As we in America approach one of the most important elections in our lifetime, I talk to many Christians who are still conflicted about their choice for president. Many are conflicted about their choice for a political party. As a pastor, I consider it a responsibility to address this issue that will impact so many of the Lord’s people.
First, many Christians do not understand how any Christian could be a political liberal. Others do not understand how a Christian could be a political conservative. To understand means to “stand under” someone else’s position. So regardless of which of these we are, let’s at least make an effort to understand those who have a different position.
We should keep in mind that it was the religious conservatives who had Jesus crucified. For this reason, religious conservatives are scary to a lot of people, including many sincere Christians. I am a religious and political conservative, and there are some on the far right who are disturbing to me. The harshness and tone from some on the right is deeply troubling, and I think counterproductive to the cause.
However, the harsh tone and intolerance now seems to be found even more on the left as it ever did on the right, and has a much more of an anti-Christian and anti-biblical tone to it. The groups who demand the most tolerance for their agendas have become the most intolerant of anyone who disagrees even a little with them, and some are now being considered social terrorists. This has become so obvious and alarming that we are now starting to see a general pushback in the whole country. This was so powerfully demonstrated by the remarkable and unprecedented way so many Americans rose up to defending Chick-fil-A in the recent controversy.
The first thing the Lord said when asked about the signs at the end of this age was, “do not be deceived” (Matt. 24:4), obviously implying that deception would be a major factor at the end. For this reason, I have studied deception, cults and false teachings, and especially how such a great nation as Germany, with some of the most brilliant people, could fall to the Nazi delusion.
The two most diabolical governments in history came from the extreme right, the fascists, and the extreme left, the communists. Both were socialists (the Nazis were called “National Socialism”), and socialism can be found on the right and the left. This would require a book to elaborate on, but socialism is basically the result of seeing man, and our social abilities and initiatives, to be the answer to our problems in place of turning to God and seeking His ways. This was the root of the Tower of Babel in Genesis, which is the root of the prophetic Babylon in the Book of Revelation.
America is an increasingly divided nation, but we can expect this in just about every nation now. This is prophesied in Scripture. The wheat and the tares are being separated; the clash between light and darkness is increasing as we see in Isaiah 60, and it will continue. If we are not going to be caught up in the increasing deception, we must guard our hearts from reactionary doctrines or politics. Some of the most diabolical movements in history were born out of reactionary beliefs caused by rejection or other wounding. As the polarization continues, so will wounding and rejection. This is the biggest gate of hell for ultimate evil. Christianity, which is founded on forgiveness, is the only remedy for where we are headed. Obviously, this was by design.
As Christians, we must base our beliefs and actions on Scripture alone, not by how we are treated or mistreated. The Lord Himself warned that His followers would be rejected and even hated because of Him, so it should not surprise us when it happens. He also commanded us to love everyone, and to even love our enemies. So how do we do that?
We must begin by resolving that we will return good for evil, not just return evil for evil. This does not mean that we will compromise our convictions, but we must control our spirit and grow in the fruit of the Spirit, which grows much faster with opposition and testing. If we do this, we will be able to take the right position on matters and keep the right tone as well.
I know some brilliant people who despised George W. Bush and viciously attacked him continually. These same people are appalled at anything negative said about their man, Obama, calling those who do harsh and extreme. It’s shocking how such otherwise smart people cannot see this hypocrisy, but this is an example of the basic deception the Lord described as having a log in our eye while we’re trying to get a speck out of the eye of others. It is basic though. When we are deceived, we do not know it or we would not be deceived, and to help someone get free who has this basic discrepancy in reasoning is almost impossible. Only the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, can deliver us from our deception.
The above described deception can be in either camp, but it is no doubt growing far more dramatically on the left at this time. Just a few years ago, I would have said the opposite—that it was far more pronounced on the right, but it began shifting to the left about twenty years ago and has deepened its grip. Why? The spirit that took the Nazis on the right and the communists on the left was the same spirit, so I am not just basing this on political persuasion, but on the obvious blindness to real factors, or truth, that is being created.
If this kind of deception was greater on the right, but then shifted to the left and got even stronger, let us not think that it cannot swing back to the right if we become arrogant. Even so, I am increasingly concerned by the deep deception, or deep darkness, which is now growing on the left. It does seem to be proportionate to the degree of those who have embraced anti-God and anti-biblical positions. This does not mean that there cannot be those on the left who are not subject to this kind of deep deception, but they are getting harder to find in America. In other countries, it could be the opposite.
As Christians, we are commanded to “know those who labor among us” (see I Thess. 5:12). Therefore, I try to be open and candid about my own views as I believe you deserve to know my convictions about important matters if you are going to read my Word for the Week. I also think that as a pastor I have a responsibility to address the important issues of our times. It is a basic violation of my Constitutional rights and biblical responsibilities for anyone, including the government, to keep me from sharing my views on a crucial issue like the elections. So here I will go a bit deeper on the following.
The Presidential Choice
One of the questions I hear from Christians is the following: How can we vote for a Mormon? That is a good question. Though I am not an expert on Mormonism, I was shown 25 years ago that a great revival would be coming to the Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was shown that they were like the Samaritans in Scripture, who did have a mixture in their beliefs, but who were the most responsive to the gospel of any other group. Because of the testimony of the woman at the well, the entire city came out to see Jesus. Because of the preaching of Philip in Samaria, the entire city came to the Lord.
Even so, we are voting for a president, not a pastor. Beliefs do affect values, and values affect our actions. Because I have never met two Baptists who were exactly alike, or two Catholics, Presbyterians, or any other group, I think this is one reason we are told to judge people by their fruit, not just their words.
I have some deep disagreements with some Catholic doctrines, but I appreciate their leadership in the fight for some of the crucial social issues of these times. The other group that is providing some of the main leadership and resources in the battle for some of the crucial social issues of our times is the Mormon Church. I would not join the Catholic Church or the Mormon Church because of some of the core issues I have with their doctrines, but I am very appreciative for their leadership in the fight for the important issues of our times.
I have also studied the Liberation Theology of the church where President Obama came out of, which he embraces and is considered a leader. There are aspects of it that are far more alarming, and its fruit is feeding what I believe is one of the greatest human evils, racism—not just un-American, but anti-American.
Some believe that the purpose of the Liberation Theology movement was to be a bridge between Christianity and Islam, which would lead Christians to Islam. I could not personally confirm that, but our President claims to be a Christian, yet the fruit of his practice and his policy has done more to hurt Christianity than any previous administration, and he’s done more to help Islam. Any thinking person should ask why would the Obama Administration give Muslims an exemption from the healthcare law, but use it to fundamentally attack the religious liberty of the Catholic Church, as well as other Christians who object to some of its basic tenets? These actions reveal core values, and they are deeply alarming.
As an American, I was also very troubled when our president once responded to the question of why he did not wear an American pin on his lapel—he said he didn’t want to appear to take sides. If our president is not solidly resolved to be on our side, then we are in deep trouble. I am thankful to see the president now wearing an American flag lapel pin, but it does not mean as much when he wears it after such controversy.
When I look at the actions and policies of the Obama Administration, it does seem to be a systematic weakening of American strength and the unraveling of our core values. It does seem that the Obama Administration is much more concerned about international interests than our American interests. We do need to be concerned about the interests of others, and we should want to be a blessing to all nations as much as we can, but we expect our president to keep American interests first.
Mormonism does have one doctrine that as an American Christian I greatly appreciate and agree with—it is the belief that the U.S. Constitution is a divinely inspired document and must be preserved. I spent several years studying to check this out. The result was that I was utterly convinced of its Divine inspiration. Though I am not in any way trying to put it on the level of Scripture, it was inspired by Scripture and a desire of the Founders to build a government that would, as much as possible, reflect biblical teachings on government and stewardship. The later writings of the Founders abundantly confirm this.
Our Constitution has never been more weakened than in the last three years. The Obama Administration has been issuing Executive Orders at the rate of almost one a day, many of which seem to intentionally be a circumvention of the Constitution, and thereby a weakening of it, as well as a frontal attack on some of our basic liberties. It is deeply troubling.
Consider this: Executive Orders by all previous presidents combined numbers about 160. That’s an average of about five for each president. President Obama has issued more than 900. Almost all of Obama’s seem to be an intentional circumvention of Congress’ Constitutional authority and responsibility to make the laws of the land and to approve the appointments of those who are to carry them out. Executive Orders were intended to be used to carry out the mandate of the Executive Branch, not to make laws for the nation or appoint people to positions in a way that Congress would not have the chance to approve or reject, which is a basic violation and attack on the Constitution.
I was a registered Democrat until the Carter Administration. I voted for Carter mostly because he claimed to be an evangelical Christian. I was naïve at best. However, I could not help but see that all of the anti-God and anti-biblical morality forces were finding their home and were increasingly influential in the Democratic Party. It was also apparent that as this happened Christians were increasingly marginalized in the Democratic Party. The God-fearing and those committed to biblical morality were increasingly welcomed into the Republican Party. This divide has become greater now, as we watched the grievous vote at the Democratic Convention in my hometown of Charlotte this past June.
The vote from the floor was loud and clear that the Democratic Party did not want even the mention of God in their platform or the statement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. This has resulted in courageous Christian leaders, even black Christian leaders like Bishop E.W. Jackson, to call for all black Christians to leave the Democratic Party. There is an increasing cry for all Christians of all colors to leave the Democratic Party. Though I’m sure many will stay to try to be salt and light there, it is obvious that the Democratic Party has become increasingly hostile to Christianity.
In the past, I have been grieved by the way the party of Lincoln, the party that was the natural home of the freed slaves in America and should have been the leader of the Civil Rights Movement, instead became an obstruction to the Civil Rights Movement. That too was contrary to biblical morality as well as our Constitution and Bill of Rights. However, the Republican Party has moved away from that tragic history and has attracted a new breed of minority leadership. Now it is the Republican Party that is continuing an effective fight for true justice and equality in America. This is the main factor that has kept me in the Republican Party, in spite of the many disappointments of the present institutional Republican leadership.
If there is not a change in this election, and the new Administration does not move decisively to address the departure from the Constitutional moorings of our government, and to renew the devotion to freedom for the spiritual and moral discourse that is our inheritance, I expect a mass exodus from both parties to follow. I also expect the rise of another party that will take some of the best from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
In this world, we will not have a perfect government or perfect leadership. Even so, in a democracy the people are the sovereign, and if we do not vote we are an irresponsible sovereign. To not vote is a vote for the other side.
It has been estimated that more than 15 million evangelicals refused to vote in the last election. Our country’s slide into the abyss of moral and financial destruction has accelerated since that election, and we may not think our vote could make a difference, but you can be sure that our vote, or failure to do so, is recorded in heaven.
Though I am resolute in the conviction of our responsibility to vote, and have the conviction that this election will make a major difference in our future, regardless of who gets into the Oval Office, Congress, or the state and local governments, the crises we are now in are beyond human remedy. Without our nation turning back to God and seeking His grace with the sincerity that would cause us to turn from our wicked ways, we have a very dark and difficult future ahead of us, regardless of who gets elected, though it may slow the pace if Romney is elected. If we return to the Lord and seek to walk in His ways, our future can be even brighter than our history. This can happen even if Obama is reelected. If we will return to the Lord, it does not mean that it will be easy, but it will be brighter.
Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Publications and Ministries (morningstarministries.org) based in Charlotte, N.C. He is also the author of numerous books, including the best-selling The Final Quest and a recently updated version of Overcoming Evil in the Last Days (Destiny Image).