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Post-Election the Church is in Crisis

Mon, Nov. 28, 2016 Posted: 12:57 PM


The 2016 presidential election is over and all true Christians must pray sincerely for President-Elect Donald Trump. That is required by scripture and anything else will be willful disobedience to God. Christians do not have the luxury of pouting and expect to be excused for disobedience because of what they perceive to be a natural reaction to disappointment, for that would not be righteous indignation, but sin - pure and simple. Be upset, be angry, and be disappointed, but do not sin.

Being a Christian means being theologically and morally consistent regardless of circumstances. We serve an unchanging God. He was the same in the past as he is today, and as he will be forever. The famous Hymn, Great Is Thy Faithfulness says “There is no shadow of turning with thee.” Throughout the ages this notion of a steadfast and sure God has been an anchor for the faith of believers everywhere, in every situation, and at every stage of life. That is, until now.

For all that has happened within the Christian community during the presidential election campaign season, the most important revelation is the theological and moral crises facing the Church. The Church is theologically confused and morally compromised as never before. We have seen the long standing bulwark of biblical morality toppled for political expedience as moral relativism and religious hypocrisy invade the confines of orthodoxy, aided and abetted by evangelicals. Such ecclesiastical treachery must not be allowed to linger or the community will be corrupted for a generation.

Theological Crisis: Zeal Without Knowledge

The evangelical supporters of Trump who declared with much hubris that this was a victory brought by God have learned the wrong lessons. The end, in this crucial instance, does not justify the means. And the Church had better move with urgency to address the root cause, which is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the nature and character of God. Trump’s victory does not justify saying that God expects Christians to choose one evil to combat a greater evil, so it was okay to ignore a godly conscience, for there is no warrant in scripture to support it. That goes against a fundamental teaching of scripture that God does not conceive of evil nor encourages anyone to do evil in any degree, or in any situation.

In fact, the very reason Christ died on the cross is to save us from evil. Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer to ask God to “deliver us from evil.” Scripture further teaches us that anyone who knows to do the right thing and does not, sins. The problem with those supporters who believe that God gave the victory to Trump is that they will also believe that it does not matter what they do to get their desired outcome as long as they are doing it for a perceived “good”. And worse, they will believe that God approves. That is a spiritually dangerous place to be in.

It is not surprising, though, that so many evangelicals were willing to abandon foundational evangelical theological principles, because they were being told by respected religious evangelical leaders that it is tantamount to Christian duty. A disturbing picture emerges when you add to that the revelation from several polls over the past few years that the majority evangelicals do not consult the bible for making moral decisions or as a guide for their everyday living, and that most do not believe the Holy Spirit is a person. We have a set of people calling themselves evangelical Christians but having little personal knowledge of what the bible teaches, nor any real experience with the Holy Spirit. They are neither guided by the Word of God not led by His Spirit.

That should not be normative for the Church, but that is what seems to be the current state of affairs, at least within Christian evangelicalism. What was surprising is the parochial cannibalism against those who pleaded for maintaining evangelical purity, which is theologically sound. We saw them being called names and even have their Christian faith and integrity questioned for insisting that Christians should not abandon biblical principles for the sake of earthly gains.

The Jews were zealous for God but were ignorant of his requirements, so they wore the law, laden with traditions of men, as an unbearable yoke that distorted their theology to the point of obscuring the vision of the true God. It is now obvious that for a significant portion of the Church, its theology is contaminated with man’s ideology, and the image of God is obscured.

Moral Crisis: Moral Character Discounted

Shared concerns, not shared values. That was the primary rationale for overlooking character in the presidential election. This was underscored by a poll showing many evangelicals no longer believe that a moral character is important in a president. That is after years of insisting it is. This mercurial morality is an astonishingly bad witness for evangelism as it represents nothing new or different to a world dying in sin.

If values can be suppressed because of common concerns, were those values meaningful? And does that mean values are negotiable? If values can lose meaning then they are no longer values. Now think of Christian values. These are principle values that are unnegotiable and as unchangeable as the God in whom they are grounded. They are absolute values that cannot be compromised. Therefore, Christian values can never be legitimately suppressed for the sake of common concern or common cause.

It speaks volumes that it has become so easy for Christians to set aside abiding values for a political cause. It lets the world know what is really important. And it is depressing that worldly, transient causes can supplant the righteousness of God’s eternal principles. It seems a portion of the Church loves this world and its pleasures more than they love God. But why? What is there to be gained?

In a time when so many atrocities are committed in the name of religion, how will the Church now distinguish itself from groups that support religiously inspired terrorism when it appears to support the sentiments that foster hate in all its dark manifestations?

How will the Church now convince the Gay rights advocates that homosexuality is still sin and has not become acceptable because the world’s morality has evolved, when its own morality seems to have evolved?

How will the Church speak on principled grounds in defending the unborn when the world sees it setting aside its moral principles so easily?

How can the Church teach purity when it purposely brushes aside serious lascivious actions as “locker room” antics?

How can the Church present the Gospel of truth when it knowingly overlooks and excuses the most mendacious of persons?

How can the Church talk about the love of God when it promotes a person who demonstrates so much hatred of others?

How can the Church talk of gentleness and compassion when it cuddles those that denigrate and mock the handicapped?

How can the Church talk about decency when it embraces a person who is manifestly lacking in it?

How can the Church talk about humility when it recommends a hedonistic self-promoter?

How can the Church ask others to be morally upright when it claims as its standard bearer one who lacks a morally upright character?

How can the Church talk about reconciliation when it adopts the language of racial polarization?

And how can the Church ask others to be morally consistent when its own actions prove that it is not?

A Dangerous Path for the Church

There is now a moment for the Church to come together and remove the canker that is threatening undermine its orthodoxy. It must not make the mistake of thinking that because the election is over the danger is passed. It must never give in to the mistaken, though heralded, notion that God is pleased. No, that would be theological suicide, and moral capitulation. Once the enemy infiltrates the Church he will not stop until he does great damage, unless he is stopped by godly men of discernment.

It is easier now to understand how the Antichrist will get power from and over the religious establishment. He will promise them the world if they make an alliance with him, and they will surrender power willingly. This is a dangerous path for the Church, and must be avoided at all cost.

Who are the watchmen, men such as Mohler and Moore that will press the Church to weed out the heretical teachings and refocus on fundamental theological principles that guarded it throughout the ages against heretical teachers? Damnable heresies. There may be some euphoria, and there may feel a false sense of vindication, but to be sure, the Church is not in a good place because this is not God’s way.

Now the Church, not just evangelical Christians, but the entire church body needs to get back to the classical teachings of the nature and character of God. Christians need to understand how God interacts and operates in human affairs, and how he expects us to interact and operate. We live in the world, but our citizenship is not of this world. Christians are children of light and must live as such, consistently.

Marvin Thompson