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Reflections on the 2008 Elections
5 November 2008
I have to admit that I was surprised that Obama won the election yesterday, even though in our May 2008 blog entry I had said, "I would not be surprised if, for better or for worse, he ends up being our next president." Somehow, with all of the prayer and fasting rising to Heaven, I was expecting that God would do a miracle and McCain / Palin would be elected. Boy, I sure was wrong!
It's a black day for America ... not because someone with black skin was elected. It doesn't matter what's on the outside, but what's on the inside. And on the inside, Obama definitely does not line up with Biblical morals. If you read the Bible with any attention at all, it's easy to see what God thinks of the shedding of innocent blood (especially children), and about homosexuality. These are critical issues that God will not overlook, and that will eventually cause Him to lift His hand of blessing and protection off our nation. We're not going to like the results. Unless Obama has a radical change of heart, his policies are going to bring a lot of misery on this country, Israel, and the whole world.
I usually don't have dreams that I think might have any significance, but last night, election night, I had a dream of Obama. In my dream, it seemed like he was on TV addressing the American public. He was saying something along this line, "Because we have integrated our missile defense shield with Israel (see this DEBKAfile article for example), we must prepare for war!" He looked nervous and scared. End of dream. I can't begin to imagine Obama taking any kind of stand for Israel that would bring any harm to America, so it's kind of hard to understand what this dream may mean. Well, we shall see.
So, despite all of the prayers and fasting and tears, why did Obama still win? I think that there are a number of answers worth considering.
First of all, I think Obama won because that's who the people wanted. The news headlines have been screaming for weeks that the main issue is the economy, otherwise known as MONEY. That's the bottom line. People care more about money than about dead babies and homosexual so-called "marriages". That's what they care about. That's what they wanted. That's what they got.
Jesus had something to say about this, as written in Matthew 16:26, "What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?" And also in Matthew 6:24, "You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other. You can't worship God and Money both." And in reality, money is the bottom line for many Christians in America too, so we can't be too hard on the pagans.
read my review of this book!) I think the title sums the situation up well: The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church. Here is the description from Amazon.com:
Arguing from Scripture and history, Pastor Boyd makes a compelling case that whenever the church gets too close to any political or national ideology, it is disastrous for the church and harmful to society. Pastor Boyd contends that the American Evangelical Church has allowed itself to be co-opted by the political right (and some by the political left) and exposes how this is harming the church's unique calling to build the kingdom of God. In the course of his argument, Pastor Boyd challenges some of the most deeply held convictions of evangelical Christians in America - for example, that America is, or ever was, 'a Christian nation' or that Christians ought to be trying to 'take America back for God.'
Here's another one on my wish list that I hope to read one day: Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction". Here's the description:
David Kuo came to Washington wanting to use his Christian faith to end abortion, strengthen marriage, and help the poor. He reached the heights of political power, ultimately serving in the White House under George W. Bush. It was a dream come true: the chance to fuse his politics and his faith, and an opportunity for Christians not just to gain a seat at the proverbial table but also to plan the entire meal. Yet his experience was deeply troubling. He had been seduced, just as so many evangelical conservatives had been seduced by politics. Tempting Faith is a wrenching personal journey and a heartfelt plea for a Christian reexamination of political and spiritual priorities.
I know that there are other books out these along the same lines, but that will do for now. I think that God wants to get the Church back on track. You can't legislate morality ... that only comes from being born again. Jesus' Kingdom is a SPIRITUAL one, not an earthly one (John 18:36). And Jesus warned His disciples, "Be careful. Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod" (Mark 8:14).
All throughout the Bible God uses yeast as a symbol of sin (see 1 Corinthians 5:7-8 as an example). The yeast of the Pharisees (the Jewish religious leaders) represents the corrupting dangers of RELIGION, which is man's attempt to reach God. Christianity is NOT a religion, although man has turned it into one. God wants a loving, intimate, personal relationship with us, which is the opposite of religion. That's why Jesus was so against the religious leaders of His day, and why they hated Him so much.
The yeast of Herod (the highest political leader in the region where Jesus lived) represents the corrupting dangers of POLITICS. All throughout the last two millennia of Church history, it's easy to see that these are the two ditches on either side of "narrow road that leads to life" (Matthew 7:14). Religion and politics both have an amazing power to corrupt the human heart. Of course, Christians should be involved in politics, and God does call some to that vocation. But for the Church as a whole, politics is NOT our calling.
When we think of Sodom in the Bible, we think of the sexual sin of homosexuality. When God talks about the sin of Sodom, He says, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen" (Ezekiel 16:49-50). God does not even specifically mention homosexuality as the main problem. But what He does mention sounds a lot like the American Church as a whole today: prideful, overfed and unconcerned about the needy. Yikes! That gets a bit too close for comfort!
The American Church is lukewarm, like the church of Laodicea, which Jesus addressed in Revelation 3:14-22. "You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked." Our prayers were weighed in the balance and it wasn't enough to counterweigh our wretched lukewarmness. The Church in America DESERVES Obama. And God is going to use Obama to discipline us and force us to take our Christianity more seriously. Again and again throughout the book of Judges we see that the Israelites were unfaithful to God, then God gave them over to oppressive rule by unrighteous leaders, until they would cry out to God for deliverance. Unfortunately, each time God rescued them, they would eventually turn away from God again and worship other gods.
Then there's the two main Christian responses to Obama's victory that I've been hearing. One response is "God is in control." Duh! You don't say! Of course God is in control. He was in control when Hitler was murdering six million Jews! So what does it mean that "God is in control" in relation to Obama's victory? That it was God's will for Obama to be the next president? Was it God's will that Hitler become the leader of Germany and commit all of those horrible crimes? Is it God's will when anyone on earth commits the smallest sin?
Of course God is in control. It says in Psalm 115:16, "The highest heavens belong to the Lord." But that's only the first part of the verse. It continues, "But the earth He has given to man." God is in control, but He has given mankind a free will. And with that free will we are free to do many things that are NOT His will. Just because something happens on the earth doesn't mean it was God's will, even though God is ultimately in control. He could have stopped Obama from becoming president, but He didn't. Just like He didn't stop Hitler from killing the Jews. Just like He hasn't stopped 50 million babies from being murdered during the last few decades.Just like He didn't stop you the last time you sinned. But please don't tell me that Obama, who wants to increase the sins of abortion and homosexuality in this nation — PLEASE don't say that Obama becoming president is God's will, even though "God is in control"!
The other Christian response I am hearing is a quotation from 1 Timothy 2:1-2, "I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God's mercy upon them, and give thanks. Pray this way for kings and all others who are in authority, so that we can live in peace and quietness, in godliness and dignity." It feels like this is being quoted as if it were some newly-discovered miracle vaccine to protect us from a bad case of Obama-itis! Again, when I hear this, I think, Duh? What a novel idea! It was only written 2000 years ago! Of course we have to pray for Obama. Why state the obvious? But I suppose we need to be reminded of that again.
Yikes! Here's a third Christian reaction that I just ran across in the news ... A famous black pastor said in her Sunday sermon:
God has vindicated the black folk. Too long we've been at the bottom of the totem pole, but he has vindicated us, hallelujah! I don't know about you, but I don't have nothing to put my head down for, praise God. Because when I look toward Washington, D.C., we got a new family coming in. We got a new family coming in. And you know what? They look like us. Amen, amen. They look like us.
This kind of nonsense makes my stomach turn! These sincere but misguided sentiments seem to be motivated by a love of the color of someone's skin rather than by a love of righteousness. I'm sure that God wants to vindicate the black folk, but it sure won't be done by making someone president who is AGAINST God's values! Here is someone who is publicly pro-abortion and pro-homosexual "marriage", and some Christians have the nerve to say that he's the leader God wants. Umm ... I don't think so! I just read in Newsweek that 44 percent of Americans who go to religious services more than once a week voted for Obama. Deception is definitely running rampant in this country! With a sermon like that, I think this lady DOES have something to put her head down for ... as do all of us Christians in America ... it's a disgrace.
In light of Obama's stated position on critical moral issues, it's a national tragedy that he was elected president. Of course we have to pray for Obama ... that's what the Bible instructs. Of course God is in control. But neither of these statements changes the fact that it's a tragedy. Neither do they inoculate us from the likely serious effects of Obamaitis. How long has the Church been praying against abortion? And yet this plague continues to kill millions, and under Obama's leadership is getting ready to get worse. Is praying for Obama going to miraculously change him from a Saul to a Paul? Or from a King Saul to a King David? Maybe yes, maybe no. Only time will tell.
I think what bothers me most about these Christian responses is that they seem kind of lame, like surfacy, cliché platitudes that don't really get down to the real issues, some of which I have tried to touch on in this article. I just looked up the definition for platitude, and it REALLY hits the target: "a pointless, unoriginal, or empty comment or statement made as though it was significant or helpful." EXACTLY!
So, where do we go from here? Well, God is in control, and we need to pray for Obama! Besides that, we are still God's Church, and we still have a lot of work to do ... God's way, not our way. Jesus' words light the way, "Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world's light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light. You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light. As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent Me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world" (John 11:9-10; 12:35-36; 9:4-5).
UPDATE: Be sure to read my companion article which discusses foundational reasons why Christians should seriously consider Electing Not To Vote.
This article is 1st a series of articles on this Web site related to American Politics and Culture
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