Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Refreshing Political Perspective from John MacArthur

Nathan and I recently started reading a book together called Right Thinking in a World Gone Wrong, written by John MacArthur and the leadership team at Grace Community Church.  It is a book that tackles current controversial issues in the church and society, and as such, has sparked some interesting conversations between us!  I always love hearing my husband's feedback on each chapter. :)

Just a few days ago, we read a chapter entitled God, Government, and the Gospel.  In light of the present political climate, I thought I would post a few excerpts from this chapter that struck me as worth sharing (the underlined portions being ones I especially wanted to emphasize).  So many Christians I know have expressed great worry over the state of our nation and the yet unknown results of the upcoming election.  It is my hope that these paragraphs will provide a much-needed reminder that the end has already been established by One who knows and that we can rest in His plan with utmost confidence.  Let us keep our focus on that which matters for eternity!


"As I write this chapter, our nation is on the brink of another presidential election.  Not surprisingly, the U.S. political scene has reached a fevered pitch.  From conventions to campaign ads, American televisions, radios, and newspapers echo the emotional upsurge we've come to expect every four years...

[Sound familiar?]

As is often the case, much of the evangelical church has eagerly jumped on the political bandwagon.  Pulpits resound with accolades for one or the other candidate and with approval or disdain for certain bills and plans...Some even suggest that to be a Christian means you must be a Republican and not a Democrat, and that not to vote is a serious sin.  After all, they say, good citizenship implies political involvement.

Such political preoccupations are somewhat ironic considering the dominant premillennial eschatology of conservative evangelicalism.  Our end-times theology tells us that until Christ returns, nothing can or will fix this crumbling world system. Yet our political practice suggest we are desperately trying to fix it nonetheless...

Only the Gospel, through the power of the Spirit, can effect real change in society - since it transforms sinners sinners from the inside out.  After all, there are no Christian countries, only Christian individuals.  Hence, our commission is to proclaim that Gospel faithfully in whatever context God puts us in...

...we can trust God regarding both national and foreign affairs.  No matter who is in the White House, the Congress, or the courtroom, God is on His throne.  He is the one of whom Paul exclaimed, "He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see.  To Him be honor and eternal dominion!  Amen." (1 Timothy 6:15-16)

A quick survey of Scripture reveals that God is sovereign over all the affairs of this world.  He is sovereign over Satan and sin (Job 1:12; 2:6; Luke 5:21; 22:31), over all governments and military powers (2 Chr. 20:6; Romans 13:2); over nature and natural disasters (Psalm 107:29; Nahum 1:3-6); over sickness and disease (John 9:3; 11:4; Revelation 21:4); and over every human being (Acts 13:48; Romands 9:17-18), including you and me (Prov. 16:9; 19:21; James 4:13-15).  Put simply, God is in control.  He does "whatever He pleases" (Psalm 115:3), and "works all things after the counsel of His will" (Eph. 1:11).

God's sovereignty does not excuse human sinfulness or irresponsibility.  But it should give Christians great reason to hope when they see the society growing more and more wicked.  It should relieve them of anxiety and worry (cf. Matt. 6:25; Philippians 4:6), as well as the misguided notion that it is their responsibility to effect political change.  The Lord is directing our nation within His providential purposes for His glorious ends.  And He is doing the same with every other earthly government.

God has already revealed how this world will end.  In its discussion of the last days, the Bible is clear that society will continue to get worse until the return of Christ (2 Thess. 2:7-12; 1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:3).  Yet many evangelicals approach politics as if the degradation of society if something they can stop with legislation.  The truth is that no society will ever be truly made right until Christ comes and sets up His kingdom.  Until then, believers should be surprised to see morally-conservative efforts fail, or to realize that such failures are part of God's sovereign plan.

...National and international affairs can be entrusted to God.  This is not to say that American Christians should not vote, but that in voting they should realize that God has already determined the outcome of every election.  Whatever that outcome may be, believers can be absolutely confident that it accords perfectly with God's sovereign purposes for the future of both our nation and our world.

- John MacArthur

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