Perhaps you have seen some of the following descriptions of the 2016 Presidential elections:

300 MILLION AMERICANS AND THIS IS THE BEST WE CAN DO?

Republican party/ Democrat party/ PIZZA PARTY!

My personal favorite is what was seen on a church sign, “Jesus is coming, hopefully before the election!”

Humor aside, we all recognize the importance of this election. America is experiencing a philosophical shift unlike any other in our history. Religious freedoms are under assault.

Unlike recent Presidential elections, prominent Christians are divided on how Christians should respond.  Today we will consider what response we should have as believers.  The choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton has left many Christians wondering how they should vote, since the candidate that is pro-life is also fundamentally flawed in morality and demeanor.  But before we examine the principles that should guide us in the exercise of our vote, let’s examine the broader issue of the current state of affairs in America.

I.                  Where Are We?

AMERICA IS MORALLY CORRUPTED

The news from this election cycle reads like a dirty magazine.  One day brings stories of Bill Clintons previous sexual accusers.  The next day we are hearing recordings of Donald Trumps lewd conversations.  The most recent news reveals new Clinton email’s found on Anthony Weiner’ computer as the FBI investigates his sexting of teenager girls.  It’s difficult to imagine a more tawdry story line.

AMERICA is polluted with sexual perversion and it is reflected in our leaders and our national conversation.

One thing that Hillary and Trump have in common is that they are both children of the 60’s.  The seeds of the sexual revolution have now matured into a tree of perversion.

Should this surprise us?

  • The ninth best-selling book of all time on Amazon is “Fifty Shades of Grey”
  • It sold 125 million copies world wide
  • In the U.S., 13% of all internet searches are for erotic content (Source: Covenant Eyes)
  • The most popular category in these searches is “youth” (Covenant Eyes)
  • “Sex” is the most popular search term on search engines

AMERICA IS POST-MODERN

The phrase post-modern is a description of the predominant philosophical approach of secular Americans.  To understand post-modernism, you must go back to its root, which was modernism.

Modernism arose in America in the 1800’s as America shifted from a CHRISTIAN world view to MODERN world view.  Some characteristics of Modernism include:

  • Reason is elevated as the source of truth
  • Scientific method is upheld as the only completely trustworthy virtue
  • During the era of Modernism, the academic world became embarrassed by the supernatural claims of Scripture.
  • The ACADEMY as represented in schools like Rutgers, Harvard, Princeton and Yale went from schools that produced preachers of the gospel, to schools that deconstructed the Bible through higher criticism.
  • The pews were still filled with Bible believing Christians, but the Academy and the Pulpits began to be filled with skeptics who replaced the Gospel of salvation and transformation with a gospel of good deeds and social reformation.

But just as Modernism was becoming predominant in the thinking and lives of average people, A new philosophy of POST-MODERNISM began to take root in the ACADEMY.

  • Philosophers began to view Modernism as a colossal failure, with Europe in ashes after 2 World Wars
  • The advances of Modernism were destroying humanity through the invention of newer and more destructive weapons.
  • This philosophy that arose was called Existentialism
  • It saw the world a terrible place, so get all the gusto you can
  • The only thing that matters is your current existence

For most of the 1900’s, many of the philosophy of Post-Modernism was limited to the ACADEMY.  But, just like MODERNISM, POST-MODERNISM crept out of the Academy and into the thinking and behavior of the populace.

During the first half of the 1900’s average people lived their lives under the prior world view of Modernism.  Some changes in ART, MUSIC and PHILOSOPHY were beginning, but they seemed strange to most folks.  The turning point when the ideas of Post-Modernism became mainstream can be seen in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s, when a cultural divide formed in America.  Hippies and Beatniks embraced a life without rules.  Their parents and many established areas of society maintained the safety and comfort of Modernism.

During this time of cultural change in America, some of the following attitudes were embraced:

  • Rebellion against authority
  • Sexual expression
  • “If it feels good, do it!”
  • Compulsory Prayer in NY’s public schools forbidden (Engle Vs. Vitale – 1962)
  • Compulsory Bible reading in PA’s schools forbidden (Abington Vs Schemp, 1963)
  • Restrictions on States prohibition of Abortion (Roe VS. Wade, 1973)

FINALLY, in the 1990’s, POSTMODERNISM became predominant in the mainstream as attitudes about sexuality began to shift.  We see this in the enormous change in attitudes about homosexuality, same sex marriage, and the family.

TODAY:

  • America is divided between Red States, Blue States
  • Some have called this “Two America’s”
  • The most significant difference in whether people accept God

POST-MODERN has now become POST-CHRISTIAN

  • Religion is viewed by many as a negative influence
  • Growing Federal government to fill the moral void once provided by Religion and Spiritual leaders
  • In Post-Modernism, there is no such thing as absolute Truth
  • TRUTH is what you discover in your heart and in your individual community

The result is a decline in religious and personal freedom.

II.               How Did We Get Here?

America’s political crisis is a result of SPIRITUAL decline.  We abandoned God.  We are realizing an important Spiritual Principle:  GOD WILL GIVE YOU WHAT YOU ASK FOR!

An Old Testament lesson in this principle can be seen in a warning to the nation of the Ten Tribes of Israel.  Because of their continual rejection of God’s Law, a coming judgment is announced against them.  They wanted independence from God.  Well, God gave it to them.  Here is the warning from the prophet Hosea:

Hosea 8:1–10 (NIV84) — 1 “Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the Lord because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law. 2 Israel cries out to me, ‘O our God, we acknowledge you!’ 3 But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him. 4 They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction. 5 Throw out your calf-idol, O Samaria! My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of purity? 6 They are from Israel! This calf—a craftsman has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces, that calf of Samaria. 7 “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up. 8 Israel is swallowed up; now she is among the nations like a worthless thing. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers. 10 Although they have sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them together. They will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king.

Israel’s captivity was horrific.  The Assyrians were God’s instrument of judgment, but the judgment was because of Israel’s decision to function independently from God.  Now I am not equating America in the 21st century with Old Testament Israel.  America is a Gentile Nation and not the inheritor of Israel’s promises.  But I am stressing the general spiritual principle that in our personal life and in our civic life, we reap what we sow.  The New Testament puts it in these words,

Galatians 6:7 (NIV84) — 7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

We got here because the Church has been divided

We got here because too many Christians have been silent

In my preaching ministry in Wales, I grew close to a godly Christian gentleman named Alan.  In the small town where he lived, 4 of six churches had closed, their empty buildings a monument to the decline of Christianity in British society.  The situation was similar throughout Wales and the rest of the United Kingdom.  I asked Alan, How did this happen?  How did a nation that was so thoroughly Christian became almost entirely pagan?  He summarized the decline in this way, “We didn’t speak out as our Christian values were taken away”   I reflect on that bit of advice for us today in America.  Unless we speak to the issues of our day, Christianity in America will become an ancient relic.  Our fabulous buildings will become empty monuments to a bygone day.

We got here because Christians had a greater desire for the affirmation of the world than the approval of God.

We got here because Christians had a greater confidence in the Republican Party than in the Ancient of Days.

We got here because Christians became more concerned about music and hymnals than they did about proclaiming the Gospel.

We got here because Christians have become more enamored with the comforts of this world than the blessings of the world to come.

We got here because we allowed an attitude of professionalism to creep into the Church leaving the work of the gospel to paid pastors and church workers.

We got here because it’s been almost 200 years since the Second Great Awakening in America, and we have not yet experience the Third Great Awakening.  We need that revival more now than ever!  You might say, “Pastor Paul, Revival in America seems entirely impossible!  That’s just what God has been waiting to hear from you!  It is only when we recognize our complete and utter inadequacy to accomplish anything for God that He will show up and empower us to do things that we could never do in our own strength. 

III.            What Should Christians Do?

Christian are UNSURE about their vote. Christians who vote PRO-LIFE are faced with a PRO-LIFE candidate with extreme character deficiencies

Here are some guidelines for Christians in these difficult times

A.                 First, CONFESS our SIN and the Sin of our NATION.

Before we come to God with our request for America, we must first come to with humility and confession.  I am mindful of Daniel living in pagan Babylon.  He recognized his own need for confession, and he extended that confession to the people of Israel.

Daniel 9:20 (ESV) — 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the Lord my God for the holy hill of my God,

Daniel 9:4–5 (ESV) — 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 5 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules.

This is why I am asking you to JOIN ME and millions of other Christians in a time of PRAYER and FASTING  on Monday, November 7.  Take time Monday to confess your personal sin.  As you do, confess our national sin.  Some of those sins have already been mentioned here.  Then, let’s pray for REVIVAL in our NATION.  That is the true and only hope for America

B.                 Second, Realize our DUAL CITIZENSHIP

Our HEARTS belong to God.  But until our mission is complete, we responsibilities here on earth

Jesus expressed this truth in Matthew 22:21 (ESV) — “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

The civic government has been put in place by God and has certain authority over us,  In those areas of authority, we are to obey the government unless the laws of man violate the Law of God.

So, our SPIRITUAL IDTENTITY is ultimately with God:  Philippians 3:20 (NIV84) — 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

But at the same time, we have life here on earth and the Lord has a purpose for our time here.  We are on a mission from God into this world!  John 17:15–18 (NIV84) — 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

C.                 Third, We are not to Despair

The changes in our culture are not pleasing to God.  As Christians, we are being affected by this cultural shift.  But we are not to despair!  God is in control and is accomplishing his purposes.  Our Christian faith can thrive in every circumstance.  We find it easier in mild and pleasant circumstances, but God is the one who determines the conditions of the ocean upon which our ship sails.  When considering how the trials of life affect the believer, Paul writes:

2 Corinthians 4:7–11 (ESV) — 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

D.                Fourth, Maintain our CONFIDENCE is in God.

Psalm 33:17 (NIV84) — 17 A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.

Psalm 20:7 (NIV84) — 7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.

No matter what government we have, we are to follow the laws until the LAWS of MAN violate the LAWS of GOD

E.                 Fifth, Pray for those in Authority Over Us

Kerby Anderson recommends praying for your “Sweet Sixteen.”  That is, sixteen governemt officials that hold enormous power over your life.  They are:

The President.  Barak Obama

Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, John Roberts, Sonia Sotomayer, Elena Kagen, Samuel Alito, and the future replacement for Antony Scalia

Your US Senators.  Here in NJ, they are Robert Menedez, Cory Booker

Your US Congressional Representative.  For Vineland, that is Frank Lobiondo

Your Govenor: Chris Christie

Your State Senator.  In Vineland, that is Jeff VanDrew

Your Assemblymen,  Bruce Land, Bob Andrzejczak

I would like to add three to Kerby’s suggestions:

MAYOR:  Ruben Bermudez

Police Chief: Timothy Codispoti

Vineland School Superintendant: Mary Gruccio

Do you even know who these people are”  Are you praying for them?

F.                  Sixth, See our Religious Freedoms as a Stewardship from God

You have been GIVEN a VOTE.  We should be good stewards of this precious gift.  Not everyone has this gift.  And it is something that can be taken away from us.  It is worth defending from corrupt individuals.

Vote in a way that PROMOTES your CHRISTIAN VALUES.  The values that should guide you as a Christian are the following:

  • The Sanctity of Life. This tells you more about the candidate’s world view than any other area.
  • Religious Freedom. Does the candidate defend or suppress our Christian freedom?
  • Limited Government. An ever expanding federal government is the enemy of personal and religious freedom.
  • The Importance of FAITH in the Public Sphere.
  • The Rule of LAW (Lex Rex and not Rex Lex)

In 2012, 39 million born-again Christians did not vote.  13 million were not registered to vote. 26 million were registered but did not vote.  What would have happened if HALF of them would have voted?  Well, the short answer is that President Obama would have been a one term president.  Here is why that is true.

In 2012, the Evangelical vote went 78% for Romney.  Obama was re-elected by less than 4 million votes.  If even one half of the Evangelical voters who could have voted would have exercised their vote, and if their vote trended as other Evangelicals did, Romney would be President.  Imagine the difference for religious freedom that would have made in the past four years!

Christian historian David Barton has identified President Obama as “America’s Most Biblically Hostile US President.”  Here are some of the actions that President Obama made during the past four years harmful to Christians, or “Anti-Biblical” as David Barton defined it. (SOURCE:  http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=106938)

  • January 2012 – The Obama administration argues that the First Amendment provides no protection for churches and synagogues in hiring their pastors and rabbis
  • January 2013 – Pastor Louie Giglio is pressured to remove himself from praying at the inauguration after it is discovered he once preached a sermon supporting the Biblical definition of marriage.[6]
  • February 2013 – The Obama Administration announces that the rights of religious conscience for individuals will not be protected under the Affordable Care Act. [5]
  • June 2013 – The Obama Department of Justice defunds a Young Marines chapter in Louisiana because their oath mentioned God, and another youth program because it permits a voluntary student-led prayer. [4]
  • March 2014 – The Obama administration seeks funding for every type of sex-education — except that which reflects traditional moral values. [68]
  • June 2015, After the Supreme Court decision requiring States to recognize homosexual marriages performed in other states, Obama orders the white house lit in the colors of the Rainbow Flag, stating it was “a moment worth savoring”
  • May 2016 – President Obama appoints a transgender to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships — an act of overt disdain and hostility toward traditional faith religions. [2]
  • FEBRUARY 2016, A conservative Justice would already be on the bench to replace Antony Scalia

There are DOZENS more illustrations.  All of these outrages could have been avoided.

 

But today, CHRISTIANS face two options when considering who to vote for President

“Can I vote for someone who is pro-life but of bad character?”

I read a sermon given by our friend Kerby Anderson.  He provides assistance for us by recognizing Four Principles that Christians can use as a guide in selecting who they should vote for.

The PERSON:  what kind of character does the candidate have?

PERSONNEL:  Who will this candidate appoint?  Proverbs 13:20 (NIV84) — 20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

POLICIES:  What legislative history does he or she have?  What policies do they advocate?

PLATFORM:  What does this person’s political party advocate? (quoted from Kerby Anderson http://dentonbible.org/wp-content/uploads/Kerby-Anderson-Sermon-103016.pdf)  Note the differences in the platforms of the two political parties.  Their candidate will likely attempt to fulfill these agenda items

Republican National Platform Democrat National Platform
ABORTION

The Republican platform on abortion maintains its pro-life stand and addresses some of the contemporary issues concerning the funding of abortion and the selling of fetal parts from abortion. It also opposes “the use of public funds to perform or promote abortion or to fund organizations, like Planned Parenthood, so long as they provide or refer for elective abortions or sell fetal body parts rather than provide healthcare.”

 

The Democratic platform focuses on “protecting and advancing reproductive health and rights.” The platform no longer talks about making abortion “safe, legal, and rare.” Instead it calls for the repealing of the Hyde Amendment, which would allow for the federal funding of abortion. The platform also calls for full funding for Planned Parenthood.

Homosexual and Transgender Rights

The Republican platform criticizes the administration for changing the meaning of Title IX in order to advance transgender rights and force states to open bathrooms to people based upon their perceived gender. It argues that this was done “to impose a social and cultural revolution upon the American people by wrongly redefining sex discrimination to include sexual orientation or other categories.”

 

The Democratic platform wants to give full support to the homosexual and transgender agenda. “We will also fight for comprehensive federal non-discrimination protections for all LGBT Americans.”

Education

The Republican platform supports every form of education (public, private, home-school) and supports educational choice, by creating education saving accounts, vouchers, and tuition tax credits.

 

The Democratic platform emphasizes such ideas as free college and greater government involvement in education. It argues that: “every student should be able to go to college debt-free.”

Crime

Republicans in their platform call for the next president to restore the public’s trust in law enforcement. It also addresses what it says will “undermine the rule of law on the federal level: Over-criminalization and over-federalization.”

 

Democrats focused their platform on reforming the criminal justice system and reducing the prison population in America. The platform also calls for the complete abolition of the death penalty.

Finally, it is helpful to consider the following considerations:

  • Think about this decision and the future of the SUPREME COURT.

There is currently a philosophical balance on the Supreme Court.  Some decisions have gone in favor of Biblical values.

HOBBY LOBBY case 5-4 in favor of Hobby Lobby being exempt from health care mandate requiring health care coverage that provides for abortion.

LITTLE SISTER of the POOR.  In favor of Catholic charity being exempt from the contraceptive mandate.  This was 4-4 without Scalia’s vote.

HELLER DECISION – overruling DC’s complete restriction on private gun ownership.

There is one vacancy on the Court due to the death of Antony Scalia, one of the most consistently moral and conservative Justice. The next President will nominate a replacement for Scalia.  It is also likely that he or she will nominate at least one and possible three more.  Ginsburg is 83, Kennedy is 80 and Bryer is 78.  The impact of the next President on the Supreme Court will be felt for a generation.  Religious freedoms may be gone and might never be regained.

  • Some Christians feel that they cannot Endorse a Morally flawed candidate. There is certainly merit in this point of view. I see the following arguments as ones that should at least be considered before choosing not to vote for a Presidential candidate, or to vote for a write in as a moral objection to the candidates offered.
    1. All Candidates are morally flawed
    2. You are not choosing the best person to be president. That is not how our system works, and like it or not, this is the system that we function in. You are choosing which candidate will best serve your views as a Christian.
    3. A vote is not an endorsement.
    4. Christians have been and should continue to be outspoken about the moral failure, coarse speech, demeaning statements made by Donald Trump.
    5. We should pray that he will be influenced by MIKE PENCE.
    6. IF Trump is elected, I believe that Mike Pence (an outspoken Christian) will be the most important Vice President since John Adams served under George Washington
    7. If you cannot vote for the top of the ticket, vote for other offices

 

  • Finally, regardless of how other Christians view this dilemma, do not judge other Christians for what they do.

 

  • Do not give up just because the decisions are hard and the times are difficult.

Proverbs 24:10–12 (ESV) — 10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?

JOIN ME in PRAYER Tomorrow, Monday, November 7

No matter what the outcome of the vote, it will be GOD’S WILL for you, God’s will for America.

The Lord is on His throne and he will guide his children.