Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Let The Games Begin
The games are over and now the game is on. As the Olympics fade into the background the U.S. presidential race takes center stage. From now until at least early November the American voting populace will be deluged by candidates, commercials and commentary.
And now’s our chance. Once every four years bible believing Christians get the opportunity to demonstrate a powerful, humble, authentic witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Presidential campaigns usually highlight the divisions that persistently remain in this country. Each side seems to go out of its way to demonize their opponent and cast him in the very worst possible light. And judging from how things have transpired thus far we will be treated to more of the same for the next few months.
So how can we inject a bit of godliness into the process? Elementary my dear Watson, just follow a few of the biblical injunctions God has given His people for such occasions. For instance both Paul and Peter told the saints to respect (not just submit to) the secular public officials of the country in which we live (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17). What did it mean to honor the king and how can we apply that today? It meant to speak respectfully to and about a country’s leaders. It meant that the church, its leaders and its people did not seek to demean or demonize their local or national officials. Remember this respect was to be given to officials who weren’t elected and who were at times openly hostile to the followers of the Way.
How can we put this into practice today? We can start by refusing to disrespect those running for president and we can do this while still disagreeing with their views on various issues. We can affirm the reality that they too have been made in God’s image and through God’s providence have risen to a place of leadership in this country. We can also refuse to speak about them as if they are utterly depraved and completely beyond God’s grace of redemption. We must also refuse to listen to and pass on bad jokes about the candidates and their wives.
It’s also a good idea for us to remember that the way we speak of or about a particular candidate extends to those who support him. Is it worth unnecessarily alienating a whole group of people just to get in a couple of cheap shots? Do we really see ourselves as taking the gospel to the whole culture or just those who align with our politics? Regardless of how things turn out in this election the fact is that about 50 or so million people will not agree with our choice for president. Can we truly see some of those people as part of our church or is our fellowship more based on what we have in common politically as opposed to spiritually?
To Him Who Loves Us...