07 November 2012

Post-Election Quotables

There is no shortage of commentary the day after an important election in this country. The following is a compilation of excerpts from several helpful articles I read this morning. There is a lot of information to take into consideration as we move ahead as The (seemingly) Divided States of America, and we would be wise to observe and reflect upon much of what is said...

In Michael Barone's article, "Two Americas," he describes the great divide amongst this countries' citizens as evidenced by the stark contrast between conservatism and liberalism:

There are plenty of smart and creative and successful people in both Americas. But they don’t like to mix with each other these days...

...One America tends to be traditionally religious, personally charitable, appreciative of entrepreneurs, and suspicious of government. The other tends to be secular or only mildly religious, less charitable, skeptical of business, and supportive of government as an instrument to advance liberal causes.

The more conservative America tends to be relatively cohesive. Evangelical Protestants and white Catholics make common cause; the 17th-century religious wars are over. Southern or northern accents don’t much matter...

...The more liberal America tends to be diverse. Like Obama’s 2008 coalition, it includes many at the top and at the bottom of the economic ladder.

Albert Mohler, in his article, "Aftermath: Lessons from the 2012 Election" calls Christians to pray for civil leadership in the midst of moral decline.  We have a sovereign Savior who is in control and calls for us to be in the world, but not of it... and though He upholds the universe by His power, we have a responsibility in proclaiming the truth of the gospel to our fellow image-bearers:

Christians must now pray for our President. As the Apostle Paul instructs us, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV) We should eagerly and urgently pray for our President. We should pray for his health and his family, for his stamina and his character. We should even pray that he and his administration will be remembered as one of the greatest of our nation’s history, measured even by the convictions that are most important to us.

We are rightly and deeply concerned. We must pray that God will change President Obama’s heart on a host of issues, ranging from the sanctity of unborn life to the integrity of marriage. We must push back against his contraception mandate that tramples upon religious liberty. Given the trajectory of his first term in office, we are urgently concerned about a second term, knowing that the President will never again face the electorate.

As the President acknowledged in his speech last night, our nation faces huge challenges. We must pray that President Obama will lead in a spirit of national unity and mutual respect, bringing Americans together to resolve these ominous problems. Incredible responsibility now rests on his shoulders. He has won a second term, now he must rightly lead...

...The nation is divided politically, but that divide points to a division at the level of worldview. The 2012 election makes clear that Americans are divided over fundamental questions. Americans are divided into camps that define and see the world in fundamentally different terms. The election did not cause this division, it merely revealed it. This deep division at the level of worldview presents President Obama with a daunting political challenge, but a worldview crisis is an even greater challenge for the church...

...Evangelical Christians must see the 2012 election as a catastrophe for crucial moral concerns. The election of President Obama returns a radically pro-abortion President to the White House, soon after he had endorsed same-sex marriage. President Obama is likely to have the opportunity to appoint one or more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, and they are almost sure to agree with his constitutional philosophy...

...Clearly, we face a new moral landscape in America, and huge challenge to those of us who care passionately about these issues. We face a worldview challenge that is far greater than any political challenge, as we must learn how to winsomely convince Americans to share our moral convictions about marriage, sex, the sanctity of life, and a range of moral issues. This will not be easy. It is, however, an urgent call to action...

...Christians must never see political action as an end, but only as a means. We can never seek salvation through the voting booth, and we must never look for a political messiah. Nevertheless, Christians do bear a political responsibility, established in love of God and love of neighbor. We are rightly concerned about this world, but only to a limited extent. Our main concern is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Over at American Vision, Leah Smith offers some wise counsel to Christians in her article, "The Election is Over... Now What?" She presents a much-needed critique against professing evangelicals and provides pratical steps toward obtaining a robust biblical worldview while making disciples:

Once upon a time Christians knew what they believed. They knew why they believed it. We often shake our heads at what goes on the world. We don’t like the anti-Christian laws being passed, more government control, our freedoms regulated and the general secularized state of our nation. However we have failed to recognize who dropped the ball. Christians have lost something very basic and precious: the ability to articulate the gospel. Most Christians profess to believe in the Great Commission that Jesus commanded, to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them inthe name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matt 28:19)

How do we suppose nations will become discipled if we are unable to give even a reasonable answer for the hope that lies within us? How do we expect to handle confrontations without being blown away by any intelligent worldly answer?

She concludes with a call to action...

1. Get a biblical worldview. We are secular humanists and we don’t even know it. The Barna Group reports that only 19% of Christians who profess they “have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is important in their life today” and who “are certain that they will go to Heaven after they die only because they confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior” — hold a biblical worldview. Even if you love the Lord with all your heart– statistically, it’s very likely you do not have a biblical worldview. It is imperative we get one.

2. Get married and have a family. Atheists can do this too, so it is imperative that we hold a biblical worldview with which we approach every thought, action, decision and idea within the family unit. Why have a family? It is the backbone of society. That is why when you delve into the roots of socialism, you find the strategic intent to destroy Christianity and the family. Do we want a biblical society? Start by having a biblical family. I believe there are very few who have the “gift” of singleness. Find a good mate. Use wisdom... Raise up godly, clear-thinking Christians who will take dominion as God commands.

3. Have children, and if possible, lots of them. The Bible doesn’t suggest that we “be fruitful and multiply”, it commands us to. Having one or two kids is not multiplying; it is not growing the population. That is barely a replacement rate. Meanwhile, the Muslim culture continues to out-populate everyone with an average birth rate of 6 per household. Get busy people.

4. Bring up my children with a Christian, bible-based education. If we want to expand the Kingdom, do not, I repeat, do not give our kids away to the government. I cannot be so arrogant as to think I can compete with the humanistic brain washing they receive five days a week.  They are not “salt” or “light” yet, so I mustn’t be pretentious in thinking my one child is going to evangelize or survive a humanist indoctrination centre. That’s like throwing your kid in a shark-infested pool and thinking he’s a good swimmer, so he should be able to make it to the other side, no problem.  There is too much to say on this, but basically, if I am a Christian parent, a Christian education needs to be mandatory.

5. Get educated in:

Basic apologetics (the defense of the Christian faith): The Bible doesn’t require us to be experts. However, 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to have a logical answer for the hope that lies within us. The fact that most of us don’t understand logic and reason is beyond pathetic. It’s apathetic. There are some great resources out there for some basic training and education. There are even audio books, so no one has an excuse to be a dumb Christian anymore.

Basic theology: We have a problem. There are atheists that understand our Christian history and theological background better than we do. It is a skewed and distorted version, but it is sad that they know more than many of us. And because we don’t know our own presuppositions (or what that even means), they are formulating new and absurd arguments daily that we can’t refute. That is not good. Not good at all. So learn about presuppositions and learn some basic orthodox Christian doctrine and theology – and even more importantly, why it is truth.

Basic evangelism: I need to learn how to witness. Not hand out a tract, I mean how to present the gospel in a real conversation with people I meet... My goal is to learn of the most prevailing religions and cults in my city (where I am it would be atheism, Sikhism, Mormonism, J.W.’s, etc) and be well read enough that I can carry a conversation with them and understand what it is I am dealing with. I would love to see churches offer classes on the religions in their community and teach their congregations how to talk and witness to their community. Churches ought to teach basic apologetics as it is a good foundation for evangelism.

6. Women... know your feminine role. I believe the discipling of the nations will happen quickly when women go back to being women, with joy and celebration. When there is family harmony within a biblical context, and husbands love their wives and are leading as the Bible outlines, societies change. Governments change. Children are back in the hands of their own parents and that affects everything. Yes, sacrifices must be made to make this happen, however, we are in a time that if we want our grand children to live in a nation free of slavery and persecution, it is crucial that we make these sacrifices now.

Russell Moore presents a biblical paradigm that is sure to hit many professing Christians of the "religious right" between the eyes. In "Christians, Let's Honor the President," Moore reminds us of our responsibility to submit to authority and pray for our nation's leaders. Most importantly, he rightly divides Scripture to state his case:

Many of us have some disagreements with the President. As a conservative Christian, I believe unborn children have certain inalienable rights, including the right to life, and I wish President Obama would work to protect them. I believe freedom of conscience is the preeminent right in a civil society, and the Administration’s incursions on religious liberty are troubling. I don’t plan to back down one bit on these matters, even as our forefathers Isaac Backus and John Leland relentlessly stood up to the founding generation of leaders on behalf of religious freedom and human dignity.

We are going to disagree with the President on some (important) things; there will be other areas where we can work with the President. But whether in agreement or disagreement, we can honor. Honor doesn’t mean blanket endorsement...

...Christians, above all people, should pray for and show respect for our President and all of our elected officials. After all, unlike those who see politics as ultimate, we recognize that our political structures are important, but temporal, before an inbreaking kingdom of Christ. We don’t then need to be fomented into the kind of faux outrage that passes for much of contemporary political discourse. And, unlike those who see history as impersonal or capricious, we see behind everything a God who is sovereign over his universe...

...There’s a time to vote. There’s a time to campaign. And there’s a time to petition. But, through it all, let’s be the people who, even as we speak with conviction, are marked by kindness and respect. When we have to differ with President Obama, let’s do that, with backbone. But let’s make sure we do all this with honor, with respect, with prayer, and, most of all, with love.

I will be praying for our civil leadership; for their salvation and ability to govern righteously. By grace, I will submit to their authority while challenging foolish and/or ungodly policy. I will continue to labor in the Gospel to the glory of God and for the joy of the saints. I will seek the Kingdom of Heaven first and praise the Lord Jesus Christ... the King of kings and Lord of lords. Christians are not a defeated people, even when the future looks bleak. We share in Christ's victory!

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