The Politically Divided American Church
I do not believe that I have ever seen an election that has the American Church as divided as this present election does. I thought the last two elections with President Obama were very divisive but I do believe that this one really tops them all.
There are many people who can’t believe that we have ended up with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as the two major candidates. That’s the starting point. But, it goes so deep that I’ve seen numerous Christians boldly declare that you cannot be a Christian if you vote for Hillary Clinton. I’ve seen just as many say that you cannot be a Christian and vote for Donald Trump.
Our Christianity isn’t based on who we vote for or who we don’t vote for.
Many Christians are scratching their heads as to how their fellow Christians can back Trump with his seemingly over the top views on race, immigration, women, war and a number of other issues. They are perplexed as how Jesus followers can actually back Trump when, in their opinion, he is so unlike Jesus.
On the flip side, many Christians are placing great hope in Trump that he will make America great again. They are looking to him to establish a powerful military, bring back jobs, stop illegal immigration and protect the rights of American Christians, as they feel we are being greatly persecuted. Trump does seem to have the backing of a large portion of evangelical America.
On the other side of the table are those Christians who cannot fathom a Hillary Clinton presidency. To most of them, she is the devil in a dress. They believe that she will set America back even further than it is now. Hillary will make a mockery of everything Christian and godly. To them, she will continue on with Obama’s course of action in taking America away from Godly roots, put more Muslims in power and flood the nation with illegal immigrants that will vote Democrat.
The flip side of this coin has many Christians backing Hillary because, in their opinion, she is showing Christ-likeness with her policies on immigration, her openness to the LGBT community and the Muslims.
I realize that this is a very generalized view of why different people are backing or opposing these candidates. However, the point of my blog today is the polarization of the Church over these issues and how divided we are as a body of Christ. I am not attempting to endorse one candidate over the other.
While I certainly don’t expect us to all believe the same way, I do expect us to walk in love and unity giving preference to one another. When Christians post things political opinion on their Facebook pages, ending their political post with, “if you don’t agree with me or like what I say, then just delete me,” I believe that we are not walking in the unity that Jesus has called us to walk in.
I imagine there was a lot of political talk at Jesus’ table. Matthew, a tax collector, would have been at great odds with Simon the Zealot. I am sure there was suspicion, “word jabs” and some heated discussions when Jesus wasn’t instructing His disciples. I often wonder how many strong disagreements Jesus had to stop or mediate between these two. We don’t know where the other ten disciples fell on the political scale but I do believe we can ascertain from the scriptures that they were all hoping that Jesus would set up His kingdom by kicking out Rome, making Israel great again and allowing them key political positions within his kingdom.
So, what are we do to as Christians with a right to vote in America, a right that has cost many amazing men and women their lives to secure our freedom? What are we to do when we feel so deeply about certain issues that a political candidate is so against? What do we do when we see our government do things that are so ungodly and unrighteous? What do we do when we find ourselves on opposite ends of the political divide from our Christian brothers and sisters?
The most important thing to do is to love one another and prefer one another in honor.
Our primary call as Christians is to love one another as Christ has loved us. This includes people who see things differently than we do. This includes loving both Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump and the people who support them. From some of the comments I read on Facebook it would appear that many Christians need to learn to love better.
Loving others involves listening to them and trying to understand where they are coming from. We all can learn from each other, even when we disagree.
We must pray for unity within the body of Christ.
Jesus’ great high priestly prayer in John 17 was that we would be one, even as he and the Father were one. The last thing that we should be divided over is politics. Yet, I see such a huge divide in this political season. Christians have pitted themselves along party lines. This should not be.
It reminds me of when Paul rebuked the Corinthian church for being divided over whether they were followers of Paul or of Apollos. How much more do you think he would rebuke the modern day American Church for being divided along political lines?
We must remember that we are citizens of God’s Kingdom first and foremost.
I love being an American. I love my country and am very glad that I was born and raised in it. But, my first citizenship is the Kingdom of God and my Lord (President, if you will) is Jesus. I will not allow American politics to affect how I act as a son of God.
The early Christians were martryed because they proclaimed Jesus to be Lord. This was in direct opposition to Caesar. They were declaring that there is a higher kingdom than that of Rome. The Kingdom of God is higher than America. America is not the hope of the world . . . Jesus is.
I see so many Christians demonizing the candidates. This is not the way that we should act as followers of Jesus. As followers of Jesus we are to see the worth and value of each candidate, and their supporters, whether we agree with them or not. You can be against their policies but we must learn to respect and honor people. Remember, Jesus died for them, and He prayed that we would be one.