Last year I granted an interview to the Church of Ireland Gazette, a magazine that was trying to interpret US politics for its Irish readers. In view of the coming election, I have revisited that interview, editing the discussion for American readers.

The world seems to be becoming increasingly polarized and divided. We are living in a more uncertain world. Is there anything you think the Church needs to say or to be, in order to act with integrity in that increasingly polarized world?

Pope John Paul II wrote a book called Sign of Contradiction. I believe the Church should always be a sign of contradiction, regardless of the surrounding society.

One of the UK prime ministers, John Major, was trying to understand evangelicals, so he called in the head of the Evangelical Alliance. “I can’t figure out these evangelicals,” he said. “Are they liberal or conservative on political issues?”

Election Year MusingsThe response: “They’re both.” Christians may well support certain policies that represent both sides of the political spectrum.

I once heard a sermon from Tim Keller in which he cited a list of what early Christians in the Roman Empire insisted on. Some examples:

  • There is only one way to God. We oppose pre-marital sex, and also abortion. Those would usually be considered conservative positions.
  • Christians should not serve in the armed forces. We support programs for the poor, and also gender equality. Those would usually be considered liberal positions.

Keller was making the point that people who are trying to follow Jesus can’t be compartmentalized into a binary political platform.

I hope the Church can help tear down the moats and the silos we have constructed around each other. In my lifetime, some Republicans opposed the Vietnam war and some Republicans supported it. There were Democrats who were anti-abortion and Democrats who were pro-abortion. Now, politics has become so polarized that it is almost impossible for a Democrat to be pro-life and almost impossible for Republicans to oppose the administration’s foreign policy. That is very unfortunate.

We are not called to report to a political party. We should look to Jesus for our guidelines on living. Of course, Christians will disagree on specifics, but the bottom line isn’t a party’s political platform. The bottom line is for us to carefully and prayerfully try to discern God’s will in each situation.

Christians accept a basic standard of morality, starting with the Ten Commandments. You can’t always legislate that kind of morality. For example, in the Ten Commandments there are commandments against coveting, adultery, and lying. A few countries have laws against adultery, but I don’t know any country that has a law against coveting or lying. We follow God’s moral law, not just the list of dos and don’ts that a political party holds up as important.

   Living with silos: in the Church we have profound differences on big and small issues. How should we deal with situations, and with each other, when we profoundly differ on what we believe are absolutely core issues?

Jesus always honored the person behind the issues, even among those who must have been offensive to him in some ways. He associated with people viewed as moral outcasts. He engaged with occupying soldiers and also tax collectors who served the occupying government. Yet he always treated those people with dignity, respect, and compassion.

Election Year MusingsIn our time, immigration presents a major challenge. It is certainly legitimate for Christians to disagree on how restrictive immigration should be. But it is illegitimate for us to demonize immigrants or to treat them as subhuman or to deprive them of basic human rights. We don’t have that option. When a politician wants to do that, Jesus-followers must oppose it.

I wrote a book titled What’s So Amazing About Grace. As I was writing, it struck me that it does not take much grace to be around someone who is just like you, who thinks like you, acts like you, votes like you. Grace is put to the test when you’re around somebody who is different from you, and who in fact may be offensive to you.

We don’t have the option of treating that contrary person as an outcast. In fact, Jesus had the opposite paradigm. He said, I came for the sick, not the well, and for sinners, not the righteous.

Sometimes the Church falls into the same trap as the Pharisees, where we start viewing ourselves as morally superior and we want people to be like us. Instead, we are called to reach out to others no matter where they are. Even if they are in bad straits because of their destructive choices, we still should respond with mercy, compassion, and healing—as Jesus did. He reached out to the poor, and stood for justice. So must we.

   Are you hopeful for the future?

Not really. A lot of people in the US, especially evangelicals, are hanging on to a political agenda, even when people leading that political movement are not demonstrating the qualities of Jesus.

Historically, when the Church gets tempted by those who are in power, it bears the consequences for generations. A year ago I was in Spain, where in the last century the Church had allied itself with a strongman, Francisco Franco. Now, several generations later, many Spaniards will have nothing to do with the Church, because when they hear the word “Church” they immediately think repression and violence.

I’m afraid the same thing can happen in the US. We need Christians to act as the “sign of contradiction,” even if it costs us access to power. We were not put on earth to be part of the power structure. We were put on earth to demonstrate how God wants us to live. If people judge us, or we are persecuted for our stance—well, that too is the Jesus way. He was persecuted, indeed he was executed for not kowtowing to the religious or governmental authorities.

   What does a sign of hope look like?

Wherever I travel—say, in Africa, South America, even Communist China—I see beautiful signs of God’s kingdom doing exactly what it should be doing: standing firm against the culture, which may be corrupt, self-serving, even oppressive.

The US seems to be going through a period much like western Europe went through: first, a cozy relationship between Church and state, and then the inevitable backlash in which people reject the Church because the state has proven to lack the integrity—the “sign of contradiction”— that should distinguish the Church.

 

 

 

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46 responses to “Election Year Musings”

  1. Elsa C says:

    Hello Philip, 8 years ago when I was still living in China, I bought your book What is so amazing about Grace! Right now I am reading The Jesus I never knew. Thank you for sharing your journey with God with so many of us ! The reason for reading this book is because I feel from what has happened during this year, the Jesus I know for 13 years looks so different as some Christians represent Him. I never imagine to be a Christ follower is so complicated. Our last pastor came from South Africa. He never allowed us to talk about politics in church. So I was protected and very ignorant of the whole political situation in the Christian community. But this year our new pastor taught in church and on Facebook how Christians should vote: the three things: abortion, same sex marriage and Israel. Then there are posts on church’s Facebook about how dangerous Biden is because he supports abortion and LGBTQ. A brother in church who keeps calling COVID the China virus taught on Facebook how to vote in a biblical way. Of course you know what it means. Republicans are exalted in church. I am a Christian for 13 years. I never question God’s teaching on life, marriage and Israel. But the Bible also teaches not to lie, not to cheat on tax, to care for the well-being of the poor, take care the fatherless and widows, justice, social equality, love and respect, to unify not to divide, etc. Why those three things become the only standard to vote! ? Christians around say Democrats are evil, none of them shall go to heaven. All good Christians should vote republicans. As for those political leaders who claim to be Christians, I just want to ask I don’t see any fruits of the Holy Spirit in them. Jesus says we know the tree by it’s fruits. And what is in the heart comes out of the mouth. Where is love? Where is humility? where is justice? Where is kindness? Where is self control? Where is morality? I really wonder why those three things can be the only baseline for Christians to vote. I am also curious about those so called prophets who still say Trump will win. If Trump does lose, will the prophets come to repent before God for misleading and stumbling the people? If God was only about those three things and politics, I did not really want to follow a God like that. I believe our God is much much much much more! I have cried so much for this nation. We are going through such a difficult time with so many lives lost, families broken and people unemployed. God says if my people who are called by my name, pray and repent and turn away from their wicked ways, I will hear their prayer and heal this land. I hold on to God’s word. We should repent. Seems like we don’t like this word a lot. I ask myself because I need to repent first. As a Christian, which means little Christ, am I representing Jesus to others? At least to my husband and my son and those who think differently. I read some posts people said they lost their faith in God. I can understand it very well. But thank God we still have His word and the Holy Spirit who can reveal to us a true God. I used to watch a lot of sermons on line. Now I only read the Bible and do a small Bible study with a trustworthy friend and pray. Going back to God directly and individually instead of through anyone else is the right thing to do. In the last days there will be false teachers and prophets. So better to go back to truth Himself! May those who seek God earnestly hear from Him and be encouraged, strengthened and restored. May God use what has happened to test and refine our faith in Him! When man fails, God never! God bless!

  2. Greta H says:

    A fellow Christian who shares my horror at “Evangelicals” supporting Trump sent me a link to this article. Thank you. I will never again call myself an Evangelical. Character of the person you vote for DOES matter–not just the political party views. My faith has been severely challenged by the hypocrisy of people calling themselves Christians & praising Trump. How are you opposed to all abortions & see nothing wrong with Trump calling Covid a hoax resulting in so many deaths that could have been avoided. How have so-called Christians come to believe America should only have policies that agree with their personal beliefs? Talk about elitist! The end does not justify the means. Now that’s been abandoned by so-called Christians. I started to read some comments & felt my blood pressure rising, so I stopped. At least I’m not the only one who hasn’t abandoned what it meant to be a Christian when I was saved. I can’t imagine non-believers looking at Evangelicals today & being drawn to the Gospel. I know those in my family are now completely turned away.

  3. Dan Kraemer says:

    In God’s view, on a scale of 1 to 10, how moral is Philip Yancey and Mark Galli? They make the claim that there are morally superior to President Trump. They sound like Pharisees to me. Hard to believe that some Christians don’t understand the basic tenant of Christianity that nobody is righteous, not even Philip and Mark. Please stop teaching your false perverted doctrine. Most Christians can spot false teachers a mile away. Anyway, you have your wish with an abortion-loving Biden as President. How moral is that?

  4. Leora Winter says:

    It gives me comfort and hope to read your calm, non-partisan articles on the current political climate in the United States, and also to read several of the thoughtful comments your readers have left here.

    I am agnostic, but grew up in the evangelical church, and this year it has disheartened me greatly to see several of my friends and family members (and even entire churches) go either “full woke” or completely jump aboard “train Trump” (both for equally well-intentioned reasons) in some cases to the point where they are openly demonizing and scapegoating those on the opposite side, even though it seems clear to me all Christians are motivated by essentially the same values.

    But while I do find it maddening, I have come to recognize that I cannot judge them. Living in the most powerful empire the world has ever known, Americans are also facing the most sophisticated propaganda machines the world has ever known:

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/10/07/us-politics-isnt-polarized-its-in-almost-universal-agreement/

    Anyway, as an anarchist, I so resonate with what you have said here:

    “We were not put on earth to be part of the power structure. We were put on earth to demonstrate how God wants us to live. If people judge us, or we are persecuted for our stance—well, that too is the Jesus way. He was persecuted, indeed he was executed for not kowtowing to the religious or governmental authorities.”

    Thanks again for your articles.

  5. Brenda Russell says:

    I hope it’s not too late to comment here. My church is considering your book for a January Bible study, so I’m researching Mr. Yancey’s writings when I came across this comment section. For what it’s worth, Christianity in America has been a useful tool for political manifestos since before the US became a country. The idea that you were your father’s child was an English proposition, but in America, the children followed the mother. This became quite useful when slaveowners impregnated their slaves so they could literally procreate their economic base. Then slaveowners used the Bible to ‘encourage’ their slaves to be obedient, casting Biblical references about slaves into the lexicon of American economic structure. That was followed by allowing for slaves to have churches, but not allowing people to sit together. When Richard Allen and others tried to pray in Philadelphia, the white church leaders demanded they get off their knees and leave the church, which led to the AME church founding. When lynchings were held throughout this country, they were held after church as picnics, so whites could attend and partake with their friends and family. When MLK was imprisoned in Birmingham and wrote a letter to his church leader brethren, they (all white) took him to task for not being humble enough. He was not going about this the right way, even though he had never condoned a moment of violence and all the violence was directed against him. So 5 months later when 4 little girls were killed on a Sunday morning at a Birmingham church bombing, the silence continued. When a half-black, half-white man who came to Christ as a young adult, married in the church and fathered two children rose to become a political leader and seek the highest position in the country, his name—chosen by his parents–signaled that he was Muslim. When 9 churchgoers in SC prayed with a white man who joined them for prayer who later turned his gun on them and killed them, this political leader attended the funeral of the church leader whom he actually knew. At that funeral, he sang a full throated Amazing Grace acapella without a note and tears flowed for the loss of life. Healing began because he shared that he felt our pain.
    Nevertheless, the person who eventually succeeded him continues to posit that he was un-American, not Christian and did not espouse American values to protect ‘our American way of life’.

    So, today, on the eve of an election to decide whether “Christians” will vote for a 4-year extension of the current president or choose what’s behind door number 2, we have to ask ourselves the real question.

    Who does Christ say that we are?

  6. Roy Stafford says:

    When I was young my hero’s in history were, Muir, Thoreau, and Henry Beston, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Diane Fossey
    In todays crumbling American society my overriding concern now is for truth and justice and if the next few years do not see a change in this country and other world governments this planet will be finished. The climate crisis is being totally ignored in this election by this president who has fought against all scientific fact. Science is telling us that this pandemic has its roots in environmental changes. How many deaths do you think we will see from the future of fires, floods, and storms?

  7. Carla Vornheder says:

    I stand against most of the things one of our candidates supports. Then, I look at the other candidate, and I can’t convince myself that he would be much better. So, I prayed and asked God to tell me how to vote. I won’t tell you what the answer was, but it surprised me. I did this once before a couple of years ago, concerning a race for sheriff. The answer then also surprised me. All my family were alarmed that I would vote this way. I don’t know that it’s the best way, but the sheriff that I voted for has performed rather admirably in that office for many years now. I have to get in a neutral place before I pray about this, a place in my heart where I am willing to believe whatever God’s answer might seem to be.

  8. Frank Gannon says:

    I do not know who wrote this, but it is so beautifully written and true, people need to hear it… 

     I am not voting for a man. I am voting for the principles for which this country has stood since its founding. I am voting for Constitutional government. I am voting for a strong and viable military. I am voting for a vibrant economy. I am voting for the right to keep and bear arms. I am voting for the freedom to worship. I am voting for a national recognition of the founding of our nation on Biblical principles. I am voting for the ability for anyone to rise above their circumstances and become successful. I am voting for my children and grandchildren to be able to choose their own path in life, including how and where their children are educated. I am voting for our borders to be open to everyone who enters under our law and closed to everyone who would circumvent or ignore the law. I am voting for the Electoral College to remain in place, so that a few heavily populated liberal centers do not control the elections. I am voting for a Supreme Court that interprets the Constitution rather than rewrites it. I am voting to teach history, with all its warts, not erase it or revise it. I am voting for the sanctity of life from conception to birth and after.
    Now, my comments-
    However, I will be voting against those who tried to subvert our last election and staged a coup to get rid of our duly elected President.
    Our Presidents are not perfect. They are not Messiahs. If we were electing a Messiah, I would vote for Jesus.
    Until then, I will vote for the person/group whom I think will keep our country intact until there arises that perfect person your readers desire. I see many well meaning people in these comments who will vote for a Marxist/leftist group who have historically murdered and oppressed these same believers.
    I find that hard to understand.

  9. Aileen Mendoza says:

    Dear Mr Yancey,
    I once had the privilege of meeting you at a Breakforth Conference in Edmonton and was really honoured to have a photo taken with you. My friend loved the book you signed for her. Anyway, I know this is off the topic here, but it seems to me that in the 2016 election, “conspiracy theories” played a major role in the outcome of the US election. I’m wondering, if you have actually explored the threat of these theories that are obviously lies and just malicious rumours to smear some people’s reputation. I’ve been looking for a credible Christian writer to shed light on this as it’s frustrating talking to fellow Christians who’d rather believe these theories than the truth. I really hope if you could give some insights on these please? A book would be nice but I’d settle even with just a blog. Thank you. God bless.

  10. Benny jacob says:

    When Jesus was questioned : should we give tax… Answer was: Give what is due to Ceaser and give what is due to god…do we think Jesus being cowardly taking a neutral side?!

  11. Susan says:

    I stopped calling myself an evangelical the day Trump was elected. Even if abortion is made illegal, it will not stop. I know women who had illegal abortions because they were so desperate. I believe we need to create a society where a woman does not choose abortion because there is access to birth control, medical, financial and emotional support (not just until the baby is born) and we have removed societal stigmas to adoption. I find it fascinating that my family and friends vote first against abortion and seem to be unconcerned about all the other people whose lives are threatened in so many ways in the America of 2020. I have been called an idiot and an anarchist for merely suggesting we end the electoral college. Despite how respectful I am to my conservative friends, I do not receive respect in return and have even had my faith and Christianity questioned. I believe, as Jared Byas recent book, “Love Matters More,” but I do not see this love in very many Conservative Christians. I pray daily for our nation and a change in her course.

  12. Cydney Haynes says:

    A very controversial topic to address, thank you. For nearly 70 years I was very political, but now have lost respect for both parties and have bowed out. I now see my citizenship in heaven and in God’s kingdom….and often reflect on the fact that Jesus wasn’t political, but was concerned with the heart of man. I understand now why the Amish usually don’t vote. Believe me, both my democrat and republican family and friends are livid that I don’t vote. Before God I asked myself, “Can I in good conscience vote for either candidate/agenda?” There are issues on both sides that I agree with and also those that seem ungodly. I do hope that I treat people from both sides with dignity and respect. I always appreciate your thought provoking articles, Philip!

  13. Jerry Bowen says:

    WOW. Ok. These replies reveal the deep discord and chasm that exists in the church. (Granted any church historian can suggest that this schism has always been there–from the first ecclesial conflict recorded in Acts). Anyway.
    But what i find disheartening is that we, those of us who call on the Name of Jesus, need to be different. We are called to be in the world not of it. We are called to be salt and light and a city on a hill. We, liberal and conservative, proof text the teachings of Jesus to defend our views. Which, as i read it, was Yancey’s point. We are called to a third way. A different path. Yet. In these replies i see much anger and separation and finger pointing. Isn’t there a third way forward? Or must we bend to the will of polarization and create enemies of each other, thus cementing the death of the church in the U.S.? However. We are called to make a stand. I am not calling anyone out on this thread, but i will say that the current administration, to me, feels more like one who would oppose Jesus than stand with, or listen to Him. That raises a huge flag for me. The current administration cages children. Endorses forced sterilization of asylum seekers. Stands with hate groups. Protects policies that help and protect the superrich while laying the burden on those, financially, cant afford it. He seems to deny climate change and science in general. And like the brilliant Mel White offered earlier in this thread, the current person in the White House does nothing to protect the rights of LGBTQ persons, and trump protects police officers instead of the victims of police brutality and unjust policies. BLM! What alarms me is that time and time again, churches in the U.S. falls to abortion as the foundational voting issue, but we have had a conservative leaning Supreme Court for years, and Roe V. Wade remains. We have more conservative judges on the court than ever, and yet they continue to protect a woman’s right. (So even if this is why folks vote one way or another–the US Supreme Court has the final say and nothing has changed). Followers of Jesus must vote for life. ALL LIFE. Black lives. Incarcerated lives. Asylum Seekers. LGBTQ. Women’s rights. We might say we are, but then our votes say differently, when we endorse a party/president that ignore at best and endorse at worse laws and policies that further the marginalization and oppression of the most vulnerable.

  14. Rex Joshua says:

    I am making this comment more as a reply to the comments thread than the post itself. Have been a long-time follower of Philip’s writings. I am from India. We see up close what happens when religion mixes up with the State. No religion should be mixed up with the State. Not Hinduism in India. Not Christianity in the United States. When, as an outsider, I see the hate and bigotry exhibited by Christians (and their leader) in the US it is not very far from what religious fanatics in my own country exhibit. It costs a lot of lives in our country. Hope the US does not reach that stage. That would not augur well for the US or Christianity. Perhaps this thought will help you during your election day!

  15. Linda McDermitt says:

    Barbara Larson….. If you are responding to the above article, may I suggest you re-read it?

  16. If being evangelical means bringing folks to Christ, it seems the stridency and self righteous of too many have driven increasingly numbers into the “none” category in the last four years. Kind of the definition of winning battles and losing the war. I guess grace does have something to do with it.

  17. Tammy Drew says:

    I find this article very confusing. I dont know how Christians can vote for someone who believes it is ok to kill a baby up to the day of birth. That is called infanticide. It is not about the party but about protecting the most vulnerable. How can someone claim to protect the immigrants but ignore the carnage in the womb? There is no perfect candidate but I vote for life first.

  18. Mel White says:

    Can righteous anger be evidence of contradiction? I am angry at evangelicals who still deny institutionalized racism, who still use seven verses to make outcasts of millions of LGBTQ people, who still say women should have a limited role in society. And I am especially angry at evangelicals who support trump blindly in spite of his racism, his homophobia and his misogyny. If only Trump and his money changers who control our society could be driven from the temple. Now that they own the temple, will we ever drive them out?

  19. Avenel Grace says:

    Dear philip,
    I have two delightful University students boarding with me. One is a Hindu, and the other a Sikh.
    I have listened intently to all they tell me about their lifestyles and religions, and in doing so have found scriptures to support a lot of what they believe and practice.
    This way, I can introduce a God who loves them, and that they are already walking in some of his ordinances, and then able to introduce Jesus as the door way into God’s kingdom. I am so thrilled at the way they are accepting it .They are like flowers opening up to the spring sunshine. It doesn’t take much, only love and being what you say. I learned much from my beloved J (Mahatma Aiyer) as you know. My love always,. Avenel.

  20. Barbara Larson says:

    Philip,
    It makes me sad to hear you repeating the tired secularist canards about conservative evangelicals as if they were valid. As a conservative evangelical, I bristle when critics use false dichotomies, such as if you favor legal immigration, you are against immigration of any kind or that you hate illegal immigrants and want to make their lives miserable. Or if you are against premarital sex and abortion, it is reasonable to infer that you are against gender equality and programs to help the poor. You know those are false characterizations of most conservative evangelicals, yet you don’t use your position as a well-known Christian apologist to set the record straight. It’s so unfair, and frankly, cowardly, to let a lie stand in the interest of preserving your neutrality. You say that Jesus is your model–and I don’t doubt for a second that He’s not–but you seem to ignore the fact that He is full of grace AND truth. Liberal churches tend to promote the fallacy that if you are for truth, then you are against grace. That is flat out wrong, which I’m pretty sure you know. Any lover of the Bible knows that growing in grace and truth is God’s wish for His children. Granted, when God says the greatest of these is love, He seems to be emphasizing grace over truth. Yet He never says that truth is inconsequential or opposed to grace. Why can’t conservative Christians be given the benefit of the doubt as intelligent, sincere followers of Jesus who revere both grace and truth, justice and mercy? And as far as voting is concerned, do you believe Christians should vote? If so, we are not given a variety of nuanced choices in the upcoming presidential election. It is an either/or situation. What better way to base your vote than on how your values align with one or the other party’s platform? After all, whoever wins will be enacting that platform. Christians must ask themselves what our country will look like under the direction of one or the other party. Then we must pick one, only one. If that’s polarizing, so be it. It’s the way our government has operated since its founding and it’s all we’ve got. If and when our method of electing a president is changed–legally, I would hope–we must accept our bifurcated system and exercise our hard-won right to vote.

  21. Janet Barnes says:

    I agree! How then does a Christian vote? Here in Australia it is compulsory to vote and I’ve got concerns for all party policies here. There are policies in each which I fully endorse as being in line with God’s law – and then many which are not. Our Prime Minister is Christian but I do not agree with his policies concerning the treatment of people in mandatory detention and the environment. Of course we can prayerfully support all of our leaders – and we should. However, how to vote on Election Day is a dilemma.

  22. Martin Bowie says:

    We should pray for our government as it is stated in James 3:17,18: Phillips Version “The wisdom that comes from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, approachable, full of merciful thoughts and kindly actions, straightforward, with no hint of hypocrisy. And the peacemakers go on quietly sowing for a harvest of righteousness.” Great article, Phillip!

  23. Lynda Doty says:

    We are a divided nation. But we are a divided church too. I am praying and reading the word and standing on what I understand we are taught to strive for with God as our guide thru the Holy Spirit. I fall short often but by His grace I see it much quicker than I use!! We are a privileged people with self at the helm. I have met the enemy and it is me. I have my hands full in my own skin. We will reap what we are sowing. It is not is God on our side but are we on God’s side.

  24. Rhianfa says:

    This is very timely. Last night, a leader from the church i grew up in libeled two Christians on my facebook wall by posting false information about their beliefs in order to support a political argument he was making. He was called out, admitted it was not true, and brushed it off to continue arguing. I am devastated. Although its been decades since we worshipped together, he was a man that was an elder in the church i grew up in, he was one of my sunday school teachers, he was there when i was baptized, when i was married, when my husband was baptized, when my kids were dedicated. Now all i see is a liar. Someone who would besmirch the name of Christ for a political argument. We arent even American! He gains nothing from winning his argument and contributes to the hatred of Christians! Why??? What should i do? What is my responsibility in this case? If it is to gently rebuke his sin, how do i do that in a way that honors God and that he will hear?

    • Philip Yancey says:

      I don’t think you should attempt this alone, as he could misrepresent you too. I suggest you find a trusted church leader to work with you in deciding the best response. You need to talk through the details it wouldn’t be appropriate to publish on Facebook.

  25. Günther Fugger says:

    Winning the battle for power, but losing the Good News on the way. The first maybe, the second for sure.

  26. Sharon (Sam) Peck says:

    Refreshing to read sane comments re: USA political madness. Christians “aren’t called to a political party but to Jesus’ guidelines on living and to a careful and prayerful discernment of GOD’s will in every situation”. I’m trying to live these words you wrote. No TV news, etc., but I will research all candidates to learn their past actions and leadership qualities.

  27. Tamara says:

    When people comment that I’m liberal or conservative, I react — I don’t like being pigeon holed into a political title. I am a follower of Jesus, who was not a single issue son-of-God. Jesus cares about ALL of us — not just white, conservative, evangelical, Catholic, perfect-looking people. WE are ALL His creation, not just those who line up with a political party. And, I believe He cares MOST about the marginalized, those with no voice or whose voices are squashed, the poor, the lonely, the different. He cares — even for the hateful people who spew their hate all over those most vulnerable. And, we are called to love them all too. Oy veh. It is HARD but if I am a follower of Jesus, it is what I must do. As a citizen of the world, I will land on the side that Jesus chooses over and over again and is mentioned numerous times in the Old Testament — love one another. Period. He doesn’t say love only if they are white, successful, pretty, have a home, send their kids to private Christian schools. He says LOVE ONE ANOTHER — He does not care if you are liberal or conservative or affiliated with a political party. It’s really quite simple. Love. One. Another.

  28. Corinne Edington says:

    God bless you! I know I’ve been blessed by having met you (finally) at a book signing. Now I blessed with each post. Keep sharpening the iron!

  29. John Thomas says:

    “Are you hopeful for the future?

    Not really. A lot of people in the US, especially evangelicals, are hanging on to a political agenda, even when people leading that political movement are not demonstrating the qualities of Jesus”

    Neither did the Emperor of Rome: but Peter still remained hopeful, not because of leaders, but because of His Savior (1 Peter 1:3). Hang in there Phillip, God calls us to be faithful, even if we don’t always win. Thankfully, Pauls letter to the Romans signifies Christians who stick with Christ “more than win” (Romans 8:37). Christ’s way is worth pursuing, Win lose or draw…..

  30. Deborah Saunders says:

    I have been “persecuted” ( rejected) in the USA by my friends because I have separated myself from the party who has the evangelical vote- not considering the integrity of the President – just all about the “party”- it has been hurtful that my “ friends” would support this man …and even tell me I must not be a believer in God if I support the other party …
    This was a great article about the division going on .

  31. Ron Fraser says:

    Thank you Philip!!!! I have long thought that putting our faith in societal power structures is broken in spirit and principle with Jesus who exchanged a sceptre and throne for a basin and a towel. “Let this mind be in you….”

  32. Don Woodbury says:

    Solid points. Most people with whom I visit bemoan the division in our country and just don’t understand why the other side cannot change to their view. It is like one past mayor of Houston once said “Everyone is in favor of mass transit so that everyone else will get off the freeway”.

  33. Steve Kamerick says:

    Hello Gail, you are correct and I align myself with you in the desire for character and integrity, but we can not ignore Grace, which is the primier quality of Jesus’ person mission and life commitment. I guess that makes a Vote for this year impossible for a believer and follower of Jesus.

  34. Mike Kunsman says:

    Right on. I only wish that the Church and especially many more of my church’s members would be that ‘sign of contradiction.’

  35. Marcus DeHart says:

    Philip,

    Thanks for clearly describing the situation of the church during this political year. I’ve been fairly passive through it all because of the polarization. But recently, I’ve recognized my need to be aware and have a voice. In a recent family discussion, I was amazed at how the tone of the political conversation changed when I simply said “I don’t put my hope in the outcome of this election. Neither candidate will save America, much less the world.” My brothers suddenly dropped their conspiracy theories, and we all started talking about Jesus and the Bible.

    I have learned that too often people focus on a solution without truly understanding what the problem is. And even more than the problem, we fail to see the people who are affected by the problem. We generalize them as a homogenous group that are all affected in the same way. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Even the best solutions will leave someone behind.

    Except for the solution of Jesus Christ.

    For the question “Are you hopeful for the future?” I assume that that your response is specifically about the church in the United States. In that context, I agree that things don’t look good and that the church is digging it’s own grave.

    Thank God that the Church is much bigger than the fractured and divided organ it has become in America. The Church is alive and well—even thriving where it is most persecuted. But as we are all members of one body, and each member belongs to all the others, so the whole Church is affected by the disease that has infected us here in the U.S. While my gut reaction is to distance myself from those members of the church I disagree with, I know that they are my brothers. And like Paul confronting Peter, I need to approach them with respect (not because they “deserve” it but because God calls us to respect one another). I need to understand and acknowledge their concerns and fears—and I believe that fear is what is driving the church apart. And I need to walk alongside them, affirming that perfect love (not political solutions) drives out all fear.

    I do have hope for the Church because of the power of the Holy Spirit. No matter what happens to the institutional church, God will always preserve a remnant that is alive and well.

  36. K. Steele says:

    Yes! I agree…. And I’m deeply concerned about the spiritual state of The Church. When Christians start relying on a man made political/government system to “implement” the Kingdom of God, they have missed it completely. I pray that the Church’s eyes and ears would be opened.

  37. Carol Johnson says:

    I believe abortions are a scar on the soul of America and the unscalable wall between the two parties. I cannot imagine casting my vote for someone who supports killing babies even on the delivery table when the abortion “didn’t work” as intended—that is murder.

  38. Edwin says:

    I lost faith through a rather complex process. And a crucial part of that process was the realization that it was impossible for me to find any relationship between Christianity as a whole and Jesus. At some point, I only had one adjective to describe Christians in the United States: ugly.

    I know there are many amazing Christian individuals but so there are also amazing non-believers.

    I am an admirer of Phillip Yancey. Besides being a brilliant thinker and an incredible writer, he was able to preserve his faith —I keep reading him on an attempt to recover mine. Cheers to all.

  39. Protestors love sunlight and fresh air.
    Rioters love darkness and mischief.
    Indifferent citizens love unawareness.
    The uninformed love lemming numbness.
    Politicians love their voice and selfies.
    The wise love God’s grace and presence.

  40. Vahen King says:

    Thank you for that word. Christians need to know now more than ever what they believe! So that when they ARE challenged and questioned, they stand in confidence, not just look weak and insecure. I truly believe Christians need to be praying for a Daniel anointing. Wisdom that goes BEYOND human ” credentials & intellect,” (be there contradiction indeed) and it’s available to ALL who SEEK GOD for it.
    Together in His service! 🙏

  41. Diana Millar says:

    I am in Scotland and look on with disbelief that Christians in the USA seem so blind to the blatant disregard for God’s laws (and the mind of Christ) in their chosen political leader. I used to be a Conservative voter but now find it very hard to predict the party I could support in another election, thankfully here – in the meantime – it doesn’t arise. Strict party allegiance is very dangerous these days.

  42. Susanne says:

    Phil,
    Thank you for such an even handed message. I just needed this. I unfortunately am able to hear micro-aggressions all too often from people professing Christ and am reminded that judgment should begin with ourselves, our homes, and our churches….before pointing the finger at “the other”. Am reminded: “He that is without sin, cast the first stone…..”

  43. Gail Pilgrim says:

    Thank you for this. However, I feel that in North America, people have already rejected “church” because we have become insular and closely aligned with political parties with a lack of integrity. It is the cry of my heart that we would be reignited to serve people and follow Jesus.

  44. Ron Crooker says:

    Very good article God’s people need to reflect on as ambassadors from God’s kingdom. We live here but operate as Jesus did.

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