The Cross Can Do What Politics Can’t
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As we begin with a new administration in Washington, I’d like to comment on my understanding of the relationship between God, the church and politics.
In my opinion, we face two dangers. One is to say that we should retreat from our social and political battles and return to the 50’s when the church was largely uninvolved in politics; after all, we have not won many political battles and moral battles recently, so why bother? Such an attitude would be a mistake, for we must do all that we can as citizens to let our political influence be felt.
However, the other mistake would be to become so overburdened with social/political issues that the message of the cross is lost amid the skirmishes.
We must not let the world define our agenda, nor can we hope to fight the world with its own weapons. In other words, I believe that even our so-called cultural war is really a spiritual war. At the root of our cultural decay and political struggles is the question of whether we, as a nation, will return to the Gospel or whether we will continue to define God according to our own liking. That is the battle to which I am committed.
Perhaps you have heard the story of the “Keeper of the Spring.” There was a man who lived high in the mountains who had the responsibility of keeping the spring pure. He removed trash, dead animals, and rerouted the contaminated streams away from the stream that gushed pure water. But the town beneath the mountain was short on money, and decided to cancel the man’s salary. They argued that people seldom saw him. The stream would probably remain pure by itself.
And it did, for a short time. But within a few weeks the water was filled with fungus, and an epidemic spread throughout the village. At the next mayoral election, candidates vied for theories by which the ‘water problem’ could be solved. The wisest among them suggested that they rehire the “Keeper of the Spring,” for it was on top of the mountain that the contamination took place.
My great burden is for us is to remain on top of the mountain, to help keep the preaching of the Gospel as clear as possible. My desire is to challenge the church to confront the world with a message that can change our nation life-bylife, home-by-home and block-by-block. Yes, we can be involved in politics; yes, we can fight our culture wars, but all of our efforts will be futile unless we keep the message free from contamination.
As your friends, we, at Moody Church Radio want to become better acquainted. We want you to know that we are committed to helping as many people as we can understand the Good News we call the Gospel; and I am personally committed to its defense and its application to our great personal and national needs.
Let’s join hearts and hands for the task before us.
How Shall We Pray for Our New President?
What a year 2000 has been!
Y2K (You remember it, don’t you?) turned out to be a non-event; but the political election was one for the history books! It is the first time we elected a First Lady to high office; the first time we elected a dead man to the senate (yes, we know his wife, who is alive, is taking his place!) and the first time an election was so close that individual ballots were counted (does it have a ‘dimple,’ or does it not??). We all confess we had our moments when we wondered whether we would ever know who the president was going to be! But now we are ready to begin with a new administration.
Think of the challenges ahead for the new president: he must unify a divided nation; millions are angry because ‘their man’ is not the one who was chosen. Throw in the fact that our high-flying economy might be ready to come to a crash (or at least have a ‘soft’ landing), and you can see that the task seems formidable.
Most of us are glad that we are on the sidelines, praying, witnessing and asking God to do something in the next four years that will redirect our hearts toward Him.
Recently, we sat down with Pastor Lutzer and asked him some questions about how best to pray for President Bush. Here are his answers:
Q: How do you think we can best fulfill the command of Scripture to pray for our new President?
A: First, we must pray that he and his family will come to Christ for personal cleansing, that he might realize that Christ is the fountain of all wisdom. And second, that he would recognize his personal inadequacies and therefore depend upon God.
Q: It is often said that ‘politics makes strange bedfellows’ meaning that politics is a game of compromise, where you must often be satisfied with a half loaf, or maybe a few slices of political legislation. How do you think such pressures inform us about the need for prayer?
A: There are some areas in which compromise is perfectly proper. But what we must pray is that the President will resist the pressure to violate his conscience or do that which might jeopardize his personal credibility. In other words, let us pray that he might be a man of courage, and that he will do what he believes is right no matter the cost.
Q: What special challenges come to the new President at this time in history?
A: Well, I think that the personal failures of President Clinton have created a challenge for the new President. We long to have a sense of dignity and trustworthiness restored to the White House. That is why we must not just pray for the man, but for his wife, his children and those he selects for his cabinet etc. Like it or not, the President is a kind of role model not just as a leader, but as a husband and a father.
Q: If we pray for a national revival in America, is God obligated to send it?
A: Not necessarily. The promise that if we turn from our sins and God will ‘heal our land’ is clearly given to Israel. God promised them good crops if they followed Him; today we have good crops though we are turning away from Him. That said, I believe strongly that we should pray for revival, not because God owes it to us, but simply because He is merciful.
Q: What thoughts about prayer would you like to leave with our listeners?
A: That we would seek God with all of our hearts, for our churches and our nation. If we do not turn from private sin, we cannot expect to avoid public judgment. I believe with all my heart that the future of our nation rests with Christians, not with our new President and the government in Washington.
We cannot turn this nation around unless individual Christians witness to Christ’s saving power. The Gospel can do more to halt our moral and spiritual free fall than any other solution. That’s why we must pray, pray, pray!
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