08 November 2012

Post-election 2012 debriefing

by Dan Phillips

But it won't be what you think, and it won't be what Everyone Else might be doing (with brilliant exceptions like this and this.)

Post-mortems are non-starters with me right now. No campaign is perfect, but Romney ran a campaign far better than what I ever thought him capable of. Picking him over like a crow on roadkill is a non-starter with me. For that matter, complaints about the MSM, Governor Christie, the GOP, the MSM, Hurricane Sandy or the MSM — all non-starters.

Also, clamoring to be this generation's Calvinistic Kent Brockman is a non-starter for me. (That last-linked post, four years later, is still surprisingly timely, to my mind.) The election was a disgrace. There is no excuse — none, zero — for the citizens (let alone Christians) who re-elected Barack Obama, whether by voting for him, by voting third-party, or by not voting. No amount of rationalization will make that okay. And so, here we are.

As I prepared for last night's service at church, I weighed continuing in our studies of prayer from Exodus, or taking an aside to give some instruction in the light of the election. Pastorally, knowing my people as I am growing to do, I felt the latter was the better course. So here, in outline and with just a few comments, is what I delivered. When one sister saw the title on the outline, she said with deep feeling, "Oh, thank you!" I hope it was helpful.

I.           We Must Have Our World Tilted by the Gospel
A.         Acts 17:1-7

B.         Romans 10:9 

The Christian's proclamation of Jesus as King and Lord was viewed as subversive. It is because they did not look to culture or Caesar as ultimate. They did not look to any human authority or structure for meaning, significance, or ultimate direction.

This is why, while Christians have always been among the most productive and decent and law-abiding citizens, governments have characteristically hated them and regarded them with deep suspicion. Christians do not agree to let Caesar mold their thoughts and values, and will not depend on Caesar for life or meaning. Their ultimate interest is never the Kingdom of Man, but the Kingdom of God.

And this results from a worldview premised on the confession of Jesus' Lordship, with the necessary corollary rejection of man's autonomy and centrality.

Statist totalitarians hate that. Such "bitter clingers" threaten them to their very core. As they should.

II.        We Must Build a Gospel-Tilted Worldview
A.         Col. 2:6-7

B.         Proverbs 1:7
C.         Proverbs 2:1-11

The Christian  life commences with the confession of Christ's Lordship, and it continues in the very same way. Salvation is in that confession, and sanctification springs from it. Conversion is not the mere change of an opinion or two; it is the complete overhaul (tilting, if you will) of a complete worldview.

The OT equivalent of the same reality (as I argue at great Biblical length elsewhere) is the fear of Yahweh. This is the orientation that begins with the Godhood of God, and the dependent and comprehensive servitude of man. It leads us to study hard and pray hard for wisdom. And when we get it, we find that the wisdom that begins with the fear of Yahweh also leads to the fear of Yahweh. The relationship of the fear of Yahweh to wisdom and knowledge is like the relationship of learning one's ABCs to reading: it's where we must start, and we never ever leave it.

Further, while many are (understandably) wondering whether they should pull out of the stock markets completely, sell everything and buy gold and/or ammo and/or supplies  Proverbs 2:1 points to the investment every Christian can and must make. It is an investment that no executive order or act of Congress or fluctuation of markets can devalue or confiscate. We must treasure up God's wisdom.

If we don't see the need now, we will when tribulation, persecution and suffering come. And when that happens (as it will: Acts 14:22; 2 Tim. 3:12), it will be too late to begin stockpiling that wisdom.

III.      We Must Invest Accordingly
A.         Godward

1.         Mat. 6:19-21

2.         Luke 12:16-21

3.         Col 3:1-4

We must be rich towards God. We must know Him, and know Him better. We must invest in that knowledge, and in serving Him. The man who lived in a great economy and assumed it would continue forever found himself to be a damned fool. Literally.

B.         Manward
1.         Rom 12:10, 13, 15-16; 13:8

2.         Acts 2:42-47

3.         1 Corinthians 15:58; 16:13

We must be involved in the ministry of the local church, or we sin against God. That involvement will lead us to relationship, service, support of others. Christians have done this in the best of times and in the worst of times; and we must do it in days to come.

But Acts 2:47 points out that this mustn't be a sheerly self-absorbed cloistered retreat. I asked my dear folks how it happened that the Lord kept adding saved people to the church, and (God love 'em!) my folks instantly answered "By their spreading the Gospel." So Christians turned within for fellowship and worship and support, but they also and aggressively turned outward with the Gospel. They turned their world upside-down with an offensive message that was radically different from what the world already thought.

And, as the passages in 1 Corinthians underscore, they let nothing stop them. Living in a society even more oppressive than what American liberals are working hard (and successfully, with the help of Christianoid quislings) to create, they still put out the Gospel for all their worth.

And so must we.

Dan Phillips's signature


DJP said...

Candidly, I haven't the time or patience today to suffer fools gladly. If I get tired of deleting (which I will do profligately), I'll just close comment, in keeping with the mission.

Anonymous said...

I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. - John 17:14-15

jbboren said...

Both encouraging and thought-provoking, Dan. I still don't have my mind around what happened, but it is slowly coming into focus. This helps.

Nash Equilibrium said...

Great article Dan. And I absolutely LOVE that last paragraph!

Capcha code: MSMigh (I kid you not).

Kerry James Allen said...

"Christ's gospel does turn the world upside down. It was the wrong way upwards before, and now that the gospel is preached, and when it shall prevail, it will just set the world right by turning it upside down." CHS

Jeff said...

Honestly DJP, I think this is a better, more balanced approach than I've read anywhere else (including, but with no offense to, those articles you so kindly linked to at the beginning). Just because Jeremiah knew Yahweh was sovereign in using Assyria to destory Israel doesn't mean he didn't weep and lament over it. But likewise, it didn't reduce him to inactivity or drive him to be a hermit in the wilderness. We can be grieved over the course in which our country is heading, but still be singular in our purpose: the advancement of the Kingdom against all opposition through the proclomation of the Gospel.

Thanks brother. Very timely and very helpful.

Lynda O said...

Good thoughts, Dan, and a great message for true biblically focused churches as well as individual Christians.

Unfortunately there are too many "circus churches" as Chantry described them, as well as head-in-the-sand ones, such as the local Wednesday night service here--still doing a superficial look at each of the Psalms, with absolutely no mention (last night or even at any time over the last few months) of the U.S. election or any instruction in the light of the election results.

The above statement "We must be involved in the ministry of the local church" is great for those who are in biblically grounded churches. The follow-up statement is great, and essential, that "Acts 2:47 points out that this mustn't be a sheerly self-absorbed cloistered retreat."

eklektos said...

A few things. 1) Barrack Obama would not have been elected had God not wanted him to. Having said that I cannot say what God's purpose in his election was, as He did not consult me. I may have suspicions, but that's what they are, suspicions. 2) If this was a Christian nation(ie one informed by Christian values, morality, and ethics) neither one of the candidates would have made it through the nominating process. 3) While I doubt that this was ever a majority Christian nation it was at one time mostly informed by Christian morality. However that was when the gospel was proclaimed more accurately and readily. What is needed now is the clear proclamation of the biblical gospel, the repentance and prayer of dedicated Christians, and the redoubling of our efforts to become involved in the life of our fellow man. We need to let our light shine in the everyday, not just during election cycles.4)While it is true that God is in control it is also true that He uses means, and we are that means. I pray that his election is a wakeup call to me most of all, God grant me repentance.

DJP said...

Any thoughts about the post? That big thing up over the comments?

yankeegospelgirl said...

What troubles me about reactions from Christians, even those who claim to be conservative, is that we're being urged to have "tranquillity" and peace of mind in the wake of this (catastrophically bad) result. "The world keeps on turning, get your Great 'Commiss on and forget about it," etc.

The line I hear is "Hey guys, WE WIN in the end, so why are you being defensive and biting your nails over losing? This isn't appropriate for future rulers of the universe." I want to say okay, that's hunky-dory for US, but what about souls hanging in the balance RIGHT NOW? This isn't about personal pride, this isn't about insecurity, this is about people who are being dragged down into Hell. Get a grip on reality people.

I'm also repulsed by people who imply that, bizarrely, we who care strongly about "politics" actually don't care about real babies being murdered or the economy being shredded and just want the thrill of seeing "our guy win." So we don't want Obama to have a change of heart because that would "give up an issue." Say WHAAAAT?

eklektos said...

Yes, as you said the gospel is the answer to what ails us, the radical gospel of Jesus Christ. (world tilting as you call it)

Anonymous said...


The election was quite a disappointment to us (even those of us who did not vote for Romney). It is encouraging to me to remember that, though we must fight many of them, our hope and joy is not based on the outcome of such battles.

Anonymous said...

Yankee girl,

Don't forget that it is God's power, not ours, that saves souls from hell. However badly we mess it up, God will save his own. He delights to use us, but he does not need us.

yankeegospelgirl said...

But what about children who are raised to believe abortion is normal and are led into that sin? What about children who are encouraged to "explore their sexual identity" and allowed to "get married" legally? What about children who are adopted by gay "parents" and raised to hate everything good and biblical? One day all these people will stand before the throne of God, and if they were taught to hate God and cling to their sin, they will hate God and cling to their sin. What we as Christians are fighting is the normalization of sin that's sucking people into its vortex.

Brothers, see poor sinners round you
Slumping on the brink of woe
Death is coming, hell is moving
Can you bear to let them go?
See our fathers and our mothers
And our children sinking down
Brothers pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around

yankeegospelgirl said...

Also, even if we grant that all babies go to heaven, is "tranquil" the right reaction to helpless infants being torn limb from limb and thrown in the garbage? "Not to worry, I'm gonna get to be a future queen and all babies go to heaven anyway." I don't think so.

Lynda O said...

Dan: Yep, it didn't take long for the comments to veer off course...

DJP said...

...and, after disappearing an absolutely idiotic comment, my time to babysit is at an end for now. May open later, may not.