Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

Part 3 of series: A Christian Response to the 2008 Presidential Election
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In my first two posts in this series I’ve outline three facets of a Christian response to the presidential election:

1. We Should Act Upon the Call of Jesus to Peacemaking in the
Way We Relate to Our Fellow Citizens.

2. We Need to Reaffirm Our Dual Citizenship.
3. We Need to Refocus Upon Our Fundamental Mission.

In today’s post I’ll finish up this short series, adding items 4 and 5 to the list.
4. We Need to Renew Our Trust in the Sovereignty of God.
No matter who will be our new president, we Christians need to renew our fundamental trust in the sovereignty of God. I guarantee you that God is not surprised by the election results. In fact, before the foundation of the world, he worked these results into his plan for the creation. Whichever person will be our new president, the truth of Romans 8:28 remains rock solid: “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Photo: A Serbian icon, picturing Christ as Pantokrator, the “Ruler of All Things.”)
When elections don’t go our way, it’s easy to doubt God’s sovereignty. We wonder why God let the “wrong” candidate win. Our doubts and passions are exacerbated when we hear believers on the other political side claim that the election results reflect God’s personal endorsement of their candidate. Yet there is a benefit for our souls when our candidate loses. We’re reminded once again that our primary trust is in God, not in any human being.
Conversely, when election results match our voting, it’s easy to put too much confidence in a human being or an administration. In our glee, we can neglect God’s sovereignty in favor of political victory or national pride. Thus, even and especially if your candidate will be the next president, you need to remember just who is really in charge of the universe, just who is King of kings and Lord of lords.
This leads to my final of five points.
5. We Need to Recommit to Praying for the President.
No matter who was just elected president, we need to pray for this person and his administration, daily, if not more often. However you voted, you can surely agree that the next president desperately needs God’s help. Scripture is clear that we’re to pray for our rulers (1 Tim 2:1-2). The need for such prayer is clear, now more than ever.
Many Christians find it much easier to pray for the president if they voted for him, but not if they didn’t. This is both ironic and mistaken. The irony is that if your candidate lost the election, then you must surely believe that the winner needs God’s help even more than if your candidate had won. So logic would suggest that we intercede more consistently for a president we don’t like than for one of whom we approve.
Moreover, we should remember that the early Christians were called to pray for, not a president whom they elected, nor even a ruler of whom they approved, but rather for an emperor who had been foisted upon them, and who in many cases actively sought to persecute them. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 actually reads:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

“Kings” includes both the Roman Caesar and other subordinate rulers (like King Herod). Notice, Scripture does not say, “Pray for your ruler when you agree with him, or when you’re on his side.” Rather, we are to pray for our leaders . . . period. (And, I might add, no matter how bad the next president may be in your eyes, I guarantee you he won’t be as bad as Nero, who was the Roman emperor at the time Paul urged Christians to pray for him. Nero was famous for, among other things, proclaiming himself as a god and senselessly crucifying hundreds of Christians.)
Added in 2008: When I was pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church, I led our church in prayer during most worship services. In these prayers I almost always prayed for the President (Bush, Clinton, and Bush), the Administration, the Congress, and the courts. On a fairly regular basis I added prayers for state, county, and local officials. I would hope that, in the days ahead, more churches would be united in praying for our government officials. Surely now, more than ever, they need divine wisdom and guidance.
Conclusions
Admittedly Christians will differ widely in many of their responses to the presidential election. This is natural, given the diversity of our views on many topics, including politics, economics, world affairs, not to mention theology. But, I believe that all Christians, no matter our political inclinations, should respond with unity to what has happened in our country.
In review and conclusion, here are five facets of that unity:

1. We Should Act Upon the Call of Jesus to Peacemaking in the
Way We Relate to Our Fellow Citizens.

2. We Need to Reaffirm Our Dual Citizenship.
3. We Need to Refocus Upon Our Fundamental Mission.
4. We Need to Renew Our Trust in the Sovereignty of God.
5. We Need to Recommit to Praying for the President.

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