Joe Biden has been President of the United States for less than three months, but already, the fears of many conservatives are being realized. On many different fronts, things are going in a very wrong and dangerous direction. The question is: What can we do about it? How do we respond?
In no particular order, consider the following.
1) H.R. 1 would dramatically reshape our electoral system so as to cement Democratic rule for decades to come.
2) H.R. 5 would effectively gut religious liberties across the nation.
3) Open borders would bring in a flood of immigrants who will quickly learn to vote Democrat as well, at least for the first generation.
4) Packing the Supreme Court would fundamentally restructure our legal system, thwarting efforts to push back against the radical leftist agenda and effectively codifying Roe v. Wade for good.
5) Attacks on the Second Amendment would further cripple American rights when it comes to gun ownership.
6) Big Tech censorship, bolstered by the COVID-19 crisis and the storming of the Capitol, would silence all resistance.
7) Renewed relations with Iran would destabilize the Middle East.
8) Failure to stand up to China would undo the international balance of power.
9) ??? (this is where you get to add any concerns that I left out)
Again, this is why so many of us voted for Trump, despite our misgivings about his leadership style. The alternatives were just too chilling.
But this is where I personally believe it is crucial that we rethink our strategy and approach to the current political scene. This is where I believe it is critical that we learn some lessons from our recent mistakes. In short, this is where each of us must find our own roles in the midst of this current national crisis.
We either get this right now (when I say “we,” I’m speaking in particular of conservative people of faith), or else. Allow me to explain.
In years past, to the extent that Christian conservatives were involved in politics, we looked to organizations like the FRC or the ADF to give us guidance when it was time to vote and to alert us about critical bills before Congress or cases before the Supreme Court.
For our part, we would cast our votes every two or four years, contact our elected officials at key times, pray for righteous court decisions, and help support these organizations financially. And that was it.
Most of our energies were spent on being the church in our communities. Most of our focus was on loving God and loving our neighbor. Most of our efforts were expended on Gospel work rather than political work.
And that’s the way it should be. Each part of the Body has a specific function and purpose, and by each of us being faithful to our calling and fulfilling our particular role, there will be health and success.
To be sure, we often fell way short of fulfilling our political and cultural responsibilities. And all too often, pastors and Christian leaders did not want to touch these hot-button issues for fear of offending people. That’s one reason we’re in the mess we are today. The Church failed to engage properly. We were also lukewarm and lackadaisical when it came to spiritual focus and commitment.
But in the last four years, I believe we swung to the other extreme. So many of us became consumed with the political scene day and night. So many of us talked about Trump and the swamp and socialism by the hour.
We were more consumed with the news than with the Word of God. More focused on the 2016 and 2018 and 2020 elections than on the Great Commission. More interested in voting than in praying. More fixated on debating politics than on praying for revival. And that is how we got off-track.
Put another way, rather than letting the political leaders do their thing with us voting accordingly, we all became political pundits. We all became commentators and experts. We all got caught up in the DC mess.
In fact, draining the swamp dominated our thinking more than reaching our neighbors with the Gospel of Jesus. (This does not apply to all of us, but it does apply to many of us.) And rather than us majoring on the majors in our own worlds – prayer, devotion to God and His Word, holy living, being godly witnesses, seeking personal and corporate renewal, strengthening our marriages, pouring into our kids – our consuming focus became political.
As John Burton recently wrote, “It has been sad to watch Christians adopt an aggressive, flesh-driven political spirit. What looks like brash boldness is actually a manifestation of fear as the blood seeps out of their tender hearts and into their fists.
“Many have shifted from an emphasis on faith, intercession, worship, revival and awakening to blasting opinions on politics and culture. Yes, we must not avoid confronting the spirit of the age with a sharp anointing, but that’s not what we are mostly seeing today.”
And this brings us to the crux of the matter.
In short, if America is to be saved from destruction, each of us must do our part. There must be a holistic push back against the increasingly radical leftist agenda.
We must give ourselves to both the spiritual and the practical. We must stand for what is right both culturally and politically. But we cannot swing to extremes, either the extreme of a hyper-spiritual, other-worldly, pie in the sky type of pietism. Or the extreme of a hyper-national, partisan-driven, politics-first mentality.
In the past, our lack of political engagement hurt the nation. More recently, our over-involvement hurt the nation again.
So, let’s get in our proper lanes, let’s get our individual assignments, and with the help of the Spirit, let’s do what we can to bring about positive change on a daily basis. Then, when it’s time to vote or contact our elected officials, let’s do that as well.
But let the politicians fight the political wars and let us fight the cultural and spiritual and practical wars where we live and work every day.
After all, you can’t impact the vote on H.R. 1 or H.R. 5 by engaging in endless online debate on social media. But you can impact the life of your family or friends or neighbors or coworkers in a multitude of different ways. And, by engaging in serious prayer and fasting, you can impact the fate of the nation.
The hour is urgent. The future of America is at stake. But spending our time mocking Biden or criticizing the GOP establishment is not the way to stave off the danger.
Let’s go back to our spiritual roots, to our real strength, to our ultimate calling.
We do have effective, gospel-based weapons. Let us use them effectively without abandoning the political front. It’s a matter of priorities. It’s a matter of first things first. This is how America can be saved from oblivion.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 40 books. Connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.