How Should the Church Respond to the New President?
Yes, we now have a new president! Our country just voted for a new president after a rollercoaster-like emotional campaign between two polarizing candidates. In the aftermath, I’ve been reflecting on how best we, the church, can be open and supportive of our future president.
THE BIG QUESTION
While Americans have the right to protest, just as they have the right to assemble and worship God, should Christians protest against the new presidential selection? The straight forward answer leads me to two prominent passages (below) in how Christians in the early church were taught to PRAY and SUBMIT to the governing authorities – the Roman Empire. Yes, this is the same empire that barbecued Christians for their faith.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior”, (1 Tim 2:1-3 NLT).
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished,” (Rom 13:1-2 NLT).
Oh my…this may be quite difficult or impossible for many believers of the faith. How can Christians get behind and support anyone who has questionable character issues, temperament control, discernment in decision-making, and appear to have a difficult time accepting wise counsel? This personal dilemma caused me to search the Bible for answers where I can follow these New Testament imperatives with good conscience.
Here’s the great news. In both the OT and NT, we have a plethora of bad kings and good kings. God’s people always had to live under the rule of some pretty bad dudes. Then, God placed this proverb on my mind:
The king’s heart is like a stream of water directed by the Lord; he guides it wherever he pleases, (Pro 21:1 NLT).
I want to share three inspiring truths from this verse regarding our new “king”.
WHAT CAN WE PRAY FOR OUR PRESIDENT?
- God has influenced kings with the whispers of faithful men and women.
Think about Joseph, Daniel, Esther, and Nehemiah. They all served pagan kings of strong empires, yet God used them to influence their nation. I am praying that God will surround our new president with wise counsel who are strong in the faith. We can also be praying that these faithful and influential men and women will be courageous at the right moment, just like Queen Esther, “…Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this,” (Esth 4:14b NLT)? I am confident that God has done it before, he can do it again with any king.
- God’s WILL is always accomplished despite the government.
Great nations, like the Egyptian, Babylonian, Assyrian, Persian, Roman Empire, will rise and fall. Yet, the Christian faith continued to flourish and the people never lost hope. We evidenced that God sovereignly has worked overtly alongside government structures and covertly around them. His WILL is not dependent on the government (cf. Jesus & Pilate, Jn 18:33-36), yet we are to be respectful to the government (cf. Jesus & Taxes, Mt 22:15-22, Mk 12:13-17, Lk 20:20-26). While Jesus was innocently placed on trial by three different groups of government (King Herod, Pharisees, and Pilate), God’s WILL was still accomplished. “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven,” (Mt 6:10 ESV).
- God’s Will is Accomplished through the Church: the only HOPE for the world.
In any presidential election, there will always be winners and losers. We haven’t seen a 100% for anyone. The nation was divided and many people expressed extreme discontent. After the election, the president asked for the people to be UNIFIED, begin HEALING, and remain HOPEFUL for a brighter future. Here’s the irony; the church has always been about promoting this message!! These qualities are the hallmark of the church, the bride of Christ. We are to be a place where people can find hope, unity, and healing in Christ. Our prayer is that the bride of Christ is highlighted over everything else. We want people to know their hope can last longer than 4 or 8 years. Our HOPE lasts forever.
Now, back to my original questions: Should Christians Protest against the new presidential selection? NO! Christians should PRAY for their new president. We should PRAY for God to bless our new president with much favor, and to help him to seek after God like the great King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
“After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever…. When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud,” (Dan 4:34-37 NLT).
I do believe this is the best country ever, and I also believe that the church is the best HOPE ever for the world. Be encouraged, for God is still on the throne and is directing the king’s heart.