Holidays (Other), Politics

Revival: In America We Trust?

It’s Independence Day week here in the U.S., so, this week, we’ve been taking a look at the biblical perspective on patriotism.


Originally published October 28, 2016

 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with politics. Any politics. I’m sick of hearing about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, what they’ve done wrong, why we should vote for this one instead of that one or not vote at all, and what celebrities (and everybody else on the planet) think about them. It’s a 24/7 barrage on TV, the radio, social media, and personal conversations. Yes, these issues are important (for the love of my sanity, y’all, please don’t write me comments and e-mails arguing for your candidate or position- I agree these things are important) but I’ve reached my saturation point. It would be great if somebody would capture the Loch Ness monster or find a cure for the common cold or something just so everybody would have something else to talk about for five minutes.

In the midst of this political fervor, pastors – from those in the national spotlight to those in rural obscurity – are applying theology to the election and current culture. Some of it has been very, very good. Encouraging. Refreshingly biblical. And some of it…well, not so much.

On the “not so much” side, one of the recurring themes I’ve heard from various pulpits is the prediction or expectation that America is going to make a comeback. Brighter days are just around the corner. The cultural morality of the 1950’s might even re-emerge, and we’ll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief that evil and debauchery have left the building.

Then some pastor, somewhere, decided to co-opt the word “revival,” paste it over this concept of America getting its moral act together, and offer the whole package to American Christians as hope.

A turnaround of American culture and morality wouldn’t be a bad thing. Personally, I think it would be great if America would start behaving itself like a courteous, rational adult instead of a pagan, hedonistic teenager. We are 240 years old, after all.

But that is not revival, and it is not where our hope lies.

Let me ask you something: What if America never turns around? What if things continue to get worse, morally, economically, militarily, and culturally until this country eventually implodes into anarchy or becomes a vassal state to a godless nation?

What if God destroys America instead of making her great again? Will your faith be destroyed, too?

Sadly, for many Americans whose faith has become a syncretistic mélange of patriotism and pseudo-Christianity, the answer is yes. How many will lose heart and walk away forever when the “revival” their pastor promised fails to materialize? Uncle Sam is a cruel master and a lousy god.

Real revival is exactly the opposite. It can take place regardless of who wins the election, whether the United States is virtuous or villainous, rich or poor, enslaved or free or wiped off the face of the earth. It can take place even if you’re the only person in the world who wants it.

Biblical revival happens when Christians – thousands or dozens or one – bow the knee to Christ in repentance over their sin, forsake their worldliness, pursue holiness, act on their new-found zeal for evangelism, and live faithfully. It’s found when we stop fretting about who’s sitting in the Oval Office and start focusing on Who’s sitting on the Throne and how we might honor and please Him, regardless of what’s going on in society.

Real revival doesn’t always change the culture. Just ask Noah. Or the righteous remnant of the Old Testament exile. Or the martyrs of the early church. That’s not what it’s for. Revival isn’t supposed to change the world. It’s supposed to change your heart. It’s supposed to change your focus from temporal, elemental things to the Christ who bled and died for your sin.

That’s where our hope is found, sisters.

Not in the White House, but in Christ, regardless of who’s in the White House. Not in a moral society, but in Christ, whether society’s morals are Victorian or heathen. Not in laws and policies and freedoms that suit us, but in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ.

If Hillary wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If Donald wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If America re-emerges as that city on a hill,
our hope is in Christ.

If America runs swiftly toward her demise,
our hope is in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ, dear sisters. Let us never forsake our First Love for something as lowly as love of country, favor of the government, or an upright populace.

Our hope is in Christ.

Holidays (Other), Politics

Revival: In America We Trust?

(If you’re participating in the 1&2 Timothy study,
lesson 11 is coming your way on Friday.)

Originally published October 28, 2016

revival-america-trustI don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with politics. Any politics. I’m sick of hearing about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, what they’ve done wrong, why we should vote for this one instead of that one or not vote at all, and what celebrities (and everybody else on the planet) think about them. It’s a 24/7 barrage on TV, the radio, social media, and personal conversations. Yes, these issues are important (for the love of my sanity, y’all, please don’t write me comments and e-mails arguing for your candidate or position- I agree these things are important) but I’ve reached my saturation point. It would be great if somebody would capture the Loch Ness monster or find a cure for the common cold or something just so everybody would have something else to talk about for five minutes.

In the midst of this political fervor, pastors – from those in the national spotlight to those in rural obscurity – are applying theology to the election and current culture. Some of it has been very, very good. Encouraging. Refreshingly biblical. And some of it…well, not so much.

On the “not so much” side, one of the recurring themes I’ve heard from various pulpits is the prediction or expectation that America is going to make a comeback. Brighter days are just around the corner. The cultural morality of the 1950’s might even re-emerge, and we’ll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief that evil and debauchery have left the building.

Then some pastor, somewhere, decided to co-opt the word “revival,” paste it over this concept of America getting its moral act together, and offer the whole package to American Christians as hope.

A turnaround of American culture and morality wouldn’t be a bad thing. Personally, I think it would be great if America would start behaving itself like a courteous, rational adult instead of a pagan, hedonistic teenager. We are 240 years old, after all.

But that is not revival, and it is not where our hope lies.

Let me ask you something: What if America never turns around? What if things continue to get worse, morally, economically, militarily, and culturally until this country eventually implodes into anarchy or becomes a vassal state to a godless nation?

What if God destroys America instead of making her great again? Will your faith be destroyed, too?

Sadly, for many Americans whose faith has become a syncretistic mélange of patriotism and pseudo-Christianity, the answer is yes. How many will lose heart and walk away forever when the “revival” their pastor promised fails to materialize? Uncle Sam is a cruel master and a lousy god.

Real revival is exactly the opposite. It can take place regardless of who wins the election, whether the United States is virtuous or villainous, rich or poor, enslaved or free or wiped off the face of the earth. It can take place even if you’re the only person in the world who wants it.

Biblical revival happens when Christians – thousands or dozens or one – bow the knee to Christ in repentance over their sin, forsake their worldliness, pursue holiness, act on their new-found zeal for evangelism, and live faithfully. It’s found when we stop fretting about who’s sitting in the Oval Office and start focusing on Who’s sitting on the Throne and how we might honor and please Him, regardless of what’s going on in society.

Real revival doesn’t always change the culture. Just ask Noah. Or the righteous remnant of the Old Testament exile. Or the martyrs of the early church. That’s not what it’s for. Revival isn’t supposed to change the world. It’s supposed to change your heart. It’s supposed to change your focus from temporal, elemental things to the Christ who bled and died for your sin.

That’s where our hope is found, sisters.

Not in the White House, but in Christ, regardless of who’s in the White House. Not in a moral society, but in Christ, whether society’s morals are Victorian or heathen. Not in laws and policies and freedoms that suit us, but in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ.

If Hillary wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If Donald wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If America re-emerges as that city on a hill,
our hope is in Christ.

If America runs swiftly toward her demise,
our hope is in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ, dear sisters. Let us never forsake our First Love for something as lowly as love of country, favor of the government, or an upright populace.

Our hope is in Christ.

Politics

Throwback Thursday ~ Revival: In America We Trust?

Originally published October 28, 2016

revival-america-trustI don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with politics. Any politics. I’m sick of hearing about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, what they’ve done wrong, why we should vote for this one instead of that one or not vote at all, and what celebrities (and everybody else on the planet) think about them. It’s a 24/7 barrage on TV, the radio, social media, and personal conversations. Yes, these issues are important (for the love of my sanity, y’all, please don’t write me comments and e-mails arguing for your candidate or position- I agree these things are important) but I’ve reached my saturation point. It would be great if somebody would capture the Loch Ness monster or find a cure for the common cold or something just so everybody would have something else to talk about for five minutes.

In the midst of this political fervor, pastors – from those in the national spotlight to those in rural obscurity – are applying theology to the election and current culture. Some of it has been very, very good. Encouraging. Refreshingly biblical. And some of it…well, not so much.

On the “not so much” side, one of the recurring themes I’ve heard from various pulpits is the prediction or expectation that America is going to make a comeback. Brighter days are just around the corner. The cultural morality of the 1950’s might even re-emerge, and we’ll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief that evil and debauchery have left the building.

Then some pastor, somewhere, decided to co-opt the word “revival,” paste it over this concept of America getting its moral act together, and offer the whole package to American Christians as hope.

A turnaround of American culture and morality wouldn’t be a bad thing. Personally, I think it would be great if America would start behaving itself like a courteous, rational adult instead of a pagan, hedonistic teenager. We are 240 years old, after all.

But that is not revival, and it is not where our hope lies.

Let me ask you something: What if America never turns around? What if things continue to get worse, morally, economically, militarily, and culturally until this country eventually implodes into anarchy or becomes a vassal state to a godless nation?

What if God destroys America instead of making her great again? Will your faith be destroyed, too?

Sadly, for many Americans whose faith has become a syncretistic mélange of patriotism and pseudo-Christianity, the answer is yes. How many will lose heart and walk away forever when the “revival” their pastor promised fails to materialize? Uncle Sam is a cruel master and a lousy god.

Real revival is exactly the opposite. It can take place regardless of who wins the election, whether the United States is virtuous or villainous, rich or poor, enslaved or free or wiped off the face of the earth. It can take place even if you’re the only person in the world who wants it.

Biblical revival happens when Christians – thousands or dozens or one – bow the knee to Christ in repentance over their sin, forsake their worldliness, pursue holiness, act on their new-found zeal for evangelism, and live faithfully. It’s found when we stop fretting about who’s sitting in the Oval Office and start focusing on Who’s sitting on the Throne and how we might honor and please Him, regardless of what’s going on in society.

Real revival doesn’t always change the culture. Just ask Noah. Or the righteous remnant of the Old Testament exile. Or the martyrs of the early church. That’s not what it’s for. Revival isn’t supposed to change the world. It’s supposed to change your heart. It’s supposed to change your focus from temporal, elemental things to the Christ who bled and died for your sin.

That’s where our hope is found, sisters.

Not in the White House, but in Christ, regardless of who’s in the White House. Not in a moral society, but in Christ, whether society’s morals are Victorian or heathen. Not in laws and policies and freedoms that suit us, but in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ.

If Hillary wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If Donald wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If America re-emerges as that city on a hill,
our hope is in Christ.

If America runs swiftly toward her demise,
our hope is in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ, dear sisters. Let us never forsake our First Love for something as lowly as love of country, favor of the government, or an upright populace.

Our hope is in Christ.

Politics, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ Seven Thoughts on Voting for the Lesser of Two Evils

Originally published May 6, 20167 lesser of two evils

It’s been said ad nauseam that, in polite company, it’s not wise to discuss religion or politics. They’re hot button issues that people often have strong, differing opinions about, which can lead to arguments, which can ruin a perfectly nice party, picnic, or wedding reception.

This is one of the reasons I’m loath to write about or discuss politics. To me, biblical Christianity and sound doctrine are worth going to the mattresses for. When it comes to politics, though, I’m usually fine with keeping my opinions about the governor, president, or candidate du jour to myself.

But in light of recent events, there are a lot of differing points of view even among Christians who are, theologically, very like-minded. Christians who want God to guide every aspect of their lives, including voting. And I think it’s a political conversation worth having.

Earlier this week, Ted Cruz suspended his candidacy for the office of the presidency, leaving Donald Trump as the heir apparent to the Republican nomination. Strong feelings, opinions, and hand wringing among Christians ensued.

Why? Well, laying aside the entire election for just a moment and evaluating Trump only on his personal character and personal opinions on issues such as abortion and homosexuality, biblically literate Christians would be hard pressed to describe him as a virtuous, godly man whom they have zero qualms about enthusiastically supporting. (Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever voted for someone who fit that description. I’ve had at least a couple of qualms about everyone I’ve ever voted for. Haven’t you?) Quite the opposite, in fact. Most of the Christian people I hang with find Trump odious. Arrogant. Dishonest. A blowhard. Unkind. Immoral. And, now that it seems he will be the nominee, the lesser of two evils (the greater being Clinton or Sanders). But even the lesser of two evils is still evil, and nobody’s crazy about feeling she has no choice but to vote for someone she considers evil.

So what’s a Christian voter to do with Trump as the only “conservative” candidate who has a chance of winning the election? I’ve heard three predominate stances:

1. “I’m voting for Trump as the lesser of two evils. Assuming he adheres to at least some of what he has promised, fewer babies will be murdered under his administration, and the homosexual agenda will be stemmed at least a little more than it would be if Clinton or Sanders wins.”

2. “I just can’t, in good conscience, vote for someone whose character and policies are so ‘bottom of the barrel’. I don’t trust Trump to keep his promises, and I don’t see much, if any difference, between voting for him and voting for Clinton or Sanders. I’m sitting out this election.”

3. “I think it’s important to vote, but I can’t bring myself to vote for Trump. I’m voting third party/write in. I don’t like that it will probably give the White House to Clinton or Sanders, but at least I’ll be voting and the GOP will hear my voice and change its ways.”

I know good, godly Christian people who fall into all three of these categories. I have fluctuated back and forth among all three myself, and, to be honest, I’m still not sure where I’ll land come November. As I’ve begun to think about this issue, here are seven thoughts I’ve had about voting for the lesser of two evils:

1. If there’s a passage in the Bible that addresses voting in a democratic republic in an election for secular governmental officials, I haven’t run across it, and I don’t think anyone else has either. This makes sense if you think about it, because, in the Old Testament, God’s people lived under a theocracy (God was their king), and even during the period of the Old Testament kings, the people didn’t get to vote for the candidate of their choice. The New Testament was generally written to people under Roman rule who didn’t get to pick their leaders either. So, there’s really nothing specific in Scripture we can point to about voting as we know it today.

2. I’m starting to hear a new (to me, anyway) false teaching floating around: “God commands us to vote.” I don’t know which, if any, passage of Scripture is being mangled (and it would have to be mangled because the Bible doesn’t say this at all) to create this nonsensical notion, but the Bible doesn’t any more say God commands us to vote than it says God commands us to drive electric cars or refrain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent. If you’re following a preacher or teacher who’s pushing this junk theology, run away and don’t look back. God does not command that we vote. If you pray and study the Scriptures about it, and your conscience still prevents you from voting in November, you are not sinning.

3. Because, in America, we do have the privilege of voting, Christians should take that responsibility soberly and vote in a way that best lines up with biblical principles. That means we do not vote for candidates who actively promote or encourage sin, for example, someone who promises to expand abortion, legislatively encourages and celebrates the sin of homosexuality, or endorses the persecution and prosecution of Christians and biblical values. If you’re on the fence about voting for Trump, you’ll have to do the research to see where he stands on the important issues, compare his stances to Scripture, and decide for yourself whether or not you can vote for him.

4. This is not something to break fellowship over or be judgmental towards brothers and sisters in Christ about. If you’re such a vehement proponent of view 1 (or 2 or 3) that you’re breaking ties with Christians who hold views 2 and 3, politics has become an idol for you and you need to repent. There are many Christians out there praying for wisdom, seeking to do what’s godly, and following their consciences according to biblical principles. They are not necessarily in the wrong because they come to a different conclusion from yours. If one botanist focuses on a daisy’s petals and another focuses on its leaves, that doesn’t make one right and one wrong. They’re just focusing on different aspects of the same flower.

5. I’ve seen this quote by Spurgeon posted all over social media:

“Of two evils, choose neither.”

I love Spurgeon as much as the next guy, and it’s a fine quote, but let’s be careful that we’re not subconsciously elevating this quote to the level of Scripture. It’s not. Spurgeon may have been the Prince of Preachers, but he wasn’t the King of Kings (and he’d be the first to tell you that).

6. Anything could happen between now and November. Trump could keel over and die of a heart attack. Clinton could go to jail. A conservative dark horse could emerge, get people excited, and run away with the election. A revival could sweep America and thousands of newly saved Christians could demand a godly candidate. Trump could get saved. Clinton could get saved. Sanders could get saved. (Let’s just daydream on that a little. Wouldn’t it be great to have the dilemma of trying to decide between two candidates who were both on fire for the Lord? Don’t think it can’t happen. After all, God saved Paul.) Matthew 6:34 says:

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Pray, yes. Study, yes. But let’s not invest time in worrying about an election that’s still months away.

7. God is sovereign, and He is the one responsible for the outcome of every election. Romans 13:1b says:

…there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Ultimately, however you decide to vote, you can’t mess up the results of the election. God has already decided which person He’s going to put in the Oval Office, and He’s not depending on your vote or anyone else’s to accomplish it. We seek to do what’s right and biblical in the voting booth because we love Christ and want to honor Him, and we trust God with the final results.

Give it some thought. Do some research. Study your Bible. Ask God for wisdom. Then, make the wisest and most godly choice you can. And stop worrying. God’s in control of all of this, and He will have His way and continue to care for His people. Trust Him.


As I mentioned, politics is a hot button issue, so I’m going to be a little more restrictive on the comments on this article. Before commenting, please make sure you’ve read the entire article as well as the “comment parameters” section of the “Welcome” tab at the top of this page. Also, please recognize that the focus of this article is limited to the idea of voting for Trump as the lesser of two evils. There’s a time and place to debate policy, whether or not you think Clinton and Sanders are evil, problems in the Republican party, whether Clinton should go to jail, etc. This ain’t it. Please stick to the topic at hand. Thanks :0)


 

Politics

Revival: In America We Trust?

revival-america-trustI don’t know about you, but I’ve had it up to here with politics. Any politics. I’m sick of hearing about the candidates, where they stand on the issues, what they’ve done wrong, why we should vote for this one instead of that one or not vote at all, and what celebrities (and everybody else on the planet) think about them. It’s a 24/7 barrage on TV, the radio, social media, and personal conversations. Yes, these issues are important (for the love of my sanity, y’all, please don’t write me comments and e-mails arguing for your candidate or position- I agree these things are important) but I’ve reached my saturation point. It would be great if somebody would capture the Loch Ness monster or find a cure for the common cold or something just so everybody would have something else to talk about for five minutes.

In the midst of this political fervor, pastors – from those in the national spotlight to those in rural obscurity – are applying theology to the election and current culture. Some of it has been very, very good. Encouraging. Refreshingly biblical. And some of it…well, not so much.

On the “not so much” side, one of the recurring themes I’ve heard from various pulpits is the prediction or expectation that America is going to make a comeback. Brighter days are just around the corner. The cultural morality of the 1950’s might even re-emerge, and we’ll all be able to breathe a sigh of relief that evil and debauchery have left the building.

Then some pastor, somewhere, decided to co-opt the word “revival,” paste it over this concept of America getting its moral act together, and offer the whole package to American Christians as hope.

A turnaround of American culture and morality wouldn’t be a bad thing. Personally, I think it would be great if America would start behaving itself like a courteous, rational adult instead of a pagan, hedonistic teenager. We are 240 years old, after all.

But that is not revival, and it is not where our hope lies.

Let me ask you something: What if America never turns around? What if things continue to get worse, morally, economically, militarily, and culturally until this country eventually implodes into anarchy or becomes a vassal state to a godless nation?

What if God destroys America instead of making her great again? Will your faith be destroyed, too?

Sadly, for many Americans whose faith has become a syncretistic mélange of patriotism and pseudo-Christianity, the answer is yes. How many will lose heart and walk away forever when the “revival” their pastor promised fails to materialize? Uncle Sam is a cruel master and a lousy god.

Real revival is exactly the opposite. It can take place regardless of who wins the election, whether the United States is virtuous or villainous, rich or poor, enslaved or free or wiped off the face of the earth. It can take place even if you’re the only person in the world who wants it.

Biblical revival happens when Christians – thousands or dozens or one – bow the knee to Christ in repentance over their sin, forsake their worldliness, pursue holiness, act on their new-found zeal for evangelism, and live faithfully. It’s found when we stop fretting about who’s sitting in the Oval Office and start focusing on Who’s sitting on the Throne and how we might honor and please Him, regardless of what’s going on in society.

Real revival doesn’t always change the culture. Just ask Noah. Or the righteous remnant of the Old Testament exile. Or the martyrs of the early church. That’s not what it’s for. Revival isn’t supposed to change the world. It’s supposed to change your heart. It’s supposed to change your focus from temporal, elemental things to the Christ who bled and died for your sin.

That’s where our hope is found, sisters.

Not in the White House, but in Christ, regardless of who’s in the White House. Not in a moral society, but in Christ, whether society’s morals are Victorian or heathen. Not in laws and policies and freedoms that suit us, but in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ.

If Hillary wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If Donald wins,
our hope is in Christ.

If America re-emerges as that city on a hill,
our hope is in Christ.

If America runs swiftly toward her demise,
our hope is in Christ.

Our hope is in Christ, dear sisters. Let us never forsake our First Love for something as lowly as love of country, favor of the government, or an upright populace.

Our hope is in Christ.