Archive for March, 2016

biblical votingMost people agree this is one of the most unpredictable and unusual election cycles in American history. For those who want substance over sensationalism, it is one of the most frustrating. For Christian conservatives, this could be the most disappointing. At least it’s entertaining.

Americans are angry, I get it; but let’s not misplace our anger and out of desperation, elect another pagan king.

Some people think Donald Trump is a conservative. I find this to be inconceivable because if he’s conservative, then by that definition I certainly am not.

Marco Rubio deserves some credit for doing the responsible thing and dropping out of the Republican race last night. He’s incredibly intelligent, a principled man and excellent speaker. At CPAC earlier this month, Rubio explained the current dilemma:

“If you had told me a year ago that the front-runner at this stage in the Republican campaign would be a supporter of Planned Parenthood, who says he doesn’t stand with Israel, has a long record of supporting government-sponsored healthcare, I would say ‘on what planet would that be the Republican front-runner? But it’s happened. And I think we have to ask ourselves why we allowed that to happen.”

We’ve learned a few more things in this process: many polls are misleading at best or wrong at worst, the media often puts their ratings over content that would actually inform people, and there appears to be a ‘Uge’ difference between evangelicals and Trumpvangelicals.

First, it is important to understand how polls are administered including: who created the poll, how the questions are worded, where the polls are taken and when, are there more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions, and how large is the poll sample. I’ve noticed quite a discrepancy this year between poll results leading up to a caucus or primary from actual votes cast. This can appear that certain pollsters and media outlets are trying to sway voters.

Tracking the amount of news coverage for each candidate, sources including mediaQuant and the Media Research Center have reported that Donald Trump has been awarded $2 Billion in free media coverage. Might this factor into Trump’s popularity just a bit?

Also, exit polling is typically designed by the liberal news media to help them report as votes are coming in. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CNN, and the AP make up the National Election Pool. Edison Research in New Jersey sends out interviewers to various polling places on election day to a random sample of voters.

The most disturbing thing about exit polls is the media forms opinions and attempts to explain the religious views of voters who only answered one or two questions about religion! You read that right: many of these voter surveys include a single question about faith.

The most common questions on religion have to do with how often a person goes to church, would they describe themselves as a born again or evangelical Christian, and are they Protestant, Catholic, Mormon, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or no religion.

The reason so much attention is given to “evangelical voters” is because years ago, when Americans were generally more of a God-fearing, moral people and our faith was the most important thing in our lives, candidates would fight to win these voters. Today however, there is much confusion about spirituality and there seems to be no consensus about definitions and what it really means to be a Christian.

Another problem with the question about church attendance is people tend to give the socially acceptable answer and exaggerate their religious interest. As I’ve pointed out for years, too many professing Christians are not committed to the cause of Christ and live out their faith in public. Nominal believers abound, and one of the only ways to determine where a voter stands is to ask how important a person’s religion is to them or how active they are in defending or sharing that faith.

A conclusion made by Princeton University sociologist, Robert Wuthnow, is that “pollsters have created an inaccurate, shallow and misleading portrait of American religion,” and he would rather see a combination of faith questions. Agreed!

One national poll had Trump with 42 percent support among “evangelicals.” In second place was Ted Cruz -known more for his biblical faith and conservative values – at just 25 percent. Something doesn’t add up. Moreover, on average, 64 percent of evangelicals in southern states voted for someone other than Donald Trump.

In exit polls two weeks ago, Cruz overwhelmingly won voters who said it matters “that a candidate shares your religious beliefs,” and when it came to “values voters,” Cruz averaged 41 percent while Trump averaged a mere 13 percent. When discussing candidate qualities however, Trump averaged nearly 80 percent of voters who said their main concern is “telling like it is.”

What can we make of this so far? According to Biola University’s Darren Patrick Guerra, “serious evangelicals” aren’t going for Trump, and the more dedicated a person is about their Christian faith, the more they seemed to support Cruz or Carson.

Obviously, there are some who disagree with this conclusion. At Liberty University, Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated:

“God called King David a man after God’s own heart even though he was an adulterer and a murderer. You have to choose the leader that would make the best king or president and not necessarily someone who would be a good pastor… [someone to] bring us back to economic vitality…”

Red State’s Erick Erickson writes that Falwell is “flat out mocking God” and it is “shameful” that Falwell Jr. would compare David’s adultery to Trump’s, who bragged about his sin. Sadly, Trump admits he has never sought forgiveness from God when in fact, David was severely punished by God causing David to cry out to Him:

Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak and blameless when You judge… Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:4,10)

The church has changed, culture and morality have changed, and America sure has changed. Many social conservatives are upset with Christians who too easily compromise. Politics have caused much division, even within the Church, and the current president has made the divide much worse in our nation as a whole.

In an interview with World Magazine, author and nationally syndicated radio talk show host, Steve Deace explained how he has been grieved to watch how professing Christians have been “willing to define down what they believe in order to support a person.”

If we’re not going to advance Christian ideology by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, impacting our county and electing God-fearing candidates, then let’s call it a night. Moses was instructed to “select out of all the people able men who fear God, men of truth, those who hate dishonest gain…” (Exodus 18:21)

I continue to pray for God to have mercy on us and delay His judgment, but America may soon get what America deserves if we aren’t already. The tragic truth is we have neglected our responsibility to lead and influence every aspect of this nation as many before us have rightly done.

“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature … If the next centennial does not find us a great nation…it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” James Garfield, 1877

Are we the people controlling the political forces? Does this country resemble a godly and moral nation anymore? And yet, over seventy percent of U.S. citizens still claim to be “Christian.”

People keep using that word; I do not think it means what they think it means.

 

Exit Poll Religion Questions ‘Confuse and Mislead’ Critics Say

Is Donald Trump a Modern Day Cyrus?

Trump Given $2 Billion in Free Media Coverage

Conservatism in the Age of Trump

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Attend church graphicDon’t believe the headlines. Real Christian conservatives are not falling for the hype, but the cult of celebrity is causing formerly level-headed Americans to become fans and followers of Donald Trump. It is imperative we define exactly what it means to be a true follower of Jesus and look at what it means to have a biblical Christian worldview.

I’ve heard the argument ‘we are not electing a pastor’ to lead America but as Christians, should we not vote for the person who best reflects biblical teachings in his actions and words?

You’d think we would have learned our lesson.

President Obama continues to claim he is a Christian. His actions and policies seem to prove otherwise. When Franklin Graham was asked why he and others did not take the president’s word for it, he responded:

“You have to look at what a person does with his life. Anybody can say they’re a Christian.”

Graham and other respected Christian leaders agree that when the president proclaims faith in Jesus and his actions don’t match his words, it is not authentic Christian faith.

The Obama White House has proven to be the most biblically hostile administration in the history of the United States and yet, millions of professing Christians voted for him. I don’t know their hearts so they may or may not be actual Christians. On the flip side, millions of true Christians refused to vote for Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon. What a conundrum.

If we say we are Christian, do our lives – this includes who we vote for – reflect the teachings of Jesus and the Word of God? Do we have the right to judge someone’s profession of faith and, if we are called to judge, what are the criteria?

According to Jesus, living an authentic Christian life is difficult, but the fruit we produce does matter:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it…  A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:13-20

A “biblical Christian worldview” can be defined as believing absolute moral truth exists as well as God, the Creator of all things; the Bible is inspired by God and accurate in all of its principles and prophecies; mankind was created in God’s image and Satan is a real being or force, not merely symbolic; Hell is a real destination; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth and sacrificed Himself to save us – died and was raised to life again; God is the all-knowing, all-powerful ruler of the universe today; and Jesus Christ will return to judge the living and the dead and take His followers to Heaven for eternity.

Angry citizens desperate for change are flocking to Trump simply because he is channeling their frustration with government, with the system, the economy, with establishment Republicans, with Obama, and on and on. Are these good enough reasons to vote him into the highest office in the land?

I wonder what our founders and early American patriots would think about the current presidential campaign cycle.

In 1789, Noah Webster stated:

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate – look to his character.”

Many Americans however, appear to be following a personality rather than being concerned about principle, faith, integrity, and character.

A few decades later, the Reverend Charles Finney declared:

“The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them… Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently… God will bless or curse this nation, according to the course Christians take.”

The liberal media is proclaiming so-called evangelicals are flocking to the caustic, narcissistic businessman, entertainer, and professing Republican who said he likes the Obamacare mandate. He was listed on the Reform Party primary ballot in 1999, joined the Democrats in 2001, was registered an independent in 2011 before settling with Romney’s GOP in 2012.

Trump has publicly held 7 different positions on Planned Parenthood in the past 6 months.

According to exit polling, (basically, what people claim), 72% of Republicans in South Carolina’s primary “identified” as evangelical or born again Christians. Are you buying their definitions and labels? Leading up to the vote, this faulty assumption made it appear to pundits that Ted Cruz should have done very well and when Trump won, the media considered it Cruz’s failure.

Trump won 33% of professing evangelicals while Cruz had 27%. Does this make sense when you compare their records, their lives, and their faith side by side? In 2012, nearly half of South Carolina voted for Obama so the state may not be as conservative or “evangelical” as we have been told.

Author, missionary, and preacher, Paul Washer once declared:

We are Christians because we find our identity, life, and purpose in Christ. We are evangelical because we believe the gospel and esteem it as the great central truth of God’s revelation to men… This Christianity is not a cultural thing. It is not something that should be just a small part of your life; it is not something that you do on Sunday… Christianity is not about you being just like the world all the time and then coming to church on Sunday. If that is your Christianity… you are not Christian.

What do we really know about the candidate’s religious beliefs? Here’s a quick look:

John Kasich is Anglican, a mix of Catholicism and Protestant Reformation theology, also associated with the Episcopal Church. He attends St. Augustine’s Anglican Church in Ohio and recently stated, “I have a mission, and I have a role on this earth. But I am trying to prepare myself for the world that’s yet to come.” He also said Christians should abide by the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing same-sex marriage.

Donald Trump is a proud Presbyterian, but doesn’t think he needs to ask God for forgiveness. He loves attending church on Christmas and Easter “and whenever I can,” and says his views are evolving on gay marriage, but favors traditional marriage. Trump stated: “I believe in God. I am Christian. I think the Bible is certainly, it is THE book. It is the thing.”

Ted Cruz is a committed Southern Baptist and son of an evangelical Christian pastor. Cruz told CBN News: “At the end of the day, faith is not organized religion; it’s not just going to a church. It is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.” A Constitutional expert, he believes Christians must awaken and vote or the country could be lost.

After seeing the disappointing results in a supposedly conservative state last week, radio host and blogger, Matt Walsh posted some harsh comments about Trump,

“a man who praised Planned Parenthood, fishes for applause lines by cussing out his competitors and mocking disabled people, and who can’t name a book in the Bible… brags about sleeping with married women, blatantly lies and then lies again about lying, and who has encapsulated literally the exact opposite of anything that could remotely be considered a “Christian value,”

…If Trump wins the nomination, conservatism in this country is officially dead, and the country itself will be close behind it. According to exit polls, Trump fans don’t necessarily think he’s electable and they don’t believe he shares their values, but “they want change.” Dear God, we are really doing 2008 all over again; people voting for ambiguous, non-specific change in spite of the avalanche of red flags… Get on your knees and pray for this country… I feel we are on the cusp of something terrible. Pray we avoid it.

Donald Trump owns casinos with strip clubs and adult entertainment, claims to be “a very good person,” and yet has no understanding of the gospel. Nothing to confess? Christianity begins with humbly repenting of our sins against God, openly asking His forgiveness, and trusting in Jesus Christ.

How can there be so much confusion over what is biblical; about religion, theology, morality, and spirituality?

We cannot blame atheists, the media, Hollywood, or godless government. In the introduction to my latest book, The Cost of Our Silence, I put the responsibility on us, the church in America, for the moral decline. We have failed to be effective witnesses for our Lord Jesus Christ. Too many professing believers do not represent authentic, Bible-based Christianity. We have been sold on appearing spiritual, pursuing comfort, and living for self. I speak from experience because I used to have one foot in the church and another in the world.

It is impossible to be a part-time Christian.

The word Christian means “of or relating to Jesus Christ” and “a diminutive Christ.” This implies a person who thinks, acts, talks, serves, and speaks like Jesus. Effectiveness for the kingdom of God starts with our own individual commitment to live for His glory rather than our own. It is not complicated: Know the Lord and make Him known to others.

Be assured God is not surprised by America’s direction and sharp Left turn, but we know He can use anyone for His purposes. As the prophet Daniel said,

“Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever,
For wisdom and power belong to Him.
“It is He who changes the times and seasons;
He removes kings and establishes kings;
He gives wisdom to wise men
And knowledge to men of understanding. (Daniel 2:20-21)

It’s time for every responsible citizen – particularly those who trust Christ for salvation – to look past personality, talking points, and campaign promises to the candidate’s faith and record. Who best resembles a biblical worldview and is qualified to lead the United States of America? Truth matters and so does voting, so let’s ensure you and I are consistent in living our faith.

If we reach the end of the Republican primaries and Trump is the nominee, we can cross that bridge and decide where to go from there.

President John Quincy Adams once said,

“The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the Divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.”

God’s will is not necessarily for us to win earthly battles, but for us to be faithful and obey His Word. His timing is perfect and He will orchestrate the rest because – no matter who is president, Jesus Christ is King and Lord.

 

Related:

What is a Biblical Worldview?

Why Truth Matters: Your Worldview Affects Everything

What are Some Christian Worldview Essentials?

BSanders

Less than seventy-five years ago, six-time candidate for the Socialist Party of America, Norman Thomas, stated:

“The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program until one day America will be a socialist nation without ever knowing how it happened.”

Signs now point to the fact that many Americans have been seduced by socialist ideology resulting in a more secular society where man is god and manipulates outcomes. Christians are not immune from the influence of this worldview that leads to the death of economic stability, morality, and accountability in government.

In the Iowa caucuses a few weeks back, Democrats overwhelmingly supported Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders – an avowed “democratic socialist” – with 84 percent of those under 30 backing him. Let’s face reality: when MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow asked Hillary Clinton if she is “too far to the right” for liberal Democrat voters, not only have we witnessed an entire progressive party veer toward socialism, but it revealed where many in the liberal media stand.

In the appendix of Milton Friedman’s 1980 book Free to Choose, he stated that most of the 1928 Socialist Party platform of Norman Thomas was already part of the federal establishment in America in the eighties when President Reagan began his tenure. Some Democrats distance themselves from the word “socialist,” but continue marching the country toward its definition.

Can you blame young people today for supporting socialism when many are raised to be narcissists with an entitlement mentality? They think they are owed a living, don’t care who has to pay for it, and they were not taught the true world history of socialism including the horrors of Lenin and Stalin who murdered millions of their own people in Russia.

Robert Knight of The Washington Times suggests today’s young voters are part of “the Free Stuff Army” Obama has been cultivating since he took office. Knight added:

How could so many young people expect others to pay entirely for their college education, all their medical needs and their job training, which Mr. Sanders has promised if he’s elected?

People falling for the siren song of socialism are not callously ignoring the many failures and atrocities committed in that doctrine’s name; they’re often blissfully unaware. For the past several decades, government public schools and nearly all colleges have touted socialism’s principles of redistribution, racialism and class envy while declining to connect the dots between socialism and tyranny, examples of which abound.

A January 2016 poll found 43 percent of Americans under thirty now have a favorable view of socialism. Why? Rather than wanting to help feed and clothe the poor, they really just want to help themselves.

According to World Vision, the number of people living in poverty worldwide in the last twenty years actually has fallen by half. In 1990, forty three percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. In 2013, the United Nations estimated that just 22 percent of the world’s population continued to live in extreme poverty.

The social justice movement has deceived many well-meaning Christians and it perverts the biblical concept of charity. It has always been the Church’s job to care for the poor. God calls us to help orphans and widows, and give cheerfully from our hearts (2 Cor. 9:7) – voluntarily – but God does not advocate tax burdens on all of society.

When Jesus faced Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, He didn’t ask Pilate for financial aid to help the poor. Jesus didn’t complain about  economic injustices in Galilee or Nazareth or Bethlehem. He didn’t ask for the Roman government to step in and spread the wealth. In fact, Jesus stated, My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

Every individual Christian is responsible to obey God’s Word and do what we can to manage our (His) resources to help those in need, and humanitarian efforts should coincide with the preaching of the gospel. Once the State gets involved however, evangelism is not allowed.

Christians need to be the hands and feet of Jesus, but poverty and hunger will never completely be eradicated.

The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have Me (Mark 14:7).

To liberals, “social justice” means a level of fairness as defined by them and enforced by the state. Their argument is that the church has generally not done a good job taking care of the poor – which is true – so the government must step in. The solution should never, ever be government intervention.

American history has proven big government programs rarely if ever do what politicians promise. In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson launched his Great Society, establishing Medicare, Medicaid, The Housing Act, and dozens of other programs intended to lift Americans out of poverty.

In his 1964 State of the Union speech, Johnson declared a “War on Poverty.” He and the Democrat-controlled congress funded programs that were supposed to provide a safety net for Americans and other programs such as the Food Stamp Program that were allegedly created to help hurting families in the nation. Ask folks in the inner cities if the plan worked.

Congress also gave Johnson the green light to begin funding education and environmental programs. The era of big government spending was underway. In 1965, President Johnson said his Great Society “is a society where no child will go unfed, and no youngster will go unschooled.”

The supposed war on poverty failed to help those who needed it the most and has piled massive debt on future generations. Politicians voted themselves more money from the treasury, and today’s government has even less restraint when it comes to (spending) the people’s money.

America finds itself in a very dangerous place in which more citizens – particularly young adults – have bought into what they’ve been sold by progressive educators, a hyper-liberal media, and a godless government and administration.

It’s called corruption.

After all, the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).