Politics and Religion

When President Obama was first elected four years ago, I had several people ask me if I thought he was the antichrist.  I replied, “No, but I think he would be willing to host a state dinner in his honor.”  I do not mind sharing this comment now that the general election of 2012 is history.  While I stand for biblical principles, and I am not reticent to speak out on political issues where those principles should be applied, I do not endorse candidates for public office.  For me politics is about issues, not candidates.

Robert Jeffress who is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, has said much the same thing recently, “I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist…but what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the antichrist.”  He went on to say we need “to push back against this evil…and do so via the ballot box.”

We both said essentially the same thing but there is a distinction between the two comments.  My comment was made four years ago and shared with a few individuals who thought my reflections were worth consulting, and were not repeated during this very heated contest for the White House.  Jeffress made his comments to a much larger audience on the Sunday before the election on Tuesday.  I shared my thoughts with a few; he attempted to sway the thoughts of many.

Before I say more on this subject of politics and religion, I should digress to make what seems to me to be an important point.  There are two words in the Bible that are sometimes confused; they are predestination and foreknowledge.  I believe prophetic texts arise from both; God foreknows some things and predestines others.  Let me give an example to clarify this point.  I do not believe God predestined Adam and Eve’s response to the serpent’s temptation, but I do believe He foreknew they would fall and He had already predestined a Savior.

With that thought in mind when we consider the prophecies regarding the antichrist, his eventual advent is either foreknown or predestined.  Does Jeffress think he can thwart biblical prophecy through the political process?  If President Obama is indeed to be linked in some way with the rise of the antichrist, will your vote or my vote prevent it?  I think not.

I am not saying that we should not participate in the electoral process; it is our duty as Christian citizens to inform ourselves on the issues and vote for biblical principles.  We do this regardless of the outcome of an election; we do this because it is the right thing to do and is a possible opportunity to ensure the welfare of our nation.

Billy Graham was accused of endorsing Mitt Romney for President, but when Graham commented on the upcoming election he never mentioned Mitt Romney.  Billy Graham’s endorsement was “I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedoms.”  I made the same endorsement.

The reason this was considered an endorsement for Mitt Romney is because he was the only candidate that supported these three positions.  Our supposedly “Christian” President has led the assault on all three of these issues.  The choice should have been a no-brainer for the Christian voter.  I am not concerned with “being on the right side of history” on the issues of marriage, life of a child, and religious freedom; I’m concerned with being on the right side of God.

I am not a political pundit, but I think the Republican National Committee made a mistake when they backed Mitt Romney because he was a fiscal and cultural conservative.  Conservative evangelicals had a problem voting for Romney who is a Mormon.  Many of them saw Romney as a member of a cult and considered a vote for him to be a repudiation of their orthodox Christianity.

While I would hope that anyone running for public office, is indeed a Christian, because the Christian worldview is the most just perspective of reality, their stand on biblical issues will ultimately be the deciding factor for me.  But that was probably not the case for others in those states where Obama’s win was thin.  A poor evangelical turnout may have been the deciding factor.  The popular vote was close, but the Electoral College count was a landslide for Obama.

Let us console ourselves in the thought that God is ultimately in control.  “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes (Proverbs 21:1).”

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