The August 7, OCRegister headline read, Rick Warren hopes to redefine presidential politics. The issues that will be addressed are of a social nature, curing AIDS, poverty, sickness and will likely avoid such questions as same sex marriage, and abortion. As the article notes:
“It is a lot more sterilized and socially acceptable to be concerned about people who got HIV in Africa – because they acquired it in a heterosexual way – than to discuss the real, core issues of why Americans are getting it, which have to do with sexuality, poverty, lack of education, drug use,” said Rodriguez, president of the AIDS Services Foundation Orange County board. “These are segments of the population that don’t really get people votes.”
Earlier this year we also saw the birth of the Obama Bill: 845 Billion more for global poverty. I am not certain that McCain would be opposed to this since both he and Obama endorse Warren’s P.E.A.C.E. Plan:
Warren noted that McCain and Obama have endorsed Saddleback’s PEACE Plan, a strategy to mobilize churches to fight global problems such as illiteracy, corrupt leadership and disease
Rick Warren seems very comfortable and enamored with the political left. He is dedicated to the idea that contrary to Jesus’ claims that we would always have the poor (Matt. 26:11; Mk. 14:7; Jn. 12:8), we humans can eliminate poverty, hunger and sickness from the face of the earth. He seems so consumed by this that he seems to convey it is the church’s mandate to do so but the church doesn’t have the financial wherewithal to fulfill Warren’s mandate. He seems to be of the view that the Federal Government should steal the money from its citizens in order for the church to fulfill Warren’s dream. Will 845 Billion more for global poverty. be the ticket? Will McCain propose a similar plan? Who will rule and what will be the cost?
For many this is a difficult election cycle. The issues which arise from a biblical worldview are discouraged even by Evangelical leaders in order to look more like the surrounding culture:
“He is trying to ask the kind of questions that you don’t have to be an evangelical to want to know the answer,” Winston said. (Rick Warren hopes to redefine presidential politics)
There are many who rightly point out that it is God who sets up and removes governments. No one rules apart from Him (Romans 13). What is often not pointed out is that He may allow an evil, unjust or inept ruler to come to power in response to the people being governed. We get a pretty clear picture of this in 1 Samuel 8. The leadership of the nation of Israel came to Samuel and demanded:
Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations. (1 Samuel 8:5)
When Samuel went to God, God was clear that in demanding a king the people were rejecting Him:
The LORD said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.
Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day–in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods–so they are doing to you also. (1 Samuel 8:7-8)
What follows in 8:9-18 is God’s outline of what would happen as a result of their choice. This included expanding his (the kings) prestige or celebrity (v:11), expanding the government bureaucracy (v:12), allocating the talent out of the private sector and increasing taxes (v:13- 17). The result would be:
Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day. (1 Samuel 1:18)
Many times God allows us as individuals and as groups to suffer the consequences of our choices. He warns us in advance what those consequences will be and like spoiled children we demand to have our way at which point He steps back and turns a deaf ear, at least for a time.
How does all of this bear on this election? The church largely abandoned culture in the early part of the 20th Century. The culture maintained a sort of hangover of Christian morality until the 1960s and 1970s at which time the hangover wore off. We discuss this at some length in How Did We Get Here? The church began to wake up and didn’t like what it saw. The culture without the salt and light went bad and into darkness. In the mid 1970s some of the church began transforming itself to look like culture in order to be more widely embraced. Rather than being ambassadors to culture the attempt was made to entertain culture into the church. Rather than influencing culture, culture continued transforming the church. In the late 1970s another segment of the church chose to look to politics for salvation and attempt to recreate a Christian culture through legislation. Although we can legislate someone’s morality (and nearly every law does legislate someone’s moral behavior), we cannot legislate their will or beliefs. This election is based largely on celebrity and feel goodism. The issue of abortion will be sidestepped because it is “divisive.” The issue of same sex marriage will be tabled because according to emerging leaders, there is no “consensus” from the Holy Spirit. The voice coming from Evangelical/emerging leadership is, expand government and increase taxes in order to solve global poverty, hunger, and illiteracy. As Rick Warren pointed out, both of the current candidates have signed on to his plan. Will the citizens survive the crushing weight of the expanded government, allocating the talent out of the private sector and increasing taxes? Will God hear us when the consequences of our corporate actions come to fruition or is God saying to us as He did to Israel:
Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the LORD will not answer you in that day.