The democratic process we are blessed to have in this constitutional republic sometimes appears challenging, confusing, and frustrating. We watch candidates seek to expose their opponent’s weaknesses and end up exposing and weakening themselves. It becomes a self-elimination process, but it is a process for which every American should be grateful.
How should Christians and ministers effectively participate? We are commanded to pray for those in authority and that should include praying for those who seek to be in authority. Ask God for wisdom, seek wise counsel, and become well-informed while never leaning on our own understanding but trusting Him for divine guidance. We need God’s wisdom to determine who we should support. Every Christian must vote; failure to do so surrenders our future to the powers of darkness and deception. Our decisions should be based on principles consistent with biblical truth. We must never allow politicians to hold up a sound principle and then try to justify ineffective policies that weaken us as individuals and American citizens.
Jesus, who is the light of the world, told us to be light in this present darkness, and seek to become that beautiful city set on a hill, revealing the radiance of His glorious light. I am diligently seeking to encourage the spiritual unity Christ prayed for. Truth does divide, but we must never seek to join a polarizing faction. We should influence them in a positive way. Don’t sell out to any political party. Pray for every party, express appreciation for people who are actively involved in them and encourage them to hold up the principles found in the Word of God, confirmed throughout history and clearly understood by America’s founders.
In response to the media’s questions about my position, I developed the following declaration. You may have read it, but please read it again! Get it in the hands of your pastors, ministers, priests, and those who influence others. Pass it on! Print it. Publish it – and get the word out! Together we will be that city our Lord challenged us to become as members of His body manifesting Him in all of His fullness on this planet in our day for His glory!
I believe the election this year is the most important in the 68 years I’ve lived. The future of freedom hangs in the balance.
PREACHERS AND POLITICS
I think America has been headed in the wrong direction – straight into the ditch of out-of-control debt, with government agencies enforcing rules that were never passed and had even been rejected by Congress. Much of the media and population continually mock the God of the Bible, diminishing the value of marriage, family and even innocent life itself. Blind leaders have our blind nation headed over a cliff. Thank God some representatives and preachers and priests see what is coming, as do many people, and they want to help right our ship of state.
I am hopeful and I have good news to announce from God. He is the “shelter from the storm and the Shepherd who will lead us to lie down in green pastures, beside still waters, restore us body and soul, while preparing a table before us with goodness and mercy following us even in the presence of many enemies” and accusers.
This week Time magazine called to ask me about presidential candidates, national direction and to get my take on what is unfolding on the political landscape. The reporter was gracious and I am thankful to say I have personally enjoyed an honest, straightforward relationship with Michael Duffy, the Assistant Managing Editor. Of course, I want a good relationship with all the media because I believe as strongly in the freedom of press and expression as I do the importance of freedom to preach, worship and assemble. These are gifts from “nature’s God” and our founders. I will always defend every God-given constitutional right while also strongly emphasizing personal responsibility.
Whenever issues of national and moral importance (which have now been made political) are addressed by a preacher, priest or rabbi, we hear the outcry, “Stay out of politics!” In other words, they say ministers must avoid real-life issues, problems and challenges on the national stage by never standing up with hopeful, helpful solutions. The truth is Christians, all people of faith and certainly preachers of the Word of God are bound and obligated to speak out boldly and to stand for their convictions. People with a secular, humanist, God-denying view that assaults the Judeo-Christian biblical views and diminishes the importance of founding documents are continually organizing in every community. They force their views on the population through protests and radical political activism while never giving up an inch of their “sacred” turf, however unsacred it actually is. They expect the church community to shut up and go back to sleep, and keep your faith to yourself.
There are even a few people who support the outreaches of LIFE and who love God who have asked me, “James, are you getting too political?” Exactly what does that mean? Am I concerned? Yes. Do I care? Yes. Do I love God and people? Yes. Do I want to assist the suffering, homeless and elderly? Yes. That is why I am compelled to speak. I am commissioned by God and His Word to speak, to put a ”trumpet to my lips,” to “sound an alarm on the holy mountain,” to warn the people, stand in the gap, repair the breech, rebuild the walls, restore the foundation, and faithfully present the one reliable standard – the Word of the living God. I am called to preach “the Way, the Truth and the Life.” I can and I will do no other. Now is the time to “call a solemn assembly, to rend our hearts, not our garments.” No more religious pretense. It is time to stop “honoring God with our lips” and begin honoring Him with all of our hearts, with everything that is in us. As Christians it is of utmost importance that we not just try to tell people how to live, but actually show them how to live by our example. New Testament believers were so full of life and love they turned their upside-down world right side up.
I told the very polite Time magazine writer what I am called to do. I am challenging all ministers, priests, people of God, and leaders to consider it also.
I will endorse biblical truth, love, compassion, courage, convictions, strong marriages and families, and the importance of everyone assuming responsibility for their actions as well as influencing local and national direction. I support the Constitution as our founders established it. I do not endorse candidates or parties, and I do not suggest ministers do. But they certainly have a God-given right to do so and no one understood this better than our founding fathers. When a preacher or highly visible person endorses a candidate, that is their right and we should all respect them even if we disagree with their opinion. We can disagree without being hateful. I will talk to, counsel, challenge, pray for and with any candidate running for any office or holding any office. I will love them all even if I firmly disagree. But I will not be a soggy, mushy, mealy-mouthed, inspire- no-one preacher. Never. Never!
I will exhort – I will speak up and out because it’s what preachers are called by God to do. Woe is me and all of us as ministers if we do not. When we do not proclaim truth and liberty throughout the land, we have failed both God and man. “Shout it from the housetops” or the “rocks will cry out against us.” The fact is the Word of God is carved in the stone on buildings throughout Washington, DC, and it continues to testify while some pulpits have gone silent and the pews become a sanctimonious mortuary. Ministers must not be timid and fearful or they will have a church filled with spineless, fear-filled people who will never become a “city set on a hill.”
I will embrace sound principles upon which we can build our lives, families and future. I support what has been proven to work throughout human history to the real benefit of people, not some idea or suggestion that reduces humanity and human beings to something less than God created us to be. Lives as well as buildings must be established on a solid foundation and today as with the city of New Orleans, many Americans and, yes, politicians are hell-bent on building their future not only on sand, but on sand below sea level.
I will expose evil, damaging practices, and bad policy. Since most media and many academics do not seem to believe in evil and obviously some lawmakers and even ministry leaders don’t seem to either. In other words, “the three little pigs” and Red Riding Hood need to learn there is no big, bad wolf, and while at it chunk the Bible along with the children’s stories out the window and continue living in a failing, fantasyland dream world – nightmare! So for these who don’t believe the Bible and obvious truth, let me address what I mean by bad policy. If it doesn’t work or isn’t sustainable, no matter how sincere the instigators, stop the madness! It is worse than suicidal; it becomes murder – death to people and a secure future.
I will encourage every person to assume responsibility for their own lives, their decisions and to diligently seek to assist others. I encourage qualified people to serve whether on a homeowners association, PTA, school board, local office, state and national. We need the best to run and be elected to serve for the benefit of the people. It is our duty – actually a calling. I encourage every citizen to be very well informed (commitment is required – you must consider what is best for everyone), and be actively involved. Vote faithfully and with conviction for those who hold truth, freedom and sound principles dear. Do not vote just for one issue or out of mere personal preference, damaging party loyalty or attractive personalities. Consider the whole package – vote principle not just preference. There has only been one perfect candidate – Jesus – and He won’t run. He rules in the lives of those submitted to Him! I encourage everyone to recognize how valuable and important they are, because I see them all through the eyes of the God some refuse to acknowledge or love. Because of this twisted view, people are loved less.
I will endure – I am in the race to win, not just an election, not the approval of men, but the “race God has set before us all.” This is a race for the full expression of the life, love and liberty only God can give which people are to share. I will “stand and having stood keep standing.”
To the people and all political candidates I say: “if you are going to get beat up or beat, let it happen because you are standing boldly in behalf of what is best for God and country – for people.” So if you are asking me to explain in succinct words what I am trying to do, here is my answer: I want to inspire everyone to first get on our face before God and then stand on our feet for God.