The 2017 Presidential Election is over. But the fallout is not. So, allow me to be one of the biblically-reasonable voices in the sea of gloom, uncertainty, and hypocrisy.
I am aware that many Christians voted for Trump, many voted for Hilary, and many did not vote for either. (I, myself, did not vote for either). I am aware that those Christians who voted for Trump and Hilary is disturbing to the Christians on the other side of each other. I am aware that many Christians who did not vote for Trump are deeply concerned about the direction of our nation and the fallout of this election. And I am aware that the same would be said by Christians if Hilary would've won.
So what do we do American Church?
Clearly there is a divide, not merely in our country but in the Church in our country. Sadly, that is one definite thing this election brought to light. Maybe the reasons for the divide are valid. Maybe they aren't as much as you may think they are. Either way, what do we do now American Church?
American Church, you need to realize your brethren across the other political aisle is watching how you respond to the outcome of your vote. If you voted for Hilary or simply not for Trump, are you bitter, judgmental, divisive, blinded by your own double-standards, etc. If you voted for Trump or simply not for Hilary, are you justifying amoral behavior and characteristics, are you blind to your own hypocrisy, are you unconcerned about the legitimate fears and anxiety of some of your blood-bought brethren, etc. (And if tables were turned and Hilary won, I would say the same two statements but switch the names around).
American Church, you need to realize that the wall of separation between each other has been removed in Jesus (Eph. 2:11-19, Gal. 3:26-28), which includes the wall of separation from our political views. American Church, do not hide behind this wall! Embrace the uncomfortability. Embrace the tension. Embrace the differences. Let us be like our Savior, Jesus—who clothed Himself in the discomfort of human flesh, lived in the tension of His creation's unbelief and rebellion, and took on the differences that separates us in His body to give us a place where our differences can be accepted in unity in Him. Do not wait for the next Christian to do what is right before you act in obedience. Do not pass the buck in this way! You obey your God because it is right in His sight and because He is worthy of your obedience, regardless if the next Christian does so or not.
American Church, we would do well to recall Church history here as we stand on the shore of the unknown with our newly elected president. The Church has endured through some torturous periods in centuries past. Christians have lived under far worse political climates than those of us here in America, even in light of the newly elected president (and the same would be true if it was Hilary who would've won). Not only have Christians lived under far worse conditions, they pressed more into Jesus in the midst of it, walked in obedience to Jesus even unto martyrdom, and still managed to advance the Gospel amid great political hostility. (Some of those worse conditions for Christians were just 60 years ago in our own country). Presently, we have fellow Christians in other parts of our world living under worse conditions than us in America, and they are spiritually flourishing in their persecution. We, as the Church of Jesus Christ within America, are without excuse. Trump (nor Hilary if she was elected) is not an ancient evil emperor. America is not present-day North Korea or the Roman Empire in the first four centuries of this age. Let us not overreact in these times today toward either extreme. Let us not deify Trump as some anointed one sent from God like the early church did the popes, nor let us demonize Trump as some evil operative like Hilter or Haman. It is nowhere near as bad as in times before.
American Church, let us not forget Apostle Paul in the late 50s AD, while imprisoned and under the reign of Emperor Nero (of whom he and numerous Christians would be killed by some years later), penned Romans 13:1,
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (NLT)
And, possibly just a couple years before his death by Nero, Apostle Paul writes that Christians are to pray to God to help our rulers, to intercede on their behalf, and to give thanks for them because it “is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Tim. 2:1-4). So whether it was Hilary Clinton or as it is now Donald Trump, your obedience to God as a Christian is to submit to our newly elected president (and all of our other elected officials) as unto to God and to cover them in prayer in this manner, so that if they are not born-again they may come to saving faith and knowledge of the truth. This is our responsibility as the Church of God in America.
To my fellow brethren in the American Church who still feel like the sky is falling or much is lost because of this election and it will be difficult for you to obey Romans 13:1, let me call your mind back to Scripture again,
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings...” (Dan. 2:20-21)
“For exaltation comes neither from the east nor the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another.” (Psalm 75:6-7)
This truth would be the same if Hilary would have won or any other potential presidential candidate. Our newly elected president was placed in his position according to God's perfect plan. I know for some Christians that still may not be as comforting. Let me encourage you with another Scripture then.
“In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?...It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:5-6, 8-9)
American Church, you need to find your comfort and courage in God's Word! If we as the American Church do this, if we take God at His Word, cry out to Him in our distress, rest in His truth, and do what it says then we will not be swayed by whomever is elected—Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, progressive or moderate, president, congress, etc. If we do this, we will be able to truly look beyond our individual votes and political views and see fellow image-bearers and Christ-followers. If we do this, we will be able to adapt and adjust to the shifting sands of our government (local, state, and federal) and continue on with our Great Commission because we know God is in complete control, He appointed those leaders according to His perfect plan (which means He purposed those to vote the way they did so to elect those particular individuals), He is for us—His Church—and so we have no reason to fear, and our holding firm like a vice-grip to His truths is what sets us free to be able to do so!
American Church, let us learn from the past and not ignorantly and arrogantly repeat some of the same mistakes or unfaithfully and foolishly assume God is not in control and this will not somehow work out according to His good purposes. God's track record is flawless. He's done this before. For example, in Egypt with Pharaoh and Moses, in the Northern Kingdom (Israel) with the Assyrians, in the Southern Kingdom (Judah) with the Babylonians, in Babylon with Daniel, in Babylon with the Mede-Persians, in Persia with Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah, in Persia with the Greeks, in Greece with the Romans, in the Greco-Roman world with the coming of Christ and the birth and growth of the Church, in the European Church era with the Protestant Reformation, in America with the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement, and so on. God is not absent in history, He is perfectly weaving it all (the good, the bad, the ugly, the unsettling, etc) together as part of His story. Trust God and His plan. God does not know how to fail, it is incompatible with His character.
American Church, you need to realize that the world is watching how we respond to one another and our fellow countrymen in light of this presidential election. This is a worldwide stage we are on right now and we can either respond like our professed Savior and God, Jesus Christ, or we can respond in like manner of our secular humanistic American ideology. The world will see us respond in one or the other.
American Church, you need to act like the Church of Jesus Christ, not the Church of the United States of America, not the Church of Your Political Party or Political Views, not the Church of Your Ethnicity, not the Church of Your Social Class, etc. The Church (ekklesia) are those called out from the world unto God. You cannot hold onto both, either you're part of God's Church or you're part of the world's church. You cannot hold allegiance to both.
American Church, please don't miss this. We have another opportunity to etch in our history our allegiance to and anchor in Jesus Christ and not something nor someone else.
So, will the real American Church of God please rise up and show our country what authentic biblical Christianity looks like, what the biblical Jesus Christ truly looks like through our representation of Him in this post election season! I need you to do so. We need each other to do so. Our country and the next generations needs us to do so.
November 9, 2016