Watching this election coming down to such a narrow margin we can see that we are witnessing the effects of a divided nation. Perhaps we have become numb to our deep seeded divisions which have so polarized our nation. How do we participate in the healing of a nation rather than participating in its divisions? How do we do this without compromising truth? The answer is not standing in the middle of the road trying desperately to merge one worldview with another. It is not claiming neutrality for no worldview is neutral.
Theological Nature of Politics
Politics is both theological and spiritual, but it is not to be religious. There is a difference which I will flesh out. How we see nations and their inner workings on every level is deeply theological. The very idea of nation comes from the Bible. Majoring on personal responsibility or on programs to provide welfare for the poor are both derived from biblical theology. It does not mean that both arguments are equally correct, but that their origins are both coming from a Christian worldview expressed in how we look at economics and government.
Spiritual Nature of Politics
All of life is spiritual and physical. Spiritual warfare always surrounds those in leadership especially in the echelons of political power. Thus, politics is deeply spiritual. But we get into dangerous ground when we make it religious. Can a politician and/or worldview be diabolical? Most certainly. We saw this with Hitler and his Nazi ideology. But what I mean by religious is that we ought not make the Right or the Left a litmus test for whether someone knows the Lord or not. Right or Left we cannot disavow a believer as part of the Body of Christ because his Christian worldview is not built on what we see as the correct theology.
Danger of Making Politics Religious
Here is the rub. Some people get this point about not jettisoning someone from the Faith because they do not have the political beliefs, we deem correct. But where it goes too far is when we think there is not some semblance of a correct view. We begin to try to be some middle of the road peacemaker and in the process sacrifice good true thinking.
Am I saying that one side has all the truth and the other has all the lies? No, far from it. That is what it looks like when we make Right and Left religious. One side is all good, the other side is all evil and the religious war is almost weaponized. This must stop.
Aiming for a Mature Worldview
Maturity in worldview makes a place for nuance. It does not make the other side all wrong and one’s own view completely righteously right so much so that salvation itself is on “our side.” The more we know truth we see it and can agree with it wherever we find it. If we are doing it right, we will be accused of being a friend of “the other side.” Some Christian thought leaders today are accused from the Left of being too right and from the Right from being too left. Some argue they are simply not taking sides and treading a middle road. The truth is that they have learned the art of nuance and persuasion and they critique both sides equally and agree when and where there is substance of truth for which to agree.
Os Guinness writes that we must hold both sides in tension as we are first and foremost Christians not political parties. This means a believer on the Right is not holding to the group think of all positions the Right professions. They are considering the Lord and His Word and holding that in tension with the party politics. The same is true for a believer on the Left. There should be a tension between their view and the party.
Avoid Group Think
When is the last time you disagreed with what your side is saying on social media? I have read countless articles on the election and why one should vote one way or another. I find my reasons are often more or less different than what the group is arguing for. I read an article from Christianity Today detailing the divide within the conservative camp between what the writer termed the Regent view and the Remnant view. While I am conservative, I did not identify completely with either group even though the author did a good job detailing the two main views within my own camp. I have my own thought out reasons as to where I stand and why. I have my own critiques of conservativism and evangelicalism while being solidly that at the same time.
And yet I often aim to help my liberal Christian brothers and sisters feel heard, understood, and not ostracized. I want to hear their perspectives. I want to be able to repeat their views back to them and hear that I did so accurately and generously so that from there a dialog can begin. I do not get to tell them what they believe and why that view I have constructed for them is wrong.
Persuasion requires listening, learning, and loving people. It is stepping away from the us versus them. Truth is powerful and it works. I do not need to demean, name call, air faults of another, to create a power play for truth to work. Truth is power. It does its work because it carries the weight of another world. It ministers to the heart and soul of a person to shift the mind into renewal. Some people will reject truth. Some of my conservative friends will balk at this worldview perspective.
Some are running from the truth because the crowd championing truth did not do so with love. These people have camped out on love and care for the marginalized, an idea that comes from biblical theology. I would counter that it lacks the whole true and majors on a partial truth. But that partial truth comes from the same source as the whole. Conservatives often land in the ditch on the other side of the argument also needing an adjustment to the whole truth.
Certainty of Heart in the Midst of Political Uncertainty
We do not yet know who the President will in 2021. But we can know we are not going to be prideful if our guy wins. We can know we are not going to be petulant if their guy wins. We can start now listening to views we hold as wrong. Not to accept them, but to know the heart and soul of those who desperately want a different outcome of the election than we do. Those who want Trump to win should not treat those who want Biden to win as idiots. Those who are Never Trumpers should not treat those who see merit in his Presidency as having fallen from grace.
Prepare now to accept the reality that comes in 2021 and to do so graciously with the sportsmanship of a good athlete who has won or lost a competition in the Olympics. The continuation of our electoral system depends upon it. We must safeguard the peaceful continuance or change of President.
Discipleship not Control is Key
The rise or fall of America is not a matter of this election, but of how we disciple our nation through the churches making disciple makers in all areas of life. We must teach worldview, government, economics, finances, business, family, marriage, history, science, hygiene, and so much more. Church members should receive a full Christian education and not just the Pastor’s latest take on the Sermon on the Mount (which is absolutely important). If we truly disciple, we will see the nation turn around. We will see marriages last, and children grow up well parented. We will see business flourish. We will see people set free from debt. We will see people prospering in the Kingdom and our cities and nations getting healthier.
The Responsibility Lies with Us
The nation is not doing poorly because the end is here. It is not in flux only because of the world. It is what it is because we are not discipling in truth. Nothing stops truth when that truth is walked out in love and humility illuminating the way forward. We do not need to muster up righteous militant standing up for truth. We will not strong-arm people into compliance with the Gospel. We cannot seek to control a nation. Nor do we leave it to platitudes that God is in control. He is not. He is sovereign, but He is not controlling the pages of our history books. He shows up in them Providentially, but we are the heirs of his Kingdom on earth–the light in the darkness.
The goal is to disciple a nation, not control it. If we want more elections like this one and worse, we can keep on as we are, but if we want to truly make a Great America for all her citizens, we will stop dueling and start discipling.
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