Another chance for America, another chance for the church
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. -Prov 16:18
And so it’s true, pride comes before a fall; I’m telling you, so that you don’t lose all. – John Lennon, “I’m a loser”, 1965
Yesterday, America gave the Democrats an historic drubbing. It’s worth taking a look at why this happened and where were going.
- Four years ago, when Barack Obama ran for senator from Illinois, he pledged that he would serve his full term and not merely use it as a springboard to the presidency. He broke that pledge one year later.
- Obama then pledged that he would fully support the public campaign finance system, which has long been a Democrat pet issue, but when it was clear he could raise more money by private donations, he broke that pledge as well. He went on to remove even the most basic fraud preventions from his online donation system, opening his coffers wide to foreign and overlimit money. The FEC has yet to investigate this.
- During the campaign Mr. Obama promised that he would govern pragmatically, not ideologically. But as soon as he was able to say, “I won”, he began an aggressive ideological agenda that was at odds with the will of the people. Far from seeking consensus, his opponents found themselves shut out of the legislative process, as Democrats threatened use of unheard of obscene parliamentary tactics, such as “deem and pass”, to achieve their goals.
- Obama promised to be a uniter and a healer to a nation badly in need of both. But he used the presidency in an unprecedentedly divisive way, such as running a racially biased Justice department, and calling his opponents “enemies” and telling them to get in the “back seat”.
- While America was crying out for jobs, Obama increased government regulation, spent a full year pursuing a radical agenda whose preoccupation was health care reform, and planned to raise taxes on “the rich”.
- On the congressional side of things, when the Democrats took over the House in 2006, after she had finished her victory dance Speaker Pelosi pledged the most ethical, transparent Congress in history and that the congress would put an end to deficit spending. But this congress has been anything but ethical or transparent, and has far and away been the most fiscally profligate congress in history.
The Democrats have just found out that the tea party movement is not the fake “Astroturf” they insisted it to be. Americans decided that when the alternative is driving over a cliff, it’s better to put the car in a ditch. Sometimes we need to learn the hard way.
The good news here is not just the rebuke the Democrats have suffered, it is that the Republicans are doing no victory dances. Instead, they are repenting – in the case of Minority Leader Boehner, even with public tears – for having betrayed the American trust themselves when they were in power. If there was a victory yesterday, it was the Republican Party’s, it was America’s. A lot of people are getting the message that it is the nation that matters, not any fallen political party.
The challenge before the Republicans is to be faithful to the charge the people have entrusted to them: get government in order and out of our lives, shrink government so the private sector can create jobs and prosperity, rein in deficit spending so our children will not spend their lives in hoc to creditors around the rest of the world, and get our borders under control.
This election was not the final solution, it was only a beginning. We are still alive, and we have been given a chance to continue the reforms. That work will continue. The tea partiers came out of nowhere, seemingly, to become a major force in America. In the movement’s immaturity, some candidates were chosen who were weak. I doubt that a lack of viable candidates will again be a problem. If they are really serious about serving the needs of the nation, this movement will continue to prosper.
Even those Democrats that did survive, especially in the Senate, will now be looking over their shoulders. Obama has proven that he cannot protect those who support his unpopular agenda. We are going to be seeing an awful lot more conservative Democrats in the days to come.
Finally, I’d like to relate this to the church. America has been dealt a number of hard blows in the last decade, from the terrorist attacks, to two long, expensive wars whose lasting benefits are hard to distinguish, to one of its greatest financial collapses. We have been suffering from a deconstruction of values and institutions for several decades. Three generations have been indoctrinated into the defacto national religion, secular humanism, and the fruit has been bitter indeed. In short, America has lost its way.
This nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. How those principles play out has always been a subject of legitimate contention, but there was a line that at one time we would not cross. We now have crossed that line.
This is where the church comes in, in two ways. First, the church is to model the character and life of Christ to the culture. Ultimately, people always look for the basics in life that satisfy – truth, love and contentment – and this is what the church should be offering hungry souls. Secondly, the church is to speak prophetically into the culture, giving encouragement when it goes the right way and warning of the consequences transgression will bring.
The problem is that the church has been so shot through with humanist values, compromise and corruption that it has lost its witness and cannot speak with any authority. We no longer model Christ personally or corporately, so we no longer can speak to the culture with a clear voice on His behalf.
And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? -1Cor 14:8
The church needs its own major turnover like what we saw last night. We need a clean sweep of the arrogance and complacency that has kept us from acknowledging our neediness, putting God first and repenting of our sin.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. -Rev 3:15-19
America is hurting and looking for answers, and the church is charged to provide them. If we don’t want to suffer the fate of the Democrats yesterday, we will be ready repenters and we will return to the Lord and His purposes for our lives.
Thankfully, the warning also comes with a promise, which we should take to heart and strive to obtain:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” -Rev 3:20-22
Yesterday, America was given another chance to get itself right, to come back to the ancient paths, to return to the Lord, that Rock from which we were hewn. The church too, including each one of us that awoke this morning and drew a breath, has been given another chance to get ourselves lined up with the Lord and His purposes for our lives. May each of us carefully heed what the Spirit is saying to the church.
Lord, you are our strength and our glory. Help us to surrender fully to the kind intentions of your will, and to serve you wholeheartedly, with gladness. Amen.