Posted by: Yvonne | November 6, 2012

The 2012 U. S. Election: An Open Letter to Christians

by Dr. Paul Elliott

America’s real problem is one that no President can solve.

As we prepare to release this article, President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney are in the final hours of their long campaigns for the presidency of the United States. People on both sides of the partisan divide say that the election of one man or the other will mean either the salvation or the damnation of the country. We hear, as we always do it seems, that “this is the most important election in our lifetimes.”

Many, especially in the Evangelical community, are convinced that a Romney victory will mean the salvation of America. They are equally convinced that if Barack Obama wins, it will be an unrecoverable disaster. And so, large segments of the Evangelical church have become obsessed with the outcome and with having an effect upon it, to the detriment of the church’s true calling and mission. But the fact is that the election of a new president of either party will neither solve America’s real problem nor push her over the brink. That is because America’s real problem is not political, economic, social, or even moral. It is spiritual. It is a problem that no President can solve.

America’s Real Problem: Whose Fault Is It?

America, which was for centuries systemically influenced by Holy Scripture, has for decades systematically suppressed and abandoned the influence of the Word of God. We now have what amounts to a Bible-less generation in charge of government and every other aspect of society. The killing of the unborn, the sanctioning of perverted sexual unions, nearly half of all children born out of wedlock, saturation levels of pornography, widespread enslavement to drugs, unending wars, pervasive immorality in government, and all the rest are the symptoms of that basic problem.

Who caused America to abandon the influence of the Bible? Not politicians. Not economists. Not the social engineers of our era. Not even those who have endeavored to substitute a “whatever feels good is right” philosophy for true morality. The nominally Evangelical church caused America to abandon the Bible. As the church goes, so goes the nation.

How did the church do this? Decades ago, large segments of the nominally Evangelical church began to abandon the twofold mission that our Lord Jesus Christ gave to His church before He ascended to Heaven. That mission is a simple one, but it is the most cosmically profound one of all: to evangelize the world with the one true Gospel of salvation by faith in Christ alone, and to edify the saints – those who truly believe the Gospel message and whose lives are therefore forever changed by it – by instructing them in sound doctrine from Holy Scripture.

Large segments of the nominally Evangelical church have effectively stopped doing both. Much of this has taken the form of subtraction by addition. But the Gospel plus anything else is less than the Gospel. The power of such a “gospel” resides in the weak arm of fleshly wisdom, not in the mighty arm of God. Large segments of the Evangelical church have ignored this central truth, and have become obsessed with political activity, economic success, social reform, and moral improvement, and they have redefined the “gospel” in those terms. These are ways that seem right to many of today’s church leaders and their followers, but “the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).

The Evangelical Church on a Fool’s Errand

The church has therefore embarked on a fool’s errand. It seeks to give the world the benefits of the Gospel without the preaching and the power of the Gospel. It seeks the temporary “salvation” of the nation rather than the eternal salvation of souls. It seeks the fleeting “redemption” of the culture – of government, of science, of the arts, of politics, of economics, and so on. What the present-day church seemingly fails to recognize is that all of these are merely components of what Scripture calls thekosmos, the world-system that is under God’s curse and Satan’s sway because of man’s sin:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. (2 Peter 3:10)

It is a fool’s errand to seek to “redeem” that which God says is inexorably doomed to destruction. The only true redemption, according to Scripture, is the redemption of souls from the curse of sin and the eternal wrath of God through faith in Jesus Christ.Those redeemed souls will be delivered from this present evil world by the One who gave Himself for their sins (Galatians 1:4), so that they may live with Christ in the new world order that only He – and no President – can bring: the New Heavens and New Earth in which there shall be no more curse, but only righteousness forever (2 Peter 3:13).

When the Evangelical church loses this Biblical perspective on the state of this present world and its inexorable future course, it inevitably leads to the substitution of other things for Christ’s Great Commission – or perhaps worse yet, an un-Biblical redefinition of the Commission to suit man-made agendas. The church of Jesus Christ must understand that this present world is destined to destruction by design. The church of Jesus Christ must likewise understand that He is on the throne of Heaven, He has been given all authority and power in the universe, He is sovereign, and He is Lord. As the world-system moves toward its end, He raises up one ruler and puts down another by His sovereign choice.

And, Scripture tells us that God often chooses the basest of men to rule in His world (Daniel 4:17). What could better illustrate this than the present candidates for president? On the one hand, we have a man who is without doubt the most anti-Christian president ever; on the other hand, a man who is the most prominent figure in a religious cult that is based on the worst sorts of lies about the person and work of Christ, a cult that believes it is its destiny to “save” America.

What Must Christians Do?

Because all of these things are true, if Barack Obama wins the election, Christ’s people must not be any more troubled than if Mitt Romney wins. Whatever the outcome, it is all part of the Godhead’s design and Christ’s sovereign rule. The world is headed inexorably downward. Scripture tells us this is so (e.g., 2 Thessalonians 2:5-12). We may think that one man will lead America down the slippery slope more rapidly than another. But the fact is, neither man – and no other man – will lead America upward.

On the day after this election, whatever the outcome, Christians should neither be dancing in the streets nor wringing their hands in despair. Our proper position will be on our knees. We have much of which to repent. We have, as is described in Nehemiah 9:26, in many ways tossed the Word of God behind our backs, and we have plodded onward, encumbered by the pursuit of many things – even good things – but not the one needful thing. That one thing is to do the work that Christ has given us to do, which is not to make this world a better place for the Hell-bound, but to be used of God in calling out and setting apart a people for Himself to live in the world to come. Judgment must begin at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17). We must become a holy people ourselves – set apart from this present world-system and its godless philosophy.

This is not fatalism, nor is it a lack of concern for the future of America and the rest of the nations of the world. But man’s destiny is not tied to any earthly nation or political system. Man’s destiny hinges upon each individual’s relationship with Jesus Christ. For each individual who has ever lived or will live, Jesus Christ is either Lord and Savior or condemning Judge. There is no third alternative.

If Christ’s church does anything else instead of proclaiming this to the world, and pursuing Scripture-driven holiness in every area of life and ministry, we fail. The men and women of the great roll-call of faith in Hebrews chapter eleven understood that “here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (13:14), “the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (11:10). They were those “of whom the world was not worthy” (11:38) – literally, this present world system was not worthy to have them living in it. In stark contrast, the Apostle Paul exhorted the Philippian believers to remember their destiny:

Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:17-21)

The writer to the Hebrews, having spoken of the stalwarts of past generations who lived in the light of these great truths, exhorted those of succeeding generations to think and act as they did:

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Dear Christian friends, may we do no less. May we ever and always keep this focus, regardless of the outcome of tomorrow’s election, or any other event that may confront us in the future. We must be about our Lord’s business.

Copyright © 1998-2012

TeachingtheWord Ministries . www.teachingtheword.org

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