I’ve been mostly alone out on Bittersweet for last few days. Lois went to Disney with Heidi and her children. I stayed here and kept the snow shoveled, changed the furnace filters, kept the pipes from freezing, fed the birds, checked the anti-freeze, watched weather reports on the news, and tried to keep alternately wrapped in a cardigan or blanket or robe while I surfed the ‘net watching for pictures of Lois drinking icy fruit drinks under a canopy so she would not get a sunburn. But you probably already knew I’m a great guy like that. Oh, and I pastored the Bethel Church. Somebody has to stay home and tend the fire so people can run around in the sun with Mickey Mouse ears and eat lots of really tasty things that are bad for you and spoil the grandchildren. Just playing. I’m happy and I’m happy she is happy.
A Burning in My Bones.
Last week I received a digital copy of Winn Collier’s new authorized biography of Eugene Peterson, A Burning in My Bones. So far it’s a great read as I suspected it would be. I will soon post a full review if I am able to stave off hypothermia and brew enough strong black coffee to keep me from drifting off to sleep in the big leather chair in the corner of the living room where I like to read when I am alone and the house is quiet save for the murmur of the furnace.
Sunday in my message I went on a little rant about talking politics. I have included it this week for you.
Should Christians Talk About Politics. Well, of course we should. But we should be wise about what we say and we should never expect from political power what only God can do. Though human laws can help restrain evil, and they have other important roles, we must have a deep core conviction that we cannot legislate spiritual life into people. Only the gospel and the power of God can transform people from within.
Supreme Court Justices do not bring national revival and repentance and turn rebel hearts back to God. They cannot make evil men and evil women holy. Legislation and executive orders may please people or inflame their anger but they cannot change their hearts inside out. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Every individual Christian should act justly with regard to all things, but the church must not become a political action committee… in doing so she will exchange her God-empowered and God-assigned commission for opposing abortion or opposing same-sex marriage, or opposing gender-neutral language, or opposing schools without prayer, or opposing global warming… or opposing unethical mining, or opposing a unjust minimum wage, or unfair working conditions, and as well-meaning as these causes may be they are not the mission of the church.
As I meditated on Revelation 10 for hours this week, something very powerful surfaced in my heart in the last phrase of the text, in verse 11 “…you must prophecy—proclaim with authority the truth and what God says—about peoples (people groups), nations, languages and kings—presidents, senators, congresspeople, mayors, governors, rules… that is politics.”
If you think about it, this is a statement with powerful political import. This is how God wants his people to talk politics. God says to John, “Eat the book, love the book, consume the book, meditate on my truth and it will be sweet and it will be sour. It will be sweet and it will be bitter. What it says will be sweet news to those who submit to God and love God and are redeemed by God, and it will be bitter, sour, sad, tragic, horrifying for those who do not know God.”
Then John was not told; “Now go out there everywhere and work to change human laws… put a lot of faith in the political process. Pass out petitions, support causes, endorse candidates, force God’s way on people through every political means you have.” He is not told; “Go out there preach the political platform, join a political movement…”
He was told, “Go tell the people and the nations and the languages, all over the earth (that is missions) and tell the Kings and the Congresspeople and the Presidents and the Governors what God says—what God’s book says–about what has happened and what God’s book says about what is going to happen…”
So should you talk politics? We are not called to proclaim the party platform. We are the church of the Living God who sends angels on judgment clouds who speak like a lion’s roar and God speaks back to them like thunder, who reveals and conceals truth until his time is right. We are the people of the Eternal God who made everything and he holds all things in his powerful sovereign hand. We have the book of God and of the Lamb, who holds the scroll of the title deed to the earth. All we need to know about what is going to happen on earth and to earth and heaven and hell is revealed to us. Tell that to the people and the nations and the presidents and politicians and governors and all human rulers and all people and all nations.
It is sweet and it is bitter. Our calling includes a message to politicians and to all who put their hope in political power and political parties, and political personalities and political platforms.. and the message is this: Jesus is the King of kings and he is the Lord of lords and he is the Prince of Peace and he is the Coming World Ruler who is Worthy… So don’t be frustrated or angry or overwhelmed or anxious or depressed. Don’t despair when it seems the enemies of God and of good prevail. Don’t panic when you feel things have taken an unwelcome political turn. Don’t put your hope in political players. Don’t panic about gun control or facial recognition or FaceBook or Instagram…
Digest the book and discuss the book, even when it has political implications. Don’t be afraid. If you die you will live again.
January 25, 2021
Here is the whole talk including my rant..