Processing the Election and Beyond

Matt Evans

Posted November 12, 2020
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The 2020 Presidential Election continues to be a topic of conversation and controversy in our nation, as well as in our families and our church. It has also been a challenge to me as a pastor. I have wrestled with how best to serve as your primary pastor-teacher during this season. Virtually every week, people have asked me to say more about issues and politics, while others think I should say less than I have chosen to do. Often, what people in our church want me to do conflicts with what others in our church wish I would do. Some believe more should be said and done about race or abortion; others are concerned with rising secularism and its effects on our nation. Many believe that their political affiliation is also very biblical, In contrast, some believe nothing political should be discussed in church—even if the political issue is an explicitly biblical one.

The challenge of these contradictory perspectives within our church is part of what being a church of “all walks of life” entails … so praise God! Even Jesus’ 12 disciples had such political diversity. Simon the Zealot was part of a Jewish group that advocated a revolt against Rome while Matthew, a tax collector, worked for the Roman government. You can imagine some of their “campfire” conversations! However, they found in their love for Jesus and desire to follow Him a unity more significant than the political questions that might have divided them.

However, for the sake of clarity, understanding and unity, I want to share some guiding thoughts and convictions that have informed my leadership and teaching in this volatile season.

1) I love America.

Serving in the Navy, taking an oath to support and defend our Constitution, and being willing to die for this nation are facts of my life of which I am incredibly proud and grateful.

I love America not because this nation is perfect nor because it is where I was born; I love America because I love America’s ideals. Liberty, justice, and equality are aspirations that have guided this nation from our inception. Our nation’s heritage includes leadership, sacrifice, and generosity that has often been exceptional. Yet even when our ideals are not upheld, even when what we said we believed as a country is not what we live out, our ideals have always pointed us toward a “more perfect Union.”

2) America needs spiritual awakening and revival.

Proverbs 14:34 states that “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (NASB).

Abortion, neglect of the poor, injustice, violence, racism, threats to religious liberty, and losing our understanding of family and gender are all serious, sinful, and harmful to our nation. However, other sins like anger, self-righteousness, pride, lust, lukewarmness, and greed are also pervasive challenges to America’s moral fiber. These issues do not fit neatly on one side of the political aisle or the other. They are fundamentally biblical issues that require a Gospel solution.

So let me be clear: America needs Jesus Christ, and this need begins with the church returning to what is of “first importance” (I Corinthians 15:3): the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am often moved to pray this hymn by William Cowper over our communities and country:

Oh, rend the heavens, come quickly down, And make a thousand hearts Thine own.

Jesus and an awakening to His love and lordship do not come through elections or the Supreme Court but only through the Gospel. Renowned British preacher Martin Lloyd Jones in a study on revivals, emphatically states that “in every period of revival, without exception (emphasis mine), there has been a tremendous emphasis on the blood of Christ” (Revival, Loc 893 Kindle edition).

3) At Rock Bridge, we will preach, herald, sing about, exult in, testify to, and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The words of Paul are informative and instructive:

  • Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel (I Corinthians 9:16).
  • I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified (I Corinthians 2:2).
  • I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14).

At Rock Bridge, we have made the strategic and intentional decision to be more about the Gospel than anything else in this election season. The Gospel is what saves the lost, sanctifies the saved, and reconciles the races. The Gospel is what puts the love of God in our hearts for one another, empowering compassion, kindness, forgiveness, and sacrificial service. The Gospel shows us that every human life is stamped with dignity from conception forward. The Gospel shows us that God champions justice while being compelled by love.

I know this may not satisfy some of you who believe I should talk more specifically about particular issues for which you are passionate. I know many of us are passionate about different issues and concerns that seem to be at stake in our nation right now. However, I hope and pray that all of us at Rock Bridge are most passionate about Jesus Christ and His Gospel!!

4) We are called to love as Christ has loved us; this includes those with whom we disagree and those we might consider enemies.

Political discourse in America (and sometimes at the dinner table!) is marked by a lack of civility, an unwillingness to listen, and an overwhelming desire to win (whether it be an argument or an election).  Additionally, we are politically indoctrinated to assume the worst about others’ motives while demanding they assume the best about our own.

None of this is biblical (I Corinthians 13:4-7).

None of this is Christ-like (Colossians 3:10-14).

None of this is helpful for our witness to those outside the faith (I Peter 3:15-16).

Remember, when Judas—under satanic influence—came to betray Jesus that Jesus still called him “Friend” (Matthew 26:50).

Remember, Jesus said to go the “second mile” and “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:38-48).

Remember, our goal as Christ-followers is not to be right, but Christ-like (I John 2:6).

5) Our true, ultimate, and eternal citizenship lies in the Kingdom of Jesus, not in America.

We belong to a Kingdom that cannot be shaken, and we serve a King that cannot be corrupted Who is the “same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

This truth should not make us less concerned about America; it actually motivates us to work together with Christ (2 Corinthians 6:1) to see His will done on earth (and in America) as it is in heaven.

It empowers us at Rock Bridge to be salt and light to our communities and neighbors.

It encourages us in the church to demonstrate—albeit imperfectly —what the new heaven and earth will be like when Jesus’ reign is fully realized.

However, this truth also grounds us in the reality that salvation and hope are not contained nor achieved at the ballot box but rather at the Cross of Christ and before His empty tomb.

And here is the best news and why the best is yet to come: in the end, Jesus wins!!

I love you Rock Bridge, and may God truly and deeply bless America!!