Bernie Diaz, January 7, 2021
It’s over… and maybe it’s not. The year of our Lord 2021 has picked up where 2020 left off- in crisis and chaos and I’m not even referring to the latest bit of Coronavirus doom and gloom news.
Last November third’s presidential election finally ended- officially, two months after election day itself, when the United States Congress convened Wednesday night and then certified and confirmed Joe Biden as the next president of the United States in the wee hours of Thursday morning.
Lawmakers worked through the night to certify that Biden secured 306 electoral votes to President Donald Trump’s 232 votes, in the wake of violent and unprecedented unrest at the nation’s capital (including a shooting death and dozens of arrests).
Trump identifying protestors, emerged from a ‘Save America’ rally featuring the President near the White House and forcibly entered the capitol building, ransacking congressional offices and briefly occupied both the Senate and House chambers of congress where members had begun the constitutional process of debating and certifying the election results, forcing them to take cover in secure locations as protesters began to descend on the capitol.
For President Trump and his most ardent supporters- the overwhelming majority of them, decent, law-abiding citizens, the last 24 hours could not have gone worse, ranging from the chaotic protest on capitol hill, to the Senate run-off election results from Georgia, in which two controversial and largely unqualified Democratic candidates won the final two open seats in the upper chamber by razor-thin margins, to the realization that what had appeared to be inevitable, became so – the presidential re-election defeat of Donald Trump.
The election results and the embarrassing and shameful images which were captured on camera Wednesday in Washington D.C., served as illustrations of a nation in my view, which has never been as divided religiously, ideologically and politically as it is right now.
That division was plainly seen in the civil unrest and tension of this week, having boiled over from last summer’s season of racially tinged unrest and violence, in the aftermath of police related shooting incidents involving African-Americans.
Last year, the extremist, far-left Antifa and Black Lives Matter movements largely influenced the protest-driven looting and destruction of private property of businesses and in January of this new year, extremist, far-right elements of movements like QAnon and the Proud Boys – which happen to align themselves with President Trump, may have played a big part in having ransacked the public property- the “people’s house,” in a manner unseen since the British sacked much of D.C. in the War of 1812.
Both acts and movements are reprehensible and must be equally condemned by any right-thinking person – Biblical worldview Christians in particular, who are driven to seek and support righteousness, justice and law and order, rather than mere political partisanship.
For disciples of Jesus Christ seeking to digest and make sense of these current events, I suggest we mourn and carefully ponder some certain and inescapable realities that we will be wrestling with for some time to come.
Mourn over America
Just as the Bible called God’s chosen nation of Israel to wail, lament and mourn over her sin and the judgment of it, which God brought them over the centuries of her rebellion- even by way of allowing invading nations and their forces (Egyptians, Philistines, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians and Romans) to enact that judgment by his sovereign hand of providence, we must mourn for the United States of America.
Though our country cannot be confused with Israel and its future, we were a nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles and uniquely blessed by God. Well, for more than a generation now, America has turned its back on its roots, God, the gospel and formed a moral and sexual revolution of man-centered idolatry (Ro. 1:18-32) which has wrought God’s wrath “against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” as it has and will again, in societies over the course of world history.
Is there any question or doubt that the Lord our God is disciplining this nation and perhaps should he will it, to bring repentance as a precursor of revival to it? May it be so. For now, there are several realities we can mourn over and react with a biblical worldview:
- The Biden Administration
We must accept that the democratic republic that governs our nation is imperfect. The founders even called it, a “great experiment,” referring to the audacious idea that a moral or virtuous people could be ‘self-governed.’ But, when the people fail to govern themselves, absent that virtue, as the founders feared – government authorities would step in and take over because nature and power abhors a vacuum.
Unfortunately for Americans – many of them evangelical Christians, who hold to the values of faith, family and freedom, we must – must now submit as per God’s word (Ro. 13:1-7; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13-17) to the God-ordained authority of a presidential administration and a single political party dominance of a federal government which runs counter to such biblically held values and views.
Will life be more difficult in some respects for conservatives and biblically minded Christians over the course of the next two to four years at least? Most likely. We must mourn and accept the painful providences of the Lord who is working for his greater glory and the good of his own in these current circumstances. How we as Christians in modern America live our lives publicly in response to those circumstances, I believe will hold great weight and sway over the future direction of this country.
After all, since civil disobedience is allowed in only a very few exceptions according to the scriptures, electoral college results (even as irregular and probably as fraudulent as I think they seemed to be) and current political trends do not qualify as exceptions and are not justifiable grounds for Christians to disobey their governments on any level. That includes secularly minded if not anti-God parties and platforms such as the one about to take power in Washington.
Christians cannot tolerate in thought and word, even a hint of vigilante justice or thoughts of a politically minded revolution.
Rather, we focus on the laws and opportunities still afforded to us – as imperfect as they are, to vote, petition our government and peacefully protest it when appropriate.
The focus here is on the “peaceful” part as our church’s own pro-life sidewalk counseling and prayer ministry demonstrates every week in front of a Planned Parenthood abortion facility in our community.
That ministry acknowledges God’s law of submission and this country’s legalization of abortion. However, rather than remaining quiet or ignorant of the holocaust that abortion is in the U.S., we choose to preach, prayerfully, peacefully and legally protest against it, while standing prepared to condemn any and all attempts to kill or maim doctors and employees at abortion centers as some other extremist anti-abortionists have.
We must respond similarly with respect to the election results. I supported Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s attempt to have the Senate postpone certification in order to call for a federal commission that would investigate allegations and evidence of voter fraud. That motion was unfortunately defeated despite his cogent and historically valid argument. So be it. I stand down and mourn.
- The Cult of Personality
This week’s chaos emanating from a near constitutional crisis over our election system in my view, is due in large part to the irresponsible rhetoric of our incumbent President. Hasn’t this been an issue before?
Although he did not explicitly call for violent protests at the capitol- his pre-protest march speech called for a peaceful rally there, followed by a later (albeit late) call to peace via Twitter and video, his speechmaking and social media communication has consistently called on his supporters to “fight”, never “concede” or give up on overriding the election results including his attack on the character of his Vice-President Mike Pence’s failure to somehow subvert the constitutional process of certifying presidential elections, leading even some Trump supporters to label Pence as a “traitor.”
The President in his Wednesday speech said, “Our country has had enough. We will not take it anymore and that’s what this is all about. To use a favorite term that all of you people really came up with, we will ‘stop the steal.’” A few moments later, Trump added, “We will not let them silence your voices. We’re not going to let it happen. Not going to let it happen.”
The crowd’s reaction rang out with chants of “We love Trump! We love Trump! We love Trump!” From there, some protestors went on to storm the congressional capitol bent on ‘not letting it happen.’
Whereas the President did not directly incite violence at the capitol building, his speech and two-month long rhetoric did little or nothing to quell it and may have even poured gas on its smoldering fire.
It has now become increasingly clear that this election will shape up to be a historical referendum on the person- rather than the policies of Donald Trump. Although a record 70 plus million Americans voted for him, a record 80 million plus voters may have voted against him – certainly more than having voted for Joe Biden. President Trump has engendered disunity and even hatred among his opponents and more politically moderate or undecided if not confused voters, having shifted the focus from his biblically compatible platform of policies to himself.
Being that the President is an ego-maniacal man with an undisciplined and untamed tongue, his character mattered more in this election than he and many of his supporters would care to admit. Though I have no regrets in having personally voted for the President’s re-election based on the priority of his content – politically, over his character and would do so again, given the same choice, I admit that my concern that his character flaws would prove to be his undoing, did just that.
His character reared its head to the forefront of this presidential campaign -again, with devasting results for our nation – at least in the near term.
How Now Shall We Respond?
Rest. I have argued from scripture that God pre-ordained the results of this election and all that has transpired from it, as the result of his sovereign providence (the outworking of his sovereignty). He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.. (Dan. 2:21a-b).
I for one, will not panic in the aftermath of this election. I will rest in and take comfort in this doctrinal fact, with confidence that this election did not take place randomly and that its results did not escape the hands of our creator and sustainer God who, “for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Ro. 8:28).
God has used many an unbiblical king, ruler or president in the past to contribute to his good will and purposes, until the ultimate king and ruler of earth, returns here to right all wrongs- Jesus Christ.
Remember and Repent. There are many lessons to learn from what has been taking place in our country for a full year now, culminating perhaps in this week’s events. Among them, a need for many Americans to be reminded as several texts of scripture reminds us, to refrain from placing their trust in “princes” or kings, rulers or for our times, a president (Isa. 2:22; 30:2; 31:1; Jer. 17:5; Psa. 118:9).
The psalmist wrote, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.” (Psa. 146:3). Christ followers must not fall prey to ‘Trumpism,’ placing greater faith, love and obedience to a fallible man, than the infallible Messiah and Son of God. If any of us have fallen to that temptation, may we confess it as sin and repent of it- turning to God.
Pray. Understanding all of the above, our primary weapon against the prevailing principalities and powers of the age, is of course, prayer and thoughts held, “captive to Christ.”
Now is a time to not only pray for our own biblical wisdom and discernment in sorting out these issues of great disagreement- even in the church, and to be able to discuss them lovingly with others, without rancor and division, but for God’s common grace to fall on our nation in mercy and with wisdom and grace for the leadership of our country, so we may live, “… a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way (1 Tim. 2:2-3).”
Let’s come together to pray for healing to come to our troubled country and for the salvation of many – including our newer and more established elected officials (1 Tim. 2:4), as we wait on the Lord for his mercy and hopefully revival, all the while hanging on to our hope of glory and the perfect earthly kingdom and government to come with Christ.