Mark D. Roberts

Mark D. Roberts

A Christian Response to the 2008 Presidential Election (Part 3)

Part 3 of series: A Christian Response to the 2008 Presidential Election
Permalink for this post / Permalink for this series
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.
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.

  • Monica

    This is the first article I found when my heart was aching and I decided to search for some wise thoughts and words of comfort from a Christian perspective. I am so pleased to have been able to share these thoughts with my loved ones. It is such a wonderful testament to how we, as Christians, ought to view the outcome of this 2008 election. Thankfully, due to this article, I have hope. Our God is an awsome God!
    Blessings, Monica.

  • Rick

    Greats words, Mark. I have been encouraging believers to pray for whomever is elected as our next President – for wisdom and for safety. It is good to see your encouragement in this matter.

  • wanda pack

    God is sovrin and,yes,we as christians should strive for peace as much as it is in our power. However,recently I was reading about the Isralites disregarding Gods laws and felling into idolotry. They followed other gods and even offered their children as burnt sacrafices to them. A great sadness came over me. I saw our great nation of America so blessed by God doing the same thing only our gods are wealth, convenience,and sex. Isn’t it ironic, we have just elected a president who supports this very act of abortion. God led the people of Israel,His people, into captivity when they didn’t repent. May God help our nation to repent,and again stand for truth and right. For I fear If we don’t repent we too will be judged. We must stand strong for what is right as we go in peace with others. May God bless America.

  • J Falconer

    REv. Roberts, Thanks again for your soul searching thought provoking series on political leadership within a Christian & spiritual framework. Miracles happen & I sure hope to see them in the land’s current conditions of two wars & an interesting struggling economy. May God Bless America! Love & Prayers J & FAmily PS Thanks again for another 1 of your excellent series!! Excuse any typos-Ha!

  • Bill Goff

    Thanks for the sane words, Mark. I was gratafied by the speeches yesterday of both Senators McCain and Obama. There are many devisive issues which need words of wisdom from God’s people. One is surely the issue of abortion which wanda pac references. Most of the discussion in the Church has been limited to accusations and sloganeering. Rather than shouting “Pro choice” and “Pro life”, I suggest that we work together to find creative ways to minimize abortions?

  • Mark Baker-Wright

    Thanks especially for #5. I am actually afraid of an assassination attempt on either Obama’s life or someone in his family. I would hope that all Christians, regardless of ideology, can affirm that prayers for his (and his family’s) safety are something God wants us to do.

  • Ray

    I always pray for God to help me join him in the work that he is already doing in the world. And God was at work through Nebuchadnezzar and Herod just as much as he was during the reign of David.
    Incidentally, I’m sure glad God is sovereign, because I have absolutely no idea what he’s up to now. No idea whatsoever…
    I view things like this. Our lives and the times in which we live are like single pixels on a grand computer monitor. No pixel by itself could ever comprehend its contribution to the whole screen. But it takes each and every pixel doing its job to convey the complete message.
    I believe that’s how God uses me. I’ll never understand the grand plan, but if I am obedient and faithful within the confines of my own little pixel, God will use my pixel to contribute to the picture he wants on his screen.
    And I’m perfectly content to let God be in charge (even though I think he’s lost his mind).

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