Thursday, November 10, 2016

Some Post-Election Thoughts


I'm a small government guy, so I'm going to start with some small government advice. Pastors, might I recommend that you go grab your local paper and find out who won your local elections? Then write to those candidates congratulating them on their win. No matter who they are, they have received their appointment by God (Romans 13:1). Tell them you're praying for them, share a little gospel, and invite them to contact you if they need anything.

It just has to be one page. Put it on church letter-head. I'm planning on doing this and including signatures from all of the elders. It shows this came not just from the pastor, but from the leadership of a whole church of fellow citizens. If you need any help with how to address your elected officials honorably, see how Paul does it in Acts 20-28.

I've shared some election thoughts on the podcast every day this week so far. Today in our Old Testament study of 1 Samuel, it is of no coincidence that we arrived at chapters 10-12, featuring Saul's anointing as king and Samuel's farewell address to Israel. If you have half-an-hour, click here to listen. It's relevant to our current situation in our country.

The following are some other post-election thoughts...

There is now no excuse not to overturn Roe v. Wade.
For the first time since the 1920s, the republicans have control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. We are going to find out within the first two years of Trump's presidency whether or not Trump and the republican party are truly serious about stopping abortion. We're also going to find out within the first two years whether or not evangelicals are truly serious about it, and will hold them to their word.

I understand that these things need to be done strategically. The republicans might want to wait until Trump has picked a pro-life judge to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court. That way, if the bill ends up in front of the Supreme Court, there's a 5-vote conservative majority that will uphold the measure. It was a tyrannical Supreme Court that enacted Roe v. Wade. It will take a constitutional Supreme Court to overturn it. Again, that is if the republicans and their constituency are true to their word. We'll find out in the days ahead.

It's absolutely crazy that after the Planned Parenthood videos that surfaced last year, showing what happens in PP back rooms, dissecting children and selling their body parts, nothing was done to cut funding from Planned Parenthood (at least on the federal level). When Donald Trump has said things like Planned Parenthood does good work, a comment that PP president Cecile Richards praised, it doesn't leave me terribly hopeful. I'd like to be proven wrong.

The election of Donald Trump is not God's blessing on our nation.
Yesterday, a fellow on Twitter named Dean asked Dr. James White this question: "Just curious. Are we still under the judgment of God? So much winning is happening. Just curious." It was a snide jab at Dr. White's recent comments that our two morally bankrupt candidates, Trump and Hillary, were evidence of the wrath of God on an increasingly godless culture.

Dr. White responded with the following:
I confess, I am utterly shocked that a Christian could, even snidely, ask the question. What has changed? Are there any less abortions being done today? How many people voted the way they did because of repentance from the culture of death? How many voted as they did simply because they want more money in their pockets?  
Do forgive me if I just have missed it, but where is the outpouring of repentance? Where is the evidence of a ground-swell of bowing to the Lordship of Christ? I am hearing a lot of talking on TV about what this election means, but these are the same folks who were clueless about what was going to happen in the first place. Almost no one is admitting the basic fact that this election, as far as the Presidency was concerned, was a nose-holding contest as to who was the least repulsive to the populace. The idea that this shows some major "paradigm shift" or all the rest seems to me to be pie-in-the-sky thinking.  
In any case, just what is this "winning" that is going on? Hearts changed? God’s law honored? World-view reformation taking place? Where? One of two very, very poor candidates was going to win and, shockingly, one did! And this somehow means God is now smiling upon the United States and all the evidence of the Millennials collapse into a secular worldview and the love of immorality and abortion and homosexuality and the profaning of marriage and the greed and all that just disappeared over night due to a single election? Seriously?  
I am very, very concerned for anyone who can be so disconnected from a biblical worldview as to think this election signals some kind of removal of the judgment of God upon a sinful and rebellious people. We were not given a corrupt, anti-Christian socialist for a President—we instead were given a corrupt pseudo-Christian demagogue for a President. You tell me if that signals the removal of God’s wrath upon this nation.  
I do pray God will bless this nation—with repentance and the clarion preaching of the gospel that calls for men and women to repent and believe. I pray God will change Donald Trump’s heart, free him from the pseudo-religion he has professed, and bring him to repentance for all of his infidelity and proud immorality. I would love to see a road-block placed in the speeding train of socialism and secularism, and the freedom to continue to preach boldly protected. It could happen. I pray it does.  
However, it might not as well. We could find out that the man who shows no fidelity in his personal relationships will turn out to be the same in his public activities. And if it all comes tumbling down over the next four years, I wonder what you will be saying then? So a serious answer to a clearly snide inquiry: yes, we are, and if you can’t see it, you are not looking with eyes enlightened by biblical truth.
Dr. White said elsewhere, "I really, really, really wish [the rejection of Hillary Clinton] was due to a ground-swell of righteousness in the land and a rejection of the culture of death, but alas, I don't think that had anything to do with it at all."

It doesn't matter that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote.
Donald Trump won the electoral college, but Hillary Clinton won the popular election by about 300,000 votes. Perhaps you've seen the CNN video of the irate young man-on-the-street angrily calling upon Hillary to march into the Supreme Court and sue the United States because she won the popular vote and deserves to be president. (Shame on CNN for even giving that guy a microphone.)

There are conservatives in largely blue states that don't even bother voting. Because their state is so liberal, their vote can't change anything. Likewise, the opposite is true. There are states that are so conservative (my red state of Kansas, for example) that many liberals don't bother showing up to vote. This is why, at the end of a national election in the United States, the "popular vote" is not a true showing of the will of the people.

California has what's called the Two Candidates Open Primary Act, which has been in effect since 2011. Basically, the two candidates that appear on a ballot for any state office or U.S. congressional office are the two most popular candidates no matter their party affiliation. So when you go to the ballot box in California, your choices are most likely between a democrat and a democrat rather than a democrat and a republican. That influences the vote even more left than it ordinarily would be.

The electoral college does more to hinder a candidate with regional rather than wide-spread appeal from becoming president. In other words, the south can't elect the president, or New York and California can't elect the president. Through the electoral college, it's more likely like the elected candidate is a true representative of the population than a candidate chosen simply by popular vote. You want that system in place, even if you disagree with the outcome.

The #NeverTrump protesters are, in part, Donald Trump's fault.
Trump, Obama, and Hillary have all shown grace the past couple of days in victory and defeat. Both Obama and Hillary have called for unity and a peaceful transference of power. But that's not how their constituency has responded. Protesters have taken to the streets saying that Trump is not their president. The protests are not all peaceful either. There's been rioting, looting, and violence. On social media, some people have lost their Darwin-loving minds. (I can't post any of the videos I've seen because they're laden with expletives.)

I've seen it said, "This is what happens in a culture where everyone gets a trophy." Perhaps Obama is somewhat to blame the way he's encouraged rioters in the past. Maybe even Hillary Clinton when it was uncovered a few weeks ago how her campaign recruited volunteers to incite violence and unrest at Trump rallies. But the reaction of the Never-Trump protesters is also partly influenced by The Donald.

Remember in the last presidential debate, Trump was hesitant to say that he'd accept the outcome of the election when it was all over, suggesting that Hillary's victory might be the result of voter-fraud. This is also a man who is obsessed with getting revenge. We've seen during the campaign the way he reacted to Megyn Kelly and Alicia Machado. Trump threatened House speaker Paul Ryan that he'd "pay a big price" if Ryan didn't support him.

In his 2007 book Think Big, Trump said, "When people wrong you, go after those people, because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I always get even." In 2011, to the National Achievers Congress in Sydney Australia, he said, "Get even with people. If they get you, get them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it." The next year, he said it again: "One of the things you should do in terms of success: If somebody hits you, you've got to hit 'em back five times harder than they ever thought possible. You've got to get even. Get even."

Trump is not a man who has a reputation for bringing peace and unity. He is a poor sport who actively and openly encourages retaliation. We can expect more of this kind of a behavior, following the example of our Commander in Chief.

Melania Trump is a poor example for boys and girls.
If you thought Barack and Michelle Obama's fawning over Beyoncé was bad, this is the first time in American history you can find nude photos of the first lady of the United States (for heaven's sake, don't look that up). Neither Donald nor Melania are sorry or apologetic for any of this. Trump has openly boasted about the bodies of his wife and his daughters. This has the potential to increase indulgence in pornography, even among young boys and girls.

You know how boys can be. At school and in class, they'll be shown a video of the First Lady encouraging our youth in some way. Then the boys will be giggling about how they can look up nude photos of the First Lady on the internet. Girls will be fascinated by the First Lady and this interest among their male classmates, and they'll be tempted to practice some nude modeling themselves. They'll try it with their friends at slumber parties, and those photos will leak. I do mean to scare you. This is a very real and potential danger.

Regarding both of these points -- Trump inciting vengeful behavior and Melania's immodest behavior -- we must remember Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2:8-10. "I desire that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness -- with good works."

Parents, we must teach this to our children -- that our boys will know that lashing out in anger is not okay, and that our girls will know that true beauty is on the inside. We're raising our children in a culture where true godliness is going to look way different than that attitudes of the people around us.

Donald Trump is our next president, and we must pray for him.
There are a lot of things to not like about our incoming president. But we must respect him and we must pray for him because he's our president. Romans 13:1 says, "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. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."

Peter said, "Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor" (1 Peter 2:17). Paul said to Timothy, "I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

The Prophet Samuel said, "Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you" (1 Samuel 12:23). So we must respect and pray for our nation's elected leaders. We must pray that they would turn from sin to Jesus Christ and be saved. To not do so would be a sin against our Sovereign Lord.

Let us not lose hope or fall into despair. We as Christians were always supposed to be strangers in this world anyway. This was never supposed to be easy. Lift your heads. Look toward the King of heaven. Our God is still on his throne. I am still as in love with God today as I was yesterday. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise His holy name!