This past week our nation voted in a sweeping referendum to send a message to Washington that we are not happy with the direction our country is taking. I will leave it to others to interpret the fact that the House of Representatives was taken away from the Democrats and given to the Republicans. We will no doubt be reading and hearing the analysis for some time to come.
My question is what, if anything, did the elections mean to God? As a pastor, my first concern is always what my boss thinks, not what my congregation thinks. Some would say that God does not care, as he is not interested in politics. I would agree that God is not a registered Republican, Democrat or Independent, but I would argue that He is very much interested in what we are doing politically for several reasons:
1. He loves people and sent His Son to die on Calvary so that we might be forgiven of our sins and live eternally with Him in Heaven. He is the author of human government and spelled out principles throughout Scripture that define and limit its functions.
2. He commissioned His Church to take the good news of the Gospel to every creature and political movements can either help or hinder the free expression of religious faith.
3. He has promised to bless the nations that bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. Genesis 12:1-3. Our country's position toward Israel helps to determine God's ability to bless us.
4. He has clearly expressed His moral absolutes in the 10 Commandments. These are not suggestions but commandments, and there are consequences to how we as a nation either obey or reject them.
John Adams, the second president of the United States, wrote in 1819 to Thomas Jefferson the author of the Declaration of Independence:
"Have you ever found in history, one single example of a Nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue?... And without virtue, there can be no political liberty."
5. America was founded by Christians as a Christian nation, which is evident by our early history. The importance of the Word of God to our Founding Fathers is seen in the fact that the Continental Congress voted on Sept. 11, 1776, to import Bibles from Scotland or Holland into different parts of the union. Nearly six years later, on Sept. 11, 1782, the Continental Congress again responded to the shortage of Bibles by authorizing the publisher of the Pennsylvania Magazine, Robert Aitken, to print America's first English language Bible.
I could go on, but I think these examples show us that political issues sometimes coincide with moral and spiritual questions. When Scriptural and moral positions enter the political arena, religious people have not only the right but the obligation to speak to the subject.
To answer the question, however: What do the recent elections mean to God?, I think the answer lies with us the people. If we use the transfer of power to make people better it will be pleasing to God, if we use the recent elections to further divide and hurt the country, it will not be pleasing to God. The bottom line is that God is not a lover of political parties, He is a lover of people and whatever helps people to reach their God given potential is pleasing to God.
God's purpose in human government is to provide protection and freedom for the individual so that we might be all that we can be without government interference.
That is one reason why we are told to "pray for those in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and sincerity." I Timothy 2:2.
DWIGHT TOMLINSON is the pastor at Liberty Baptist Church in Newport Beach.