President Obama, and a Proper Christian Response to his Election.
First off, it’s not the end of the world! It’s not the best of all possible outcomes (in my opinion), but all is not lost. This could be a wonderful opportunity for the Church to shine brighter than ever before.
The outcome of the 2008 election, to some Christians, will be a time of grief. President Obama’s stance on some moral issues are in direct opposition to the Christian worldview. With that said, we as Christian’s must not let the outcome of this election distract us from living in light of the Gospel.
“Remember that God is, and has always been Sovereign”
First, we need to be reminded of Paul’s words to the Romans, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.”
In this passage the Apostle Paul is speaking on the proper response to secular authorities. We must be reminded that President Obama has been placed in a ‘governing’ position over us. It is important to notice that Paul uses the word ‘submit’ here in reference to a proper posture to secular government. As Doug Moo puts it,
“To submit is to recognize one’s subordinate place in a hierarchy, to acknowledge as a general rule that certain people or institutions have ‘authority’ over us.” (Romans, 797)
The reason, these governing authorities have been ‘appointed’ by God. The Greek word here is literally ‘to order, to put someone over.’ Ultimately behind the affairs of this world is the hand of God. God’s sovereign providence is often a mysterious thing.
Thomas Oden rightly observes that anyone who reflects deeply on the issues of sovereignty and providence “stands at the confluence of many layers of mystery”. The particulars of God’s providence within our world have only been partially revealed. The dynamics of these various layers are certainly complex. Udo Middelmann argues that “mystery refers to details not yet known, things which will be revealed later in order to complete what is now known in part.” One day we may be able look back and see how our current situation became a great catalyst for the Gospel. God is working, in spite of everything wrong in our world.
All this to say, ‘we can grieve and complain all we want’, this is a right emotion in light of the possible outcome of President Obama’s moral stances, but we cannot loose this opportunity to respond correctly as Christians.
This is an opportunity for us, as Christians, to live in such a way that America would take notice. Like the early church we should exhibit through our community life, through far from perfect”…that we are “sufficiently different and impressive to attract notice, to invite curiosity, and to inspire discipleship.”
We should make the “grace of God credible by a society of love and mutual care which astonishes” those around us so that they recognize us as something entirely different. (Michael Green, Evangelism in the Early Church)
“How Then Shall We live?”
1. We must still stand against abortion. But at the same time we must stand up for adoption. We need to let the world know that we, Christians, will raise the unwanted children. This is a radical response. The early Church was known for rescuing babies from death when they were left at doorsteps and in garbage dumps.
In the same way, we must support the efforts of our community organizations to provide care, counsel, and provision to pregnant women considering abortion so that they would choose life. We must also be involved in the process of caring for and restoring those who are dealing with the regret of past abortions.
2. We must outdo government programs that seek to provide for provision and necessities for the poor, oppressed, and outcast. We must walk beside the widows and orphans. It has been said many times that the Government had to step in because the Church was not doing it’s job.
Just as Dr. Martin Luther King once charged the church for not standing up for racial issues in the 60’s, “if today’s church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will loose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning.” (Letter from Birmingham Jail)
I pray that we have not forever lost our voice! I pray that we do not step back in grief and become a community of escapists, and irrelevant social club. We need to impact our communities for the Gospel.
3. We must seek to use our finances in a way that wages war against the culture of greed, and the corruption and turmoil it brings. Greed is the reason our economy is unstable, its that simple. No top down financial plan will deliver America from the effects of greed.
The responsible actions of Christians who understand that money is gift from God will speak volumes to an America being drowned in greed.
4. We also must seek to uphold the family unit as designed by God. Some stats show that the divorce rate in the church is higher than the secular world. How can we have a voice on this issue if we are silent with our actions? Sure, we are not all perfect, and we have made mistakes, but we need to exhibit how the family unit should properly function in light of the Biblical pattern as an example to the world around us.
God provided a pattern of sacrificial love in the cross of Christ to show how marriage properly works. “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, and “Wives, submit to your husbands.”
The scope of this post cannot cover all the issues pertaining to this election. Nor do I fully understand the implications of every issue, nor have I greatly expounded on each of the issues above, but I feel that we need to respond out of love not anger.
2. Respect Barack Obama (Rom. 13:7).
“Things We Must Rejoice In”
1. The implications of electing an African American president are huge. The horrible reality of our countries past illustrates the injustice of racism. We have made huge strides in recognizing all men as equal.
I am encouraged that we have an African American president. While I would rather it be someone else, I can rejoice in the fact that racial wounds can begin to heal in ways they never have.
2. Finally, and most importantly we must rejoice in the fact that our hope, as the Church, is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and nothing else. Our faith is not placed in politics, or the governing systems of this world.
Our citizenship is in the Kingdom of God. We are exiles in a strange land. But I pray that we are responsible citizens or in this world who recognize that our God is ultimately in control.
This is, more than anything else, a chance for the Church to shine the light of the Gospel in a dark secular America.