How many times have you looked at the election ballot and realized that few if any on it passed the acid test of what God-fearing, patriotic Americans consider an acceptable standard of qualifications, principles and core values? The old “lesser of two evils” conundrum.
Why do you suppose we face this so often and after so many years of visible activism by religious conservatives we are still in such a drought of godly leaders of character, courage and conviction running for elected policymaking offices?
Imagine if we had the gut-wrenching situation of having to choose between two godly, qualified, principled candidates for every office who actually understood and were committed to upholding the state and/or federal Constitution.
I have a theory that is grounded in 29 years as a Christian and 25 years’ involvement in the political process: We, the pastors, still don’t get it. We, the shepherds, are AWOL from the sacred duty of godly governing because the vast majority are too busy or don’t want to be bothered with such a distasteful, “dirty” work as “politics.”
Pastor Doug Giles put out a list of what he calls “10 Reasons Why Pastors Avoid The Culture War,” and in it he articulates many of the same things others have expressed many times. It really boils down to several key issues:
- Lack of biblical, historical and legal knowledge
- Lack of courage
- Lack of right priorities
We have to address this in reverse order by finding pastors who believe it a priority to redeem the culture and who have courage – then provide them the biblical, historical and legal knowledge to empower them to lead their congregations in this area of ministry more effectively.
There are many “nice” pastors who are wonderful men but are simply not leaders. George Barna revealed in one of his studies of pastors around the country that only 5 percent listed “leadership” as one of their primary spiritual gifts. Five percent – five out of 100?
No wonder the church and the country are in spiritual, moral, cultural and political disarray.
However, the good news is that the 5 percent effectively equipped, mobilized and organized are more than enough, with and under the grace of God, to rally another 5 percent and lead the army that is desperately in search of such leadership.
In regards to the dearth of candidates, God gave us a solid list of standards to work from in Exodus 18:21 and 1 Timothy 3:8-13. I’ll summarize the list:
- Men who are able – proven, capable leaders
- Men who fear God – an evident, personal faith with deep convictions
- Men of truth – integrity is above question
- Men who hate dishonest gain – committed to God’s righteousness and justice
1 Timothy 3:8-13
- Men of dignity
- Men who are not double-tongued
- Men who are not addicted to much wine nor greedy
- Men who are tested and found above reproach
- Men who have led their marriage, children and home faithfully
What would your city council, school board or state legislature be producing if it were filled with leaders of this nature?
Why is it so difficult to apply some semblance of these virtues as standards for those we place in the sacred trust of elected leadership to make decisions impacting our lives, our liberty and our pursuit of happiness? Where are those who meet these standards and who have been called by God?
Far too many of these men are sitting comfortably in our churches taking the easy road and letting others far less principled, far less qualified and/or far less prepared take the field in our place.
Shame on us. What about you?
It only takes minutes for a discerning person to be around many serving in public office to realize that most people we know with a grain of common sense and character would be more capable serving in that office.
Let me share a secret of political strategy – the victory eventually goes to those who show up and stay in.
Yes, it is really that simple. Far too few of those who meet the above qualifications show up, far too many who show up quit too soon and far too many with the opposite qualities take the opposite approach.
We must stop crying about the reprobates in office making evil decisions (while we fight to stop them) and start calling out men in our churches to run for every office available if we want godly results that will serve the good of the people.
If just a fraction of pastors and their church leaders who share the values stated in our “Pastors’ Declaration of Godly Citizenship” take this ministry seriously, we will take this country back as the Lord wills – presuming we repent, turn and call on His name first.