While sitting at the dinner table last night with my family, we discussed a number of things, the debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton being among them. Now, I don’t mean to brag (I couldn’t anyway…my kids get their smarts from their mother!), but my kids, at a mere 12 and 10, have a better understanding and perspective on these two politicians than most of the adults I discuss these issues with. And, what’s more, they convey these ideas with less emotional hype than many adults, too.
So, as a pastor, I wanted to give us 4 reminders during this politically-charged season. In essence, here are 4 things that I think we can observe after Monday night’s debate.
- The Church isn’t making a great enough impact in our country. As Stephen Mansfield argues in his new book Ask the Question: Why We Must Demand Religious Clarity from Our Presidential Candidates, religious beliefs should be spoken loudly and clearly by candidates. I personally believe that, if we were making the positive influence that we should be, then the question of faith (or it’s lack), and its impact on decision making, would have to be a major topic in any debate. We deserve to know either way.
- Politicians will always behave like politicians. I’m always surprised by some fellow Christians who place so much weight and expectation on people whose singular job revolves around popularity. Politicians will always behave like politicians, which means in one moment they may be for you, but, if convenient, they will be against in the next. Remember, regardless of the candidate or party, they are merely politicians. This leads to the next point.
- We cannot–and must not–rely upon a manmade government to issue godly policy. As Christians, we can vote our consciences, but that’s not the method of reformation that God provides for us in the New Testament. On the contrary, the New Testament provides a guide for saving souls, not governments. Let’s not forget that. Souls don’t get saved through governments but through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Repentance. Conversion. Transformation. These are Gospel-centered themes, not policies written and approved by any arm of the government.
- Finally, we can affect people more successfully than we can affect policy. Regardless of what your view on government is (large or small; conservative, liberatian, or progressive), one thing is certain: what Christians can do through discipleship has always and will always be a greater means of positively impacting people than any policy every has or ever will. The Church is God’s means to good on earth.
Being involved is our civic duty and responsibility. We need to vote. But let’s not fool ourselves: our citizenship is to a Kingdom that exists not because of the government but in spite of it. “Seek first his kingdom…” (Matthew 6:33).