Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Imagine if Evangelicals really trusted God

Let’s imagine. Let’s imagine that Sen. Barack Obama is as bad as many conservative Evangelicals say he is. And let’s further imagine that Obama handily wins the Presidency of the United States.

Imagine that the ban on “Partial-Birth Abortion” is overturned by President Obama, and unrestricted access to abortion is codified into law through his authorization of a “Freedom of Choice Act”.

Imagine that the balance of the Supreme Court settles significantly to the Left with President Obama’s appointment of one or two liberal justices.

Imagine that “gay marriage” gets official recognition at the Federal level, upheld by a now-liberal Supreme Court.

Imagine that preaching against homosexuality gets branded as “hate speech” by the courts of the land.

Imagine that all the moral and family values that we Evangelicals hold dear are undermined and abandoned by liberal President Obama and the liberal Supreme Court justices that he appoints.

Does that sound like an awful scenario? It is! What would we Evangelicals do if this imaginary scenario became a reality?

Maybe we’d have to trust God.

We certainly don’t do that now. The Evangelical movement in the U.S. has become little more than an arm of the Republican Party. The Apostle Paul told the church at Corinth to “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts” (1 Corinthians 14:1), but American Evangelicals earnestly desire political power instead. We believe more in political might than in mighty prayer. Maybe it’s because we have become spiritually impotent that we turn to carnal weapons like political power so as to force “the heathen” to do what our prayers have so far failed to accomplish.

It certainly doesn’t seem that the U.S. is in any danger of another “Great Awakening”. The fact that gay “marriage” could seriously be considered as a legitimate alternative says a lot about how far we as an American people have fallen morally and spiritually. But, if this country is going down morally and spiritually, whose fault is that? Maybe the reason this country has gone down morally and spiritually is because Evangelicals have failed to preach and live the gospel. Certainly, the fact that Open Theism, annihilationism, universalism and the rejection of penal substitutionary atonement have gained ground in some Evangelical circles says a lot about how far Evangelicalism has strayed.

For the record: I don’t believe for one moment that Sen. Obama is as bad as his Republican and Evangelical detractors say. Do I agree with all his positions? No, of course not. But I do know Obama cannot be the personification of evil that some of his critics portray him to be. After all, he’s not the devil. Can’t we disagree with another’s positions without having to resort to lying, slander and exaggeration? Strident verbal attacks, like some of those made against Obama by his critics, quite frankly, make me suspect racism is as much a factor in their criticism as is Obama’s political positions.

Personally, I could live with an Obama Presidency. After all, I lived through eight years of Ronald Reagan and eight years of Bill Clinton. I was no better or worse off under either President. After all, my life is not in the hands of the occupant of the White House. My life is in the hands of the Lord.

I am beginning to think that maybe the best thing that could happen is that we Evangelicals lose the “culture war”. We have become intoxicated with political power and have abandoned trust in the Lord in order to pursue fidelity to the Republican Party. Perhaps what we need is for society to turn against us to the degree that we become a truly despised minority in this country. Maybe then we will stop trying to fight spiritual battles (the so-called culture war) with carnal weapons (Republican Party politics) and learn to trust God again.

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