Christians Blew The Election

mel gibson conspiracy theoryLet’s begin with full disclosure. I’m a Pastor at a Local Church. I’m not the Senior Pastor, but I still can’t endorse a candidate. It’s over now, so I’ll just tell you where I stand. I’m Pro-Small Government, less taxes, and less regulation. I think a President should pass a balanced budget. Heck, any budget at all would be a good start. I’m not a fan of government controlled healthcare for lots of reasons, but I wouldn’t throw all of Obamacare out the window. I don’t understand why we don’t thoughtfully harvest the energy resources in our own country like every other country on the planet. I understand the ramifications of the direction I believe our country is taking more than I will say here because I will sound like Mel Gibson in Conspiracy Theory. I love politics, and I love my country. I love Jesus, and His Bride, the Church. But Christians blew this election.

It has become more than a little unfortunate to see and hear the reactions of people who call Jesus their Savior as it applies to this year’s Presidential election. Many of the ones who voted for the Republican candidate are now fully on their way to spontaneous combustion. After they get done lashing out at everyone they will move into a state of depression. Angry, sulking, and without a tribe is a tough place to be.

In all circles, not just evangelical ones, people have used social media to attack their friends and neighbors over this election. I’ve not seen one post of anyone attempting to thoughtfully persuade someone with the heart of an issue. Just people who want to be right, and who want to WIN at all costs. Here’s the problem, when you equate your Christianity with your politics, and you live in a country that is divided approximately 51-49, you do more than express a different political view. You basically just sent half the country to hell with the inference that they have to choose your politician as much as they need to choose your Savior.

Do we really want to dilute the Gospel message of Jesus and bring it down to the level of American politics?

An openly Democrat neighbor came to our door last week, and asked if everything was good between their family and ours. Evidently, she had just attacked everything that even smelled Republican (oddly enough it’s the same smell as a Baptist Church Fellowship Hall on Wednesday nights) with a facebook rant that used some words I frankly don’t know the definitions of. Why did she ask? Because she knows we are Christ-follwers. Because we have talked politics, and she knows where we stand. Can we still be friends? Yes. Can we have a difference of opinion about politics? Yes. The only thing I am digging my heels in on is that there is only one path to get to God and it is through His Son Jesus. We can discuss that in a loving and meaningful way, but there’s just no room for waffling and tolerance with that one.

A large portion of evangelical Christianity has just ostracized themselves from the opportunity to share the greatest (and only real) message of Hope and Life Change in the history of all mankind by rushing to defend one half of an imperfect political system. It’s more than just a little short-sighted, and the eternal ramifications are much more important than the future of the American dollar.

Some mistakenly say that if Christians had just spoken up louder then their guy would have won. Ironically, the louder the Christian rhetoric gets the more people run the other direction. Our rants are not speaking to people’s hearts and our lives are not displaying a message of Hope that would otherwise be admirable and attractional. The message of Jesus is challenging enough. To try and demean people into listening is enough to cause people to run away from Him never to return. To the 1600 ordained Men and Women Pastors who thumbed their nose at our government, endorsed a candidate, and declared ‘Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ a few weeks ago, please stand up this Sunday and let people know that there are communities of Christ-followers who care more about eternity, the Great Commission and the Great Commandment, than anti-colonialism. Our arms are wide open and we are willing to start extra services to welcome the people you have alienated, and to let them know that God’s love is bigger than disagreement on a political worldview.

If you are a Christ-follower and your boldness about your politics has now gotten in the way of your credibility to be able to share the Gospel then you blew it. Plain and simple. Take responsibility and you can earn back the trust necessary to carry every important message in your life forward.

Still learning,

Paul

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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21 thoughts on “Christians Blew The Election

  1. Paul,

    Great, thoughtful post! I really like and appreciate the way you expressed your thoughts on this subject and for challenging us to act in a more Christ-like manner and to keep our priorities in the right order. Thanks for having the courage to call us out and to provide some much needed fresh perspective on the current situation we are facing today.

    Mark

  2. Paul,

    Thanks for that reminder! I think we all need to look at things from the lens of who we are spiritually. It is so easy to loose credibility with the lost. It takes time to show someone the truth and I often try to rush things both spiritually and politically.

    -Jerod

  3. Paul, Thank you for putting into words what should get to almost everybody! I, like so many other Christians, needed to read this so that we do come away with something to do besides try to figure out where we went wrong! I think a lot of people, myself included, let our emotions get in the way and convey the wrong message of what we stand for! We stand for Jesus, but our words and actions toward our fellow believers, because of difference of opinions, leads us down a path of destruction! By that I mean, that if we are to walk in Jesus’ footsteps, then we have to embrace our brothers and sisters even when our opinions don’t mesh! Instead we end up destroying our credibility as a Christian and kill a bond that could have served our Heavenly Father in a better Light!

    I pray not only for myself, but for everyone, to realize that our time here is just a flicker of our time that we will spend with our Heavenly Father and Savior! I pray for words that will show all that I love and not hate! I pray that my actions show that I am a man of God and that I can love someone no matter what they believe in! Finally, I pray that we, as Americans, can come together and agree that we are not where we need to be as a Nation! That we need to put God back into our daily lives like our forefathers had planned when they built this country! For all of to realize that our country’s decline started when we started taking God out of everything! All because a few, non-believers were offended! Well look where that got us! This country has done nothing but done a huge abortion on God by extracting Him from its core! I say we put Him back in the core and watch the healing begin! If there are Christians on both sides of the political arena, at least we could all agree that this is the heart of our problem! If not, then I do challenge your love for God and your love for this Country!

  4. Thank you for your honesty Michael. I appreciate your thoughts. Hopefully, we can all lift the dialogue together. Truth is not always going to be palatable, but can always be spoken in love.

    paul

  5. Is this being written in a public forum, where anyone can read it? I’ll just say this: We are instructed to “be at peace with man whatsoever possible”. We are also told to expect to be rejected by man for His name’s sake. We can argue until we’re blue in the face, and let me say I certainly agree with you that some Christians do NOT use love or even tact in their delivery, but there are also times that a stand must be taken (eg: the innocent lives of babies), where “what we say” will elicit a hateful response. To compromise truth just so the guilty ones ‘don’t run away’ may not be so pleasing to God. So, if you’re a non-believer reading this, please forgive my brethren who may be a bit clumsy or over-zealous. But please don’t throw them under the bus for trying to speak out for what they believe is helping proclaim what just may not be heard loudly enough. The world has slid in a monumental fashion the past few generations. Kids nowadays are into the “be nice” doctrine, where you just don’t say anything that could possibly make someone feel uncomfortable. My question is: “how has that been working for us?” I’m not advocating street-corner screaming, so don’t twist my words. Just advocate balance and don’t publicly marginalize your own brethren. I certainly hope your motive was pure doing that, because I’m pretty tired of brethren turning on their own just for world approval. Speak the truth IN LOVE, but speak it, no matter who hates you for it.

  6. I hope this isn’t a “Surprise! You’re on candid camera moment.” Yes, this is public forum. I just choose to moderate first.

    Thank you so much for your comments. Make no mistake, I believe truth must be shared. I believe the truth is offensive enough, and that makes people think it’s not ‘nice’ no matter how it is said. My concern is that real truth is not heard in the midst of angry rhetoric. You nailed it when you said, “Speak the truth in love.” That creates enough opposition all by itself.

  7. I am one of those Christans who has been very vocal in this election. I never name called or bashed the candidate or his supporters. I feel like I had a responsibility to educate people and inform them who/what they were voting for. My job I feel is to speak out against injustice, corruption, and the disappearance of civil liberties. No one will ever agree with all we say, and people will always alienate themselves from us because we call ourselves Christians. Should we never speak truth for fear of offending?

  8. Thank you for your comments. From what you said and the tone of it, you sound like the kind of person people will listen to because you approach it the right way. Most of the time the truth will be offensive. There’s not a whole lot you can do about that. It doesn’t mean you don’t say it. We just don’t have to demean those who oppose the truth. I don’t think you would do that.

  9. Paul, you may not have noticed, but society has successfully set the standard of communication such that almost anything can be said against the truth of the gospel we are supposed to share, but even if a brother tries to share it ‘gently’ they are often vilified as a ‘hater’, ‘bully’, ‘homophobe’, etc. A message that appears to publicly further than vilification with hardly any qualification basically serves to add credence to the public that we are as they say. You are a pastor, right? You are held accountable to a high standard. It’s tough enough for us to actually share in love w/o it being twisted. I think your message is correct. It just leaves it so unbalanced that people can’t help but conclude that “even a pastor thinks Christians are judgmental”. Again, I know some of our brethren need to ‘scale it down’ a bit, including myself. But the last thing a dying world needs is added justification for the conduct of which God does NOT approve. The watchman is supposed to deliver the message of warning. That’s you and me, my friend. It’s NOT an easy task in a world that HATES our message. Let’s not make it more difficult by appearing divided. I love you enough to share this truth, and I will continue to LOVE the world so much that I will risk being hated, even if my message is presented with utmost ‘delicateness”. I’ve been in ministry for 32 yrs, my friend, and I know there is not much time at hand, so the message needs a sense of urgency, tempered with a nurturing affection. But REAL love is not JUST God’s tenderness. It’s also sharing HIS truth. I believe we need to take our role as believers “loving one another” with utmost seriousness, and a true sign of a believer is his respect for our #1 priority– having each others’ backs. A house in order is much more effective.

    Rom 12: 10 – Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 11not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13contributing to the needs of the saints,

    John 13: 35 – “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    When something like this is posted publicly, it needs to publicly refuted, and thus my response. I love you enough to tell you the truth, but let’s not continue to air out the dirty laundry publicly, so as to not be miss-perceived by all. You can email me your thoughts and I’ll be happy to continue this discussion.

  10. You said, “I’m a Pastor at a Local Church. I’m not the Senior Pastor, but I still can’t endorse a candidate.” According to the legal counsel of Concerned Women For America, “A clergyman or pastor may, as an individual citizen, personally endorse or oppose a candidate. The fact that he is employed by a church does not negate his constitutional rights to free speech and political expression.” Somewhere along the line, someone has given you some very poor advice on what clergymen can and cannot do during a campaign insofar as endorsements are concerned. Here is the link to CWA’s pdf on “Political Guidelines for Churches and Pastors:” http://www.cwfa.org/brochures/pastors.pdf.

  11. Hi and thanks for your comment. I sincerely appreciate the work of Concerned Women and have friends who have worked there. They play a valuable role in our national dialogue. I appreciate you pointing it out for those who may not have educated themselves about that. I was already aware of it. No one had to give me advice about it. For me working full-time, vocationally on a church staff that law gets highly debatable and muddy to say the least. I would never want to put my church in a position where that was put to the test. It’s much easier in my mind to shoot that down in a court of law than to stand on it, but I don’t want to arm anyone by showing how to do that. I think I let everyone know where I stand politically at the beginning of this post. There are certainly ways to go way clear of this law, make your point, and win people over. But it really makes no difference and is not at all what this post is about.
    For me the reason that “I can’t” endorse a candidate is that I don’t want to limit my audience for sharing the gospel to merely those I agree with politically. The competitive tone that so many have struck does just that. This is not about being nice or kind or weak. It’s about being reminded that a Christian’s most important message is not a political one.

  12. I was just checking out the posts for Burkina and stumbled across this. I feel compelled to comment because I feel somewhat passionate about this. I won’t mention my political standing, but will mention that one of the reasons I chose to join Westridge Church recently was because the senior pastor made a statement that he would not endorse a candidate, but would rather seek to unify us as a church of Christians. We are one body and shouldn’t be divided along racial or other man-made lines. I’m so happy to be a part of Westridge Church and am so proud of our pastors for showing leadership in this way!