American Exceptionalism and Christian Responsibilities as Citizens

November 1, 2010

Good morning,

As you have heard ad nauseam, tomorrow is Election Day.  Depending on people’s particular political views it could possibly be “historic” or “disastrous”.   I am not sure of either, however, I am sure of this fact – as citizens of this country we have a duty to participate in the electoral process.

More importantly, as Christians, seeking to impact this world for Christ, we have an even greater obligation to participate in the process of selecting the leaders of our communities, state, and federal government.

If you are like most, you are probably weary of the ads, the empty promises, the outright lies and may have become cynical about the whole process.  Like many others, you may be tempted to just “opt out” of the whole electoral process as you may feel it doesn’t matter anyway.  Please don’t fall victim to this lie – it does matter.

It seems popular in some evangelical circles to disdain the political process and to not participate as it is “messy” and “unspiritual”.  That seems odd to me as I believe that as Christians, we are called to enter into the “mess” of this world caused by sin and to be an instrument of Christ’s redeeming work.  To me, that includes the “mess” that has evolved from sinful man’s implementation of  our biblically based system of governance.

Additionally, it is a matter of stewardship in my opinion.  Contrary to a somewhat popular trend in contemporary evangelical thought, I do believe in American exceptionalism – the thought that America does occupy a special or unique position among the nations of this world.  America or American ideals, is not “the answer” – only Jesus is the answer.  However, God saw fit to bring about this great experiment in governance called America with the three branches being a biblical concept.  Just a cursory glance at history will show that only by God’s supernatural intervention was this country established as its beginning and survival was highly improbable in human terms.  The reason for this, in my opinion, was not so that we would live lives of ease or that we are somehow “special”, but that for whatever reason, the Lord decided to use this nation to glorify Him and to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ across the world. We are stewards of that mission for this nation.

We have often been poor stewards of the mission and purpose He intended for this nation.  We so imperfectly implemented this form of governance.  For much of our early history we enslaved a whole class of people, for much of our early history we denied full citizenship to other classes of people such as the Irish, the Chinese, women, and many others.  However, much of that has changed and it has most often been Christians at the forefront of that change seeking to confront the injustice in our own country.  We have often drifted away from Him as we are doing now, but in the past, in His loving mercy, He has drawn us back to Him.  We are praying for Him to do so once again.

While often in a clumsy and very imperfect manner, this country has been a force for justice and good in this world.  More importantly, the Lord has used this country in a mighty way to spread the fame and glory of His Name across the globe.  As followers of Jesus, whom He placed in this particular nation, we have the undeniable responsibility of stewardship to participate in the selection of our leaders under the guidance of His Spirit.  To not do so, is an abdication of our responsibilities as Christians and as citizens.

So, prayerfully seek the Lord for His guidance and do your duty tomorrow – for His glory and His alone.