Post-Election 2012 Thoughts

Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church: “Our hope is not in the man we put in the White House but in the Man we put on the Cross.”

Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary: “Christians must never see political action as an end, but only as a means. We can never seek salvation through the voting booth, and we must never look for a political messiah. Nevertheless, Christians do bear a political responsibility, established in love of God and love of neighbor. We are rightly concerned about this world, but only to a limited extent. Our main concern is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

Scot McKnight, author and professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary: “Participation in our election dare not be seen as the lever that turns the eschatological designs God has for this world. Where is our hope? November 6 may tell us. What I hope it reveals is that: Our hope is in God. The great South African missiologist, David Bosch, in his book Transforming Mission impressed upon many of us that the church’s mission is not in fact the church’s mission but God’s mission. Our calling is to participate in the missio Dei, the mission of God in this world. So, at election time we can use the season to re-align our mission with the mission of God. Therein lies our hope. Our hope is in the gospel of God. God’s mission is gospel-shaped. Some today want to reduce gospel to personal salvation while others want to convert into public politics and secularize the kingdom of God. The gospel is about Jesus the King and the gospel is about kingdom citizens living under the king regardless of who is in ‘power.’ Therein lies our hope. Our hope is in the gospel of God that creates God’s people. God’s gospel-shaped mission creates a new people of God. In fact, the temptation of good Protestants to skip from Genesis 3 (the Fall) to Romans 3 (salvation) must be resisted consciously. The gospel creates kingdom citizens who indwell the church and live that vision. We need to soak up how God’s gospel-shaped work always and forever creates a gospel people. The first thing God does with Abraham is to form a covenant people, Israel, and Jesus’ favorite word was ‘kingdom’ and Paul was a church-obsessed theologian-missionary. Herein lies the challenge at election time. We are tempted to divide the USA into the good and the bad and to forget that the gospel has folks on both sides of political lines. Even more: we are tempted to think that the winners of the election are those who are blessed by God when the blessing of God is on God’s people. God’s gospel-powered mission creates a new people, the church, where we are to see God’s mission at work. Therein lies our hope. Our hope is in the gospel of God that creates a kind of people that extends God’s gospel to the world. Chris Wright’s big book, The Mission of God, reminds us that election is missional: God creates the people of God not so the people of God can compare themselves to those who are not God’s people, but so that God’s people will become a priesthood in this world to mediate the mission of God, so that all hear the good news that God’s grace is the way forward.”

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