Wow…he mentioned God, the Bible, and America! He must be the faith candidate. Oh, wait so did all the other candidates. Is her faith better than his? Does all that political, religious jargon mean anything? Can anyone figure out what is going on here???
Are you a person of faith? Most are. According to a new Barna poll, despite religious affiliation going down slightly, almost 90% of Americans still believe in God. So it is only natural that we listen carefully to what candidates say when it comes to their faith. But sorting through all the “spin” can make you dizzy.
And the law of the land seems to be: don’t look at the particulars of my religion or faith, but hear me when I say “faith-words.” It becomes increasingly difficult to know where candidates actually stand. “Why?” Because the new spin is a benign appearing, but ultimately malignant, gospel that I call “politico-religion.”
Politico-religion, as I would define it, is “a religion that proclaims a faith in God and a desire for Him to bless us, yet absolves us of meeting those distinguishing requirements by which He measures our faith and determines His blessings.” In other words, as a country, we like “God-talk,” that is devoid of specifics regarding God’s Word. And therein lies the problem.
Presidential candidates jockey to be the “faith candidate,” and we can’t blame them. It would be political suicide to do otherwise. Any Presidential candidate, who has any chance of being elected, has to proclaim faith in God and a trust that God will continue to bless America. But politico-religion is the embarrassingly ugly cousin of the true gospel.
The gospel doesn’t begin or end at “God bless America.”
Watering down the gospel is never God-pleasing Christianity. There is no such thing as a Christian faith that absolves us of our Christian lives. Yet we continuously make exceptions and excuses in order to support a candidate who sounds “faithy.”
“What are we supposed to do,” you ask? “These are the choices we have. And though, not perfect, shouldn’t we vote for a candidate who is “closer” to our ideology?”
Fine. Just don’t believe that you are furthering His Kingdom when you promote a candidate who preaches a gospel that is clearly different from His. If you are going to invoke God, you might want to consider what God’s Word says.
For example, Hillary Clinton’s speeches that encourage people to live up to their “God-given potential,” followed by a litany of God-denounced activities, would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. One simply cannot “use” God on the broad strokes and chuck Him when it is time for the details.
Remember Mitt Romney? Mormonism is not Christianity. Mormon beliefs include: the Book of Mormon is to be believed over the Bible; dark skin is Cain’s curse from God; Satan and Jesus are brothers; Joseph Smith is responsible for a revelation leading to salvation; men can become angels; men can become gods; Jesus is the product of God and a goddess, …need I go on?
Yet 80% of evangelicals liked the faith-talk Romney used and he received the “faith vote.” Was it ok to support Romney if you believed him to be the more qualified candidate? Sure. Just don’t think that voting for a Mormon promotes the gospel. Mormons are not, what Joel Osteen called, “brothers in Christ.” The idea is absurd!
Thomas Kidd, professor of history and religion at Baylor University in Texas, puts the current race between Donald Trump and Ben Carson in similar terms:
“…a lot of evangelicals would…rather have a practicing Adventist than a nominal Presbyterian who doesn’t seem to have basic theological understanding about Christianity.”
Yet 7th Day Adventism denies basic tenants of Christianity. They reject the immortality of the soul; they believe there is no hell or personal responsibility for sin (sins will be placed on Satan); they think Ellen White was a prophet with new revelation from God, they insist worship must be done on Saturday, and they believe Jesus is the angel Michael. Yet Ben Carson’s support as the “faith candidate” grows.
Meanwhile, Donald Trump claimed that his faith, as a Presbyterian, is “middle of the road” and is safer than Carson’s. He failed to mention that it is the PC-USA wing of the denomination, known for ultra-liberal stances (denying inerrancy of the Bible, performing same-sex marriages, belief that homosexuality is not a sin, etc). In fact, where he “attends” occasionally is a different denomination altogether, and they wrote a letter saying he is not a member. Is that what the gospel is all about?
So…at the end of the day, do politico-religious politicians even care what God’s position is? I can’t say, but it doesn’t appear so. Those who worship at that altar seem interested in using enough “God speak” to get evangelical votes while not losing irreligious constituents or committing themselves to any actual Biblical positions.
Our job is not to rewrite, water down, or change the true gospel. And, if you want to support a candidate, just say you like something about them or their party. But let’s quit using “God-speak” as an excuse. Because, frankly, it is embarrassing.
Every time a Christian says they support a politico-religious candidate because of their “Christianity,” the true gospel of Christ’s is tarnished and the effectiveness of the church is damaged. Far too many politico-religious, God-speak, politicians have been elected on that banner and then disgrace the name of God once elected.
And if you REALLY want a CHRISTIAN to be elected to an office, then demand better. It is your right as an American to promote candidates who really do profess the Bible and the true gospel. Encourage believers to get involved in politics if you want Christian politicians. But be wary of equating faith-speak and the gospel, because they are not necessarily the same…at all.
As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord, no matter who gets elected. We will continue to be proponents for God and His gospel. And we will pray that our leaders will turn to God while there is a today left in which to turn. And we pray that God will, in deed, bless America…with a heart to do His will.