Our nation's shock is wearing off. How many times can "the stunning upset victory" be evaluated and opined? The next four years -- politically at least -- are going to look different than the last eight. What does this mean for followers of Jesus?
The presidential outcome was shaped in part by evangelicals, most of whom voted for Trump. As Kate Shellnutt wrote for Christianity Today:
Despite reservations expressed by many evangelical and Republican leaders, white born-again/evangelical Christians cast their ballots for the controversial real estate mogul-turned-politician at an 81 percent to 16 percent margin over Hillary Clinton.
While some look at those numbers gleefully, others see it as a cause for concern. Russell Moore, reflecting on the impact of the evangelical vote, writes,
Political power—or the illusion of it—has not always been good for us. Such influence has led us to conform our minds to that of the world about what matters, and who matters, in the long-run of history. We should, as missionary Jim Elliot put it a generation ago, own our “strangerhood.”
Christians are indeed a cohort of "strangerhood," or to use Peter's words, "foreigners and exiles" (1 Peter 2:11). Our hope is in Jesus, not the President. Most of us would do well to memorize that powerful line of Abraham Kuyper, Prime Minister of the Netherlands from 1901 to 1905, and great admirer of America:
Thank you Dr. Kuyper! The White House is not God's House. That said, the person who occupies that incredible position of power is ultimately there because God ordained it. God tells us this three times in Daniel 4.
God is large and in charge and we are living in the here and now. So what it my next step? Today, I'm taking my cue from Peter, an apostle of Jesus and man living in the unfriendly confines of the Roman Emperor Nero:
For the 81% of evangelical voters whose candidate "won," this is no time for gleeful gloating (even if that party only occurs in your heart). This is a time to help heal divisions in our country and to work together. Jesus reminds us that Christians are not known by how they vote, but how they love (John 13:35). Are you loving the "opposition"?
"Love the brotherhood"
I would encourage you to read Russell Moore's article, "President Trump: Now What For The Church?" Moore writes,
We are not, first, Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or progressives. We are not even, first of all, the United States of America. We are the church of the resurrected and triumphant Lord Jesus Christ. We have survived everything from the rage of Nero to that of Middle Eastern terrorist cells. We have, in fact, often done best when we are, what one historian calls, the “patient ferment” of a church alive with the gospel.
Our collective witness is, I believe, more powerful than our private witness. Paul's letters are generally addressed to churches not individuals. We must remember that. Working together in love for the gospel in our world is God's call.
Many on the political right are breathing a collective sigh of relief, "Ok, we're good! I can relax now." That kind of thinking is dangerous. These are days to be dependent on God and vigilant. These are days to determine how the people of God can "do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God" (Micah 6:8).
"Honor the emperor"
While you may be thanking God for this victory, have you thanked him for your sitting President? Have you prayed for President Obama in the transition? Have you recognized the good done in the midst of the decisions with which you may not have agreed? Followers of Jesus give honor because they recognize in doing so they are honoring God as Sovereign over all.
I heard a news anchor say, "This is a new world order." No, it's not. It's the dawn of a new presidential term, but the King of kings and the Lord of lords is still in running the show. May we "run our lives" in keeping with His rule and reign.
NOTE: This Sunday we continue our three-part series "Jesus and Politics" at Spanish River Church by looking at "Jesus And Our Post-Election Hopes." You can find out more by clicking here.
- "Despite reservations expressed . . ." from "Trump Elected President, Thanks to 4 in 5 White Evangelicals," by Kate Shellnutt. Christianity Today (11/09/16). www.christianitytodday.com. Accessed 11/10/16.
- "Political power—or the illusion of it . . . " from "President Trump: Now What For the Church?" by Russell Moore. November 9, 1916 at www.russellmoore.com. Accessed 11/9/16.