By Jeff Olson
The great Christian writer, lay theologian and apologist C.S Lewis wrote, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Volumes could be written from just this one sentence because it packs such profound wisdom and truth and has broad application to the lives of each one of us and the world we live in. This week, however, I will try to confine my scope to a few select and timely matters that confront us in the interesting and largely unprecedented times we live in. Also, I will address my thoughts primarily to those who lay claim to the Christian faith. However, I hope everyone who reads this will come away with deeper understanding.
Each and every one of us sees ourselves and sees others and the world through the lens of who we are – a composite of our formative years and our knowledge and experience gained in the ensuing years. Our thinking, our speech, our actions, and our values are what they are for reasons, usually a complexity and diversity of reasons. We sometimes call all of this “baggage” and we bring it all into all aspects of our life, including our relationships. We also bring it into our relationship with God, but we are also to leave it with God and let him remove what can be a might heavy load!
Salvation is transformational – from what we were created to be to what God saves us to become – a new creation where the old things have passed away and all things have become new (1 Corinthians 5:17). This new birth is from the inside out and “all things” means just that – all the way from our inner nature to our character, to our countenance, to our priorities, and to how we see ourselves, one another and the world we live in. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, we are told that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we are no longer our own. This temple is not likened to a house with partitioned rooms where Jesus is a tenant and allowed only access to those rooms we give him a key to and permission to occupy. Rather the temple is to be under new management AND new ownership, where God can convert it to a mansion where there are no doors, no locks and no rooms where we can shut him out.
In other words, our relationship with Christ, the Christian faith, is all-encompassing and guides and informs each and every aspect of our lives. The false dichotomy between sacred and secular, between science and religion, between fact and value and between objective knowledge and subjective feeling has been asserted by the secular world for centuries, and it has caused our belief system to be reduced to little more than private feelings and experience, totally divorced from objective facts.
This has lead us to exclude God from some areas of our lives that we have kept to ourselves or perhaps thought God had no place in or even wanted any place in. Such areas could be business dealings, hobbies, politics, how we spend our money, and even others. We are to honor God in our everything because He is to be THE God of our everything! This is often referred to as having and living a Christian worldview, where we see everything by the light of biblical principles and through the lens of Jesus Christ. In the words of Christian author and teacher, Oswald Chambers, “We are apt to forget that a man is not only committed to Jesus Christ for salvation; he is committed to Jesus Christ’s view of God, of the world, of sin and of the devil, and this will mean that he must recognize the responsibility of being transformed by the renewing of his mind.” [2 Corinthians 10:5]
How this plays out in all aspects of life would make an extensive discussion, so here I will focus on but one aspect and one many of us do not like to consider – politics. How many times have you read or heard: Don’t mix politics and religion! However, we should want to mix them. Why is that? First, politics at its core is but one reflection of morality – our morality and our faith. Our religious belief system is or should be the source of our morality and therefore the driver and compass of our politics. Second, can you think of any other segment of our culture that is more in need of the qualities of personal virtue and character which Christianity instills? Maybe “mixing politics and religion” in this context might not be such a bad idea…..
Then, there is the other side – where many Christians would prefer (and maybe expect) that ALL our elected leaders, especially the president, be Christians. However, that is not likely to happen and in reality should it really need to? Throughout bible history, God raised leaders of all character and backgrounds to serve His greater purpose and He still does. Even those who were among His greatest leaders were flawed and some committed reprehensible violations against Him, such as David. Yet, he remained a man after God’s own heart.
In 2020, God hasn’t changed and neither has man. God still desires that humanity and nations honor Him. America’s Judeo/Christian heritage and moral order did so to a great extent and helped advance Biblical principles and those inherent foundational truths expressed in her founding documents further than in any other place on earth. This is true, regardless of what is being taught to the contrary in our nation’s colleges and universities and what is being passed off as journalism in much of the media.
So, what is a Christian to do this fall? Same as we are always to be doing. An election year does not preclude our marching orders to be Christians and be the Church in the fullness of her expression. However, a part of this includes our role as citizens of our communities, state and nation where God has placed and planted us. As one of God’s ordained institutions, government is within the realm of our responsibility and our prayers and deserves its share of our utmost attention (Romans 13). Who we choose to be our leaders must be informed by our relationship with God and the biblical principles of our faith. These men and women may or may not be believers and we may or may not like them, but here is where the rubber meets the road: do their concerns, decisions proposals and policies reflect those timeless and proven principles of individual freedom, liberty of conscience, and equality before God and under the law. Do they stand firm on the sanctity, dignity and ultimate worth of human life in a nation of ever increasing secular humanism, moral relativism, division, and political and cultural tribalism?
So, by whose light will you choose to see – through whose lens will you focus? How you and I answer this question will not only determine the outcome of the elections this fall, but most importantly will either authenticate or discredit our claim to the Christian faith. And, it may determine whether or not we will retain the freedom bequeathed to us by God, articulated and preserved for us by our country’s Founders, and fought and died for by hundreds of thousands of our patriots.
“You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down. Up to man’s age-old dream — the maximum of individual freedom consistent with order –or down to the ant heap of totalitarianism. Regardless of their sincerity, their humanitarian motives, those who would sacrifice freedom for security have embarked on this downward path.” (Ronald Reagan) “Each new power won by man is a power over man as well.” (C.S. Lewis)