We have entered the political season where there is a race of the century to see which path America will take. Worldview is a crucial component of this election. How we see what is going on and how we see people amid the political conflict is also a matter of worldview.
In this bulletin I am going to break down the different elements of this complex situation before us. To be clear, I am a conservative evangelical Christian. But I will be stepping on the toes of my own group as well as other groups in this discussion.
It is Only About the Kingdom
First, I want to speak to those Christians who believe being pro-Kingdom means being anti-nation. We hear from this group that Jesus is on the throne and all that matters is King Jesus. While I am ever so grateful for their devotion to Jesus, Jesus is not running for President. Our theology is useless if it does not make a difference on earth in the present-day reality. Jesus not only rules in heaven, but on earth. And on earth, God designed us to live within nations. We see this from His call of Abraham to be the father of many nations. Then we see the progression of Moses leading a people out of Egypt, training them in the laws of God to prepare them to be a nation in a physical land where God desired for them to flourish within its borders.
Christianity matters in space and time reality. Theology applies to government and how leaders govern the nation. Politics is deeply theological. We have a responsibility to release heaven on earth which means applying truth in the real world. In November, this means voting.
I get it though. I understand the desire to raise the white flag and withdraw from politics completely. We see all the fighting, the less than Christian behavior, the confusion of the Gospel with national fervor, the politicization of Christianity, and the pure ugliness running rampant around us. We know Jesus did not teach us to engage the world with this sort of angst, so we pull out, protecting our hearts from all the turmoil. Just know, I am not advocating joining the raging feud, but developing a nuanced healthy theology for government and civic responsibility.
We do not want to be those who create an anti-nation theology because we observe Christians not being Christ-like. We must be Christ-like while embracing good theology.
The Left Wants to Destroy the Country
It is a common practice to demonize the other side. We make the emotive and dramatic argument that imposes a motivation upon people we generally have never befriended. The left becomes this ominous all-encompassing force of the Devil or so the argument goes. When in fact, this is a failure of argument. Argumentation has been replaced with memes and school yard bullying. It may be argued well that the ideology of liberalism can damage a nation in real ways. But that does not mean that those who espouse liberal leftist ideology desire the outcome conservatives believe their policies will result in, nor that they believe the outcome that conservatives think so obvious.
People think within the confines of their worldview. It is difficult to see through another person’s eyes especially when they are the distant “other” that we hear about on Facebook and not someone we know. It is not as easy to think someone a crazy fool when you know them. If we cannot understand why someone thinks as they do it does not give us a right to decide for him what he wants and why.
I do believe that the ideology of the left is destructive to a nation. However, I would love to sit down and have a conversation where I can grow to understand why a liberal friend believes as he does instead of believing the worst about him. I refuse to believe every liberal American wants to destroy America. They want to lead America with their worldview at the helm. They do not believe their worldview will break her but make her a better place. We conservatives may define their “better place” as “destroyed”, but that is a different argument than wanting her destruction.
America needs both wings to fly. She must have tension between big government and small government, between States and Federal Government, between sovereignty of the people and the representation of government. To go too hard right would be equally dangerous as too hard left. If we do not make a place for the different voices in the public square, we may find it is our own voice which has been pushed out.
If Trump Does Not Win America is Over
I hear a lot of defeatist language from evangelicals. We sound like victims without hope. America does not rise or fall with one Presidential Administration. America is not only her President or its government as important as those are. Our hope is not in a President. Here is where we do need to learn from the first group I mentioned. We do need reminding that America is not only her government. In fact, conservatives would do well to remember the importance of a sovereign people whose liberty is not governmentally bestowed, but God given. We have great liberty in this nation even when we are walking around in masks. Sometimes we forget ourselves and go along with the status quo even when we are free not to.
The light is greater than the darkness. The truth is powerful, and if we disciple others in the truth we will see a reformed America. The goal is not for our political party to enforce the truth, but for us to teach the truth so that people do what is right because of good discipleship versus good control. We are a nation of self-governance. The surest way to ensure we remain in liberty is to shore up our foundations.
Think of it this way: If President Trump wins a second term our nation is still in as much need of discipleship as if Biden wins. It would be a grave mistake if we thought all was well because of who the President is or is not. Four years passes quickly. What inroads have we made in the last four years to disciple our nation? How many people have you discipled? How many institutions have you helped disciple in the last four years? Let us not put all the responsibility upon an institution and an office never meant to shoulder it.
The Trump Train
There is a blindness about the President that is disconcerting. Good citizens critique all persons in government. We see where they err and where they get things right. The religious fervor of support for President Trump has been beyond the normal support for a President. It has been unrestrained fandom. It has increased the divide between the right and left going so far as to create divide within conservatives as well. Political polarization is at an all time high. This is part of the reason we have the first group I wrote about who want nothing to do with all this fandemonium.
I believe it is also creating some who would have always thought of themselves as conservative evangelicals who are now seeking refuge in liberal Christianity. Liberal Christianity is offering enough thoughtful critique to draw in those who have no group to whom they can belong within. These believers may have one foot in the ‘leaving all politics behind’ camp and one foot in the ‘liberal politics’ camp with a couple toes still clinging to the ‘evangelical world’ they have always known. I hope that I can provide a third solution for these seekers. I do not mean a third person to vote for in the election, but a third mentality which is largely missing from all three camps.
Also, there are many in our nation, who, right or wrong, consider President Trump as an affront to their identity as a black community. The Trump Train crowd inadvertently makes them feel ostracized. I do not believe this crowd is trying to do this. But there is a great deal of learning to do to know how to communicate ideas without alienating people those ideas should serve. It is important to take responsibility to know the ebb and flow of thought forms of those in our nation and to communicate with integrity. The best way to start is to develop good healthy friendships with people who are not part of your way of life or thinking. Do not ever assume what others think and feel or should think and feel. Speak in a way that welcomes diverse thought so that others will welcome your diverse thought. Together we can work toward a healthier America.
The Worldview Choice
Nuance takes a long time to explore. I have only scratched the surface. I certainly have not adequately or comprehensively represented all the thinking groups in America who make this nation a beautiful place to live.
Just the same, we are approaching a significant election. We are not just looking at two potential Presidents, two personalities, or two leadership styles, but two worldviews. Two paths stand before us which will make a difference in our nation. The men representing those paths are not as important as the worldviews of their administrations. While one can choose not to vote, or vote third party, most of the voting public will make a choice between President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden. In making that choice we will choose between nationalism and globalism. We will decide between capitalism and socialism or perhaps even a path to Marxism. These are very real choices. We will choose between popular sovereignty and Statism.
With so much on the line it is no wonder many are fearful. But we have a Kingdom which cannot be shaken. No matter how much the world shakes we are unshakeable if we are in the Kingdom. If politics is robbing you of your peace, your peace is resting on what can be shaken. One road forward will be more difficult than the other for our nation. But even the road us conservatives want for America is not without its challenges. We must see that even with the road that President Trump represents it is still a bumpy ride as his wrecking ball nature is not a nice clean path forward. We must understand that much of the nation will be chagrined if this path is taken because they have not felt that he represents their needs.
The reality before us is that it is a sticky situation. It is not ideal, but when has real life men and women of history been the pristine characters that we dream they were? Real life is real not ideal.
I do not have to be a bully or endorse bullish behavior to choose a better worldview than the alternative. I am not endorsing a leadership style, a character, or a manner. What becomes disconcerting is when we endorse those things and excuse those things. We must hold a tension between what is Christian and what is not. We cannot pull it all in and excuse it as good behavior so that we can vote. We must understand we vote for a flesh and blood sinner who gets things wrong, and when he gets things wrong, we do not embrace the wrong. When we remove the tension mingling politics and religion to where our party or our elected official can do no wrong, we lose our own credibility as a Christian people. Again, we increase the polarized divide as people watch us appalled that we are willing to overlook without thoughtful critique every error, every unkind word, every late-night tweet, etc.
The End Times
Most nations of the world have never had the freedom we enjoy here. God loves all the nations of the world. America is not the barometer for the End Times. The Lord is not waiting for our nation to fall apart for His return. He is looking for a victorious Church that disciples the nations in his truth – The Great Commission. He is looking for a mature bride. He is not looking for a decaying nation which resulted from our abdication of discipleship and leadership. Politics is not making it or breaking it for when Jesus returns. But it does affect our life in our nation, thus it would be good to give due attention to this election for the state of our nation, and not because its outcome will bring about our save us from a tribulation.
The great thing about biblical nationalism is that God wants to make great nations that bless other nations. Nationalism is about being a sovereign entity with such prosperity that we can be a leader in the world to increase the prosperity of the nations around us through good leadership and, at times, appropriate aide. We do not need to keep regurgitating an end time argument when we see national decay. It is not about End Times, but neglect of the righteous to steward the gifts and talents of God toward the health of nations.
Moving into 2021
We do not know who will be in the White House come 2021. What we do know is that no matter who it is, we must guard our words, our friendships, and our hearts.
We have not liked the constant criticism of the President, so we defend to a fault. But if our guy is in the White House or not, we have a responsibility to respect the elected leader. We cannot participate in nation fracturing disrespect and “not my President” no matter who holds that seat.
We ought not gloat if “our guy” wins nor pout if “our guy” loses, though we may be very disappointed or joyful depending on which way things go.
We must watch our declarations. The words we speak over our nation can carry the force of making them happen. We can curse or bless, speak death, or speak life, creating that reality. No matter who is elected it is our responsibility to speak life-giving words over America. It is our responsibility to work for her reform to biblical truth, justice, and the American Way. That American Way is a way that we all move forward as one nation under God and not fractured or leaving any groups behind. Again, one administration will make that more difficult than the other, but nothing is impossible for God.
Therefore, as we go into this election season. Let us be salt and light in our world. Let us go forth as people who are counterculture to what is raging around us. We are to be people who live and articulate the truth in love. Be in tension with what is normal. Think before speaking. Love our nation so much that we declare life over it. Study the worldview choice before us. Ask questions of trusted people from different perspectives. Pray. Vote. Work for the Reformation of America no matter who is in the Oval Office. I will be.
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