Monday, November 5, 2012

Voting, and the National Message of the Bible

“Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people”( Proverbs 14:34).

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn” (Proverbs 29:2).

All Christians are aware that the Bible has a message for the individual and for the Church, but many, many Christians are unaware that the Bible also has a message for the nation. In fact, about one-third of the Bible speaks to the nation. This is the National Message of the Bible.

Most Christians understand that God held the people of Israel accountable under the Old Covenant, but many have never considered the fact that the Prophet Jonah was sent to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria. Had the people there not repented, their nation would have been destroyed. Later, God used Babylon to punish Assyria, and later still God used Medo-Persia to punish Babylon. God even described Cyrus, the ruler of the Medo-Persians, as  His anointed. The Old Covenant prophets had many messages for the other nations of the world, because even though these nations did not know the true God, they were still accountable to the natural law. 

Under the New Covenant, the faith has become catholic or universal. The earliest Christians, and their successors today, have been commissioned to make disciples of all nations. With the advance of the Great Commission, Christendom was built in Europe. From Europe many nations have received the Gospel. The people of the United States were not converted to Christ, but our nation was established by Christians and built on a Christian foundation. Patrick Henry said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”

The Supreme Court of the United States concurred in 1892, officially declaring the United States a Christian nation: “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”

If Assyria, Babylon and other pagan nations were held accountable to God for their behavior, how much more will Christian nations be held accountable? If to whom much has been given, much will be required, how much more will the greatest and most blessed nation in the history of the world - the United States of America - be held accountable? America’s Founding Fathers certainly understood this accountability.

At the Constitutional Convention on June 28, 1787, Benjamin Franklin said, “We have been assured Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it.‘ I firmly believe this: and I also believe that without His concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the builders of Babel.”

In 1781, Thomas Jefferson said, “God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever.”

In 1821, Daniel Webster said, “If we abide by the principles taught in the Bible, our country will go on prospering and to prosper; but if we and our posterity neglect its instructions and authority, no man can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us and bury all our glory in profound obscurity.”

Sadly, since prayer and Bible study were outlawed in America’s public schools in 1962, America’s Western Christian civilization has been under constant assault, and in retreat, until it has become a free fall in recent years. 

In 1965, some 95% of all Americans were self-described Christians, with most of the remainder being Jews; but as a result of the 1965 immigration act the United States has become the most religiously diverse nation in the world. To that non-Christian diversity can be added a growing secularism. Today, one in five people in the United States are religiously unaffiliated, with about one in three people under the age of thirty unaffiliated. 

For the first time in American history a majority of adults are unmarried, and the birthrate in 2011 was the lowest in American history. Today 40% of all babies born in America are born out of wedlock, with more than two-thirds of babies born in the black community born outside of marriage.

The divorce rate in the United States is about 50%. Some 40% of all first marriages end in divorce, 60% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages. However, only 6% of marriages between practicing Christians who attend the same church on a weekly basis end in divorce!

In the 1950s abortion was a felony. Today it is a civil right. One in three conceptions end in abortion, more than 3,000 every day. Since Roe vs. Wade in 1973, more than fifty-five million pre-born children have been killed in abortion chambers. Less than 1% of these abortions were what are often called “hard cases.” I have heard the heart beat of a pre-born baby only twenty-eight days after conception. It is a child, not a choice.

Abortion never solves a woman’s problems, it only creates new ones. As a pastor I have worked with post-abortive women. Abortion either hardens a woman’s heart, often eventually leading to a second abortion, or even a third, and sometimes more; or it devastates her and causes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems. I have seen women who have had abortions, even after later repenting, who have had emotional meltdowns year after year as the date of their abortion and the due date of their unborn child approaches. 

Abortion does not solve problems, it only creates new and long lasting ones. The only ones that benefit from abortion are those in the abortion industry. They are literally making a killing.

The ongoing redefinition of marriage is not about love or fairness, it is about what kind of nation America will be. When marriage is redefined, homosexual couples are allowed to adopt children. This is very, very serious. In addition, Christian adoption agencies have been forced to close down when they have refused to place children with homosexual couples. And this is just the beginning. Christians have suffered persecution and even prosecution for “discriminating” against those who chose to engage in this lifestyle. Orthodox churches themselves may soon face loss of their tax exempt status for upholding Biblical morality in the face of the ongoing homosexual offensive.

Christians can disagree politically about many things. For instance, Christians can disagree about corporate tax rates, capital gains taxes, foreign policy and more. We all have to make prudential judgements. However, there are non-negotiables. Abortion, euthanasia and traditional marriage are non-negotiables. As Christians we must stand up and protect the innocent and the vulnerable from conception to natural death. If the right to life is not guaranteed, no other rights matter.

In 2008, the Democratic Party platform called for abortion to be “safe, legal and rare.” That was bad enough, but in 2012 the Democratic Party dropped the word “rare” from its platform and added “regardless of ability to pay.” Regardless of ability to pay? That means either taxpayer funded abortion or forcing insurance companies to offer free abortions under Obamacare. As Dennis Miller has said, “The Left believes in cradle to the grave assistance, it’s just sometimes really tricky making it to the cradle.”

Orthodox Christians must be sure to vote as it is their Christian and civic responsibility. Before casting any ballot for any candidate for any office of any party, be sure to do your research. Compare the candidates, look for endorsements from National Right to Life and from State and local Right to Life organizations. Vote as if someone’s life depended on it. It does!

The solution to our nation’s problems is found in the Bible: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chron. 7:14).

Now you know about the National Message of the Bible. God judges individuals, the Church, and the nation. There is no “once saved, always saved” for people or for nations. Christians are called to be light and salt in society, and to occupy until Christ’s comes.  

On election day, Tuesday, November 6th, there will be prayers for our country at our church at 12:10 PM. We will pray the Penitential Office and the Litany. Join us for prayer for America and bring your friends. Let us humble ourselves, repent of our personal and national sins, pray for our country, and then go out and vote.