The Day After: My Thoughts on the Presidential Election

Today, Romney supporters are very disappointed with the election results. Where is our nation headed and what lies ahead? The West has been headed slowly on a certain course. In terms of politics, it’s becoming more liberal and socialistic. In terms of religion, it’s becoming more secular. Europe is leading the way, followed by Canada. And it’s now clear that the U.S. is more than toying with the idea. It has made the decision to follow. Last night we saw a majority of Americans, albeit a slight one but still a majority, vote to stay on this path. Construction of the road toward the socialization of the U.S. has been approved by its citizens and work will continue. The legalization of same-sex marriage has gained a momentum that may now be unstoppable. There are hints that the loss of freedom of speech in religious matters may be just around the corner. For those of us who are committed Christians, where does this leave us?

In the first century, the Roman Empire was, for most people, a brutal place to live. Rome ruled with an iron fist and crushed everyone who challenged it and even many who didn’t. An overwhelming majority of those under Roman rule lived below the poverty level.

And then Jesus showed up. He criticized the Roman rulers but reserved his harshest remarks for the religious Jewish authorities. He didn’t try to replace them or Roman rule through rebellions. He didn’t speak of political reforms. Rome was not a democracy. But more importantly, Jesus knew that real change, the kind God is interested in, is not brought about by a man or a particular government. That kind of change occurs in an individual.

Granted, good leaders can improve the lives of their citizens and bring about a degree of happiness. But God is more interested in the holiness of His children than their happiness. We must admit that the Church in the West has become soft. It is not nearly as vibrant as we find in countries where it is persecuted. In fact, since the second century it has been reported that the blood of the martyrs becomes seed for the growth of the Church. In many places, the more Christians were persecuted, the faster the Church grew. This principal remains in place today in countries such as Iran, the Sudan, and China just to name a few.

Perhaps persecution is what the Western Church needs in order to grow stronger and larger. As Western culture becomes increasingly hostile toward Christians, we may need to shift in our thinking. While the U.S. becomes more secular, let’s not speak of God’s resulting judgment as some will be inclined. There is nothing in the Bible that speaks of God responding in such a manner. Moreover, the U.S. is not ancient Israel, which was a theocracy. It was never designed to be. As patriotic as many of us are, we must keep in mind that “our [primary] citizenship is in heaven from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20). We should care about that primary citizenship more than what we have here. After all, God is far more interested in the health of His Church than in the health of a nation. Nations rise and fall. But God’s Church will survive victoriously and the gates of hell will not prevail against its forward progress (Matthew 16:18).

God loves each and every one of us. But His plans go beyond the individual. He wants change in us–major change. He wants to redeem others–lots of others. So, let’s think beyond ourselves. Let’s be kingdom minded. To alter the words of JFK, “Ask not what God can do for you. Ask what you can do for God and His kingdom.”

25 Responses to “The Day After: My Thoughts on the Presidential Election”

  1. Obama and Romney are, ideologically, practically identical. They are both advocates of a large, powerful state that interferes in the daily economic and social lives of its citizens, and is permitted to intrude into people’s personal affairs, violently if necessary. They are both committed to Keynesian economics, which is the backbone of socialism, and what is single-handedly destroying the world economy. They are both war mongers and interventionists, who want to spend billions killing people in other countries, and funding foreign dictators with money and arms. I would personally have voted for Gary Johnson, were I an American.

  2. Michael,
    You sound like a Canadian :)

    I have a question based on what you have said. If Jesus did not agitate to remove ungodly emperors from power, and if we are to submit to our authorities, whether we agree with them or not, then how do American Christians/theologians justify the American Revolution? I ask as a Canadian, and I am not a Monarchist either.. but have been wondering about that question for years. Is it ever justified for a believer to take up arms against its government?


  3. Whoops. I just notice that it was Mike Licona, not Michael Patton, who wrote the above article. Oh well, same question.

  4. Your “the church is soft” comment resonates with me…I can’t help thinking that the reason why it is so soft is because of the numerous heresies and cults we have introduced into Christianity. Places like the Burnt Over District…if people think revival is the answer, won’t it just destroy what is left in the name of righteousness?

  5. Just offering an individual opinion.

    I don’t think that, from theological standpoint, anyone can ever be justified to join a revolution against his/her government, claiming that he is fighting on God’s behalf (short of personal revelation and divine command, that is). However, I do believe that revolutions may be justifiable from moral standpoint, which may in fact be inspired by biblical principles.

  6. I’d be interested to see you pick up this ^ question, too, Michael. I like your post above & agree –we are to be citizens of the Kingdom first. Clearly Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world…” But I find that American Christians, I think probably because of the influence of the society they live in, place an inordinately high value on patriotism and nationalism. Even to point it out, you feel that you are violating Ten Elshof’s principle of Groupthink:

    Rule A: Don’t (fill in the blank).
    Rule A.1.: Rule A doesn’t exist.
    Rule A.2.: Do not discuss the existence or non-existence of Rules A, A.1. or A.2.

    I find that there is a lot of pressure in any sort of critique of America to include some sort of patriotic acknowledgement –which is fine, I support my favorite sports teams also. But where I believe it is mis-directed is when we add to the misconception that America is above other countries as far as freedom and liberties, quality of life, amount of goodwill bestowed upon the world, unquestioning support of military intervention, support of countries despite their criminal mistreatment of others, etc. And so many American Christians seem to fall blindly into this support of war and oppression. Then there seems to be the rationalisation of terrorism that blows back, “They hate us for our freedom, etc.”

    Is the topic just too sensitive to pick up? Too political? Too divisive? I’ll be honest –I don’t want to pick it up! I don’t want to be labelled unpatriotic, unsupporting of my country, ungrateful for all the good things that are American, unduly critical of the negative and unappreciative of the positive…but I find it’s a bit of an elephant in the corner that so few want to acknowledge, address and talk about.

    One of the things I appreciate about you and your ministry is your openness and interest in talking about topics many others don’t or won’t. Would be interested in seeing you pick this up sometime… Or not… :)

  7. I disagree with the idea that the reelecting of Obama is God’s will. I doubt that’s true. The fact to the matter is that we just don’t know what God’s will is. Calling this God’s will gives the impression that the American people are absolved of their responsibility for choosing such a godless leader. Just as it was not God’s will to choose Saul as Israel’s king but He allowed it. Regardless, I know all things will fit into God’s plan.

  8. So then Michael when Obama and his surrogates continue forward on their path of pro-abortion, gay marriage, socialist agendas, and anti religious bigotry we respond by rolling over and playing dead? I’m sure that is not what you are suggesting. I’m not sure what it is you are suggesting. I sat along with my Republican friends, many who were believers and felt last night that political action is what I might as well give up entirely. Maybe God wants me to be totally kingdom minded but somehow that seemed too much like burying my head in the sand. Perhaps that is the judgment I need for my own life. I’m not sure. I can’t see following the lead of what many Christian ministers encourage: to be praying for blessings on a country that wants nothing to do with Jesus and embraces a human savior (Obama). I’ve not heard one ask to pray for his salvation nor his family. I thought that might be the priority. It seems to me that it is in the playbook of some to tell the flock just do as your told because we don’t know anything anyways. So we aren’t a theocracy isn’t going to cut it. Why should he listen to a nation who continues to reject Him and not judge us along with the heathen who look for solutions without Him?

  9. Ken: By no means would I suggest Christians walk away from the political process. Because we live in a democracy, it’s our responsibility to be involved rather than apathetic. However, I think it’s a matter of priority. Where is my heart most firmly planted? I can grieve over where I see the US headed and can vote for candidates who are more closely aligned with my Christian views and values. However, at the end of the day I’m more concerned about the health of His Church. That’s certainly God’s greater concern. One’s political views may change once they’ve come to know the Lord and embrace His teachings. Growing into a mature follower of Jesus can impact one’s political views far more deeply than arguments over what is one’s innate rights.

  10. Mike, Ken makes a good point. We all know that God is absolutely sovereign but does that mean everything that happens is God’s will? I fear that Christians of the reformed tradition of which I am one have been attributing too much to God’s will because we hold sovereignty in such high regard. It may sound good to give such high regard to His sovereignty but Ken is right, if it was God’s will to keep Obama as President then it must also be God’s will to have more abortion, gay marriage and less religious freedom. Are Christians trying to push back on our culture so hard that we have created an unbiblical opposite reaction? An example of this IMO has manifested in Akins and Mourdock to claim that God intended to impregnate a woman through rape and incest? That is to imply that the rape victim would not have been impregnated if it was not God’s will. No, I am not an open theist but I believe there is a tension between human free will in a fallen world and God’s sovereignty.

  11. For Christians, it doesn’t matter if America is ‘headed towards socialism’, they are to be the light unto the world and show the rest what is the correct direction to go in.

    The republican party is NOT christian and is not headed towards what Jesus wants. They are in fact headed towards totalitarianism BUT in reality, totalitarianism, socialism, communism and democracy are all different titles for the same type of government.

    Christians need to side with God and proclaim his way NOT the secular political parties agenda.

  12. @Michael: Always one of the big and great questions will be what is the Church? As an Anglican evangelical and reformed myself, this issue and question is always pressing the visible and even invisible church. We can see this today too, with the Roman Catholic offer to the Anglican High Church or Anglo-Catholic people in the Anglicanorum Coetibus. Which I of course say no thanks! But, then there is the renewal today also in the West of the Eastern Orthodox Churches, note for example the Antiochian Orthodox Church in the West and America. We simply must define the visible/invisible church! Something in my opinion that is lacking in the Western and so-called Evangelical Churches today. And btw, it is here too that I wish more Evangelicals knew and read both the Irish Articles 1615, as the Anglican Thirty-Nine Articles. Note, I like much of the modern, so-called ‘Federal Vision’ today, theologically.

  13. Ok, this is utter nonsense: “There is nothing in the Bible that speaks of God responding in such a manner. Moreover, the U.S. is not ancient Israel, which was a theocracy.” Uh Ninevah, Babylon, Sodom and Gomorah, et al. None of these nations were “theocracies”. God judged them all. Nations rise and fall, but God has nothing to do with their rise and fall? Or causes them to do so for no reason? A little consistency would be a good thing here. Sexual immorality, abortion, and unrighteous magistrates is not going to bring judgement; it is judgement. Now I’m sorry if this offends some folks, but this is exactly the kind of thinking that brought us to this point. We have made an idol of our “enlightened thinking”. So God has removed His hand of restraint, and that my brethren is judgement.

  14. With another term of Obama it’s highly probable that he’d continue pushing his liberal views on controversial issues such as gay marriage and abortion, and while Christians pray, we can’t afford not to stand up for the principles of God.

    You may want to check this one about “The Changing Moral Landscape in America.”

  15. From a Calvinist Reformed theological perspective, the will of God by which he foreordained all to happen willed that Obama win, as it also willed that the American Revolution occur, and as it willed each abortion that will occur under Obama’s presidency. Of course, under the reformed system God also has other wills, such as the will that does not approve of sin even though each occurrence of sin was foreordained under his other will.

    Consequently, it is hard to determine what exactly is God’s will in relation to the reelection of Obama. Obviously, it is in line with his will of foreordination, and (having foreordained the event) there is nothing else that could have happened; there is no scenario in which Romney would have been elected and not human (foreordained) effort could have changed the outcome.But how about God’s other wills? Did God foreordain Obama’s reelection to accomplish some other task or event that he knows of but that we don’t? In that case it would be wrong for us to complain or rail against the election of Obama–God is accomplishing some greater good that he has not (and does not have to) tell us about (maybe Romney would have become a demogogue or started a war with China). Or, perhaps, God in his other will is displeased with the election of Obama and the increased poverty and number of abortions that seem likely to result, but he is biding his time while the evil of Obama’s “reign” reaches its fulness.

    Is it part of God’s plan and foreordination that “Perhaps persecution is what the Western Church needs in order to grow stronger and larger.” Hmmm. Hard to tell, given that persecution nearly wiped out Christianity in the mideast, in north africa, in India, in Japan, in parts of the Balkans, and in China prior to the 20th century. Persecution also did a good job in wiping out anabaptists in Europe, Catholics in Scandanavian countries, and protestants in France. The only time persecution seemed to do any good was during the…

  16. I don’t remember God raising Babylon again either. That doesn’t mean it didn’t do any “good” What Gods purpose in this I can’t say for sure, but we can surely see the signs of his displeasure.

  17. Alot of this seems to suggest that everything is written in stone ordained by God. Sounds a bit fatalistic for me, if everything always worked out in the big picture for God then why isn’t everybody saved. Why does he not carry out that desire in the world. I guess for me there is less tension if we say that our free will (even in elections) sometimes is NOT what God would have , just like the humans messing up the garden scene. Not being Calvinist I see God shaking his head and allowing us our choices. Really, he gave us physical laws and expects us to use our judgement ex: don’t jump out of airplanes without a parachute. I think he expects us to act according to his word, but he does not twist our arms and often lets Christians live out their mistakes or choices.

  18. My thoughts on the election of a Kenyan born, muslim (he said so in an interview), socialist, Israel-hating, abortion loving, tax and spend liberal is summed up in the words of a communist who spoke “prophetically” of our times:

    PROGRAM FOR THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, Written in 1912 by communist leader Israel Cohen:
    “We must realize that our party’s most powerful weapon is racial tension. By pounding into the consciousness of the dark races that for centuries they have been oppressed by the whites, we can mold them to the program of the Communist party. In America we will aim for a subtle victory. While inflaming Negro minorities against the whites, we will endeavor to instill in the whites a guilt complex for their exploitation of the Negroes. We will aid Negroes to rise in prominence in every walk of life, in the professions, in the world of sports and entertainment. With this prestige the Negroes will be able to marry with the whites and begin a process which will deliver America to our cause.”

    100 years later his words ring more true than ever and paved the way for a 2-term socialist (closet communist)

  19. I disagree with so much of what is written here. Mike Licona’s initial post I think is well thought out and I have no problem with but many of the comments there after are what I have a problem with. I am a Christian with ‘conservative’ views on morality but I whole heartedly voted for Obama the first time and again this time. I don’t agree with his stance on homosexual marriage but I do think he is an excellent leader in his role as president. I think the notion that abortion and homosexuality be the two most important issues when it comes to voting as a Christian is ridiculous. I believe certain societal functions, such as health care, police, fire departments are better run under a socialist framework especially when a society’s population is relatively large. I don’t understand the justification of rampant capitalism as a ‘biblical’ model of the economy. It seems to me that like everything else in life Capitalism and Socialism have applicable and useful things to offer when combined in moderation. I do see a lot of warnings against usury (credit) which is one of the driving forces of our American Capitalist system. In fact many more versus warn against the trappings of money and being in debt to a lender than homosexuality or abortion. I don’t think (correct me if I am wrong) that the bible even directly comments on the issue of abortion ever and Psalm 139:13 does not directly comment on abortion it states that God knew and directed my creation it says nothing about killing an unborn child. However, as I stated before many Christians seem to vote for the president, who by the way cannot pass or write up laws, based on those two issues. I must be missing something but I just don’t understand how in North America the words Republican and Capitalist became synonymous with Christian.

  20. Correction to my previous comment the president can pass or veto laws but he has no direct say in the drafting of laws. His primary function as the leader of the executive branch is to carry out and enforce laws enacted by Congress.

  21. In regards to God’s judgement here is the passage in Jeremiah 18:7-10 if at anytime I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will pluck up break down and destroy it. And if that nation concerning of which I have spoken turns from it’s evil. I will relent of the disaster which I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare a nation or Kingdom that I will build and plant it and if it does evil in my sight not listening to my voice then I will relent of the good that I intended to do to it.

    that indicates to me that God will judge nations for their wickedness. I don’t think it is that hard to see that America’s pride and arrogance along with it’s other sins is the reason under we are under judgement.

    what is with people like Romney saying, “America is the hope of the earth.” That is arrogant and false but it is the attitude of many in our country. I agree that this nation has done much good, but America is not too big to fail. I think this may be a lesson we have to learn the hard way.

    Americas days of prosperity may be over. However, He has overcome the world.

  22. Aaron

    I am totally opposite you on your views, but I do agree with some of what you have said. Capitalism isn’t what the Bible preaches. It also isn’t something the Bible is against. The reason so many of us are pro-capitalism is because it is one of the best ways to help the poor. It is also way more efficient than government. I would like to discuss the economics more, but why do you put economics before the social and moral issues? Why is it silly to say the thing I care about most is children not having their brains sucked out while in their mothers womb? Clearly abortion is one of the most barbarous and evil things we have seen in this country. Right up there with eugenics and racism. The Bible may not say something about abortion directly. However the Bible doesn’t say anything about racism directly either. What makes it worse is that it is applauded and funded by a certain political party. You are right in that Christian and Republican shouldn’t be synonymous. They aren’t. I’ve met many republicans I don’t trust or agree with. And not all republican policies are correct. Many republican commentators aren’t Christlike in fact some of them are nasty and mean at times. Many followers of Christ are Democrats. This is clear. The bond in Christ is much greater than the bond of political ideology. I think you make a practical mistake though if you think that Obama is good for America. The president chooses supreme Court justices and directions the way in which department of justice and other agencies do business. I could give you a list of why the justices he appointed were not good choices and the things his agencies either did or did not support that were undesirable. In addition ,the man has not operated on a budget for the last four years. The national debt had increased 4,000,000,000,000 dollars under his leadership. I understand you don’t want to vote on the basis of social issues. But on the basis of economic issues Obama…

  23. I’m not sure if I’m overstepping or intruding, since I’m not an American and nor am I residing in the United States (although my sister is, with her American husband and their 2-year old son). But kindly allow me to humbly share my thoughts being a brother in Christ and a citizen of God’s Kingdom, in whom I assume we all are members of.

    My country used to be plagued with morally corrupt politicians and government officials, starting from the presidency down to the lowest community official, and for a very long time it seemed that corruption and moral decay is the norm of governance, and our people have become indifferent, apathetic, and calloused, have lost hope in the government, and a lot would care less to register to become voters or vote during election periods, for even the rigged election results could not be trusted and were merely decided by the ruling officials.

    The Body of Christ were divided and have allowed the non-essentials, the “minor” doctrinal differences to create walls and divisions among churches (if ethnics and cultures are the issues in America, ours is about doctrines and dogmas, for we’re a people who’s very accepting and accommodating of other peoples’ cultures and background).

    It would take years of agonizing prayers and fasting by some burdened and broken believers and intercessors who were interceding for the spirit of unity to sweep across the Body of Christ, but their tears and cries were heard by God, that Christian leaders and bishops from various denominations started meeting and agreeing to work together for the most essential stuff, and that is for revival to take place in our land.

    As one pastor once pointed out, the state of our nation was a reflection of the state of the Church. That unless corruption and pride be uprooted in the House of God, our nation will continue to sink deeper in the quagmire of moral decay. It would take humility and openness for Pentecostal and conservative Baptist and Methodist churches to…


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