A megachurch pastor has two points he wants you to consider when you go into the voting booth in November to cast a ballot for who you believe should be the next president of the United States.
It's what he believes Jesus would do.
Dave Ferguson, lead pastor of Community Christian Church in Naperville, Illinois, said if Jesus were an American, He would "choose with love" when deciding whom to support in the 2016 presidential election. It would be a choice that is a "clear reflection of His love for God, but also of His love for His neighbors."
But first, some history. Ferguson noted that prior to the modern era of made-for-television political conventions, and the primaries and caucuses that lead up to them, the national conventions were often fraught with controversy and conflict.
"The Democratic convention in 1924, it took 103 ballots—103 rounds of voting—to determine the eventual nominee," he said. "Can you imagine how CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC would react to that? They would have a field day."
Ferguson then noted there were four main political factions during the time of Jesus' earthly mission:
- Herodians—"they accepted the situation as it was ... and tried to make the best of it."
- Zealots—"they wanted holy war against the Romans; they were ready for violence."
- Essenes—"they just wanted to get back and get away from all the political tension."
- Pharisees—"they thought, 'If we can just be good enough, and follow all of God's laws, then He will act."
He said these four groups really didn't like each other, which is why it was so extraordinary to see two of the groups, the Pharisees and Herodians, join together to oppose Jesus as described in Matthew 22. He then used that example to illustrate the three ways the Lord will enter the realm of politics:
Jesus Refuses Political Simplicity
Ferguson said, "We must not do to Jesus what He wouldn't do to Himself." In particular, he said this applies when suggesting that only one party represents the Christian worldview. He recommended his audience "become learners" by taking in news from other sources, and by talking to people who may not necessarily ascribe to the same views, in order to get a broader perspective.
Jesus Refuses Political Complacency
Ferguson said, "Jesus didn't refuse to answer, or give a complacent 'no comment' to their question, and He didn't run away and hide in the wilderness like the Essenes." He said it's understandable—particularly in such a "crazy political environment"—to want to disengage, but Jesus refuses to accept that kind of withdrawal. Instead, He weighed in with real wisdom.
Jesus Refuses Political Primacy
Ferguson said, "He said, 'Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's—what bears his image—but to render unto God that which is God's—what bears His image—that's you." Before you are a Democrat, a Republican, a Libertarian or a member of any other political party, he added, you are a follower of Christ.
Ferguson then used those three points to reinforce his argument.
"You are not, first and foremost, a supporter of Donald Trump. You are a Christ follower, first and foremost," he said. "You are not, first and foremost, a supporter of Hillary Clinton. You are first and foremost a Christ follower."
So, as a result, the two guiding principles he thinks Christians should take with them as they enter the voting booth are:
- Love God's kingdom even more than your country, and
- Love others more than yourself.
"If we have a president who is a visionary billionaire who comes from outside Washington to change things up, Jesus is still Lord, and we're still Christ followers," he said. "If we have a president who is a hard-working secretary of state who breaks the gender ceiling and becomes the first female president, Jesus is still Lord and we're still Christ followers.
"If we have a president who comes from a reality show and seems like a fake sometimes, and his outer dialogue is, at best offensive, and at worst racist, understand Jesus is still Lord and we're still Christ followers. Or, we have as our next president someone who is a Washington insider who is conniving and is facing multiple indictments, Jesus is still Lord and we're still Christ followers.
"At the end of it all, Jesus is still Lord, and we're still Christ followers."
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