Earlier this morning CNN’s religion editor Dan Gilgoff blogged…
For many conservative Christian leaders, it was a nightmare scenario: Barack Obama decisively re-elected. Same-sex marriage adopted by voters in some states. Rigorously anti-abortion candidates defeated in conservative red states. On multiple levels, Tuesday’s election results seemed to mark a dramatic rejection of the Christian right’s agenda, eight years after the movement helped sweep President George W. Bush into a second term and opened the era of state bans on same-sex marriage.
“Nightmare scenario” is what opponents of conservative (ideologically and theologically) Christians would like to think. Maybe God thinks: “It’s about time.” True, in His revelation He specifically decries same-sex relations, and no sham marriage can make this sin sacred. Plus, He called out Israel again and again for shedding innocent blood and what blood is more innocent than a developing child ripped from–or executed in, the womb? And to our newly reelected president who claims to be a Christian–yet is an advocate for these evils, a holy God thunders, Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil… (Is.5:20).
Yet, are we conservative Christians as impassioned about Jesus as about our candidates? If we are satisfied with no more impact in the community and nation than artificially imposing morals from above at the ballot box, perhaps God will continue watching as this country slides over a moral cliff. Maybe dire circumstances around us will dislodge us from complacency; to do the hard, one-on-one work from beneath to love people and point them to the Jesus who renews the heart and mind. From which comes a new bent towards righteousness. I always vote for candidates who best reflect biblical values and show evidence of being able to lead. But being a citizen of the kingdom of heaven lays a bigger assignment on us than simply voting and hoping our guy/gal…, wins. We are after more followers of Jesus, not just more moral people.
In a nationally publicized sermon on CBS in the mid-1900’s, Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse asked what would it look like if Satan took over Philadelphia? The Presbyterian pastor stunned millions with his answer as recounted by Michael Horton: All of the bars would be closed, pornography banished, and pristine streets would be filled with tidy pedestrians who smiled at each other. There would be no swearing. The children would say, “Yes, sir” and “No, ma’am,” and the churches would be full every Sunday . . . where Christ is not preached.
Believers of the early church had no legal rights to live–let alone vote. Yet that primitive church flourished with a momentum that would make today’s campaign managers green with envy. Lacking any political power it brought the Roman empire which killed many of its number, to its knees (think, Constantine). The antidote to Gilgoff’s nightmare scenario is not more conservative Republicans, it is more people who turn to Christ in repentance and faith, and follow Jesus.