that all this has come from a guy with a false wall and stars on the ceiling of his childhood bedroom.

    Tell your brothers and your folks hello. We miss you all!

    Posted by Uncle Jimmy Smith | November 5, 2008, 3:22 pm
  2. Honestly Josh Im not surprised at your response. You are right we are not to respond with hatred or any number of things that our country has responded with our last president. I think many of us including me can be prone to be very dramatic about this political situation but the right president has won and we are to respect his authority because we do recognize God’s Sovereignty. I can’t help but wonder what this new president spells out for the church in America. Maybe it will force the church to shine with boldness that has been so difficult to find in America. Maybe it will show the world more clearly Christianity is not an American religion. Maybe this does spell the end of times….who knows? God alone. I can only say that we were in Gods hands since the begining and we are in his hands still today. Nothing has changed in that aspect and in that I do find so much strength and comfort in Him.

    Posted by Kris | November 5, 2008, 3:35 pm
  3. Josh, I really enjoy reading your commentary on election. I concur with the comment #1 above, you are gifted in expressing your Christian worldview. Keep it up bro!

    May our focus be on the Lord. Maranatha.

    P.S. Feed your blog to the facebook notes so I can read your new posts there automatically!

    Posted by Leo So | November 5, 2008, 7:34 pm
  4. I totaly agree with you! The president is not our way to true change and revival of the Gospel. God is! We should expect Him to help us change our world and not Obama or Mc Cain or anybody else. But what i seem not to understand is that, some people think that because they voted for Mc Cain and not for Obama, they are better and true christians than those who also are followers of Christ but voted for Obama? It does not make any sense. Nobody has the right to define ones’relationship with God just because of a stupid election. If people were more informed and not so fast to judge and not so fast to put themselve above others, they will actually come to the realization that both the most important moral and value issue that both canditates did not share was the abortion problem. And understand that this is no a defence to Obama but he made is clear that abortion was wrong but that the choice come to concerned because he has no right to take away the life of a baby nor a mother! Yes, i dont like that he gives the choice to the people but who am i to judge his opinions? Let s pick the pieces that we were broken by our own hand and focusing on things above.! America will not die because Obama just got elected. America will perish if we dont seeck God guidance and continue in that hatred!

    Posted by Bled | November 5, 2008, 9:58 pm
  5. Bled, thanks for reading and responding. I agree with you on several levels. I agree with you that a simple vote for one particular candidate as opposed to another does not add or remove someone from the church of Jesus Christ.

    However, I also disagree with you to some degree as well. Let’s just deal with the issue which you have brought up, abortion. It is an issue that was hardly discussed during this campaign season, but may be the most important issue at stake in this entire election.

    Barack Obama has repeatedly voted for abortion rights and privileges, even the despicable practice of partial-birth abortion. He has also communicated his intentions of passing the Freedom of Choice Act, which will open the door for complete freedom to abort, preserve secrecy regarding those who would choose to do it, and would use taxpayer’s dollars to fund it all. Barack Obama is also not simply a citizen of the United States, he is now the President of the United States, and the decisions he makes affect millions of lives. We must judge his opinions because he now has the power to legislate on issues that strike at heart of life and death. If unborn fetuses are living human beings, then it is murder to take their lives. The issue is not simply the matter of an opinion. The issue is right and wrong. I find it difficult to envision any Christian who values human life and understands the nature of abortion, and that understands how the Bible defines life, could vote for someone who will open the door for untold millions of humans to be horrifically murdered. I think it is a tremdnous thing that an African American was elected President. I am not convinced his economic policies are the best for America, but I guess we’ll see. Many believe his direction for the American economy will be better. There are many other issues we could dialogue about regarding the candidates. However, to me there is no issue more important for America than the issue of abortion, not when we understand what is at stake, when we understand the magnitude of what abortion is. If abortion is not murder, and the priority of a woman’s right to privacy over her body is the issue, then no big deal. But if abortion is murder, our country is guilty of a holocaust 10 times greater than Hitler’s in Nazi Germany. And those numbers will only rise in the future. If it is murder of human life, the implications of what we have done are unimaginable. I believe a Christian that values Biblical principles will have a hard time making a case for voting for a man who stands for that, regardless of the other issues at stake. It should matter more to a Christian how a candidate approaches the issue of abortion, than the advancement of civil rights, economic policy, foregn policy, etc.

    So I agree that simply voting for Obama doesn’t mean that someone is not a Christian. But I also believe that they have set aside their commitment to the Bible and God’s standards in doing so. It saddens me that more Christians are concerned about gas prices and taxes than they are abortion. I think there is a problem in the church when Christians approach things this way.

    Feel free to comment back. Very good discussion. I’m glad that you brought it up!

    Posted by albinomexican | November 5, 2008, 10:35 pm
  6. JOSH, agian great BLOG, thanks for this blog, I think soo many Chirstains need to see this and read it..

    Posted by Krista | November 5, 2008, 10:53 pm
  7. Sure, abortion is wrong and i am totally against it. And it is surely an issue. Understand that people had various ways to understand his opinions on abortion and probably mine was wrong. But when you take special case of a raped 13 years girl, who can bearly take care of herself or a mother having complications and doctors have to choose between saving her and the baby, these are pretty tough decisions to make. I know you may think these are just special cases but what if they happen? Lol, at the biginning of the campain, i did not support hm when somebody told me that he supported abortion. I did not but when i listened to him myself and try to analyze his arguments, i though in one hand he was right! Nobody has the right to take away the life of a child but at the same, justices practice dealth penalty. it does not make sense! why do we not have the same determination to stop it? Nobody has the right to take away a life even if it is a murder’ life! Nobody! Now here is the thing, we have to educate ourselves and our children of the world of God to know that, you cant have sex before you are married and that you know you are able to take care of that baby. We have to educate ourself and understand that we are supposed to be the ones God has chosen to change this world only thru his Help. Not Mc Cain nor Obama.

    Posted by Bled | November 5, 2008, 10:55 pm
  8. Bled, I do think that you believe abortion is wrong. Please don’t think that our dialogue assumes I think you agree with abortion.

    We must be honest though Bled that 99.9% of abortions have nothing to do with rape or medical complications. They are abortions of convenience. Barack Obama and those who are pro choice are not interested in legislation that limits abortion to these situations. Obama’s limited track record as a state senator and then as a national senator reveal that he has supported every piece of legislation that offers more freedom for abortion, even that which approves of partial-birth abortion. The fight that abortion presents is not about women’s safety in these rare situations, it is critical to the liberal agenda that emphasizes feminist empowerment by allowing women to “have control over their bodies.”

    In addition, those who argue that women who are raped should be allowed to have abortions usually argue for their freedom to do so because of the trauma that carrying that baby to term and giving birth to it would have on them. This however, is a poor argument as well. Research has shown clearly that the emotional and psychological effects of abortion have lifelong effects on those who go through with an abortion. There is greater trauma in this then having the baby and putting it up for adoption. I would be willing to concede such provisions if it really came down to that, though I do not believe that we should allow rape victims to abort either, but the fight for abortion really is about more than these rare situations.

    Ultimately, the issue returns to the fundamental question that must be answered: is the unborn fetus a human being or not? If it is, should not the one who carries a child even if it is the product of something terrible such as rape, have a responsibility to the life they carry inside them? To protect life and not destroy it?

    Unfortunately Barack Obama’s agenda regarding abortion is not simply to offer women who have been raped or women who have medical complications options. It is far more. It might be worth researching the Freedom of Choice Act. It is an act that Barack Obama has said will be one of his top priorities upon taking office. Behind much lingo about protecting women’s right to choose, to live in equality with men, etc…, this act is intended to prevent legislation to ban abortion in the future and will allow all forms abortion to be permissible and protected. The act also would use taxpayer dollars for the performance of abortions.

    we should educate young people on appropriate sexual behavior, which as you have already acknowledged, is abstinence. But again, these things miss the point. Is the unborn fetus a human being? I believe it is. And if it is, we can’t allow it to be legal and then just try to minimize it? Would we allow murder itself tp be legalized and then just try and get people not to do it, even though it’s not against the law for them to do it anymore? Of course not. The same is true with abortion.

    Does that make sense?

    Posted by albinomexican | November 6, 2008, 4:10 am
  9. Excellent reflection Josh. Your encouraging words are able to break the hardest of conservative hearts in the hope of refocusing on God rather than politics.

    With this said, how should a Christian go about shifting the focus from putting hope in a political figure (the President) to putting an emphasis on Jesus as ruler of our lives? It seems to me that some believe that the new President will fix all of their problems. Is this the purpose of the President? I don’t think so. I don’t think fixing little problems is God’s purpose either.

    Where is the balance?

    Posted by Caleb | November 6, 2008, 7:49 pm
  10. Good question Caleb. I think there are probably a number of ways to answer your question. I’ll throw a few ideas out there though. I think one of their problems is clearly that they don’t recognize what their real problem is. Sin and separation from God. Israel was the same way during the time that Jesus arived on the scene in the first century. Israel was looking for a political Messiah to deliver them from Roman oppression. They wanted someone to deliver them from poverty, injustice, and taxation. Israel wanted a Messiah that would save them from Rome, as opposed to saving them from their sin. Jesus was not these things (at least not in that way at that time). Jesus came to deal with the bigger issue, namely sin. Humanity has a bigger problem than relational problems, money problems, etc… It’s sin, and it’s sin that separates them from God. It is an issue with God Himself. A Christian who thinks their problems are primarily physical and not spiritual may very well not be a Christian. At best they are a deceived one. I think much of the answer comes through a refocusing on what our real problem is. Presidents can’t fix that.

    Secondly, you are absolutely right that God does not exist just to fix our problems. To expect that of God, is essentially, to expect Him to serve us, which is a complete reversal of the nature of a saving relationship with Him. And, it is idolatry, worship of self rather than God. That very idea, whether it expresses itself in what we want in a President, or what we want in a God, is simply unchristian.

    I don’t think there is a need for balance. I don’t trust the President really for anything. I submit myself to his leadership, having been appointed by God, but I trust God and allow Him to rule in my life supremely.

    Does that help? Follow up with any further questions!

    Posted by albinomexican | November 12, 2008, 5:27 pm
  11. I absolutely agree that this situation is similar to that of the Jews expecting Jesus to fulfill their personal agendas. The kingdom Jesus was speaking about was not a political kingdom, but a kingdom of God.

    I might be overextending my point, but with the Biblical (the correct) view of the kingdom of God in mind, which Jesus compared to a mustard seed (starting off very small and growing and extending its branches), I believe that most people misinterpret Christianity as not involving labor at all. Let me explain. While I’m certain you agree that it is clear that we were saved by grace through faith, this does not mean that Christianity does not require labor in spreading the message of truth.

    At the core of the issue I see a battle between a pre-millennial and post-millennial way of thinking (the former being more commonly held). The symbolism used in scripture specifically in Daniel’s visions of the Beasts, points to a gradual overcoming of evil by good. I believe that this was also promised in Genesis 3, in the enmity between the woman’s offspring and the serpent, and also by Adam’s naming his wife Eve (the mother of all the living), implying that they repented and returned to God’s command to be fruitful and multiply, having dominion over the Earth. However, and this is where my point comes in, this was not going to be an easy process. As Genesis 3:23-24 says: “So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.”

    Therefore, the pre-millennial way of thinking is often the more favorable one (it basically is man trying to get back into paradise apart from labor as God has commanded). This way of thinking dominates all aspects of American society, and not just a majority of Christian religion. Most assume that ultimately I don’t need to do anything, someone else may do it for me, but it doesn’t matter because the goal will be reached anyway. On the other hand, a type of post-millennial thinking would suggest that we work strenuously to progress truth, making it clearly known, not fully relying on elected officials to fix our problems, but realizing major problems instead of focusing on minor ones.

    Although this might have been a long explanation, I hope I have conveyed the laziness of some American views and how they play in the deconstruction of politics and religion.

    Posted by Caleb | November 13, 2008, 2:45 am
  12. Very interesting. You’ve been studying some eschatology. I think you are right that post-millenianism leads to a greater “work ethic” so to speak. But I think it is difficult to support a post-mil approach overall in scripture, and I think that while your argument from Genesis 3 is interesting, it is difficult to justify from that text as well. But I think you bring up some really good points. Look at you! I love it. You’re going to make a great theologian! Tell Corey I said to give you a raise and to let you preach some!

    Posted by albinomexican | November 13, 2008, 5:05 am
  13. I realize it’s hard to approach post-millennialism through scripture, but my perspective in writing was a historical one of how Americans and Christians have viewed work ethic.

    Maybe we should talk further on Genesis 3 (lately I’ve been trying to look deeper into this chapter, since it’s probably one of the most important chapters, if not the most important in the Bible). I am curious as to your thoughts on the reason God guarded off the garden.

    I don’t think Cory will give me a raise, but I can steal some books from his office as a bonus.

    Posted by Caleb | November 13, 2008, 3:04 pm
  14. You Calvinists, always talking about election! Isn’t there anything else you can talk about? Jeez!

    Posted by Jacob | December 1, 2008, 7:52 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: