This post is the first of two posts. This post preserves a political commentary that comes close to violating the Johnson Amendment. Senior Pastor Roy Fruits wrote a post on the church blog after the 2016 election about politics, the Supreme Court and God. This post at The Wondering Eagle captures this post for both discussion and historical purposes.
“I am a teacher. It’s how I define myself. A good teacher isn’t someone who gives the answers out to their kids but is understanding of needs and challenges and gives tools to help other people succeed. That’s the way I see myself, so whatever it is that I will do eventually after politics, it’ll have to do a lot with teaching.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trodeau
“All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field.”
He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6 NLT
After the 2016 election the Senior Pastor Roy Fruits of Rockpoint Church in Lake Elmo, Minnesota wrote one of the most political posts that I have come across in studying and writing about the EFCA. In case this is removed I captured the post in it entirity. If you want to read the post “God is in Control” you can do either below or click on the link. I am going to write about Rockpoint Church for the next couple of days.
While the events of this last week are not the same as massive, tectonic plates shifting after the flood, they do indicate a watershed moment for our country. I agree with many, we had one shot to “right the ship.” Many of us have seen the downward spiral and wholesale rejection of biblical principles by our culture for years. Even our own money reminds us “In God We Trust”, yet our American culture has decided to remove Him from every corner of our society. If we continue to do this, we do so at our own peril.
This election was big. Really big. There were so many important, long-term issues at stake. From the protection of life in the womb to who is going to sit on the Supreme Court. Perhaps God used this election as another wake-up call to His followers and yes, even our culture.
On Tuesday night, I gathered with people from our community right here at Rockpoint in our Prayer Chapel for an election eve prayer gathering. I was encouraged. We set aside our sometimes “theological differences” and said, “Let’s pray.” So refreshing and so needed! People began to pour out their hearts to God and communicated their trust in Him for the outcome.
No, this was not a group of “super-spiritual saints” asking God for personal, political preferences. Sure, we prayed our hearts out according to biblical convictions. But ultimately, we all surrendered to His sovereign choice. We simply prayed for God to move in a way that demonstrated His sovereign hand and gave Him the glory.
I am convinced that He did intervene in the election. Not because I heard a voice in my office or had some mystical experience. I know He intervened because He says He did in His Living Word. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
Did you catch that last sentence? It is very important. God puts rulers and yes presidents in office. He may even allow an evil man or women to be placed in a government office, but the net result is still the same. God allowed it and therefore “those that exist have been instituted by God.” I certainly don’t think this just applies to governmental institutions. It applies to the people doing the governing! Regardless of how they got there, God is still in complete control and that is really big.
Regardless of our system of government, God still reigns. He will always accomplish His plan and His purposes on this planet. His Word will always come true and His plans will never be thwarted (Isaiah 40:8). We can rest with peace in the midst of these times because God will bring about His sovereign plan for our world, our nation and His people.
Now I realize that there has been an endless amount of words over the internet, air-waves and perhaps even pulpits, seeking to provide points to ponder regarding those that were running for office. Some have even tried to answer the question, “Should we vote?”
Let me simply answer the last question with one word. YES! Sure, there is no Bible verse that says, “Go vote in the next election in the United States of America.” I do believe however, that we have a moral responsibility to uphold biblical principles that have made this country great. Wayne Grudem addresses many of these in his exhaustive book called Politics: According to the Bible. I would highly recommend it. He argues, and I agree, that followers of Christ should be involved in the public square as we have for hundreds of years.
For me personally, I believe we also have a moral responsibility to vote and honor a freedom that very few have around the world. It is a freedom that was fought with the blood of those who gave their lives to protect this country. My personal relatives fought for this freedom from the Revolutionary War up to today. To my dad who fought in what was branded as a police action but was still a war (The Korean War), “Thank you along with all your fellow veterans who willingly chose to step up to the line to defend our freedom. I will never take that for granted.”
Now back to the election.
You may not agree on every issue (or any issue) with the person who has won the Presidency. Let’s all face the fact that there has been plenty of “garbage” that has surfaced on both sides of the political aisle that makes us all squirm. I personally believe our candidates are a reflection of our culture. We have no one to blame but ourselves at times (but that is another topic for another time). Now that apologies have been made, the election is over, and the smooth transition of government is taking place (to everyone’s credit and example), where do we go from here?
First, trust God’s sovereign plan. Rest in Him and let Him give you His peace. The Bible is clear. Nothing thwarts His plan. We are moving toward that day when He finally draws the curtain on the last act. I can’t wait for the Second Coming of Christ for His Church and ushering in the final days before He sets up His Kingdom on Earth. But until then…
Second, pray. Pray for our national leaders and a spiritual awakening in your life and our country. We need God more than any political party. The answers we need in this country are not from any political party. They are from God and God alone. We must begin to cry out to God on behalf of our nation and once again put Him at the center of our lives.
Third, honor and respect those in authority. Romans 13 also mentions that we are to give honor and respect to those in office. As we do, we need to pray for God’s intervention in their personal lives and for His hand of wisdom to be upon them.
Fourth, love God and love one another. Of course this is done by living lives of grace and truth. But, when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was in the Law, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37 – 40). As we do, it opens doors to do what comes next…
Go and share Jesus. Jesus commanded us to do this in what is called the Great Commission. He said in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” Regardless of whether we have a godly president or a godless president, our responsibility as followers of Jesus is to continue to live faithful and holy lives while sharing who He is and why He came. By loving God and loving others, we open doors and create an atmosphere for hearing. After all, if people think you hate them, you will not even be heard. Our message is too important, and our commission is too great to lose sight of why we are on this planet. We must start living like believers of the 1st century who often sacrificed their very lives for the good news of Jesus and to protect His living Word. And that means we even set aside our political differences at times so others might hear of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, our Savior and Lord.
My hope and prayer is that we can begin to come together as a nation. That doesn’t mean we will not need to have some difficult and honest conversations. However, why can’t followers of Christ lead the way? Why are we often the ones throwing fast balls at each other at a velocity not even seen by those outside the church?
It is time to come together as “One nation under God.” It is time for followers of Jesus to lovingly lead all of us toward a better path. Let’s trust that God is in control. Let’s begin to, once again, put Him first. Let’s beg for God to bring about a spiritual awakening in our lifetimes. Let’s love Him and others like never before. Let’s make the truth of the Gospel and His grace known by our words and works.
It is not that complex if we are finally willing to try. God intervened this week. Let’s not waste what might be our last shot. That my friends is Really Big.
By Roy Fruits