Should one’s position on Presidential choice be a test of Christian faithfulness?

There is rising criticism against ‘evangelicalism’ for their alleged, unqualified support of the presidency of Donald Trump. The criticism often paints a sweeping portrait that is much too difficult to substantiate both because of the wide tent of ‘evangelicalism’ and the broad and debated definition of ‘who is an evangelical?’ The same difficultly applies to the word ‘Christian.’

It is common knowledge, that in 2016 many ‘Christians’ voted for Donald Trump believing him to be the best of three possible choices. They could have abstained from voting at all; they could have voted for Hillary Clinton, and some did; or, as many did, they could have voted for Donald Trump. Many did not take the first choice, though there may be a scenario where they would. Many did not vote for Hillary Clinton, nor for Barak Obama in either of their elections, because their moral stances on abortion, sexuality, and marriage were so clearly contrary to the Bible. Many voted for Trump, not only because he had an evangelical vice-president, but because his verbal commitments were anti-abortion, pro-family as defined by Scripture, and to our First Amendment rights of religious freedom.  Hopefully, Christians did not vote for Trump because they saw him as the savior of an American theocracy where biblical morality would be imposed by law and, thereby, a “Christian Nation” would be established.  Hopefully, they did not vote for Trump because they saw him as a model of Christian character and morality. God forbid, that Christians ever seek to emulate or imitate politicians or other secular leaders, as models of Christian spirituality and morality, rather than look to Christ and those in the church of Christ who imitate Christ and follow the example of the Apostle Paul.

I have Christian friends who voted for Obama and Hillary. Some of those friends, by their own admission, have capitulated to the pressure of the culture they live in and no longer see issues of abortion, sexuality, and marriage as biblical.  I have other Christian friends who also voted for Obama and Hillary and, though they still hold a biblical position on abortion, sexuality, and marriage, they see others issues as of equal or greater moral importance, such as capitalism, immigration, care of the environment, social justice, etc.

I pray for and challenge my first group of Christian friends who have succumbed to culture pressure, not because of whom they voted for, but because they’ve abandoned the authority of Scripture in issues of life, sexuality, and marriage.

I pray for and, when possible and helpful, I engage my other Christian friends on those issues that they see of equal or greater importance. Certainly, the Bible speaks about economics, immigration, care of the environment, and social justice. Personally, when it comes to economics, I happen to believe in limited government, personal property rights and a free market; I am against the governmental practice of confiscating wealth through taxation and redistributing that wealth through social programs. This position come from principles based on my understanding of Scripture. It is not a test of orthodoxy. If it’s helpful and not acrimonious, I can discuss this issue with my Christian friends who may tend more to socialism or other economic theories. I can also discuss immigration, care of the environment, social justice, etc. Personally, I see all of the above as the kind of debatable issues that Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 8-10 and Romans 14.  Sadly, for some of my Christian friends, their stance on these ‘debatable’ issues is for them and others clearly the only biblical stance. They see them not only as important as abortion, sexuality, and marriage, but perhaps more important.

For Christians who support and promote and condone a morality that is contrary to Scripture, I pray for them and honestly question how they can affirm Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, while rejecting the clear teaching of Scripture. Perhaps many have followed the errant path of Tony Campolo, who calls himself a red-letter Christian, accepting the teachings of Jesus, while not bowing to the authority of all of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

For Christians who hold to a biblical morality and the authority of Scripture, I continue to enjoy their fellowship, agreeing to disagree on debatable matters, but enjoying Christian unity in the gospel of Christ and the authority of Scripture.

Unfortunately, there is a greater challenge with Christians who have raised their view of what I call debatable issues to a test of Christian faithfulness. They judge the credibility of one’s profession of faith based on their views of economics, immigration, care of the environment, social justice, etc. I strongly disagree with them, but say with Paul, “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind” and “Everyone of us must give an account of himself to God.”

I do not know for whom I will vote in the 2020 election or if I will vote at all. My commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture has remained the same through Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, since I became a follower of Christ in 1970.  No president has ever given me higher hope or deeper despair in everyday life or about the future. Jesus Christ remains my greatest treasure and deepest delight.

Philippians 3:20 But  our citizenship is in heaven, and from it weawait a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. 4:1Therefore, my brothers,whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Summary – The Gospel in Genesis 1-50 and in the City

Genesis has introduced us to the Creator-Redeemer God who graciously gives mankind a garden-temple in which to serve God and from which to extend the worship of God throughout the earth.

In Adam all mankind rebels against God and is banished from the temple-garden. Prior to banishment from the temple-garden, a promise is given of a second Adam, who would not succumb to Satan’s temptation and would finally defeat Satan.

After the progression of sin and rebellion, mankind and the earth are eventually judged by God in a worldwide flood. Consequently, after the flood Noah and his descendants are given the renewed kingdom responsibility in a new world, but they also fail to extend the worship of God, choosing instead to congregate at Babel. Again, the world is judged; this time through dispersion.

God then chooses Abraham and his descendants to be the family through which the worship of God will be extended throughout the world and through which the nations of the world will be reunited in worshipping God.

The story line of Abraham’s family keeps the reader wondering whether they will be the people who will extend the worship of God throughout the earth and unify the nations in the worship of God. The story unfolds with moments of success in their being the people who carry out God’s purposes but also includes too many moments of forgetfulness, neglect, and outright rebellion against God’s purposes.

As we read Genesis through eyes and hearts illumined by New Testament revelation, we understand that the successes and failures of the descendants of Abraham provoke us to anticipate the One whom God promised would ultimately defeat Satan and not only succeed where Adam had failed but would triumph more gloriously over sin and death. Through this One the worship of God would be extended through the earth and the nations of the world would be unified in their worship of God.

Today, because of the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin and death, through His body, the church, His kingdom is quietly being extended through the earth and people of all nations are joining together in worship of the Triune God. This kingdom will be consummated in the New Heaven and Earth.

Cities are not the only places where there is evidence of that happening, but in a unique way, city churches can become a microcosm of the multi-national, multi-ethnic, world-wide worship that God desires.

Cities churches offer a greater possibility for tasting the cosmopolitan worship of the New Creation, where people from every tongue and nation will join together in the worship of the living God.

Cities offer opportunity to those who are now the seed of Abraham in Christ to be His people in extending the worship of God among the nations of the earth and seeing the diversity of the world brought together in unity in Christ.

Cities are the crucibles which test the power of the gospel to create new communities that are unified in their love of Christ and in their commitment to do justice and love mercy in the midst of depravity and diversity.