Wednesday, November 05, 2008

AMERICA HAS CHOSEN A PRESIDENT
by Dr. Al Mohler


This is simply the best commentary I have read all day from any journalist or Christian leader. 

May I commend highly your heart and mind to the lucid and circumspect words of Dr. Al Mohler. Read it carefully, thoughtfully, thoroughly, and biblically.

Romans 13
Steve



The election of Sen. Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States came as a bang, not a whimper. The tremors had been perceptible for days, maybe even weeks. On Tuesday, America experienced nothing less than a political and cultural earthquake.

The margin of victory for the Democratic ticket was clear. Americans voted in record numbers and with tangible enthusiasm. By the end of the day, it was clear that Barack Obama would be elected with a majority of the popular vote and a near landslide in the Electoral College. When President-Elect Obama greeted the throngs of his supporters in Chicago's Grant Park, he basked in the glory of electoral energy.

For many of us, the end of the night brought disappointment. In this case, the disappointment is compounded by the sense that the issues that did not allow us to support Sen. Obama are matters of life and death -- not just political issues of heated debate. Furthermore, the margin of victory and sense of a shift in the political landscape point to greater disappointments ahead. We all knew that so much was at stake.

For others, the night was magical and momentous. Young and old cried tears of amazement and victory as America elected its first African-American President -- and elected him overwhelmingly. Just forty years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, an African-American stood to claim victory as President-Elect of the nation. As Sen. Obama assured the crowd in Chicago and the watching nation, "We will get there. We will get there." No one hearing those words could fail to hear the refrain of plaintive words spoken in Memphis four decades ago. President-Elect Obama would stand upon the mountaintop that Dr. King had foreseen.

That victory is a hallmark moment in history for all Americans -- not just for those who voted for Sen. Obama. As a nation, we will never think of ourselves the same way again. Americans rich and poor, black and white, old and young, will look to an African-American man and know him as President of the United States. The President. The only President. The elected President. Our President.

Every American should be moved by the sight of young African-Americans who -- for the first time -- now believe that they have a purchase in American democracy. Old men and old women, grandsons and granddaughters of slaves and slaveholders, will look to an African-American as President.

Regardless of politics, could anyone remain unmoved by the sight of Jesse Jackson crying alone amidst the crowd in Chicago? This dimension of Election Day transcends politics and touches the heart of the American people.

Yet, the issues and the politics remain. Given the scale of the Democratic victory, the political landscape will be completely reshaped. The fight for the dignity and sanctity of unborn human beings has been set back by a great loss, and by the election of a President who has announced his intention to sign the Freedom of Choice Act into law. The struggle to protect marriage against its destruction by redefinition is now complicated by the election of a President who has declared his aim to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. On issue after issue, we face a longer, harder, and more protracted struggle than ever before.

Still, we must press on as advocates for the unborn, for the elderly, for the infirm, and for the vulnerable. We must redouble our efforts to defend marriage and the integrity of the family. We must be vigilant to protect religious liberty and the freedom of the pulpit. We face awesome battles ahead.

At the same time, we must be honest and recognize that the political maps are being redrawn before our eyes. Will the Republican Party decide that conservative Christians are just too troublesome for the party and see the pro-life movement as a liability? There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door.

Others will declare these struggles over, arguing that the election of Sen. Obama means that Americans in general -- and many younger Evangelicals in particular -- are ready to "move on" to other issues. This is no time for surrender or the abandonment of our core principles. We face a much harder struggle ahead, but we have no right to abandon the struggle.

We should look for opportunities to work with the new President and his administration where we can. We must hope that he will lead and govern as the bridge-builder he claimed to be in his campaign. We must confront and oppose the Obama administration where conscience demands, but work together where conscience allows.

Evangelical Christians face another challenge with the election of Sen. Obama, and a failure to rise to this challenge will bring disrepute upon the Gospel, as well as upon ourselves. There must be absolutely no denial of the legitimacy of President-Elect Obama's election and no failure to accord this new President the respect and honor due to anyone elected to that high office. Failure in this responsibility is disobedience to a clear biblical command.

Beyond this, we must commit ourselves to pray for this new President, for his wife and family, for his administration, and for the nation. We are commanded to pray for rulers, and this new President faces challenges that are not only daunting but potentially disastrous. May God grant him wisdom. He and his family will face new challenges and the pressures of this office. May God protect them, give them joy in their family life, and hold them close together.

We must pray that God will protect this nation even as the new President settles into his role as Commander in Chief, and that God will grant peace as he leads the nation through times of trial and international conflict and tension.

We must pray that God would change President-Elect Obama's mind and heart on issues of our crucial concern. May God change his heart and open his eyes to see abortion as the murder of the innocent unborn, to see marriage as an institution to be defended, and to see a host of issues in a new light. We must pray this from this day until the day he leaves office. God is sovereign, after all.

Without doubt, we face hard days ahead. Realistically, we must expect to be frustrated and disappointed. We may find ourselves to be defeated and discouraged. We must keep ever in mind that it is God who raises up nations and pulls them down, and who judges both nations and rulers. We must not act or think as unbelievers, or as those who do not trust God.

America has chosen a President. President-Elect Barack Obama is that choice, and he faces a breathtaking array of challenges and choices in days ahead. This is the time for Christians to begin praying in earnest for our new President. There is no time to lose.

24 comments:

The Seeking Disciple said...

I am praying earnestly for Obama to repent and become a true disciple of Jesus. The change we need is the change he needs!

Deb_B said...

My husband insisted we prayerfully read and reread and reflect on the applicable passages at the outset of Romans 13, both late last night and this morning.

After going back over Romans 13 this morning, we read Dr. Mohler's undeniably Bible-based teaching - it was not a commentary, it was a sound, Biblical lesson we Christians here in America do well to prayerfully receive and ponder over before God.

I am ashamed for the Christians who authored the angry comments contained in too many of the emails that landed in my in box overnight.

Most of those are currently prepared to shoot the proverbial messenger, figuratively speaking, when God's sovereignty and Romans 13 is gently broached ... for it speaks truths they are determined not to hear at the moment.

May God grant us submissive, obedient hearts to do all as unto Him, for His glory ... and let it begin in my own heart.

Don Johnson said...

Mohler is overstating the case. "Near landslide"? No, not really. Compare Nixon and Reagan's triumphs, for example. Those were landslides.

In a year and an environment when everything seemed poised for a crushing defeat for the Republicans, McCain was really not that far from winning and Democratic hopes in Senate and House didn't fully materialize.

While Republicans should take a long look at themselves and think carefully about the future, the message isn't one demanding wholesale renovation of the Republican platform. Perhaps it demands a wholesale embracing of the Republican platform instead.

While the Libertarians would dearly love to ditch the Religious Right, they won't do it if they are half as smart as I think they are.

Bottom line: this is no time to go wobbly.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

R W S said...

All leaders need our prayers but first and foremost we should pray that they repent of sin and acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. For President elect Obama may he repent of the murderous promotion of the unborn and come to understanding of the true gospel,not the heresy he sat under with the Rev. Wright.

BlueDeacon said...

There is the real danger that the Republicans, stung by this defeat, will adopt a libertarian approach to divisive moral issues and show conservative Christians the door.

Mohler is right about this, more so than he realizes. The problem, however, is that it's not just Christians but secular conservatives -- the real driving force over the last 30 years in the GOP -- that might be tamped down in the process, and the Christian association with them, who have no real principle other than winning elections BAMN, has proven problematic to say the least. In other words, in the political realm we have willing yoked ourselves with non-believers and are now suffering the consequences.

I see Obama's presidency primarily as a failure of the church to stand for, among other things, good governance; so focused it was on "moral" issues that many of us supported any candidate, qualified or not, who came out against legal abortion or gay marriage. Keep in mind, however (and the GOP understands this), that the percentage of people in this country who are truly concerned about such issues to the extent that they vote primarily that way is in single digits and thus have little real say. That's why Mohler might be right.

For those reasons, to maintain and even expand our influence we Christians need to redefine what being a believer in the public square means; some more "liberal" evangelicals have been doing this for years and thus are already ready to meet the challenge. Above all, we need to engage with people who don't think the way we do because they just must be right.

We need to be concerned with the mechanisms of poverty and the historical effects of racism, among other issues, and not call those who have been working on them "socialists" or "playing the race card" respectively. Furthermore, the Democratic Party has recently become more amenable to the anti-abortion crowd, though not nearly enough; if Christians can work on those and other "diaconal" issues we might eventually be able to sway even prominent Democrats to a "pro-life" stance. However, it's going to take a serious attitude change on our part.

littlegal_66 said...

"As a nation, we will never think of ourselves the same way again. Americans rich and poor, black and white, old and young, will look to an African-American man and know him as President of the United States. The President. The only President. The elected President. Our President."

Personally, I would have preferred Alan Keyes or J.C. Watts to occupy that role in history, but the people have spoken. Unfortunately, the American electorate apparently wanted a president with a socialist agenda; America wanted a President who is in favor of partial-birth abortion. As soon as Senator McCain conceded last night, I began praying for the President-Elect. (I did find it ironic that while the McCain crowd chanted, "USA, USA, USA," during his speech, the Obama crowd chanted, "Obama, Obama...")

God be merciful to us as a nation in our transgressions.

BlueDeacon said...

Personally, I would have preferred Alan Keyes or J.C. Watts to occupy that role in history, but the people have spoken. Unfortunately, the American electorate apparently wanted a president with a socialist agenda; America wanted a President who is in favor of partial-birth abortion.

In truth, that would have never happened because neither man has any real constituency outside of the conservative movement -- very important -- and Watts himself had said publicly that he was considering voting for Obama because he saw the Republican Party as being out only for itself and couldn't care less about African-Americans.

But frankly, calling Obama a "socialist" is a slur not worthy of a follower of Christ and which in the end will prove only to isolate conservatives from the rest of the country, and the reality is that most people don't really care about the abortion issue -- which I mentioned in a previous post. There are reasons the Democratic Party made serious gains across the country, and they had nothing do with positions on moral issues.

Psalm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
NativeVermonter said...

"Still, we must press on as advocates for the unborn."

Sure would like to know the "we" in this statement. I've seen precious little from those who have been Redeemed. We have allowed the false religions of the world to set the pace in the fight for the unborn.

Rick Frueh said...

We must never look at President Obama as Americans, we must look at him as Christians. Mohler's pice was very good Christian advice. We all must keep our eyes on Christ and pray for our leaders and let God reveal the arm of his power.

BlueDeacon said...

Obama is the result a Christian world with its head in the sand. It is a scared feeble people with no moral or spine. It would crucify Christ if You could even find Him. But He could stand before you and you could not see.

Au contraire -- Obama is the result of a self-satisfied populace which at the time more concerned more with security than justice; when neither was happening under the current administration people began to wake up. Unfortunately, many Christians didn't see that coming (but I did), so we're reacting to our loss of power like wounded animals as though we're entitled to the country's favor. Basically, because he was correct on the moral issues we concentrate on we believers didn't hold the current President Bush accountable for his failure to govern properly -- and you see the result.

I've seen precious little from those who have been Redeemed. We have allowed the false religions of the world to set the pace in the fight for the unborn.

Because, in fact, that's where it started -- evangelicals did not get involved in fighting legal abortion until 1978, and even then it was used as cover for some ungodly right-wing ideology.

JamesL said...

First, the numbers of people who actually voted is similar to 2004. Only 14% of blacks voted. Also, by no stretch of the imagination was abortion an issue for the bulk of Americans who voted. Nor was the war agaist Islam. Instead it was simply who will make my life "normal" and put/keep money in my pocket. It was primarily a referendum on Barrack Obama not on classic conservative principles. The fact is Joe the Plumber did a better job of articulating tax policy than did the GOP nominee.
Another travesty of the whole cycle is the utter inattention to Obama's terrorist and racist allies as compared to the ruthless attack on Sarah Palin. Did the masses speak?Yes, and they did so with the ignorance normally attributed to them.

BlueDeacon said...

Another travesty of the whole cycle is the utter inattention to Obama's terrorist and racist allies as compared to the ruthless attack on Sarah Palin. Did the masses speak? Yes, and they did so with the ignorance normally attributed to them.

Not true at all -- in fact, far more attention was paid to Obama's associates than was warranted and he turned even those into a positive. And, truth be told, Palin did herself in with her bumbling performance during her interview with Katie Couric and her refusal to answer direct questions at the vice presidential debate.

Bottom line, on Tuesday conservatives were rejected on their own merit; blaming the media or anyone else won't cut it. They ran some bad candidates with no real message and thus deserved to lose. Let's keep in mind that the Republican Party also lost congressional seats in the process, which in the long run was far more devastating than losing the presidency.

vaughn said...

Hard to disagree with much of what Dr. Mohler has written here, although I do agree with don johnson that the case for a blow-out or seismic shift in the nation's political complexion has been overstated. Certainly both Bush victories were much more closely contested, but that does not necessarily mean this admittedly sound Obama victory was a landslide. In truth, the Obama victory should probably be seen not so much as proof of some radical leftward shift in the electorate, but rather as a referendum on an extremely unpopular Bush Presidency. It should be noted, too, that President Bush has not been unpopular because of his rock-ribbed conservatism, because although he ran as a conservative, he has not really governed as one.

Perhaps Mohler's best (and most alarming) point is one he does not elaborate on much, and that is the place in Obama's victory secured by young, left-leaning evangelicals. Their social gospel fascination is most assuredly the fruit of the gospel having been sacrificed on the altar of pragmatism by many churches in recent years. This trend is, frankly, of greater concern to me at this time than the nation's current political mood, which I believe will swing back to the right after a few of years of unkept liberal utopian promises.

All this said, we need to be good citizens as Romans 13 demands us to be, and we must pray for all our government officials in obedience to 1 Timothy 2, but above all, we need to get serious about the battle for sound Biblical orthodoxy that is right now raging in Christian colleges and even right in our very own churches.

JamesL said...

Mr Deacon,
I am unsure if I am even on the same planet. The MSM did ZER in depth coverage into Obama's background. Those who did were labeled racist. The almighty fact is that as soon as Palin was nominated literally scores of reporters and lawyers were flown in with one mission"brinh her down. I remember wll the headline: "Palin's Pastor preaches on Hell!"
Furthermore, anyone with half a brain knows that John McCain, as much as I admire him, is no conservative. Moderate republican appeasement has been his stance and that has been what has gone down in flames. Obama, in order to win had to take a hard right. Something he'll certainly be repenting of come January.

BlueDeacon said...

Perhaps Mohler's best (and most alarming) point is one he does not elaborate on much, and that is the place in Obama's victory secured by young, left-leaning evangelicals. Their social gospel fascination is most assuredly the fruit of the gospel having been sacrificed on the altar of pragmatism by many churches in recent years. This trend is, frankly, of greater concern to me at this time than the nation's current political mood, which I believe will swing back to the right after a few of years of unkept liberal utopian promises.

That assumes, wrongly, that evangelical Christians are necessarily ideologically conservative -- very, very few African-American evangelicals are, for example, because their historical experience won't permit them to embrace conservatism. And since I attend a non-ideological evangelical church with many young adult attendees, I can tell you that the shift you mention is not because the Gospel isn't being preached in context but that the generation behind me simply can't relate to the 1960s-based "culture wars" that have dominated much of the discourse in evangelical churches since the 1980s.

In other words, their respective worlds are disengaged from what I call the kind of "empire Christianity" where a few self-anointed leaders, usually through their media, claim to speak for the entire church, and since that generation is dying out anyway there's actually more freedom to search the Scriptures for themselves without adhering to the "approved" ideology. For that reason, it's a permanent shift.

BlueDeacon said...

I am unsure if I am even on the same planet. The MSM did ZER in depth coverage into Obama's background.

I'll leave that to your judgment, because what you said is utterly false -- you may remember what turned out to be a bogus Washington Times story published early last year that suggested that, when he was living in Indonesia, he attended a radical Muslim seminary; that created the rumors that he may be in league with Islamic terrorists. (Last I heard, it's still a sin to repeat rumors with no proof.)

As for Jeremiah Wright, when he preached "God damn America..." in 2003 he immediately followed that up with "...for thinking she's God" -- which is an entirely Biblical statement in context. If a conservative made that statement, probably most of the people who frequent this blog would say "Amen!", but that a black man would say that about them ... well, he needs to be "dealt with." Do I detect some hypocrisy here?

vaughn said...

bluedeacon, thank you for the thoughtful posts. I pastor a politically non-ideological church with many young adult attendees. I do not preach politics, and our elders will not allow politics to be taught in any of our various groups or studies. We adhere to the Word of God because it is the context for all of life, including politics, and not vice-versa. My observation that the political mood of the country will swing away from the left is exactly that, a personal observation, and one that finds support in history as well. I am alarmed that a number of evangelicals voted for Mr. Obama, not because I identify myself as a political conservative, but because frankly, a number of his well documented positions, including his radical support of abortion, collide squarely with a Biblical worldview.

I understand, in part, the rationale you mention for few African Americans embracing political conservatism. However, that provides no justification for reacting against it and embracing political liberalism, either. This is true particularly in light of the left's embrace of abortion on demand, and the radical gay agenda. These positions, embraced in large part by President Elect Obama, amount ultimately not to an attack on American culture, but on God Himself. Believers in Christ should concern themselves with being in line with Scripture, not a particular political ideology.

Please know that I will be praying that our President Elect will turn to the Lord Jesus in humble repentant faith. My prayer for our outgoing President is the very same.

BlueDeacon said...

I am alarmed that a number of evangelicals voted for Mr. Obama, not because I identify myself as a political conservative, but because frankly, a number of his well documented positions, including his radical support of abortion, collide squarely with a Biblical worldview.

That might be a good thing, because it may mean that God is up to something that we believers don't understand just yet; we have to trust that He will reveal that purpose when He feels like it. For the record, I've been a Christian for 30 years and grew up in a very strong church, and I have never fully understood just how a conservative worldview squares with Scripture, especially considering that in the last few decades it has focused far more on defeating perceived enemies rather than doing what's right for all concerned. The early church, knowing it was outnumbered and powerless, never focused on cultural change; however, by simply living their convictions it did change the culture. Perhaps that's the message He's trying to deliver.

Believers in Christ should concern themselves with being in line with Scripture, not a particular political ideology.

Granted, but that's just what we Christians often haven't done, especially the reactionaries that until recently dominated evangelicalism, and ignoring a lot of Scripture in the process. More importantly, because the winds are now blowing against us we need to be more circumspect in our attitudes and actions and not lash out at every little thing that may rub us the wrong way. Nor should we be so conceited as to believe that "when the days become more evil they will return to us" -- because that hovers dangerously close to presumption. We should be about the business of the Savior, not promoting our own authority.

Michele Rayburn said...

I think a lot of forces were at work to get Obama elected.

1) There were the logistics. He organized a huge team of over a million people (and used the internet) to register mostly young people across the nation, and a lot of it was done fraudulently through Acorn, which Obama was connected with. Plus he broke his promise to use Public Funding, and left McCain with an unfair and uneven playing field. Also, there was about $300 million dollars from unknown sources that Obama would not reveal.

2) Then there was the media blackout. The Liberal media favored their Democrat candidate, as usual, so he received very little scrutiny, and his unsavory alliances were not objectively reported on, if at all.

3) Then there was the sheer ignorance of the voters. They were politically ignorant. When asked why they were voting for Obama, most voters couldn't say why. And some just wanted to make history by voting for the first black President.

4) The cult of personality was probably the biggest factor. They liked Obama's looks, manner of speech, and personality. His calm demeanor was constantly compared to McCain's so-called "eratic behavior". This is a very immature and irresponsible way to vote for a President. But it happens a lot. I think that was a factor with JFK and with Bill Clinton. In this election, over 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Obama, and that's what they think really got Obama elected.

5) Obama posed as a tax-cutting Conservative, proposing middle-class tax cuts for 95% of the people. That is a logistical fallacy at best (because 40% don't pay taxes), and everyone should know by now that Democrats never cut taxes.

6) But there is one thing that I noticed that really stood out. And that is that so many people, both Liberals and Conservatives, were asking, "Who is this guy?"

But I think that they know who Obama is. It's just that when they would learn something about him, they would reject it and go into denial about it. They couldn't accept what they heard. It sounded too outlandish or untrue.

They say they don't know who Obama is. But Hugo Chavez knows him and Hamas knows him, and Hamas endorsed him, and Chavez congratulated the U.S. for electing him.

So, a lot of people say that they don't know him, but I think that they just don't want to admit that they do. Either that or the Lord has put on them a sort of spiritual blindness.

The news coming out of Washington, D.C. has been sounding ominous today. But I really do believe that a lot of good is going to come out of this.

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Maranatha. Come quickly Lord Jesus.

Michele

BlueDeacon said...

Michelle -- Those represent the kind of comments we absolutely don't need, especially from Christians. When you say that "we don't know anything about him," the real context is "this guy's got to be hiding something from us that, were we to know them, no one would vote for him." That's wishful thinking based on (dare I say it?) hate and resentment toward someone who doesn't answer to us. As I mentioned, for a couple of years conservative media were spreading gossip, none of it true, about him in order to derail him (and keep them out of power -- they did the very same thing to Bill Clinton but had been exposed as doing just that).

As for Chavez and Hamas applauding his election, that's a function of the contempt they have for the current president and should not be interpreted as anything else. The same can be said for the rest of the world, which also is rejoicing because it also sees Bush as a jerk.

Stan McCullars said...

I think Americans knew plenty about Obama. He was pretty clear that one of his priorities was to expand the practice of dismembering babies.

vaughn said...

bluedeacon, following are a couple of things relevant my thinking:

1) I am not interested in squaring any variety of political ideology with Scripture; We must move past political dogma as Christians and stick with the inerrant Word of God alone - Scripture alone should shape our worldview, and consequently, our actions.

2) I am absolutely in agreement with your assessment that we should be about the business of our Savior and not promoting our own authority.

SJ Camp said...

bluedeacon
Consider yourself banned from this site for disparaging and unapologetic remarks directed about the Lord Jesus Christ.

Steve