Saturday, November 10, 2012

Are Christian Conservatives the Big Losers of the 2012 Election?

A New York Times article asks, "Are Christian conservatives the big losers of the presidential election?"

My answer is, I don't know. 

But I do think that we who are charged with the proclamation of the Gospel should refrain from being identified with particular political philosophies. 

When we do so, we risk creating a false image of Jesus, turning Him into an idol made in our own images. 

We also risk conveying the false impression to the world that God endorses a particular political point of view, alienating people from God unnecessarily.

The true Christian message will alienate people. Bank on it. Jesus said so more than once. Check out His words in Matthew 10:35-38, for example.

But unless a government commands us to sin or to engage in idolatry, such as happened in Nazi Germany or happens in despotic states today, there shouldn't be a whiff of politics in what the Church or Christian leaders say. 

Individual Christians should be encouraged to be engaged in politics, whatever their philosophies. But the cause of Christ is too important to be made the hostage of politics.

My own denomination has made Jesus subordinate to liberal politics. 

Other Christian leaders have portrayed Jesus as marching to a conservative politics.

Both notions are lies. 

According to Pastor Ed Stetzer, an old saying has it right: When you mix politics and religion, you get politics. Politics is important. But only the faith commended by the Bible--faith that God in the flesh, Jesus Christ has died and risen so that all who turn from sin and believe in Him are reconciled with God, for now and for eternity--can change our lives.

And when the God we know in Christ changes our relationship with Him from enmity to friendship, He also will begin to transform the decisions we make and the reasons we make them. That includes political decisions. 

Will God make us more conservative or more liberal? 

The answer to that is probably, yes. 

When you dare to put yourself in the hands of the sovereign God of the universe, give Him the freedom to take charge of your whole life, there's no way of predicting where He will lead you. It makes me think of the risen Jesus' words to Peter on how Peter's life would be changed by following Him: "Very truly, I tell you, when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go” (John 21:18). 

Christians know that we are not in control. And that's a good thing, hard as it may sometimes be. 

That's what we mean when we Christians pray subversively, as Jesus taught us to pray, "Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Our nation might not be in the state it's in, selfishness elevated to a paramount position, if the Church and Christian leaders were more committed to proclaiming the Gospel and less concerned about seeing their preferred candidates elected to office. 

After all, we could be wrong about who to vote for. 

But we will never be wrong in commending Jesus, "the Way, and the Truth, and the Life"!

So, I come back to the Times' original question. Were conservative Christians the big losers in last Tuesday's election? I hope so. 

I hope equally fervently that liberal Christians were the big losers last Tuesday.

I hope that anyone who would dare to take a political position and claim, "Thus saith the Lord," got burnt so badly that they'll turn in repentance to the Lord, seek His forgiveness for trivializing the death and resurrection of Jesus, and pray that God will help all of us who bear Christ's Name to proclaim the Gospel in its purity for as long as God gives us breath.

The gospel message we are called to share is too important to be intermingled with our own political notions. We owe Christ more than that.


Tracy's Living Cookbook said...

Well said, and a good reminder for all of us to calm down and remember that being a follower of Jesus
Christ is so much more than what a political party might say!

Mark Daniels said...

Thanks for your comments, Tracy.

Yes, I agree with you. Christians have gotten to wound up in politics. And I'm a recovering political junkie!

God bless!