Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Did God play a role in the election of Barack Obama, and could the Democrat even be God’s sovereign choice for sthe next president?
The answers to those questions vary widely, depending on who is doing the answering.
Among those praising the heavens for Obama’s victory was Larry Younginer of suburban Atlanta, who the Chicago Tribune reports kneeling at his church and praying the day after Obama’s victory.
“Lord, we have again come to you,” Younginger prayed, “and you have heard our cries from heaven, and you have sent us again from the state called Illinois a man called Barack to heal our land.”
The Rev. Randolph Bracy Jr. at New Covenant Baptist Church of Orlando told the Orlando Sentinel that the victory of a young and inexperienced Obama was like the victory of the biblical boy, David, over the giant, Goliath.
“God knew what he put in David,” Bracy said. “God knew what he put in Obama.”
“Things like this just don’t happen, they don’t just come about,” Bracy told his congregation. “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is miraculous in our eyes.”
Many preachers and online commentators have pointed to biblical passages that suggest God determines the winners of elections, such as Romans 13, which states, “There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
Others, however, have been swift to argue that just because an event happens doesn’t mean God willed it. Humans, they say, make choices that determine their destiny.
In a post called “Is Obama God’s choice?” on the Christian online community inJesus.com, Jim Bramlett writes, “God has given man dominion over the earth. He has delegated His authority, much like a manager delegates his authority. To some extent, when God gave this dominion, He decided to back off and let man have his way. That is why the world is so messed up.”
Bramlett argues Obama was chosen freely by the voters, not appointed by God.
“How can we know that a leader is called and appointed by God? It may be easier to know when a person is not. We know that God is opposed to murdering babies, to sexual perversion, and other sins,” Bramlett writes, presumably referring to Obama’s support of abortion and homosexual marriage. “If a candidate is in favor of those things, he or she is obviously not God’s choice.”
Even among believers who supported Obama’s election effort, some are hesitant to declare the president-elect God’s hand-picked leader.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister, Christine King Farris, would not tell the Tribune that Obama was sent by God, but she affirmed her belief that God has a purpose and plan for the president-elect, now that he has won.
“I can’t speak for God, but I believe there was something for Mr. Obama to do, and he was called to do it,” said Farris, 81.
“My brother used to say all the time that he just wanted to do God’s will as he understood it,” Farris told the Tribune. “And I believe that Mr. Obama, with his background, has been preparing to do great things.”
Andrew Ervin, who makes it clear he’s no supporter of Obama, nonetheless concedes he believes God granted Obama the victory.
“Do you believe that God is still in control of events in the world?” Ervin asks. “Do you believe that all authority comes from God? … If you answered yes to even one of these questions, then you must realize that God chose Obama to be the president of this great country.
“Like the Israelites of old, we have grown decadent and have forgotten our Christian roots,” Ervin argues. “And so, like the Israelites of old that clamored for a king to lead them, God has given us President Obama so that we can be given over to our craven desires. We have sinned against God, and it is time to take our medicine.”
Reader Tom Quigley, however, disagrees.
“God is in charge,” Quigley writes, “all real authority does come from God, but not everything that happens in this world comports with God’s long-term plans. Most often, the human race does all it can to stand in God’s way and hinder God’s perfect will for humankind.
“The election of Barack Hussein Obama,” writes Quigley, “is an obstacle to God’s perfect plan, not part of His plan, and certainly not something he ‘pre-ordained.’”
Lawrence Carter, dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College in Atlanta, however, warns that even if a person believes God has sent Obama for such a time as this, the president-elect is still a fallible servant and not the Messiah.
Carter told the Tribune of Obama, “You cannot put him on a pedestal and wrap him in cellophane so that people will fall down and worship him.”
If you would like to sound off on this issue, participate in today’s WND Poll.