Of Politics and Faith and the Name of Jesus

Psalm 34:3

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 

John 1:6–7

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.

20160602-01509

This plumeria blossom was one of many along the fence around the resort where we stayed while in the Dominican Republic.

Self-identified “evangelical leaders” met with Donald Trump recently, and although most did not formally endorse him for President of the United States, a few did. It was also noted by World Magazine (in their daily podcast) that there is a divide within the evangelical political right: the younger leaders being less willing to embrace Trump’s candidacy, while many old guard (notably, James Dobson for one) embrace him. I have my own thoughts on the idea of either of the two major party presumptive candidates being President, but that is not a matter for this blog. My point has much to do with “Americanism” and conservative politics, as opposed to Christianity and the message of Jesus Christ, his gift of salvation, and his call for us to follow him, as we embrace his rule and reign in our lives.

I probably align myself with a sentiment I saw recently posted on the prayer wall at St. John. The card, which serves as a way of sharing prayer requests, read, “Don’t let Trump or Hillary be president.” But I certainly align myself with the words of Psalm 34, and with the message of John the Baptizer: I want to exalt the name of Jesus Christ. I want to bear witness to the Lord, and encourage others to do the same.

For that reason, as strongly as I feel about the high value of life, and the importance of good morals for the survival of society, I tend to steer quite clear of politics here or in the church. I appreciate strong voices who affirm life, and defend religious freedom. But I am willing to give up religious freedom if the name of Jesus Christ is exalted, and more and more people are brought to faith in him.

I pray that we will not face a complete loss of religious freedom in these United States of America. But I also recall what happened in the years after Chairman Mao kicked all the missionaries out of China: the Church exploded in growth. Millions and millions of people became followers of Jesus Christ.

Whatever your feelings are in regard to the election, America, or religious freedom, I hope you stand with me in exalting the name of the Lord, and bearing witness to the Light of the World, Jesus Christ so that more and more people will believe in him and be saved.

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