Does Jesus Reign?
I’ve been putting this off for a long time now, too long. I have a platform of which to reach, and hopefully inform. Hopefully, I’ve earned that by now. So here I go, delving into a topic I promised myself to never get involved with and never write on in this site…politics. Now to be fair, you aren’t going to find an endorsement. You are going to find a critique of where the church is in this season and why I think God is deeply, deeply grieved by his people’s actions. To begin however I would like to make it very clear what the purpose of this article is. The purpose of this article is not to lambaste either side, nor make either side feel as if they sit in some seat where they may scoff at the other side. It is an attempt to be the voice of Samuel, the voice of Isaiah, the voice of Jeremiah, and the voice of Christ himself to his covenant community. I have been confronted by the Holy Spirit in my prayers and in reading scripture and know that I cannot feign ignorance if I am disobedient. At this point to not write what I am about to write would be to ignore a clear command for the sake of keeping perceived peace. I hope that I succeed in this endeavor, but only time will tell. So, now that my disclaimer and intentions have been clearly stated, here we go.
Throughout these last two years Christians in this country have done some…interesting things. Both sides (liberal and conservative) have both acted admirably and despicably. Lately, I have only been seeing and experiencing the latter (especially if you bemoan the candidates we have). Now to be clear, I am not against Christians becoming involved in the political process, or with voting, if you feel so-called to enter into that kind of public service. But, I am against Christians placing their hope in the political process. In fact, I feel that the church has done something quite heinous in its dialogue amongst itself and with non believers that sends a message so antithetical to the gospel that at recognizing it I honestly feared for the church in this country. This is not an exaggeration, nor is it an overstatement; a very real, very angry, very jealous God looms over the church as she commits adultery with some even excusing that adultery with the scriptures themselves. It is embarrassing, infuriating, and inexcusable and it needs to stop once and for all.
In 1 Samuel 8 (yes, the whole chapter) we see a dialogue between God and Samuel where Israel has requested a king in Samuel’s old age and Samuel takes it hard (at this times judges lead Israel and prophets of God as their king was God himself as the judge working as his representative). God reassures Samuel that Israel is not rejecting Samuel, nor are they even dissatisfied with him, but that they are rejecting God as their king. God sends Samuel with a message letting Israel know that God will have him appoint a king, but that this king will take their possessions as he pleases and that he will use their sons for war, and their daughters’ workers. This king will take the best of all that they have for himself and that he will oppress the people. Samuel relays this message and the people still demand a king, and God gives them what they ask for. Even after a warning where God says that when they cry out against this king they wanted so much because of the weight of the oppression that he will not hear their cries, nor lift their burden. God is definitely a fan of tough love.
Why do I mention this? Well the reason for wanting a king was so that they could have someone champion their efforts, to have someone lead them. Does this sound at all familiar? The reasoning for many Christians on both sides of the aisle for voting for a candidate is because of how much they dislike the other candidate or because of supreme court justices. The logic being used here while sound is also extremely poor theology. Christians on either side look to their respective parties to champion their causes. On one side its religious liberty and pro-life, on the other it is racial, social, and societal justice. Each Christian aligns with whichever party supports the issues that they feel most important. This is where the first mistake is made. Every issue listed above, religious liberty, pro-life, social, racial, and societal justice are all equally important. By supporting one party over the other unquestioningly is to send a clear message that you feel certain issues are more important than others. Jesus both valued life, respected the perspectives of others (as long as said perspectives didn’t dehumanize people, ahem Pharisees), and sought out those that society ignored (the disabled), hated (the Samaritans), or cast out (lepers). Jesus showed that he valued all of these issues and for this reason alone, we should also value them all in the same fashion. Before continuing please read Isaiah 1 here.
Startling isn’t it? Within the text we see God disgusted with a people as they practice ceremony and celebrate holidays that he himself appointed and ordained. Why? Israel during this time was paying lip service to God. The festivals and ceremony performed were done in name and deed only but were not done with pureness of heart and good intentions. Israel was not interested in having a relationship with God, they were interested in appeasing him so that they could get what they wanted, namely his blessing. Again…is this sounding familiar yet? The American church has in many ways done this same exact thing. On Sunday, you will hear phrases like, “Jesus reigns” or “God is King”. The general reception of these statements results in anywhere from hearty applause to hooting, hollering, and amening (depending on how formal your services are). In a conversation regarding politics however, these statements are met with anything from jeers, to dismissals, to explaining the fact of the statement away. What does this mean?
It means simply this the church in this country has replaced Christ with its own government. Evangelicals claim that social justice churches have already done this and they are right, but it has taken me a while to recognize that the evangelical church has done the exact same thing. Where left leaning Christians may find that political issues like racial, and economic social justice as most important (and therefore support liberal leaning candidates), right leaning Christians find issues like religious liberty and pro-life stances as most important. Do you know whom each side turns to in resolving these issues, whom do they look to as the champion of their cause, as their leader, as the ones capable of making real significant changes? I can tell you one thing, neither side looks to Christ, or to the Gospel. Each side looks to their respective candidates as the “practical” solution to the issues they find problematic. This is an egregious error, it is adultery, it is profane, and it is wickedly vain. When we exclaim “Jesus reigns” are these mere words? Jesus, the king of all the universe, our savior and Lord HAS THIS. Our country might not survive a Trump or Clinton presidency, who cares? That is not our concern…do you understand? Jesus did not command his disciples to concern themselves with the politics of Rome, he commanded them to go out baptizing, and making disciples! Start listening…
Church, we need to stop (I mean all of us). We should not be pouring ANY money into causes that advocate our own personal interests or that push forward issues that we find most important. We are to preach the gospel. We are to tell people about Jesus, we are to love EVERYONE (the sick, disabled, gay, transsexual, transgender, hardcore atheist, racist, self-righteous suburbanite to name a few) in the exact same fashion that we love ourselves. If you feel lead to give to something, you better be sure that your resources are going towards spreading the gospel and loving on people while doing so. Paying for lobbyists, lawyers, and so on so that you can have your country the way you like it isn’t Christian, it is American. You see, while some would argue that we have a right to vote in this country and since we have that right we must exercise it, they fail to recognize that we have a responsibility to the kingdom of heaven first and foremost.
In this election it is better, no it is right, to not be an American. It is better to get on your knees in front of your king and beg for forgiveness, to plead for those who do not know him, and to ask for his provision. Saints, Satan has wrapped us up in this nonsense long enough…isn’t it time that we get to it? Isn’t it time that we truly put preaching the gospel as the most and only important issue? Isn’t it time that we live out our kingdom responsibilities instead of being worried about protecting our American rights? Enough is enough. God is tired of your foolish prayers, he is tired of your “save Christmas campaigns”, he is tired of your attempt to force a fallen evil world to look like us. They are not us, they can never be us, not without Christ. And that is the major rub here…that you are attempting to exclude Christ from this process. If you want to reduce abortion or eliminate it, preach the gospel; if you want to reduce or eliminate racism, preach the gospel; if you want to protect Christian Americans from having to provide a service they don’t agree with, preach the gospel!!! Putting Christ at the center, pointing to him as the only answer IS the most practical way that we change this country and our world for the better.
So I urge you, I implore you; stay home on election day, devote yourself to prayer and fasting. The church should not be sullying her hands with the filth presented this year. The church cannot choose between a racist, misogynistic, and habitually oppressive man and a traitorous, evil woman. There is no such thing as a “lesser evil”. There is only evil and good…know that if you chose an evil, that you still chose evil. It is not better to look at porn and pleasure yourself than it is to fornicate with a hooker on the street. Both are evil and we should participate in neither. Ultimately, the choice is up to you…I pray that you do the right thing, that you begin to believe again that Christ is the first and only answer, that he is the most practical answer. Begin to truly believe that Jesus truly does reign and start to live your life like you believe it. Peace and blessings, and as always, thank you for reading.
With Love in Christ