|N HIS BOOK, Vital Truth: Christian Citizenship, Jeffrey L. Myers says he once heard of a church that was so removed from the political process that its members thought it was against God's will to vote. He notes: "Concerned that a corrupt politician would win a local election, church members gathered for an all night prayer vigil. In the morning, however, they refused to vote and the good candidate lost -- by fewer than the number of votes represented by those at the prayer meeting."|
Without question, the midterm elections on November 7 will determine the fate of a number of social policies. According to one Baptist Press article, Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, says, "This election will most certainly decide if we will spend the next couple of years with a Congress that defends marriage and life, or one that attacks it." Dr. Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, says, "Elections have consequences, and people have different visions for where America should go .... When people go to the polls on November 7, they'll be making some very basic decisions about how they want to be governed."
At the 1999 Reclaiming America for Christ Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dr. Laurence White gave a fascinating illustration of why God's people must never stay out of politics.
"The Christians of Germany learned only too late that God's people in Christ cannot disengage from the culture in which they live. They retreated into the comfortable security of their sanctuaries, they sat in their padded pews, they kept their religion and their politics strictly separate from one another, and their nation was destroyed. That retreat was encouraged and facilitated by the endlessly repeated lie of the absolute separation of church and state.
Pastor Martin Neimoller, one of the few Christian heroes who stood against the tide in those grim days, would later look back on a meeting that took place in 1934 in Hitler's Reich Chancellery in Berlin as the moment in which he recognized that his country was doomed. In 1934 Hitler had been Chancellor for just over a year, and he was leading the nation through a process of 'coordination.' Every part of the country's life was being brought into conformity with the national socialist worldview. Ultimately, that included the Church. So Hitler called together the most important pastors, the leading preachers of the land, to stifle their criticisms, to calm their fears, to bring them into line. He moved through the crowd that day patting the preachers on the back and making them feel important by stroking their egos and promising them their tax exemptions were safe and secure, their state subsidies would continue, and that the Church of Jesus Christ had nothing to fear from a Hitler government.
Finally, young pastor Neimoller had had enough. He was what today we would call politically incorrect. He pushed his way to the front of the room until he stood eye-to-eye with the German dictator and he said, 'Our concern Herr Hitler, is not for the Church. Jesus Christ will take care of His Church. Our concern is for the soul of our nation.' It was immediately evident, however, that the brash young pastor spoke only for himself as his chagrined colleagues hustled him away to the obscurity of the back of the room.
And Hitler, with a natural politician's instinct, noted their reaction and recognized exactly what it meant, and he smiled as he said reflectively, almost to himself, 'The soul of Germany? You can leave that to me.' And they did ... they kept their religion and their politics separate from one another ... and the nation was led down the path to destruction." [The Salt and Light Solution: A Guide to Reclaiming America for Christ]
Conservative Evangelicals were certainly strategic in the president's victory in 2004, and they will be again in deciding the kind of leadership that maintains control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006. Make no mistake about it, the November 7 midterm elections are really about to whom Christians will leave the care of America's soul -- begging the questions:
Will it be to those who have essentially dethroned God and deified man's achievements? Or will it to those who believe that only the Lord is God?
Will it be to those who exalt human reason as supreme? Or will it be to those who believe the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord?
Will it be to those who believe education and science can solve all our problems? Or will it be to those who believe "righteousness exalts a nation"?
Will it be to those who replace God's moral standards with the shifting sands of situational ethics? Or will it be to those who build the house on the solid rock of God's eternal verities?
Will it be to those who promote sensual pleasures under the guise of individual liberties? Or will it be to those who are committed to the freedom of purity?
Will it be to those who believe it is the State that gives men their rights? Or will it be to those who contend men's rights come from God?
[Adapted from "God's Judgment on Nations," The Rebirth of America]
No political party or politician represents the Christian worldview perfectly, but some are closer to it and more deserving of support than others. And either by action or inaction, voting or failing to vote, voting intelligently or voting unintelligently, Christians will make the choice -- for better or worse.
Rev. Mark H. Creech (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the executive director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc.
More columns by Rev. Mark Creech