Exchanging Faith for Fear

In John 15 (v.18-27) Jesus begins to tell his disciples he will be leaving them soon but giving them “The Advocate” AKA the Holy Spirit. He talks about the trials they will face and how, like himself, the world will hate them. However, Jesus also tells them his kingdom is not of this world and his disciples do not belong to this world. Jesus has come to take them out of this world.

So, why are we, as Christians, so obsessed with trying to make political establishment fit “our mold” for religious life? We aren’t of this world and we aren’t meant to stay. We cannot expect to experience anything but persecution for faith in this life. Let me be clear, when I say “persecution” I’m not talking about your political candidate not being elected or having a “liberal” Supreme Court Justice appointed. I’m talking about Christians in India who are killed for their faith. For Christians around the world whose homes burn and business are destroyed because their community knows what they believe. THAT is persecution; not this “Oh woe is me, conservative values aren’t a part of politics in America.” We have nothing to complain about, and nowhere in the Bible did Jesus promise us a Christian government.

Yes, I did not mention the founding fathers. They weren’t God; so whatever you believe about what they intended this country to be we can’t use that as a standard for political reality. We look to the Bible and specifically what Jesus taught us instead.

So, in this Presidential election season I am extremely disturbed by Christians who have sold out on their faith to support Donald Trump. A man who speaks before conservative and evangelical leaders in June 2016 to win their support with promises to allow politicking in churches and to support anti-abortion Supreme Court justices. (Is abortion all we should care about? Aren’t there other issues equally important— such as caring for the poor, racial justice etc.—we aren’t supposed to single mindedly focus on one concern when Jesus pointed out so many to us.)

Are we so shallow that we will sell our soul to the devil for a couple “promised” political perks? Politics and churches DO NOT go together. We may be united in common religious belief at a church, but people have a right to differing political opinions. A move like Trump proposes only divides believers in a church and doesn’t unite them. When did politics for a world we don’t belong in become so important that we are willing to give up the basic commandments of Jesus set for in the Sermon on the Mount ( Matthew Chapters 5-7)?

When did the idea of supporting a candidate just because he the title “Republican” after his name become the Christian thing to do? After meeting with evangelical leaders in June, James Dobson released a statement saying Trump should be given a break because he is a “baby Christian” (and Dobson knows because he has “inside information”). Yet, when did a baby (new) Christian get off with being a bully AND being excused for that because they don’t know better? You are to grow in faith if you are a new Christian not ignore the teachings of the Bible. Tell me if these statements from Trump sound at all Christ like:

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“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.”- Trump

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” – Matthew 6:24 (Sermon on the Mount)

“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.” – Trump

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” – Matthew 5:38-42 (Sermon on the Mount)

“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall.” – Trump

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – Matthew 5: 43-48 (Sermon on the Mount)

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According to a July Pew Research Center report 78% of white evangelicals support Trump and say they would vote for him. Why? Because they don’t like Clinton? Okay, fine. However, not voting is a vote for Trump and voting for Trump puts Christians in the same category as a bigoted man whose only redeeming quality is his “business sense.” It’s telling that it’s the white evangelicals who are most in favor of him.

What this comes down to is fear. Fear by white, middle class and upper class America that the way of life they have known is changing. Fear that soon they will be a minority or that at the very least America will become a mostly multi-racial society. Fear that what THEY want in this world is now not important to most Americans. When we vote in fear, we vote out of selfishness, pride and allow the temporary cares of this world to overtake our commitment to our faith.

We are not of this world. We should not make our choices based on how our political system operates. We are called to follow a higher standard than that. Come on people. What we are doing now is so far from Christ-like behavior if you openly support Trump that you are ruining your testimony. You are effecting how the world (yes, everyone is watching this election) views American Christians. We aren’t doing a great job showing the love of Christ when we support a man who is filled with pride, hate and demands only HE can save America.

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2 thoughts on “Exchanging Faith for Fear

  1. We are in this world, and this is where we serve the Lord. We are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. We are here to carry out the Great Commission. If we have learned to pray that God’s Kingdom come in this world, we are also charged to facilitate that, and to be instrumental in enrolling other citizens in that Kingdom. But that is not done by the force of human governments; at the national level, it is not done by political means. It is done by the power of the gospel, as persons come to know God, to accept Christ as Lord, Savior and Master, to be in a covenant relationship with God in the New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace.

    If we believe that abortion is wrong, that it offends God, what should be our approach to eliminating abortions? It seems to me persuasion, and bringing others to a saving knowledge of God, would be the godly means. If we believe the unborn has been supplied with a soul, don’t we believe a just God salvages that soul if the unborn does not go on to full development and become a newborn human? A just God would not punish a human that has never known sin, or rebelled against God. A person of any age receives nothing less than mercy from a loving God, and far more than that: membership in the family of God, reborn to that privileged status, children of the King, with Christ his or her elder brother– isn’t that what Christians believe? And that would be their message to others, giving an account of their faith at any opportunity, and modeling it in their daily lives. That is how others may be persuaded to turn from their thoughtless or their wicked patterns of behavior– not by closing reproductive health clinics, making medically assisted abortions unavailable, or trying to ban birth control, or brandishing pro-life signs. Not by erecting scripturally inaccurate nativity scenes in public spaces, or displays of the Ten Commandments at court houses (apparently forgetting that Christ fulfilled those but gave us TWO, just TWO, instead).

    We Kingdom people, we of the New Covenant, are here, in this world, until God calls us home, or until Christ returns. The timing is his. Meanwhile, we work here, on his terms, empowered by him, using those gifts he has bestowed.

  2. Dear Christy, While Trump is not my first choice, neither is he my last choice. When we begin to harangue others within the Christian community about the choices we make, The body of Christ suffers both from within and from without. You are perfectly right concerning the choice made from fear. But what about the choice being made from a sincere evaluation of the political choices available. God is clear in scripture that He is always in control, “I am God and there is no other.” (Isaiah several references.)

    In this society, we have been blessed with the right to choose our leaders, in fact, the obligation to choose our leaders. God instructs us to pray for those who head the governmental offices. Sincerely pray for them. God will use them whether or not they have acknowledged His Lordship or not. God will work. God has been seen to work in the life of Israel through the temporal leaders. Paul is clear that we are to submit to the governing authorities, but we are also left with a clear mandate to reject obedience to those laws that call us and drive us into a life of sin. (I speak here of tobacco, alcohol, gambling, and addictions of other sorts).

    BT Roberts did not shy from being politically involved. His antislavery stance, his alcohol and tobacco position are clear and public. He also took a position on farmers and laborers being protected from the power of large money interests in far off places so they could earn a living wage. Eden Projects has encountered and worked to free many from the poverty of financial slavery. As a result Free Methodists are born with or taught to be involved in their government. And just because they are choosing Trump does not mean they are voting out of fear. Most likely there was at most one person from the holiness churches who responded to the survey of 78% white evangelicals. We are a small and called out community, it has never been in our mindset to live as the world lives – in fear. Rather to live a citizens of another country an heavenly one, is to live without or above fear, living in Love for God and Love for man.

    So we are now back to the choices we are given. This year I am not happy with either of the main candidates. Yet I will vote and I will choose that person whom God seems to indicate to me is the more in line with His plans for the world. I will choose for more freedom to choose to worship God. I will choose for more openness to make free speech about what I believe in the public forum without being called a ‘hater.’ Christians are called to live a life of Perfect Love and you are right Perfect Love casts out fear. Perfect Love also loves and prays for one’s enemy, as well as one’s irritating neighbor.

    One more point about the survey. Just because many vote out of fear does not mean the choice is a bad one or the worst one. The motive may be wrong from a christian and holiness perspective, but not from God’s perspective.

    Trumps plans for the US. and HIS vocal missteps, distract us from the full view. We are a land of Law and Order. we have enacted legal restraints on the citizens of the country. We have put judges in place to adjudicate those laws. when those elected and appointed representatives refuse to do what they have sworn or affirmed they will do – that is uphold the law, then they no longer require our support and should be removed from office, constitutionally. The law of they land provides for an orderly ingress into our country and its benefits. Because of the Laws in place, our country remains a country of pilgrimage and is willing to accept as many as it can equably manage per year. Immigration has quotas by law and regulation. The wall on the southern border is not the same as the Berlin wall. The Berlin wall was meant to keep people in despite their desire to vote with their feet. The wall of Trump is designed to maintain our standards for who may enter and our legally designed quotas and pattern and process for entry, rather than a mass ingress of uncontrolled and unlawful elements; bypassing the legal entry path is unlawful. Yes, many may be delayed or refused entry, but that is the legal right of our country to exercise. And Trump does promise to undertake to examine the system of immigration for various groups who are currently at risk of deportation and rejection and determine acceptable ways of maintaining the security of the citizens of this country.

    God calls Christians to live a life without or above fear. It is a life of Trust in Him alone for sustenance, and work, and faith and love. We are transformed by God working in us. When the elections are finished and a president and others have been certified, I will pray earnestly that God will take them in His loving arms and nurture them into His Kingdom. That they will be given God’s wisdom in dealing with temporal issues, and act in His plan.

    Please understand, God’s Plan will be worked in the world. He is coming soon. Maranatha. Come Lord Jesus.

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