The first time I heard the name, “Joe Biden,” I wanted to weep.
On December 18, 1972, struggling through Washington traffic to my office at the White House, my car radio reported the deaths of a newly elected senator’s young wife and baby daughter in Delaware in a horrific collision.
For a moment I forgot that Biden was a political opponent. Instead, as a husband and father myself, I thought of a terribly bereaved human being and choked back tears as I reflected on his grief.
Now, all these years later, the last time I heard the name, “Joe Biden,” I wanted to weep.
This time it was not merely the Senate to which he had ascended, but the White House. I wept not so much for Biden as for the babies who would die because of his expanded abortion policies, for the speed with which America’s long march to socialism would intensify, and for the men and women and children who would sometimes find their government as the major obstacle to building a traditional family.
But eventually — and above all — I must pull back and view Biden from my perspective as a conservative Christian.
Last year I wrote a book about the presidency titled, Two Men From Babylon (published by Thomas Nelson). I looked at parallels between Nebuchadnezzar, king of ancient Babylon in the age of Daniel the prophet, and Donald Trump, from the “Babylon” of New York.
Daniel’s clarity was brightening, while Nebuchadnezzar was sinking into insanity. Finally, the ruler abandons everything, and runs into the wilderness, where he lives for a long stretch like a wild animal.
But there, Nebuchadnezzar encounters the God of Daniel. “At the end of that period,” Nebuchadnezzar reported later, “I ... raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever...” (Daniel 3:34)
May Donald Trump “raise his eyes toward heaven” in his present wilderness, walking daily in the Lord’s peace and joy.
May Joe Biden see who he is, not just as a political leader, but as a man who has been entrusted with great authority for which he must give an account to the transcendent Giver of all authority at the end of his days. (Romans 13)
Daniel 2:21 reveals that it is the Lord “who changes the times and the epochs (seasons); He removes kings and establishes kings...” The intentional will of God is that which God mandates will happen. God’s permissive will He allows to happen (and makes possible our freedom). Was Trump president through God’s intentional or permissive will? And what about Biden? I do not know. I just know that God is in charge of history, and “removes kings and establishes kings” (and presidents).
As I wrote in Two Men From Babylon, the Bible shows that nations play a big role in God’s goal for history, which is the advance and global manifestation of His Kingdom of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit “(Romans 14:17) in all the nations.
In line with that plan, God raises up through His permissive or intentional will the leadership of nations. Some of these leaders will be unlikely. We see this in Exodus 9:16, which is repeated in Romans 9:17, when the Apostle Paul reminds his readers of God’s word to Pharaoh through Moses: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”
So, did God elevate Donald Trump or Joe Biden to the presidency intentionally, or permissively? I cannot answer that. However, as a conservative Christian I must acknowledge that each is/was in the Oval Office by the will of God.
That doesn’t mean that to oppose them would be to go against the will of God. The Lord may use that opposition to bring them to His ways, and/or hold them on track. It also means that the people of God have authority to pray for them.
Amos was a mighty intercessor who also was unafraid to speak against King Jeroboam. Finally, Amaziah, the court priest, told Amos,
“Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!” (Amos 7 NLT)
Amos refused to stop speaking truth in the King’s palace.
The awesomeness of the presidency and the mystique of the Oval Office cultivates sycophancy. So, I think of Richard Nixon, for whom I worked, and how he might have been saved from disaster had there been an Amos in his life. Donald Trump needed a sharp-tongued prophet, and so does Joe Biden now. But, like Amos, such individuals need to lift up these leaders to God through intercession.
A person who’s “got your back” in prayer has earned the right to also get in your face.
Therefore, as a conservative Christian my first duty toward Joe Biden and Kamala Harris is to pray for them daily. Second, as Daniel resisted Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldeans, so I must oppose them in a godly, respectful way... third, I must stay in the flow of the big river of God’s will and see the larger perspective... fourth, I must be ready to minister to those who get wounded by a destructive socio-cultural environment, sometimes facilitated by those in leadership.
All this because, before I am an American, before I am a Republican, I am a Christian.
Wallace B. Henley’s fifty-year career has spanned newspaper journalism, government in both White House and Congress, the church, and academia. He is author or co-author of more than 20 books. He is a teaching pastor at Grace Church, the Woodlands, Texas.