Evangelicals (and Elections)

Huffington post has blasted Christian Evangelicals for supporting Trump and then with the other side of their mouths said not all Evangelicals are the same, you know, to hold out hope. But I have to ask if Trump does win, does that yet again mean that all Evangelicals are back to being bad guys? I guess only time will tell on that one but I have to ask why Evangelicals, why are they so important to denounce? Why not just people who don’t want Hillary?

Evangelicalism simple means having to do with the “Evangel” it is the Greek word referring to the gospel. The Gospel is what we were commanded by Jesus to go forth and preach and to make disciples. This is not necessarily a denomination and certainly not a polity. Though many churches use it in their titles it is simply how serious some want to be identified with Jesus’ commission. Make disciples teaching them all that I taught you said Jesus before he departed into heaven. (Matt 28:19)

So why is this under attack? Well because the term Fundamentalism was already destroyed. It seems there is a need for the next conservative Christian scapegoat to be called to task over the fact that many people disagree with liberal thinking. But Christians do not fight for a denominational standing among the world, do they? If the word Evangelical becomes anathema, then we will come up with something else, or not, because it is not about the word but about being people of the Gospel. People of the Gospel of Christ speak out and share, but if we are people of the Gospel, I do have to ask…

Dear Christians where is your center? Why do these seasons of elections give us such consternation? Remember Obama, Bush? It was much the same. Why do Christians lose their center in such times?

With a heavy heart I write because the church’s infighting is reaching a fever pitch. We have commentators encouraging and condemning left and right on what is truly left and right. We have Christians making moral claims and then retorting with the more virtuous routes in a vote. Christians attacking media outlets while ignoring others and vice versa. But God stands to the side line; when did this election become Hillary, Trump, or Me? I don’t know about you but if someone is so overcome with anxiety at the outcome of this or that president that every Facebook post is to persuade against someone or share the horrors of such a candidate, I have to ask where is our hope planted? Did Hillary or Trump die for our sins? Is it their standard that we are to live by? Did they promise to be with you to the end of the ages? Are they coming again for us? Will they usher in Heaven and Hell?

Then stop acting like it.

Perhaps Huff has a point here, if only a small one. Christians, first establish where your hope is before you vote. Recognize who your brothers are before you vote. If we cannot find peace and hope apart from the election results then we should probably not vote because our foundation is quite shifty indeed. If our heart is not truly at peace in God, then we will have no peace afterwards, and perhaps that is why we have the options we have. God is going to show us where that roads goes.

Of course this is the most important election ever to those who have no other hopes. But we do. God will place on the throne of America who he does and if it isn’t who we think it should be, know that he is still able to turn the heart of any King or Queen. But what he also does is to allow us to reap what we sow. We have a leader of corruption or bombast. Which is better to us is part of how we got here. Because America are a people of corruption and bombast that wants little to do with God. If hope is not in Jesus Christ then what else is there but to scream and demand and shame everyone into trying to plant the desired American idol into the white house? Or, morally defend them?

Now Christians should be taken to task for defending Trump for his actions. There is no reason to defend his actions. We should encourage repentance, which is what Christians are in the business of doing. I wouldn’t want us to be accused of not understanding what morality is. This is what Huff post is trying to do. But shaming people into a different vote is simply sharing with us who your worst case scenario is. We know. But if needing to believe a candidate was a paragon of virtue in order to vote was a requirement then Hillary wouldn’t have any support either, clearly that is not a standard.

If people truly want to have discussion on morality let’s have it. But it seems every time we bring up, say abortion for example, we are shouting down for not being as interested in other issues. So we are called to task for the morality of a candidate and then told not to actually vote our morality because we should not legislate such things. OK, have your feelings about choice all you want, but don’t pretend that a child isn’t killed every-time and then pretend this somehow isn’t a morality question.

This matters because when a candidate draws that line in the sand we understand that everything else seemingly lines up behind that boundary. If there is that much contempt for the image of God at its most fragile and innocent stage then it affects other areas. If choice is pushed to the top of all other virtues then it follows that freedom for self becomes more important than human life. When someone operates in those terms it is very hard to discuss any other morality well. If human autonomy is the ultimate goal, then it follows why sexual mores have to go to. If personal freedom and choice bedrock all morality then it makes sense why we have men impregnating women and then refusing to raise their children and contributing to that problem. With that selfishness abounding and accountability gone, fatherlessness will continue and motherlessness will grow. If choice is paramount then it follows why gay marriage has to be allowed, and the walls of sexual expression have to continually expand to include each new perversion. If personal freedom is the most important thing then it makes sense why the constitution would need to be continually re-interpreted in order to adopt to our changing whims. If self is greater than life then it follows why morals, virtues, religion and eventually God have to be done away with.

Now after we look at this we start to get a clearer picture of left and right politics. Understand, people have reasons for the directions they lean. One side believes that more choice is the point so more government is needed to protect it. While the other side believes in more self-government which means less actual government. Now while one polity may not be more inherently Christian, it doesn’t take much analyses to see the directions those two can point and to further witness the ways things have gone. All of those affect morality. I don’t have to make a law prohibiting everything when I have God discouraging such behavior, but without God we need more regulation, more laws, more rule. Kind of like the thing that they didn’t like about religion and God in the first place. Actual freedom means more responsibility which allows for religion and God and the other one recognizes that in order to protect our choices, even God needs to be curbed and this is what we are down river from. So if Evangelicals think in these terms, which I can tell you they do, I understand why they are singled out.

If this being the case I see the vote as really simply this: Please continue, or please stop.

There is obviously more going on than this but with so much yelling, shaming, and finger-pointing, is it any wonder that people want to be done with this election season and free to just cast a vote? Everyone is trying to coerce an outcome, but frankly I will not carry that bondage or continue that tune. If you think America is in a good place then vote Hillary, if you think things are wrong vote Trump or vote perhaps against said person. But again getting there means cutting through a lot of dross. But this is only something we can do if we have peace in our heart, especially if we have hope in God. This also helps us dispense with this silly notion that God has a preference in mind and that we are in sin unless we discover whom that is.

The vote is about direction for the country not necessarily about allegiance to Christ. The direction you think we are currently facing and the direction you want to next move in. Making it about how good a follower of Christ someone is, is a shaming tactic, it is a silencing tactic, it is a political maneuver. Obviously the world will use this tactic but some of the church are falling for this and sowing as much discord as possible, and Satan laughs. He doesn’t care who is president, but he does care if we are at each other throats, and so far, mission accomplished.

What I  don’t want to do is fail to examine what a candidate is proposing to actually accomplish, because of all the noise. I would rather listen to what they say they support and what they intend to do; because someone is always screaming foul. What I want to know is what someone stands for, what they will lobby for in the course of the office, not necessarily every dark secret from their background, because direction will entirely affect morality as well. So when voting for someone who is the head of the executive branch of government, I want to know what actions they want to execute? This gives me useful insight for the future rather than details of their fallenness. I am reminded about the parable Jesus tells about the two brothers who went out to work in a field. One said he would and didn’t and the other said he wouldn’t but did, but Jesus commends the one who actually did the work despite his sin. (Mathew 21:28-32) This parable is entirely about the unfaithfulness of the leaders who were currently over Jerusalem. What people will actually do matters, even if some repenting is needed along the way, because it always is.

I can understand being more concerned with corruption rather than offensiveness. A politician candidate who stood knowing that all charges against her would be dropped because she either bought off or scared off the FBI. The FBI! The FBI who admitting on national television that any other person under similar circumstances would have been prosecuted. If that isn’t a cry for help I don’t what is. Corruption is more disheartening because government is in the business of justice. They are in the business of law-creating, enacting, and defending. That strikes me as deafening disqualification, but again, a lot of those are going around. Maybe pencil in Jesus? So I say again: find your hope in God.

I don’t like where we are but I have peace in my heart knowing that wherever we go God is on the true throne. This also allows me to love others when we disagree. So I implore everyone find your peace in God because that direction is the most important and then, only then, vote weighing the consequences as best you can. I do believe this is judgment as I have said. Either way our country needs to repent and come to God, that is the only true hope.

Take heart Christians, the world will blast us no matter what we do because there is a spiritual enemy at the gates. My fellow brothers and sisters in Christ may have a lot of different reasons for voting for whom they vote for. I can’t presume, but I also don’t believe their vote makes them apostate, so we should stop treating them as such. Name calling that way is buying into the world’s game. We shouldn’t have so much invested in a particular candidate or election that we are sowing discord among the brethren over it. Now there are times for teachable moments, which this is, but a lot of what I have seen is just anger and fear mongering, revealing where true faith lies. So whatever you do, do as unto the Lord. If you can’t vote with faith in God don’t vote. If you can first find peace in your relationship with God, then go vote. If you have no peace with your brothers first leave your offering in its place and go make it right. It seems like all we are doing is proving to the world that we are not in control of our own hearts and we have little hope outside this election as well. And that is sad. Hillary and Trump used to get along, can’t Christians?

Whether the elections bring about the end of Evangelicalism or not God is on the throne. I don’t think God’s message to us this election is Hillary or Trump, but, is your hope in me? I think that is why this is so hard. God doesn’t want us to come to an easy conclusion because all conclusions outside of him fall short. I honestly think we can answer that in the positive and still vote. But if you can’t, don’t, either way we need to stop spreading our lack of peace. How about we spread the hope that lies within us instead? Display love despite our political leanings? That will have more effect than the next president.



One Comment Add yours

  1. John Daniels says:

    Well said Gabe! If our hope for the future is in a political candidate, we’ve already missed the mark.


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