Since All These Things Are Thus To Be Dissolved, How Should We Then Vote?

The title of this blog comes from 2 Peter 3:11 with a little tweaking: How should we then vote?  I received constructive criticism from a dear friend after sending out an email encouraging everyone to vote.  He strongly suggested I should have instructed each to vote as a Christian: against abortion and same sex marriage, and for freedom of religion … and a life free from mob rule, etc.

However, John Piper recently wrote, “I remain baffled that so many Christians consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality (porneia), unrepentant boastfulness (alazoneia), unrepentant vulgarity (aischrologia), unrepentant factiousness (dichostasiai), and the like, to be only “toxic” for our nation, while policies that endorse baby-killing, sex-switching, freedom-limiting, and socialistic overreach are viewed as “deadly.” Both are deadly.”

You have heard it said “If you find the perfect church, do not join it as it will not be perfect anymore!” 😮  There is no perfect church and there are no perfect candidates.  So we are always left with the choice of the lesser of two evils, no matter who is running for office.  Randy Alcorn in Heaven said (the book, not the address 😇) “Christians should be involved in the political process, and we can do much good, but we should never forget that the only government that will succeed in global reform is Christ’s government.”  We are called to be “salt and light” in this ever-darkening world, and part of our witness is that our neighbors see how we apply our Christian worldview in deciding for whom we vote.

Another friend, though, perhaps the wisest and most influential in my life, expresses remorse that the Evangelical community has so strongly embraced President Trump that we have alienated half of the nation to our witness for Jesus.  Their reasoning is understandable if our allegiance to a political party seems to take precedence over our allegiance to another King.

Jesus and His followers were not very attached to this present world, and it was that “other-worldliness” that brought on suspicion, persecution and even martyrdom, not their allegiance to any earthly ruler.

Perhaps the worst day in history for Christianity was when Emperor Constantine became a Christian.  Suddenly it became “popular” to carry the Name.  Meetings in homes were no longer viewed as subversive; it rapidly became politically, economically and socially advantageous to be “Christian.”  The result was the Christ-following communities were infiltrated by pretenders and like “sheep in the midst of wolves,” their innocence quickly became overrun with those who were CINO (Christian In Name Only).

What the enemy could not accomplish by persecution was achieved by subtler means, getting half-hearted “disciples” to mimic the words and practices of the Christians until one could not be certain of any faith.  Like many in churches today, if they showed up for the meetings, paid some offerings and generally supported the Church, they became accepted to even lead.

This is not to say the Church was entirely corrupt and of no value.  Like “weeds among wheat,” Father allowed the Church to continue growing.  Many good things came from this acceptance into general society, such as Constantine’s call for a Council of Nicaea to clarify certain issues of doctrine, as well as other Councils.  Many church “fathers” such as Irenaeus, Jerome and Augustine explored great truths for the Church, exhibited both by their lives of commitment and their extensive writings.  However, the Church continued to slide gradually into political and societal priorities and became less interested in the other Kingdom, “not of this world.”

Alasdair MacIntyre ended After Virtue with a warning of “the coming ages of barbarism and darkness.”  We in our generation may well take care to prepare for renewed persecution and ostracization if we espouse that there is another King to whom we are allied, not the Republican nor Democratic parties (nor any fringe parties, either).

“Love your neighbor. Love the stranger. Hear the cry of the otherwise unheard. Liberate the poor from their poverty. Care for the dignity of all. Let those who have more than they need share their blessings with those who have less. Feed the hungry, house the homeless, and heal the sick in body and mind. Fight injustice, whoever it is done by and whoever it is done against. And do these things because, being human, we are bound by a covenant of human solidarity, whatever our color or culture, class or creed.
“These are moral principles, not economic or political ones. They have to do with conscience, not wealth or power. But without them, freedom will not survive. The free market and liberal democratic state will not save liberty, because liberty can never be built by self-interest alone. I-based societies all eventually die. Ibn Khaldun showed this in the fourteenth century, Giambattista Vico in the eighteenth, and Bertrand Russell in the twentieth. Other-based societies survive. Morality is not an option. It’s an essential.”
Jonathan Sacks, Orthodox Rabbi, Morality: Restoring the Common Good in Divided Times

These are instructions such as Jesus gave.  My only point of divergence from the good Rabbi would be the expectation of the Holy Spirit empowering us to fulfill such behaviors.  We who follow Jesus must, I say MUST, exhibit that same love of our Lord that prayed over his crucifiers, “Father, forgive them for they do not understand what they are doing.”

Anita and I already voted and my friend and critic would approve, but I did not vote to please him or you.  And if you think you voted for someone other than I did, let’s sit down and talk about our rationales.  There should be no hate, no antagonism, no animosity.  Even if you were my enemy, even if you were my crucifier, my Master calls on me to show you love; and that we voted differently hardly makes you an enemy just because we disagree politically.

So finally, how should we then vote?  Do not vote as a Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc., but vote as a Bible-believer, a follower of Jesus; one who takes this responsibility very seriously.
And what else?  Pray, pray, pray for the coming elections.  Yes, “pray without ceasing.” Also “pray for all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

And pray, pray, pray for your country.

Considerations on Praying FOR an Enemy

Perhaps last week’s blog, HOW Are You Praying FOR Your Enemies? (April 14, 2020), would have been better called WHY We Should Pray FOR Our Enemies.  So today I will address some practical considerations for HOW to Pray FOR Your Enemies.

First, keep foremost in mind that Father wants our hearts to begin to align with His despite what you read in the Psalms.  Remember, the Psalms are hymns of praise and prayers offered by fallible humans to their Creator.  This is not to suggest there are errors in the Bible, but just as we do not take theological lessons from the historical books unless they are clearly elucidated elsewhere, we should be careful in drawing lessons from the Psalms when we are reading the pleas of hearts in distress.  When did you hear a “worship song” based on Psalm 109:1-15?

Remember that we were once enemies of the cross, even if you accepted Jesus when you were three or four years old.  Until you surrendered control of your life to Him, YOU were in charge of your life, and God help the one who interfered with YOUR plans!  Many of us remained capricious followers of Jesus even after great spiritual experiences in our youth, unstable and fickle.  While in a fit of pique we may agree with the Psalmist when he cries for Father to make our enemy’s children wander about and beg, seeking food far from the ruins they inhabit” (Psalm 109:10), it is not Father’s heart to punish children for the sins of their dads (Ezekiel 18:19-20).

Second, however, prayer FOR an enemy does not mean asking Father to make his plans succeed!  When someone intends evil it is our responsibility, as much as we are able, to resist such intentions.  But we are not to hate the person who needs salvation.

When Jesus confronted Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians and criticized them or humiliated them with His superior reasoning, it still came from a heart that was looking for what was best for them, as well as to prevent them from influencing the masses of people from following them.  But when it came to one-on-one His heart went out to those who loved money (or anything else) more than Him or His righteousness (Mark 10:17-22).  Like Father, he wanted His enemies to be saved (2 Peter 3:9).  That is how you and I got into the Kingdom!  Dare we deny someone else entry because we have made it!?

Third, we must be clear in our opposition to that which is opposed to godliness, but we must do so as gently as Jesus, who would not quarrel nor break someone who was bruised by life, nor snuff out one who had even a spark of hope in him (Isaiah 42:2-3; Matthew 12:19-20).  “The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” (2 Timothy 2:24).

The difficulty in “loving the sinner but hating the sin” is more easily understood if we realize how often we do this for ourselves.  (See   for more detail on this.)  When we do something foolish or unrighteous, we make every kind of excuse possible until we finally fall at Jesus’ feet and ask for His mercy.  This is because I sometimes do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Romans 7:15).  And my love for myself compels me to hate what I do, more so as I get to know Jesus better.

So when Jesus calls us to love our enemies as ourselves and pray for them, this is what He has in mind.  We are to approach our prayers FOR our enemies recognizing that they were deceived and that continuation on the path they are on will lead to their eternal separation from the Lord of life; isolation where there is weeping, cruel loneliness that never ends, filled with longings that will never be satisfied, and outer darkness that lets in absolutely no light (Matthew 8:11-12).  As you align your heart with His, you will find yourself looking into that abyss and thinking, “I would not wish that for my worst enemy!”

Now you are ready to reach out in love, even to your enemies.  So ask Father to reveal Himself to your enemy.  Ask Him to let them see clearly the results of the choices they are making.  Ask Him to guide others or circumstances around them so they will experience what they need, and not suffer the anger we feel at them.  Ask Him how you might be able to shed light into their darkness (and not heat 😤!).  And prepare to keep on loving them even if they refuse your heart to help.

  • So pray FOR the President that he will recognize his shortcomings and humbly ask for guidance when he needs it.
  • So pray FOR Nancy Pelosi that she will come to understand how her disrespect only reflects her immaturity and inability.
  • So pray FOR that Muslim neighbor with a burka and FOR her husband that they might come to knowledge of the Truth.
  • So pray FOR the pro-abortionist who screams how lucky she is to have had an abortion so that she can now afford a fancy car and easy lifestyle.
  • So pray FOR the neighbor who seems to enjoy harassing you.
  • So pray FOR that ex-spouse that they will experience forgiveness and so forgive you.
  • So pray FOR your son or daughter who has turned his/her back on the faith they were taught.

Some you may see transformed as you live out Christ’s life before them.  Some you may be able to speak with, and influence, even in a small way, to consider their course.  Some you will have to simply leave in Father’s hands, fearing for their end that they may not turn in time.  But pray FOR them, that they will.  That is HOW we should pray FOR our enemies.

Who Are You Praying FOR During This Wuhan Virus Crisis?

2020-04-04 Rosenberg Survey 2
This is a time that people all over the world are becoming more aware of spiritual realities than at almost any time in my life.   Why?  Because we are facing a global health crisis unlike anything since the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920.  Infecting over 500 million people, that pandemic caused between 50-100 million deaths! (50,000,000-100,000,000)

In the current crisis, as of April 4 reliable reports are that more than 1.2 million (1,200,000) have been infected and more than 65,000 have died.  If there is a silver lining, it is that over 250,000 have recovered, meaning the death rate and toll will likely be much smaller than the Spanish Flu, but it is still a life-changing event in our generation.  And the numbers of those infected and deaths are suspect, even though from “reliable” news sources.  The media can only report what governments give them for data.  They could be much higher.

2020 -04-04 Roseberg SurveyAt Joel Rosenberg’s website, he reports on a survey his organization commissioned for McLaughlin and Associates to conduct here in the USA.  To summarize a couple of points, almost half of the respondents see this global health crisis as supernatural intervention in world affaoirs, just shy of the number who believe God has nothing to do with it.  Most interesting is that of the non-Christian respondents 22% of them acknowledge looking for answers in the Bible or online Christian/spiritual resources. (See above bar chart.) You can view the details of the survey here:

https://www.joshuafund.com/learn/news-article/coronavirus_pandemic_is_a_wake_up_call_exclusive_joshua_fund_poll

It is vital that the Church seize this opportunity to invite, educate and guide the spiritually hungry.  But what of the 63% of non-Christian respondents who say this crisis has not changed their interest in spiritual things?

We must pray for them, also.  And note, we must learn to pray FOR them, not against them.  In the words of Jesus, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.”  Matthew 5:44-45

This is not an easy thing for many of us to get our minds around, but praying FOR our enemies is on Jesus watch list to see if we are becoming sons and daughters of our Father.  More on loving your enemy can be found at .

But this is not just a New Testament idea.  Jesus prefaced His command with, You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” (Matthew 25:43)  We have no Scripture that uses this dictum, but it was likely a saying of the Zealots.  The Dead Sea Scrolls show the Qumram community was taught to “love all the sons of light … and hate all the sons of darkness,”

However, the God of the Old Testament made the same demand on the Jews of history as Jesus was calling His disciples to.  Leviticus 19:34 called on them to love the stranger among them as they love themselves.  And in the Law, Exodus 25:4-5 called on the Hebrew to help his enemy, even though it was someone he hated.

Then Solomon came along and penned this poetic advice regarding one’s enemy:
“If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat,
    and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
for you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and Yahweh will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22)

For a long time, I thought this meant that if I was kind to an enemy, heaping coals of fire on his head would mean I reeeaally “got him good!”  By being kind, I was going to make him so miserable, he would see the error of his ways.  You know, really stick it to him!

But then a wiser man than me pointed out that fire was a valuable commodity in Solomon’s day.  No pilot on a gas stove; no matches from the Safeway store; no camp-fire lighters at Dick’s Sporting Goods.  When you finally started a fire with sticks and twigs and lots of elbow grease, you kept it going as long as you were home.  You saved embers each day so the next day the fire could burn bright again for cooking food or purifying your knife or warming yourself and family against the next night’s cold.

The movies make it look so simple as though anyone could start a fire to mount on a catapult and attack an enemy.   But I challenge you to go outside when the weather has been nice and dry and try to start a fire the way Solomon’s servant would have.  Fire was a precious product, not one you would likely share with an enemy.

When you gave some “fire” to someone, it likely would not be a burning stick, but embers from your fire pit.  Carrying it in front of you would result in the sparks flying into one’s face, so they would load the precious heat into a pot or basket that could be carried on one’s head.  Now, if that isn’t cool, I don’t know what is!  “Heap burning coals on his head!”

So Jesus reaffirmed the love of God in the Old Testament, and told us to pray FOR our enemies.  Now, who is your enemy?  Muslim terrorists?  Hindu nationalists?  A superstitious shaman?  How about Nancy Pelosi?  Donald Trump?  Chuck Schumer?
Bring it closer to home, the guy who cut you off at the light?  A rude neighbor?  A boss?  A smelly coworker?  A family member?

We are to pray FOR them, not against them.  So I wonder, who are you praying FOR during this crisis?  Next week we will look at HOW do we pray FOR someone evil or with whom we thoroughly disagree.