In the GOP primaries, do politics Trump values and character?
OKLAHOMA CITY — To Ethan Garrett, a presidential candidate’s integrity…
As Christians who voted for Republican Donald Trump see it, America avoided the worst-case scenario in a nasty election featuring two of the most distrusted, unpopular presidential candidates ever.
However, believers on both sides of the political aisle can celebrate this: Jesus Christ remains Lord, forever and always.
After one of the most divisive political seasons in U.S. history, members of Churches of Christ desperately need to hear that message, say ministers and other leaders interviewed by The Christian Chronicle.
BREAKING: Donald Trump is elected president of the United States. pic.twitter.com/OIJcRFNOGY
— AP Politics (@AP_Politics) November 9, 2016
“Be prepared,” Ross urges fellow church leaders and counselors. “It’s real. Offer hope. Encourage. Extend mercy.”
The North Davis Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas, can be seen from Interstate 30, between Dallas and Fort Worth. “I spent a good portion of my sermon reminding our people of three things,” Hubbard told the Chronicle. “First, we are citizens of the kingdom of God before any earthly kingdom we live in. Second, the God we serve is bigger than the government we live under. Third, we should fear less about the future and put our hope in our Father who holds the future.”
Hubbard reminded the Dallas-area congregation of the exiled Israelites who were told in Jeremiah 29:11 not to lose heart: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”
“All throughout Scripture, we are reminded in many ways, forms and fashions that God is bigger — bigger than the Egyptian empire and this guy named Pharaoh who tried to oppress the Israelites and hold them in place,” Hubbard said.
“He was bigger than this 9-foot giant who ridiculed and made fun of the Israelite army. He was bigger than the Roman leadership and the men who sent Jesus to the cross.”
HE’S BIGGER THAN TRUMP, CLINTON
And in 2016, Jesus is bigger than the U.S. election result, church leaders stressed to the Chronicle.
David Duncan preaches for the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston. (VIDEO SCREENSHOT VIA MCOC.ORG)Four hours south of Dallas, minister David Duncan encouraged the Memorial Church of Christ in Houston to recognize that “our king is not a person here in the United States.
“Our king is Jesus Christ,” Duncan said on a recent Sunday.
“Go vote. I’m all for that,” the Houston minister added. “But … the one we worship, the one we bow down to, the one we follow through everything is Jesus.”
American politics may change, and what society once deemed wrong may be declared right, but God remains steadfast and sovereign, Duncan said.
FAITH IN CHRIST, NOT POLITICIANS
• Cheryl Bacon, a member of the University Church of Christ in Abilene, Texas, remembers that she was first told to “respect our leaders and pray for those in authority” after Democrat John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1960.
Bacon’s mother had “campaigned mightily” against Kennedy, and that admonition was repeated many times in her house over the years.
Cheryl Bacon“This morning, I’m reminding myself that had the election gone as expected, as I wanted it to, I still would not be celebrating, just relieved,” Bacon, chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at Abilene Christian University, said in an email after Trump’s victory. “In a text conversation with my son last night, I told him that I didn’t like Hillary nor trust her, but I didn’t fear her; I found Trump’s temperamental arrogance, his ignorance of the Constitution and international affairs to be very frightening.
“But this morning, I must consider again that Jesus said, ‘Do not be afraid,’ more often than he said anything else,” the professor wrote. “I must consider in a very personal way Scripture’s command to take care of the widows and orphans, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, show compassion to the sorrowful, seek justice for the alien and oppressed. So, I pray that I will find the faith to do those things and find the spiritual discipline required to pray for President Trump — even though I admit the words still prompt nausea and a quiver.”
On the other hand, many conservative Christians supported Trump — despite concerns about his character — because of his promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.
In Oklahoma, a line of voters three-hours long stretches around the Edmond Church of Christ building during early balloting. (PHOTO BY AARON BRACKETT)
• Minister Matt Dabbs advised members of the Auburn Church of Christ in Alabama to keep their faith and identity in Christ, not U.S. politicians.
“No matter what happens (on Nov. 8), remember who you are — made in the image of God and loved unconditionally by God,” he preached before the election. “No matter what happens … remember that those you disagree with are made just as much in God’s image and loved just as unconditionally as you are by God. No matter what happens … love your neighbor as yourself, treat people with dignity and respect … (and) exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.”
Claire Davidson Frederick • Jesus never promised anyone a “Christian nation,” said Claire Davidson Frederick, an adjunct Bible professor and director of the Engage youth theology initiative at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tenn.
“In fact, he promised just the opposite: that the world will hate you as they hated me,” Frederick said. “Christianity was at odds with ‘the Empire’ for the first 300 years of its existence, and even today Christianity always seems to flourish and be at its most faithful in cultures where it is a marginalized and persecuted minority.
“Our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness,” she added. “It certainly is not built upon the faith claims (or lack thereof) of our political leaders.”
• In Oklahoma City, minister Jeremie Beller told the Wilshire Church of Christ that accepting Jesus carries “profound political implications.”
Jeremie Beller points out the “profound political implications” of confessing Jesus as Lord. (PHOTO VIA FACEBOOK.COM)“To confess that Jesus is Lord is to confess that no one else is: not Herod, not Pilate, not Caesar and not whoever wins (the U.S. presidential election),” Beller said. “It is a confession that our citizenship is in heaven. And his kingdom is unlike any kingdom before or after it.”
• At the 15th and Crawford Church of Christ in Fort Scott, Kan., minister Matt Jones touted the importance of letting God carry one’s burdens — including concerns over the nation’s political direction.
“We can help God fix America, and we should,” Jones said. “But only he knows the plan, and we need to be prepared to follow where that plan may lead. And we need to relax a little along the way since he’s driving.”
• John Rakestraw, an elder of the Northwest Church of Christ in Westminster, Colo., reminded members that the United States was founded at God’s pleasure — not that of politicians, generals or bureaucrats.
Josh Ross“I just want to remind Christians that God’s word gives plain, easy-to-understand instructions about this subject,” Rakestraw said. “We are called to be citizens of an everlasting kingdom, not the one God chose us to be born into.”
Back in Memphis, Ross suggests that making sure every email and every social media post passes the “glory to God” test will help Christians avoid losing their wits and burning bridges over politics.
“We will say things to people on social media that we’d never say to their face,” Ross said.
“May we be people who are rooted in the resurrection of Jesus above all things,” he added, “with conversations seasoned with salt and grace for the glory of God.”
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