In the wake of the U S election, we see a country divided. We see one group gloating and celebrating victory, we see another group calling for civil unrest to protest election results. Some are frightened, some are angry, some are excited and some are hopeful. There are also some, like myself, who are skeptical. Ideologically, I should be exuberant and relishing the country's impending ride on the Trump Train, but...I am apprehensive because I fear the church will fail to seize this opportunity to rise above the political fray and continue to stoke the fires of discontent and apprehension. I fear many believers, in their revelry and celebration will forget the souls of the lost that need to be loved, I fear that many who claim to follow Christ will be unloving and vicious to those who mourn the loss of the election. I fear the church will be more political than Christ-like.
The day before the election, a local radio talk show host asked callers to, among other things, describe Donald Trump in one word. I heard words like savior and hero used. This concerned me greatly. My fear is the church is so excited for this "victory" we are forgetting we are called to serve the King of kings regardless of who our president is.
In the midst of all the turmoil and chaos fomented by the election, we must remember, the role of the church is that of peacemaker: Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
HOW DID WE END UP WITH TRUMP?
Barack Obama came into office with a very well defined agenda. President Obama promised to fundamentally change the United States, and socially, he did. The election of Donald Trump was a response to the liberal policy shift that has taken place in America over the past eight years. The election of Donald Trump was an answer to a rogue Supreme Court which has blatantly overstepped it's role by decreeing law from the bench. The election of Donald Trump was in response a president who, not satisfied with a new definition of marriage, mandated an unsafe restroom and locker room policy for children in order to placate less than one percent of the population. The election of Donald Trump was in response to a press which no longer merely reports but creates and spins news in favor of a political agenda. The election of Donald Trump was in response to arrogant corruption displayed at the highest levels of government. This arrogance was the final undoing of the Democratic Party. The same corruption, on the Republican side led to a routing of the Republican party after Nixon. Donald Trump is a Republican version of Jimmy Carter, also a Washington outsider who fulfilled a desire to cleanse government from political insiders.
The arrogant, blatant corruption displayed by those involved in this election is unprecedented. Debbie Wasserman-Shultz all but ruined her career, Donna Brazile lost her job with CNN, and John Podesta has been exposed by Wiki-leaks. The audacity displayed by the DNC in allowing someone as flawed as Hillary Clinton to run for president, in the first place, is astounding. No other public figure in American politics has been so enshrouded in scandal. Never before has a candidate for the presidency of the United States been under investigation by the FBI. The Clinton Foundation was during the election and is currently under FBI investigation. Had Joe Biden run for president, I am convinced we would have seen a much different outcome. Had the Democrats not put up a scandal riddled candidate, under investigation by the FBI, the election would have been more about policy than personality. Regardless of ideology, common sense chose the candidate who is not under investigation or under a constant cloud of suspicion.
Last November, I posted my prediction for this election and why I believed Trump would win. (read that post by CLICKING HERE)
WHO IS DONALD TRUMP?
Donald Trump has lived his life in the public eye for decades, but do we really know what he believes ideologically? By his own admission, Trump supported both republicans and democrats running for office. We know Trump had a friendly relationship with the Clintons before this election, they were guests at his last wedding, in fact. Trump has condemned abortion while praising Planned Parenthood. Trump touted the Bible as the number one book but revealed his ignorance of scripture when he clumsily quoted from "Two Corinthians" while speaking at Liberty University.
Ronald Reagan ran on a conservative ideology and governed according to that ideology. Trump also ran on a conservative ideology, but is that who he is, fundamentally? It is very possible Trump ran hard right as a counterbalance to the hard left tilt the country has taken in the past few years. At country tilted to far in either direction will not stand firmly. If we go too far left, we will end up with a socialistic anarchy. If we go too far right, we end up with fascism. Neither is a good outcome and neither honors God. In fact, both extremes remove God from the equation. It is very possible Trump is more left leaning than most people realize or care to admit. Time will tell.
THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH
The role of the church in any society is to be salt and light. We are commanded by scripture to make disciples. We are also commanded by scripture to support the government authority placed over us, as, ultimately, it is placed there by God. Romans 13:1 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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
1Peter 2:13-15 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. This passage was written by Peter during the rule of Nero. It is only in the case of a direct violation of God's law that we are free to disobey authority. "I was following orders" is not an acceptable defense for killing the innocent or bearing false witness, for instance.
The church, at this moment, has a once in a lifetime opportunity to reach out to a very confused and hurting society. Many of the college aged protesters who are feeling hopeless are among the number of Millenials who have fled the church. What an opportunity to reach out and lead them back to truth. Many are hopeless because they have placed their hope in the institutions of man and were hoping to bring about the world imagined by the Beatles. Instead, they feel as if they have been denied Utopia. We have an opportunity to, lovingly, share our hope in the sovereignty of God.
The church cannot allow a perceived victory at the polls to cause us to forget our mission to reach out to the lost and help the needy. Nor can we abrogate our role as peacemakers. Government's role is to enforce the law and protect the citizenry. The church has left the role of poverty relief to the government causing a fiscal disaster for at the federal level and allowing "ministers" to become wealthy at the expense of the sheep. When a pastor earns more than the mean income of his congregation, there is a fundamental problem within the church. Mega church pastors earning hundred's of thousands of dollars while members of his church are on government assistance is unconscionable.
Now is the time for the church to be the church, to reach out and love. An unprecedented number of people are publicly distraught and without peace. We are in the business of peace and joy, so instead of gloating or enjoying the pain of those with whom we disagree, we need to show them the love of Christ, love which has set us free from sin and fear. We need to share the good news of the Gospel of Christ and put love into action by being peacemakers.