I tend to stay out of politics for a couple of reasons. First of all my job is to preach the gospel to all people. That means that I will encounter people with different political stances. So in order not to ruin my credibility with those who may or may not agree with my political leanings – I choose to keep the Gospel as the most important issue. The other reason is much simpler: I’m competitive and I like to win. When I get into political “discussions” I tend to get fired up, angry or even down right mean – so its best that I stay away for the sake of personal holiness.
While this is not a post about my personal political view, it is a “political” post. As a Christ follower, I find that many church goers become more and more passionate about political involvement and advocating for candidates who have Christian leanings or “conservation” view points. I’m all about the freedom to campaign, advocate, and even work for politicians – in fact I believe that serving in the government is a noble profession. I’m the son of a public school teacher and a former state law enforcement officer – and have scores of people in my family who have served on the battlefield and in the pulpit – and I have close friends who are elected officials. Two times in my life I’ve seriously considered military service – once in high school and the other as an army chaplain – but God had other plans. So this is not an “anti-American” post, but more of a series of observations pertaining to lies that church goers believe about politics – specifically “wrong” thoughts Christians may have about how Christian politicians can implement change. So here it goes:
Lie #1: Christian Politicians Will Lead Us Back To Christian Values
Several years ago I had the opportunity to speak at a National Day Of Prayer rally. After I spoke, a politician whom I respect, took the podium and cast a vision that resonated with many people. His vision was for an American that held onto Christian values; an America that had nice people, where you didn’t need to lock your doors, and even where people valued one another. While this was all dandy there was a critical point left out of his message: people are inherently sinful. Even in the most Utopian societies there is sin. Culture doesn’t get better because we have a Christian leader – culture can only get better when Jesus comes back. Leaders can encourage change, but only Christ can provide change. This is not to say that Christian leaders aren’t well intended, but it is a fallacy to believe that a Christian president, senator or congressman will convince everyone who has not been infected with the gospel to do what Jesus says. In fact, as a pastor, it is hard to convince a church full of Christ followers (including myself) to do what Jesus says. Christian politicians are not the the “hope” of America – only Jesus is. What if we shared the gospel with the same tenacity as we campaigned for a politician? That is where we make the eternal change.
Lie #2: American Is The New Promise Land And We Need To Take It Back
Seriously? Do we really believe that because some of our forefathers were Christian and that Thomas Paine’s common sense had Biblical consistencies that we are a nation that is committed to Gospel centered living? Where was the Gospel during the Salem Witch trials, in Thomas Jefferson’s slave quarters, on the trail of tears or in George Washington’s masonic meetings? The point that I’m trying to make is that there has only been one promise land in the history of man kind and that was the Israel of the Old Testament. We’re not the first nation to claim to be Christian. Henry the VIII committed to the church as he divorced and beheaded wives, Louis the 14th claimed to be ordained by God in France as his people starved to death, and Crusaders marched in the name of Jesus. The truth is, Biblically speaking, the only promise land any of us will experience is when Jesus comes back and he establishes a New Jerusalem. While we sojourn here on earth, Christians do not have to “accept” counter-Christian values, but we do need to learn to expect it. As I heard a preacher say once “they crucified Christ, what makes us think it will be easier for us.”
More to Come….