Evangelicals, Elections, and Blindness to Sin


Casting a voteMy church keeps a watchful eye on the political scene. Maybe yours does too. If your church considers itself Evangelical, then there’s a good chance it believes the Republicans to be the party of righteousness.

It’s a culture wars thing mostly. Abortion and same-sex marriage stick in Evangelicals’ craws more than anything else. And since the GOP is generally against those two hot button issues, a lot of churches rush to the brink of illegality, dancing at the edge of the “you cannot endorse candidates” precipice in order to fawn over GOP candidates who promise to stem the tide of unrighteousness in America.

Enough of that and you start to believe that only Democrats sin. Ha, ha, right?

I gave up on the Republican Party years ago. I stopped believing the hype. The fact is that Republicans held majority power several times since Roe v. Wade and yet did nothing to overturn abortion.

But beyond that, the reason the political rhetoric I hear from Evangelicals doesn’t move me anymore is our selectivity on sin.

Bible verses fly when abortion and same-sex marriage come up in Evangelical discussions, but you almost never hear any verses bandied about in support of the poor, the alien, the widow, and the environment. Yet the Bible has much more to say collectively about sins related to those issues than it does abortion or same-sex marriage.

Now I don’t want anyone to think I’m soft on abortion or same-sex marriage. I believe strongly that advocates of abortion and same-sex marriage are under a powerful spiritual delusion. (That’s all I need to say. You’ve read my posts on these topics before.)

While many Evangelicals may nod their heads in assent, few will think beyond those two powderkeg issues.

But what of the politician who supports the big company lobbying to invoke eminent domain against a neighborhood filled mostly with the elderly? Doesn’t God hate the powerful ursurping the property of the weak? Doesn’t He detest those who break the backs of the poor? Do I need to quote a couple hundred verses on those issues?

Why is it that when I read about eminent domain, a GOP politician is usually involved? How is it that Republicans fight tooth and nail against living wage legislation for the poor? God’s first command in the Garden is for Man to steward the earth, yet how is it that Republicans seem so eager to despoil that earth instead? Why is it that when the little guy is fighting for his life against some monolithic oppressor with a warchest filled with millions of dollars, the GOP is often on the side of the oppressor?

The list of practices and beliefs that God hates is long. Sooner or later, our political candidates will run afoul of that list. Some much more than others.

Which is why advocating certain political parties will only lead Christians into a deep abyss. What we should be advocating when we talk of the greatness of America is a commitment to avoiding EVERYTHING on that list of what God hates, not just those select sins that plague the “other” party.

Sadly, once we start looking at reality that way, many candidates fail—even the ones Evangelicals endorse.

While I understand that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, I simply cannot cast my vote for candidates who ally themselves with unjust or wicked causes. I’m sticking with God’s list of dont’s and not Evangelicalism’s “hammer some sins and ignore others” list.

Beyond that, even if a candidate holds to certain beliefs that resonate with a righteous position, what if that candidate is simply a terrible politician? In the case of employment, it doesn’t matter what a résumé may say, if a candidate for the job ends up proving unable to do the job well, is continued employment deserved? Beliefs don’t always translate into competence. Should we Evangelicals elect candidates who say all the right things but who ultimately can’t do their job well?

If all this means that I reject all the candidates in a race, then I will. If it means I vote for a third-party candidate, I will—even if Evangelicalism’s “anointed” candidate will lose because I did not hold my nose and cast my vote his or her way. I’m not going to be forced to endorse someone who hates abortion but who also hates the poor.

Frankly, I think we should throw all the bums out. Clean house. Both parties are filled with compromisers and gladhanders. And I’m just not going to compromise my vote anymore. I guess you could say I’m asking, How would Jesus vote?

A Holy Desire to Aspire


In the pantheon of Christian greats, one will find Augustine, Luther, and Calvin, but it’s doubtful that any bust of Christopher Columbus will adorn the hall.

Yet a quick read of Columbus’s journals reveals a highly devout man who genuinely wanted to reach the lost on the far side of the world with the message of Christ. The history books continue to sully the explorer’s name or finagle his importance, but after reading the words from his own hand, I have a much higher view of the man.

What truly grips me about long-dead Christian men like Columbus is that something in them burned. They had a vision, a dream that held them. They saw Christ high and lifted up and that revelation enthralled them, captivating their vision and capturing their hearts.

When we read biographies of great people of long ago, more often than not they had an encounter with Jesus that changed their direction and gave them new direction. In many cases, that pursuit was science. Scratch a well-known scientist from long ago and catch the aroma of Christ. These men aspired to something beyond the boundaries of what was known and explored because they knew Jesus.

God, how we need Christian men who aspire to something more than owning the latest muscle car or climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. Where are the Christian men out there who dream big dreams and won’t take no for an answer?

And I’m not just talking about ministry. That’s the ghetto we’ve fallen into. No one considers Columbus an evangelist. Dreamers minister to us today because they stand for the godly desire never to settle, never to make do. These men possessed a keen eye for what lies beyond, a godly desire to know, no matter what that aspiration might be.

So how is it that so few of us reach beyond our grasp? How can it be that Christians today are content to make do with okay? At what point did we make peace with the world of Harrison Bergeron?

There’s more than a whiff of sulfurous stench around “Well, this looks like a nice place to relax,” isn’t there?

To what purpose did God redeem us? Better yet, to what purpose did He make Man at all if not that we should do great things and honor Him in their doing?

I get sick of all the small vision. I’m fed up with can’t. I wish there were some way to rid can’t, but, won’t, and never from the Christian lexicon. We’ll do anything possible to protect our kids from filth, but who out there is protecting our kids from having their every aspiration hammered to pieces by naysayers, most of those hammerers from within the four walls of your church and mine? Who out there is punishing the millstoners, who see an aspiration and rush in to weigh it down with a slab of granite?

Dear God, send us men and women who take your upward call seriously. who stop their ears against the siren call of mediocrity! Raise up an army of people who look in faith only to you and not to the left or two the right, people with vision inspired by your Holy Spirit. Unleash them, Lord Jesus. We need them more than ever in these difficult times. Amen.

The Condition of Your House and Mine


This morning, I planned on going back to reading Philippians as part of the Bible reading plan I talked about earlier this year, when the Lord redirected me elsewhere: to Haggai of all places.


That’s probably not a book in the Bible that you’ve spent much time perusing. I really only am familiar with one well-known passage out of Haggai, and then I even forgot it was in Haggai. I thought it was in Isaiah:

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, declares the LORD of hosts.
—Haggai 2:8

So I cleared the cobwebs off my mental filing cabinet and stashed that passage in the Haggai folder.

But what struck me from the redirection I received this morning was the following passage. I think it fits perfectly in the theme that’s been running here for the last several weeks:

“Is it a time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, while this house lies in ruins? Now, therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.
—Haggai 1:4-6

The state of our spiritual temple?Context: the Jews had returned to the land after captivity in Babylon, had restored much of their old land, but the temple lay in ruins. God didn’t appreciate that the people had restored their former dwellings, but left his dwelling place a shambles.

Notice the contrast here of working hard and receiving little, while the house of God lies neglected. The people ran after their own satisfaction, but it was never enough. Meanwhile, God dwelling place rots.

Most of us reading this post are seasoned Christians. We know the lingo and know enough Bible to be dangerous. I’m sure most know about the symbol of houses in Scripture. I’ll lay out a premise anyway.

God never intended to live in a house built by human hands. His intent, before the spirit inside of Man departed at the Fall, was to have His Spirit animate us and lead us:

Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?'”
—Acts 7:48-50

After the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, our dead spirits were made alive when we repented and believed in Him. Now the Spirit of God can return to the home intended from the beginning:

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
—1 Corinthians 3:16-17

And more than just you and more than just me, the Spirit of God dwells in the sum of us, His collective people. This explains the necessity of the Church. (Evangelicals forget this truth to the detriment of the Church Universal: Jesus isn’t just a personal Jesus.) While God restores each of us by dwelling in us individually, he also dwells in the community of the saints:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
—Ephesians 2:19-22

So while it is important to understand Haggai’s prophecy in terms of its original context, we must not ignore God’s reasonings behind it and what those reasonings mean for us today.

How many of us continue to build our houses, our little worlds, in the physical but neglect the spiritual house of God? You, I, and us together are that spiritual house. We are the dwelling place of God, His temples.

It saddens me that men and women will spend thousands of dollars and hours decorating their homes, but spend so little time resurrecting the ruined house that is their spiritual lives. We live in McMansions on the outside, but we’re content to let God dwell in the dump that comprises our inner lives, the house in which He came to dwell so long ago when we first came to Christ.

And what is the result of this?

You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.

That last sentence just slays me. A bag full of holes. If that doesn’t describe the state of the American Church today, I don’t know what does.

If we’re to restore the ruin that comprises our spiritual house, the dwelling place of God, then we need to get serious about what distracts us from that purpose. We’ve been talking about materialism and discontent the last few weeks. We’ve looked at how overconsumption makes us sick, not only in our bodies but in our souls. In short, we’ve examined how well we’ve “paneled our houses” as Haggai notes, while the house of God lies ignored.

The refugees who’d returned to the land got the message of Haggai and repented:

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God, and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people feared the LORD. Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD’s message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.” And the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people. And they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God, on the twenty-fourth day of the month, in the sixth month, in the second year of Darius the king.
—Haggai 1:12-15

Th people took seriously the word of the Lord. They turned from picking out new drapes for the kitchen and worked to rebuild the most important house in their community: the temple of God.

The results?

Now then, consider from this day onward. Before stone was placed upon stone in the temple of the LORD, how did you fare? When one came to a heap of twenty measures, there were but ten. When one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were but twenty. I struck you and all the products of your toil with blight and with mildew and with hail, yet you did not turn to me, declares the LORD. Consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. Since the day that the foundation of the LORD’s temple was laid, consider: Is the seed yet in the barn? Indeed, the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate, and the olive tree have yielded nothing. But from this day on I will bless you.”
—Haggai 2:15-19

If we wonder why so little spiritual prosperity shows up in your life and mine, if we go to the vat of wine and find twenty measures instead of the fifty we thought were there, perhaps we’ll understand why now.

What’s the state of your spiritual house? Are you spending all your time on the material in your life, neglecting the dwelling place of God? Should you be surprised when the spiritual reserves aren’t there in times of trouble (or even in times of plenty)?

God isn’t going to contend with Man forever.