Thursday, November 6, 2008

President-Elect Antichrist. . . .


According to some people, the world ended at around 11pm last Tuesday night. Now, these people are depressed, down-in-the-dumps, morose, etc. Many of these people are fellow followers of Christ. I've even heard some of these people speculate on whether or not Barack Obama might be the Antichrist. By the way, I've been around long enough to have heard the same about other Antichrists dujour.

According to other people, the world began at 11pm last Tuesday night. It appeared to me that many of the people who descended on Grant Park and other places around the country to celebrate Obama's victory were heralding "good tidings" of "great joy," almost as if the Savior had come.

I understand that these seem like blanket overstatements on my part. However, they capture the two ends of response on the 2008 electoral spectrum. I voted. I won't tell you how I voted. Some of my fellow believers would be happy with my vote. Others might think I'm off my rocker. I know because I've had these discussions. As I voted, I tried to do so through the lens of my Biblical world and life view. Sure, that perspective informed the issues for me and directed my decision on who to vote for. But even more than that, it gave me perspective. So as the sudden void of a 24/7 barrage of political messages and posturing has left me with more time to think, I'd like to share some perspective. . . for the simple reason that I think our responses to the election are often indicators of a lack of faith and Christian maturity, rather than a sign of faith and Christian maturity.

So. . . . my thoughts. . . .not exhaustive. . . . and certainly not very deep. . .

God's got this all under control. He's taking our country and world where He wants it to be. To those who think that it's all starting to fall apart due to the election results, you need to realize that it was all falling apart a long time ago. And if we are proud enough to believe that it wasn't all shattered until now. . . well, that's just a sign that our own falling apart led us to accept and believe a delusion. Which is, of course, proof positive that it's all fallen apart. In my own humble opinion that's based on my own personal experience. . . I think we feel good about the country when we feel good. And feeling good is predicated on the chicken in our own pot and the car in our own garage. It's symptomatic of our deeply embedded North American materialism, which is - by the way - epidemic in the church and our homes. Maybe, just maybe, a crisis that would shatter our idols and force us to our knees in dependence on God is just what the Creator ordered and just what we need for the sake of our own spiritual growth.

If God's in control, then we don't need to be afraid. So. . . . why are we? Perhaps we should be spending less time complaining about the change we think is about to come, and more time looking in the mirror at the changes that need to come in our own lives based on our fear. . . . including a little more dependence on God.

Government can't save us. Numerous societies have been down that road all throughout history, and it's never worked. Those who think Obama is the Savior are wrong. And those who think that Obama is the opposite are equally wrong. . . . simply because their despair is an indicator of the fact that they have relied on the political status quo to save them (whatever that means), and now that the political status quo has moved them from a place of comfort to discomfort, the world and their lives are doomed. Either way is idolatrous. . . replacing the Creator with something created.

Let's say Obama is the Antichrist as some Christians believe (and there's no way of really knowing is there?). Do we really think that our vote could have changed God's grand plan to redeem His world and work out what He's had in store for all eternity in His way and His time?

Maybe the most valuable thing to come out of this election is the truth about ourselves. We live in a media saturated world with a media that's saturated by spin. Fair and balanced? I don't think it exists anywhere or at either end of the spectrum. Yet, we still buy into it when it caters to our leanings. Truth is, as well, that our world is hungry for the Redeemer. Obama won't do it. And truth is, as well, that the component of the church that placed their faith in McCain and Palin are equally wrong. Don't misread what I'm saying so that you hear me say that however you voted you were wrong. I'm simply saying that many on both sides have placed their faith in people and things that don't warrant our allegiance.

So, for the next two months and some days our responsibility as God-following citizens of this country is to live under the authority of our current leaders as long as they don't require us to disobey the authority of our Lord. In addition, we should be praying for the President and all others in authority. And, when the new administration takes over, these commitments must continue.

And remember, "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

Finally, I knew my blog title would catch your attention. What are you thinking about the election?

13 comments:

Cstreet said...

I am very hopeful about the election as I know God does GREAT & Mighty things when we are at our worst. I agree that he has it all under control and as a mere human we can not see the whole picture.. Great blog

Anonymous said...

I appreciated that blog as it states everything that I think. We are in a fallen world and one guy is not got to take it drastically down overnight. The truth is that God is still God and still has called you and I as believers to be ministers of His truth where we are at.
Let's pray for our new president and that he will have wisdom in choosing his surrounding cast. My prayer, believing God is sovereign, is that Obama's mind on abortion and marriage would be changed, he would be distracted and never get to implement his practices, or that his claims on those two issues were just political rhetoric that he only said to get elected.
All in all, the president does not have complete authority to make whatever rules he wants to. He still has accountability.

I think the thing I learned from this election is the change of culture. Particularly with a new generation arriving at the voting age. This generation has been saturated in post modern thought and believes it to truth, so they vote that way. As ministers of truth we need to be faithful to engage our culture and share the truth of God's Word that is counter to the culture of our media.

Anonymous said...

Great word about the election. I'm a youth pastor and was sitting on Facebook while this whole thing unfolded to catch the reaction from my students. It gave me great insight into how the different campaigns have influenced them and what paradigm they are really living out of (not to mention a reflection on their parents values...). The world view we must all operate out of: Jesus is Lord. Our politics must not be reduced to "republican" or "democrat," rather I am with you Walt that the government doesn't save - Jesus does. And that is why the election has been one big teachable moment for me as a youth pastor!

B2 said...

Thank you so much for your blog. I was approached the other day by someone saying that Obama was the antichrist. I had to roll my eyes and laugh inside.

I loved what you said about our allegiances and looking towards the government as some sort of idol. The government won't save us or anything for that matter.

I was very comforted by reading Daniel 7 and how this vision that Daniel receives of 4 monstrous beasts coming out of the sea is how God sees human government. Vicious animals tearing each other apart, and still He reigns. He sits on His throne and governs them all. He gives some authority and rule and takes others down. We may have voted, but it was God that gives authority. God also uses completely pagan people and nations to carry out His will.

I am optimistic.

Jon D said...

Thank you for your blog! It stated everything I was thinking! When I hear fellow Christians talk about the outcome- I get so frustrated!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not a scholar on prophecy, but the way I understand it is the anti-Christ appears after the rapture of the church. So if Obama is that man, we're in trouble..Aside from that, I too have found believers irritating after the election. Where is our "hope"? WE know where real change comes from. Thanks again Walt...from a Gettysburg "Groupie"!! :o)

Anonymous said...

I think we alwasy need to remember Who is in control and it is not us. We may agree or disagree on who should be President but we know who sits in the heavenly "white house" and on the throne. As far as, Obama being the anti-christ, this is absurd. Read your Bibles people. We have no idea who or what group the anti-christ will be. When it does happen we will kow clearly. Let us be biblical and pray for our leaders!

Anonymous said...

Well said Walt! For those interested in reading something along the same lines (althrough a bit more "radical"), check out Derek Webb's article from Patrol Magazine: http://www.patrolmag.com/times/922/how-shall-we-then-vote. I'm still working through what I think about it.

Dave Coryell said...

Great words as always Walt! I totally agree with your thoughts. I think the piece that was the most eye opening about this election was how shallow we have really become as a nation. This election appeared to be equivalent to "American Idol" on a much bigger stage with much bigger stakes. Jeremiah 2 explains how the people followed worthless idols and become worthless themselves. I have walked away from this election asking God,"Where are my idols?"

Anonymous said...

I agree that you have hit both ends of the radical political spectrum during this election. However, I think you missed what I would consider the most broad-ranging sentiments of this election. Sentiments that have essentially divided the "Christian" vote.

Those who voted for Obama are typically vindictive of the Bush Administration and now seeking any "change" that might be offered without being the least bit critical of it.

Another branch of Christians who are Obama supporters have a fundamental difference in perspective of what the economic, social, and political structure should look like. Different than those who voted against Obama.


Those Christians who voted for McCain are typically one issue voters. They stake their entire vote on one issue like abortion or the Iraq war. I think they do this for one of two reasons; because they are deeply involved in the issue at stake or because it is a way to avoid having any real involvement in the effort but feel justified after voting.

The other branch of McCain voters are those disillusioned with the political process and the representation we have in Washington. Unfortunately these votes were votes against Obama and not in favor of McCain. Many conservatives, federalist, libertarians who did not vote third party voted for McCain in opposition to policies promoted by the Obama campaign.

Here is my problem. Forget the anti-christ talk. Christians should being talking about justice. If our views on justice don't coincide, we will never agree about politics, but maybe that's a good thing.

Timothy said...

Last night, as the media was declaring Obama the next president of our nation, I watched the frustration of those who disagreed with America's decision. I took phone calls from family and friends who wondered if Obama was the Antichrist. I read text messages advising me to wear black today as a sign of mourning for the death of America. I can understand their frustration.

I also watched as millions celebrated what they feel is a welcomed and needed change. I watched leaders in the black community cry as they remembered the struggle for civil rights and realized that a man with black heritage is going to the highest political seat in the country. I can appreciate their passion and the emotions they must be feeling at this historic moment in our nation’s history.

While I understand the frustration of the loosing side and appreciate the passion for victory on the winning side, I believe caution and temperance are needed in both camps. All must remember that "there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God" (Rom 13:1). You may not agree with the results, but our God is not removed from reality. He is actively involved in our world and He does care about what happens to us. He has a plan greater than anything you or I could ever conceive, and His ways are forever more brilliant than ours. For reasons that may not be clear to us now or ever, God's will is for Obama to be the next president of the United States.

Believers must also remember that we serve Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords. His kingdom is not the United States of America (John 18:36) and, therefore, while you should pray for our nation and serve where you are called to the honor of God, your allegiance belongs to the Creator who died to save your soul and not to any worldly power, political party, president, or individual. If we truly believe our God is sovereign, and He is, we must submit to His will and pray for our new president.

Having first examined Scripture, let both sides now consider these words of wisdom from the first inaugural address of President Thomas Jefferson:

"During the contest of opinion through which we have passed the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution , all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression. Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things."

For those of you who are wondering, I did not cast a vote for Obama or McCain, and unless you did some digging into third party candidates you will never guess who I voted for. I am not wearing black today and never had any intention of doing so. I have not publicly endorsed a candidate and only discussed my choice with family and trusted friends. By the sovereignty of almighty God, Obama is the president-elect of my country and I congratulate him. I will defend him when he is right and I will stand against him when he contradicts the Word of God. I may not agree with his policies, but he will be my president and he will have my prayers and I will respect his office. That is the sign of a true patriot, but more importantly it is biblical and brings honor to our Lord, Jesus Christ. I urge you to do the same.

Truth is Alive,

Tim Wheeless

Tony Myles said...

I told my neighbor that if he is right - and Obama is the antiChrist - that he could tell me "I told you so" on the way up for the rapture.

Daniel King said...

Eschatological beliefs seem rather pronounced post-election season. Does anyone remember Ronald Wilson Reagan - six letters in each name: first, middle, and last: 666?

As a child of the 80's and 90's I remember being terrified at points by b-rate movies and cheese-ball "cutting-edge" keyboard songs about being "left behind."

I am not arguing theology or even eschatology but am more interested in discussing the inherited ethical consequences that such over-emphasis of beliefs on these matters has on developing youth.

A question recently asked to me: What would cause a person to say, "well, it was god's will."

My response: I think you will find that most people with a theology that would shape such statements adhere to a particular flavor of predestination. When the idea of omniscience is thrown into the belief folder, predestination philosophically and inescapably becomes a form of determinism. Mostly this is scary because when you add in (some) evangelical + fundamental eschatological understandings, you end up with determinism warping into a kind of fatalism. Albeit it is this kind of religious fatalism that would cause a person to ignore environmental, political, and social issues. It is this fatalism that might say, "well, it was God's will."

As a married 25-year old male with a daughter, I am invested to see a few things change for the better. I have a Calvinistic theological background and grew up with family in the ministry. The reductionist and quantitative ethics that worked well with the theology I grew up around is loathsome. Utilitarianism, in the limited sense - where the end justifies the means - made for some interesting conversion techniques that, having been witnessed, taught me that Integrity and Character are peripheral but not essentials to the Christian faith.

I digress Walt from your original question which asked our thoughts on the election...

I am excited and have great hope in Barak Obama. Speculations over anti-christ this and anti-christ that seem entirely unfruitful and ignorant given what scripture says about certainty in such matters and the various views even within the church. What really is the point of this type of conversation?