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A crisis in Afghanistan, a crisis in North and South Korea, a crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, a crisis in our economy, a crisis on our borders, a crisis – no, make that catastrophe – in Washington, D.C. It is the worst of times. …
It is the best of times. Why?
Most importantly, because nothing we can do through our sin, selfishness, disobedience, apathy, etc. can remove the sovereign God of the universe from His throne.
In fact, as teacher–preacher–military chaplain Oswald Chambers asserted (his lectures were compiled by his wife into the most-read devotional in modern history, “My Utmost for His Highest”):
We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to receive ourselves in its fires. If we try and evade sorrow, refuse to lay our account with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life; it is no use saying sorrow ought not to be. Sin and sorrow and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them. Sorrow burns up a great amount of shallowness. …
God told us that “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Corinthians 7:10, NASB).
The question for us collectively is whether we are just mad, or are we indeed sorrowful for our own complicity in our condition?
For example, in an article titled, “Conservatives decry pro-gay moves” (by President Obama), a pro-family leader was quoted as saying, “He’s far more interested in pushing the agenda of cross-dressers, drag queens, transsexuals and homosexuals than upholding traditional marriage and the mother-and-father families.”
Yes – absolutely true. No surprise. It is who he was and who he is.
We can and must oppose this radical and his Chicago mob, but … oh, back to the good news.
We still hold the sword in our hand, albeit by our fingertips. The sword I refer to is not in reference to the most important of all such “weapons” – “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:17). That is for another column.
The sword of governing authority is described in Romans 13: “… for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.” The fact that it was placed in the hands of “We the People” by the framers and signers of the Constitution of the United States is the matter at hand.
Statistics, studies, polls and election results have shown us that most people who we define as Christians are doing one of three things:
- We don’t vote at all – we leave our sword in the sheath during battle;
- We don’t vote according to the Word of God – we misuse our sword;
- We don’t vote consistently – we use our sword only when it is convenient.
Theologian and author Wayne Grudem recently said, “Isn’t the Bible good news about government too? Doesn’t the Bible come to transform all areas of life? If I love my neighbor as myself, then I want good laws that protect my neighbor from evil and harm. …” His assertion is that “the biblical calling upon Christians to do good to others and love their neighbors also meant caring about what laws are passed by the government of the day.”
Please read that again … and again … and again … and again.
Pastors in particular should teach and preach, and Christians in general must involve ourselves in the affairs of government if we love our neighbor. If I love God, I will be a good steward of what He has given to me and my life belongs to Him – the first “greatest” commandment.
If I love my neighbor as myself, I will do him no harm and will not allow anything or anybody under my authority to do him harm. (Do we need a Hippocratic Oath for Citizens?)
Since our government is under the authority of the people – who are under the authority of God – that means you and I must restrain the sword to its proper use: an important aspect of the second “greatest” commandment (Matthew 22:34-40).
As Grudem also states emphatically, “How can government officials rightly serve God if no one is able to let them know what God expects of them?” We “let them know” when we vote. Thankfully, the crises mentioned above are waking pastors up to the reality that we must reconnect the dots between God’s eternal truth and the moral, professional, educational and political decision-making of every person sitting in our pews.
However, don’t just settle for making sure you vote without fail in every election for the candidates who are definitively the closest to a biblical standard. Pastors, start a Salt & Light Ministry, Citizenship Ministry, Community Impact ministry – you decide what to call it.
The key is leadership and execution – your leadership and your ministry team’s execution of the essentials. One resource to help you is Christian Citizenship 101, our manual to give you some step-by-step basics for starting.
For non-pastors who regularly attend a local church (if not – get busy and find one!), go offer to serve your pastor in starting one – start with downloading and reading “101” as well.
Our soldiers and Marines are dying because we put a fool in the White House; perversity is being increasingly glorified in federal policy for the same reason. We did it; we must fix it, with God’s grace and help.