In light of today's mid-term elections, I wanted to remind you of some very important truths to keep things in perspective. It is a long standing tradition in this country for pastors to preach election-day sermons, but an email exhortation will have to suffice this time.
I know I sound like a broken record, but this is one foundational truth that we absolutely must recover: As the church goes, so goes the culture. On the individual level, what you worship and how you worship shapes everything else about you. On the societal level, the state of the church generally dictates the condition of the culture. As Herman Melville put it in Moby Dick, "The pulpit is ever this earth's foremost part; all the rest comes in its rear; the pulpit leads the world.... Yes, the world's a ship on its passage out, and not a voyage complete; and the pulpit is its prow." Jesus said that his disciples are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. So if the world is rotting and stinking, it's due in large part to the fact that, collectively, our salt has lost its saltiness. If our nation is stumbling around in the dark, it's because the church has failed to shine God's light. Before we point fingers at anyone else, we need to take responsibility for our own sins and failings as God's people. Repentance and reformation in the church is the only hope for cultural renewal.
We Christians often find ourselves in the paradoxical position of blaming the government for all our problems while also looking to the government to solve all our problems. This is an indication that we have gotten our priorities out of order in some significant ways. So don't be fooled into thinking that we are in a political battle that can be won by political means. Don't be fooled into thinking that the "culture wars" are a contest between progressives and conservatives, nationalists and globalists, or capitalists and socialists. The conflict in our culture is fundamentally a spiritual battle that can only be won with spiritual weapons.
The Republican Party (or any other party) will not save our culture. A majority in congress will not save our culture. A Constitutionally conservative Supreme Court will not save our culture. Donald Trump has done some good, but it is impossible for him or any president to turn the tide of moral decline in our nation. America's only hope is to repent and look to Christ for mercy, to learn wisdom from the word of God and submit to the Lordship of King Jesus.
I hope you'll vote, if you haven't already, and I hope you'll use godly wisdom in supporting candidates, judges, and constitutional amendments that will do the most good (or least harm) for our society. But remember the biblical warning against trusting in princes (Ps. 118:9; 146:3). Politics can't save anything, because politics is itself in need of salvation. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus has promised to do just that through His church. The power of the ballot box is nothing compared to the power we wield in prayer and preaching and singing and service. The church can do more damage to the gates of hell in one worship service than a politician--even a good one!--can do in a lifetime. What our nation needs more than anything else is for the church to be the church. May God give us grace to be faithful and prayerful and diligent in the vocations to which He has called us.