Earlier today, my wife mused aloud, wondering what those “prophetic types” are saying about Barack Obama being elected in the USA. I thought Grace choking on her scone in response to an appalling snippet of conversation concerning the rise to power of Barack Obama, “almost exactly like the Left Behind books.” No wonder she choked on her scone. I mentioned this “end times” idea to my wife as a suggestion of what these prophetic types might be saying. She made a mental note to ask a friend who tends to get told these things by people who thinks she cares. At least, that’s how my wife put it. So a few hours ago, Frank Viola tweeted a link that brought this whole question up again. Now by the way, Frank’s blog post today not only offered his view on the recent presidential election, he also named who he considers the top six Christian bloggers around, including yours truly. I’m not sure if I’m actually that good or if Frank’s a little deranged, but I figure it’s best not to press to far, just in case I don’t like the answer.
Back to the link, which was to Dutch Sheets’ website, which is presently displaying an image of the text of his response to the presidential election. (For those who may not catch it, this is something that anyone who builds websites will cringe at utterly: one image, 800x330px, just text.) Based on the response-tweets that followed, the words were pronounced generally hard to read — not just because of the white text casting a shadow on a purple background, but because of the content as well. Preceding one bullet-point list is the question, “What are some of the judgments we can expect on our nation from this election?” You can see where this is going — he attacks people “who aligned themselves with pro-abortion forces” and promises judgment: he’s confident that Obama was not God’s will. Under the heading, “How Did This Happen?” he writes:
But still yet, since God is usually willing to work through a remnant, I thought we had enough prayer. Obviously, God decided otherwise. There comes a time when he will not forgive or bless the majority based on the prayers or actions of only a few. America rejected God and asked for a king; I believe we now have our Saul (see 1 Samuel 8:5-7)–a man who does not have God’s heart for America but his own. Like Israel in scripture, our nation believes it can turn from God and still be blessed. In His mercy and justice He will show us otherwise.
Wow. I guess God really is a Republican, and Obama’s election is, as he puts it, “a tragedy.” As for Sarah Palin, he writes, “I believe she is an Esther, a Deborah, with a huge mantle from God for reformation. God has a great destiny for her related to this nation if she chooses to continue down this path.”
My first reaction was that this is the reason I’m a post-charismatic. Past that, I don’t quite know where to begin… but how about with the observation that the entire thing hinges on the proper performance of the church to pray enough or do enough good that the “right” president will be elected and that judgment will be averted. Meanwhile, the church labours without knowing if it will be enough, if it will be acceptable to God. It sounds like God is quite the taskmaster in this particular cosmological view. I wonder sometimes if people like this are never happy unless they’re proclaiming judgment and noting all that’s wrong in the world. It’s more important for them to pray against something than for something… they’ll sometimes pray against demons more readily than they’ll pray for the blessing of others. My advice? Don’t be too quick to try and interpret events like this, one way or another. There will be plenty of time to reflect, understand, and discern. And really don’t go off rushing to find someone else to interpret them for you.
But when I read Sheets’ response, I had to think back to Saul, and David’s attitude toward him. Saul, despite his shortcomings, was God’s anointed, and David loved and respected him as such. I like to quip that it’s good to vote because it buys you the right to complain later. The fact of the matter is that once elected, a leader becomes God’s man for the term ahead. Like it or lump it, as they say. Is that point not made in Romans 13, after all? Get some more from the iMonk.
And there you have it. As far as I can tell, this is not a harbinger of the end times, nor a labeling of “Ichabod” with promises of pestilence and judgment, nor is it the dawn of the Antichrist himself. Sure, it’s a change, but really, It’s just the election of an African-American Democrat to the country’s highest office, that’s all. I figure God will be no more for or against the USA than he was last month… and you can make of that what you will.
God became a Republican in America during the 1920s, and He’s never gone back. ;)
Seriously, I recently read a fantastic book that covers the successful conversion of God to the Republican cause. It’s titled White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement by Allan Lichtman.
What was most fascinating to me is that the rhetoric from the right has not changed much at all in 80-some years. It’s like the prophetic-hype words that come out every single year (that are all the same). After a while, you start to go, “Ya, ya… Yada, yada, yada. We’ve heard it all before,” with much eye-rolling.
Thanks Brother Maynard: I wish I’d said that.
Romans 13:2ff: Those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
This really is sad. I’d generally been happy with the respectful tone coming from some of the evangelical blogs I read. But this just puts a sour taste in my mouth.
Thanks for the thoughtful post — we’ve had similar journeys — I was part of charismatic churches most of my adult life — and yet the way the different movements adhere to conservative politics/nationalism disheartened my wife and I to the point that we have not gone back. It is odd that the charismatic movement dismisses the discernment of their black, Latino, Asian, and Native brothers and sisters, all who don’t seem to have a spiritual problem voting outside the Republican party…
“Sure, it’s a change, but really, It’s just the election of an African-American Democrat to the country’s highest office, that’s all. I figure God will be no more for or against the USA than he was last month… and you can make of that what you will” is a rather juvenile statement. To assume that Ahab is no different than Josaiah or that Jezebel is no different than Esther is frankly the reason Obama was elected. Agendas and platforms matter because they define what portends, and in this case not good. Whether it’s Obama’s presidency or the results of it, your life as a Christian has changed forever in America, should the Lord tarry. The appointment of judges who will either critique law or create it, matters. Legislation that determines what you preach is legal or illegal, matters. The superficiality of your response betrays your ignorance of history that should have prepared you. This truly is a tragedy of tremendous proportions. It has nothing to do with race and never did. It has nothing to do with age and never did. It all has to do with whether or not you’ll be free to act as God has called you or to hide like other nations who did not appreciate the gift they had been given. November 4, 2008 will go down as one of the most tragic days in US history. I am really, really sorry to have to say that. My prayer for the President-elect is that he will fulfill his oath of office. But I pray his agenda fails because it will bring a yet further judgment upon America. I will never understand why it wasn’t clear enough for people. We have been free to make choices about our leadership…we now what we deserve. Thankfully, Jesus really is alive.
You know, given MLK’s dream and his passionate re-speaking of Amos, Micah and the other minor prophets, I can’t help but think that perhaps Obama IS God’s will for the US right now. How ’bout them apples? There are a few other fish to fry other than the issues that Sheets would like to …
I’m just sayin’ …
David: You really believe that stuff?
No, really. God all hot-and-bothered about the goings-on of our country as if it were the apple of His eye gone bad? Last time I checked we were a representative democracy made up of a varied demographic. A very pluralistic society not at all like the theocracy you compare it to. And the Old Testament judgments that befell the nation of Israel not related at all to our own national identity.
Of all the nations & countries of the world beginning with the founding of Israel, are there not much more ‘evil’ ones that God would want to smite in His righteous anger? Seems the short amount of time we have been a nation not that significant compared to say, France. Is God pissed off at France? Just wondering. The uber-prophetic types, like Sheets, seem to be so judgment minded they miss the blessings the kingdom is intended to be. If indeed judgment begins with the House of God I would not want to be in the high-profile prophetic camps when God starts doing some divine house cleaning.
Since you appeal to an Old Testament precedent that you equate with the condition of our nation in the eyes of God, I will also apply a similar litmus test: the Jeremiah 23 retort against false & lying prophets. You see, 2 can play that game. The naysayers that keep predicting the judgment of God upon us for the failure of its citizens to vote rightly is misrepresenting the kingdom & His heart. He ain’t mad anymore. Remember Calvary? Grace is the name-of-the-game now. Mercy does triumph over judgment. God still wanting His kingdom expanded in greater jurisdiction in the hearts & minds of men. Not sure He is pacing in agitation just waiting for the last straw to fall. You paint God out to be so, well, ungodly with your doomsday approach.
No good news for your hearers? No encouragement for the needy? All is going to hell in a handbasket ala Dobsonesque predilections? We are going to reap the whirlwind for our most egregious participation in a republican form of representative democracy? A vote for Obama akin to putting the X of the antichrist upon us & our children? Holy Moly!
Either you have a very narrow view of God, or, you really have a very narrow view of God. Not sure He is going to pull through for you. If I were you I would get out of here quickly. Can’t say which country will be safe from God’s wrath according to your criteria. Is there one nation today that actually has God’s blessing upon it? If so, move there. Ya never know when God will rain down destruction from on high. And the collateral damage could be quite severe if He turns out to be half as bad as you portray Him to be…
Are you serious, Joe? Did you vote, Joe or did you leave that to the sovereignty of God? Did you pray? Who told you that the coming of Messiah changed the character of God? Is His holiness less? Does He no longer judge at all? Can you show that to me, because I would love to live in that world. I personally have no fear, just regret that I’ll have to live through it. You miss the point of advantage that we have with viewing how God dealt with Israel. Yes, He does deal with nations, and frankly He may well be as angry with France (and by the way, I would apprecaite your words to be decent and not street). No nation since Israel has ever sinned so much amidst so much light. Will He not come to judge the earth once and for all? Will there not be tribulation as the world has never known, as Jesus, very New Testament, declared? No, God will not judge America for electing Barack Obama. I fear that he is actually part of the judgment. Good news has occassionally been who is elected, but bad news has also. If not, then don’t ever vote again because leadership no longer matters, since we are now under grace and living in the advanced NT times. But then why would Paul, the author and promoter of NT grace, command that we pray for leaders if it doesn’t matter who is in charge? Good news for “my hearers” is that one does not have to go to hell because a Redeemer paid the price on a cross and rose from the dead. Sorry Joe, in your vitriolic and very presumptous coments, you have lumped me in with the people that you apparently dislike. I count that a blessing. However, you don’t anything about me so I’ll not lose sleep. I am deeply saddened by your posture. Your sarcasm is less than godly. Please don’t bother to reply. I have dignified the conversation too much already!
David: Just makin’ sure you were serious…
Can’t say I agree with your theology. Not sure I am convinced the prophetic camps rightly discerning God’s motive or intent with regards to coming judgments on these United States.
You do mirror though the type of God you claim is indeed ‘fired up’ about our recent Presidential election. And the aversion you sense is toward all such prophetic types & their pontificating pronouncements that have been tested so many times & found wanting they are now simply ignored…
Seems we are even then on those ‘presumptuous statements’ then?
If you are quick with prophetic speak you gotta be willing to take the skepticism that comes from those that once were involved in it & actually do have discernment enough to know bull-shit when it is shoveled out for the effect. It does not take a prophetic gifting to know the stuff that is disgorged in the name of God from the likes of Sheets & his prophetic cronies is just so, well, predictable. Yes, I can be sarcastic when it comes to such prophetic-rhetoric. Good thing you caught me on a good day…
What the church needs IMHO is more people to start calling bull-shit when they see it. Get off the prophetic high horse of judgment & get on with the priorities of the kingdom! Good thing those prophets do not speak for The Church universal. Maybe we can keep their desired influence relegated to those that really think they’ve got some special insight.
Sheesh. What a bunch of hooey. Once all those self-proclaimed prophets repent & ask forgiveness for all the phony pronouncements they’ve made I just might be more amicable toward them. Until then I would assume they are storing up for themselves God’s righteous anger? Is it any wonder they are considered poor reflections of Jesus to a needy world?
Don’t worry about my rants David. Of course if God is truly out to get me for speaking out against His prophets then I will not be able to stand. No need to pay me any attention. I do not claim to be God’s spokesperson or His anointment bearer. But woe to those that do claim such title, prestige, position. I would not want to be in their boots once the real shit hits the fan…
I read on CNN that Billy Graham is a registered democrat, something that I thought would be interesting to the millions of Right Wing Conservative Evangelical Christians out there.
Yes, Billy Graham is a registered democrat.
An honest reading of Jesus puts him somewhere left of a social liberal – yet proactively apolitical. Yet he eschewed politics in favor of the power of Spirit, organic community organizing and care for others, self-determination (vs. reliance on political systems) and personal responsibility.
David said, “November 4, 2008 will go down as one of the most tragic days in US history.”
I remember similar pronouncements when Clinton took office. Religious folks tend to put too much faith in politics. Obama & McCain are simply two sides of the same corporate-controlled coin.
This “prophetic” essay is horribly superstitious and ridden with fear, wrapped in religion to tickle the ears. Polemics such as this slap Jesus in the face and mock the cross of true freedom. We’ve seen this stuff all our lives, and each time it looks increasingly like a caricature of the Spirit. I have abandoned the religion of superstitious fear mongering. Jesus is so radically different than this.
That said… if someone voted for McCain on the single issue of life, I have no problem with that. But, ironically, I think Obama’s stated polices will reduce the incidence of abortion more than McCain’s policies would have (for reasons too lengthy to get into here).
Thought I’d throw a punch too. God ain’t repub and he ain’t dem, he ain’t comin’ to take sides he’s comin’ to take over! Oh and by the way, I know that the unborn are first and foremost on his mind. Even our “Fathers” were inspired to write that it is self-evident to all that we were created with certain unalienable rights. The first of which is Life! Even if there were even a slight chance that we were destroying innocent children it would only make sense to err on the side of life. I mean, even the animal kingdom knows enough to give it’s life for there offspring. But not so in the U.S. We want the cake and icing. Well, if your even close to hearing God you know that’s his heart!
Hey, as a father, I care about paying my bills, keeping a house etc. but if you mess with my kids I’m gonna mess with your thick head!……………………………..
to everybody that all men are endowed with certain unalienable rights of which is 1)Life, then Liberty then pursuit of happiness!