Friday, November 2, 2007

I Don't Care Who Wins in 2008

It's about one year until we elect a new president, and I really don't care who wins. That may be a bit of an overstatement, but for the most part it is exactly how I feel at this point.

As I listen to Christians in person and on TV, I hear many who are extremely concerned with who the next president will be. They act as if the rise or fall of the USA depends on it. Unfortunately, they also speak as if God has no control over it.

But what does the bible say about all this? In Romans 13:1 we read, "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."

What is Paul telling us here? First, we are told to be subject to our government. It is safe to say, however, that if the government enacts any laws that go against God's commands, then we should do what God wants.

Second, and more related to this post, Paul lets us know that God establishes and institutes all authority. This means that, ultimately, God selects who is in positions of governmental authority over us.

We may not understand why God chooses who He does, but we can rest in the fact that our good Lord is sovereign over whoever ends up being the next president.

On a related topic, why do we, as evangelicals, look to government to solve problems for us? Why do we look to government to restrain evil? After all, government is secular in nature. Although it is established by God, it is not intended by God to be His primary means of changing the world for the better.

Let us, as members of the universal church of God, be agents of change for the better in our society. We have no reason to expect good from government. We, as servants of Jesus, should take upon ourselves the responsibility of making our society a better place to live.

I'm not suggesting that we, as Christians, will somehow overcome Satan through our own strength. I also don't think we should be responsible for paving our roads or building tanks for the military. Also, I'm in no way saying that the first purpose of the church is to transform society. The church's primary function is to magnify the glory of the Lord.

What I am saying is that secular government should not be relied upon for making this a better country in which to live. This will only come by the power of the risen Christ through His followers.

So what can we do? We can meet needs as we see them. If our neighbor is thirsty or hungry, we should be there to give him something to drink or eat. If he has no shirt, let us clothe him. If he simply needs someone to talk to, let's listen (see here). This might not do much for the USA in general, but it will make his life better.

If we all treat our neighbor in this manner, this society will be transformed into a better (not good, but better) place. Also, if we minister in this way, we will open up a door for a gospel presentation.

So, I don't care who wins in 2008. I'm not depending on the next president to make our country better. As the church, let's do what we can (and should) to improve the place we live.

10 comments:

Joe Blackmon said...

I think sometimes people forget that God is soverign over everything. Therefore, even if some liberl, communist, bedwettin' femi-nazi gets in the White House God is still in control and it by no means took Him by surprise. I am also afraid that some Chrisitans have the idea that all Republicans walk on water and all Democrats are homosexual, satan worshipping baby-killers. In the end, the only truly good world government will be when our precious Lord returns to set up the Millenial reign.

Eric said...

Joe,

Isn't it interesting how the Republicans have become the "defacto Christian party"? I'll admit that I tend to vote Republican, but we Christians need to realize that just because Republicans tend to be conservative, it doesn't mean they are Christian.

The millennial reign will be wonderful. I hope He comes soon.

Eric

Brian F. said...

in regards to the republican party, maybe the barman declaration is appropriate these days...

i second the sovereignty comment and I think the book of Daniel can be helpful in this regard. Here is one verse to consider: Dan 4:17 "The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.'

Brian F. said...

that said, I think Mike Huckabee would be a good Prez....

Larro said...

"Do you tell me that the Bible is against our rights? Then I say that our claims do not rest upon a book written no one knows when, or by whom. Do you tell me what Paul or Peter says on the subject? Then again I reply that our claims do not rest on the opinions of any one, not even on those of Paul and Peter, . . . Books and opinions, no matter from whom they came, if they are in opposition to human rights, are nothing but dead letters."

-- Ernestine Rose, responding to religious heckler at Seventh National Woman's Rights Convention, New York, Nov. 25-26, 1856 (History of Woman Suffrage, Vol. 1: 661-663)

Eric said...

Brian,

That's a great verse from Daniel. Thanks for adding it.

As for the candidates, I'm not going to just close my eyes and vote. Clearly, men like Huckabee and Paul are better candidates than some of the others. I'm just not going to worry about who ultimately wins.

E

Eric said...

Larro,

Although I disagree with Ms. Rose, I appreciate your leaving the quote.

I'm guessing that at the most basic level, you and I disagree over what source of authority we base our decisions upon. My primary source is the bible. I don't want to presume what your source is, so could you please tell me?

Thanks, Eric

Elder's Wife said...

Eric,
You said, "I also don't think we should be responsible for paving our roads or building tanks for the military."
The "tanks for the military" issue rests on moral grounds, and I can understand that, but...who should be responsible for paving roads, and who should decide which roads get paved and when? In some countries village/tribal people are responsible for the upkeep of the footpaths and roads leading to their own village...everyone works to maintain them. Their whole society, however, is usually clan/family governed, and decisions are often consensual. Americans, in general (including the Church), are a fragmented, individualist population with little interpersonal responsibility.
I understand your point about believers meeting needs, but I am curious to see what you view as the responsibility of government in our representational system.
Kat

Eric said...

Kat,

What I meant in the post was that the church should not be responsible for paving roads or building tanks. Those are things that the government, supported by our taxes, should be responsible for.

We should be able to count on government to put structures in place (military, infrastructure) that make life livable. However, we shouldn't depend on our political leaders to make our lives better in the sense of our relationships with other people.

The church should transform society through the power of Christ.

Elder's Wife said...

Gotcha...Sorry, Eric, I must have been looking through the wrong end of the lens!
Kat