I VOTED FOR JOE BIDEN, AND MAINTAINED MY SALVATION

Earlier today I received a comment on one of my blog posts. The commenter wrote the following:

This writer says he voted for the wicked policies of Joe Biden and the democrats. Accordingly, he is deceived at best and a false brethren at worst. Steer clear of this man even though he speaks truth about the false prophets of today.

This was not the first insult I have ever received from a politically passionate evangelical. I have had others lash out at me because of their political views. For instance another commenter said this on the same post:

So you claim to be a christian and voted for Biden. Your a baby killer as well as he is. I hope your blindfold falls off before its too late. Your so blind you cant see the lies and evil the democrat party has done. You better start reading the true word of God! Anyone with half a brain could see the election was stolen, and they set up Donald Trump. Wake up! Before you wake up in Hell. I wont answer any emails from satans followers, so dont bother sending any.

And another person wrote this to me on a social media site:

I can and do say dogmatically you are no minister of God that I would sit under and based on the scriptures you have no place in the holy sacred pulpit. It’s people like you that compromise the word of God that’s leading the lost straight to hell.

In the same setting, another person accused me of liking pedophiles.

Now, I am not here to defend myself or how I voted in the last Presidential election, but for the purpose of getting my point across it may be necessary to do so, but before I address that, I want you to really listen to the accusations and condemnation that has been levied against me by fellow Christians in the comments above.

I was accused of being deceived and being a false brother, being a baby killer, liking pedophiles, being spiritually blind, being a follower of Satan, having no place in the sacred pulpit, compromising the word of God, and leading people straight to hell. These accusations were made by people who know nothing about me because they disapproved of who I voted for.

They did not take the time to ask questions and enquire so they could understand why I made the decision to vote the way I did? No. they simply dropped the hammer and disqualified me as a brother in Christ.

Now, allow me to share a little about myself and my faith. I love Jesus with all my heart, and I seek to be holy and pure before God. I trust in the precious blood of Christ and the finished work of Christ on the cross for my salvation. I believe in the power of Christ’s resurrection, and make it my aim to always teach wholesome and sound doctrine. I am not perfect, but I love Jesus and I want to please him.

In part, the “Christianity” expressed in the comments by those who disparaged me speak volumes to the why behind my vote. Trump’s influence on evangelicals has emboldened a very unChristlike harshness towards anyone with opposing views, or who may think differently about issues, and because of this evangelicals have all but lost their influence in the United States.

Jesus said, By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, If you have love one for another (John 13:35). If our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ can turn to hate in an instance over politics, then something is severely wrong with our understanding of the gospel.

I wrote the following in one of my posts and I want to share it here:

I have observed as many evangelical Christians have become more increasingly vicious, and quite frankly, hateful towards other Christians and non Christians alike who do not agree with them politically. It is an indoctrination that runs contrary to the Christ-like virtues that those who have put their faith in Christ are called to live by.

Being republican rather than democrat is not a spiritual virtue. Yet the belief that the republican party is doing God’s work, and the democrats are doing the devil’s has taken root within evangelical beliefs. This ideology is deceptive and dangerous because it indoctrinates Christians to believe they are engaged in a kind of “spiritual warfare” against evil forces when the reality is they are the ones who have been taken captive.

When you do not have any patience to listen to fellow Christians who may differ with you politically, when you have no desire to understand why others differ with your views, when all that comes out of you in response is a condescending and hateful attitude, you’re not the truth warrior in any spiritual warfare. You’re the captive.

One of the commenters above expressed his impatience by saying, “I wont answer any emails from Satans followers, so don’t bother sending any.” Rather than exercising self control (a fruit of the Spirit) and patiently bearing with me, he immediately cut me off by accusing me of being a follower of Satan.

I have served Jesus for 42 years at the time of this writing. Did I committed apostasy by casting a vote for Joe Biden? Let’s say for the sake of discussion it was an ill advised decision. Was it so spiritually devastating that it shipwrecked my faith?! Am I really damned to eternal destruction for casting a vote for Joe Biden after more than 40 years of walking with God?

In scripture we are instructed to walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love… ~ Ephesians 4:1-2

Did these believers bear with me in love?

In Colossians we are instructed to put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. ~ Colossians 3:12-13

Was there any forbearance (patience) expressed in their comments? Was there any forgiveness? Was there any love?

I could go on but I hope you get my point. The Bible has much to say about brotherly love and how we are to treat one another as members of the body of Christ. And this is one of the biggest concerns I have with the influence of Donald Trump on evangelicals. Trump has turned Christians against Christians, and if you know your Bible that is synonymous with turning Christians against Christ (Matthew 25:40, Acts 9:5). According to the New Testament, believers are members of the same body of Christ and have all been made to drink of one Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:13-14).

The viciousness, impatience, and hate that is being expressed by some evangelicals is contrary to the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul warned the Galatians, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. ~ Galatians 5:13-15 

My reason for mentioning that I voted for Joe Biden in a couple of my blog posts was never to promote Joe Biden’s or any democrat’s policies. It was to point out the very thing I am pointing out here and that is many evangelicals have lost their way and have forgotten what the scriptures teach about godliness and brotherly love.

In short, I voted for Joe Biden because I see the ramifications of the Trump influence on the church, and I see the deterioration of democracy under Trump-ism. If you disagree with me, that’s fine, but if I am right about this (God knows), then it was the right decision. If I am wrong, and God knows that as well, it did not change my relationship with God. God did not cast me away for not voting for Donald Trump. My faith in Jesus Christ still stands and I am still a child of God.

My hope is in the Lord Jesus Christ and not in Joe Biden, Donald Trump, or any political party. I pray yours is as well.

SPEAKING THINGS INTO EXISTENCE

There are many unbiblical doctrines that circulate among Christians, especially among American evangelicals. One of those is the claim that we have creative ability with the words of our mouth, thus we are to speak things into existence. Therefore, If we are struggling financially we speak prosperity into existence. If we are sick or have a disease we are to speak healing into existence.

This doctrine has become so prevalent that in some places public prayers are no longer heartfelt requests humbly petitioning God, but “preachy declarations” instead, because we must “declare and decree” and boldly speak them into existence.

How did we get here?

The speaking it into existence doctrine stems from teachings within the Word of Faith movement, which at one time (30 plus years ago) did have a more balanced approach to the teachings of scripture concerning the words that we speak.

The Bible has much to say about our speech, but never once does the Bible teach that we have creative power in our words as God does. The biblical emphasis concerning the importance of wholesome speech has to do with expressions of faith in God, edifying and encourage others, praise and thanksgiving towards God rather than murmuring and complaining, and wholesome speech which is becoming of godliness, purity and good sound doctrine.

Unfortunately, the importance of having wholesome speech has morphed into a belief that we have creative power and thus should speak into existence whatever it may be that we desire. Yet no one in scripture served God in this manner. If we can’t find an example in scripture of any servant of God who held to this practice, why would we think we could? And if we can plainly understand that God’s servants in the scriptures never practiced speaking things into existences, why would we think we could twist some of their writings to justify such practices?

The truth is, the idea of speaking things into existence appeals to our carnality, but wholesome speech which is becoming of godliness requires true spiritual growth and maturity, and therein lies the difference.

One very popular Word of Faith minister who has taught speaking things into existence, claimed that Psalm 119:72 speaks of “the law of the mouth.” He followed up by saying, “the Bible says the law of the mouth is better than silver and gold. Why? Cause that’s how we make it.”

Here is what Psalm 119:72 actually says: The law of THY mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.

This text is not referring to some spiritual law that we put into motion with our words. It is referring to God’s law that came from the mouth of God, and the Psalmist is declaring his desire for God’s law rather than the wealth and riches of this world. In fact, much of Psalm 119 is dedicated to praising God and glorifying his law. Psalm 119 begins by saying, Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord. ~ v.1

Consider also these verses from Psalm 119:

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. ~ v.18

Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. ~ v.29

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. ~ v. 34

The proud have had me greatly in derision: yet have I not declined from thy law.~ v. 51

I have remembered thy name, O Lord, in the night, and have kept thy law. ~ v. 55

Verses 61, 70, 72, 77, 85, 92, 97, 109, 113,126, 136, 142, 150, 153, 163,165, and 174 all make reference to God’s law as Thy law”. Now consider verses 43-45:

And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments. So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Speaking God’s word (God’s law, precepts, commands, and instructions) was a practice encouraged in the Old Testament as an expression of love, dedication, and service towards God. It had absolutely nothing to do with speaking things into existence because of having “god-like” creative power.

In Psalm 119, the Psalmist prays, “Remove from me the way of lying”. If the Psalmist had believed he had creative power in his words, why wouldn’t he have just removed the way of lying from himself?

And again, therein lies another problem with the speak it into existence doctrine. It plants the idea in the minds and hearts of people that they are somewhat self-sufficient with God-like creative abilities in their words. Yet the Psalmist declares “I am poor and needy” in his seeking after God (Ps 40:17; 70:5).

In the book of the Revelation Jesus rebukes the church of the Laodiceans for saying “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Jesus then tells them that they do not know that they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. ~ Revelation 3:17

If there were a “law of the mouth” by which we could create with our words as the minister mentioned above has suggested, what then was the problem with the Laodiceans claim to being rich, and why would Jesus give them such a rebuke?

And again, here lies another problem with the speaking it into existence doctrine. It deceives people into thinking they are spiritual when they are not. It deceives them from acknowledging their true spiritual condition before God. It leads them into a false sense of spirituality and gives futile ground to pride, but God hears the desire of the humble (Ps 10:17).

There is so much more I could write on this topic but this will suffice for now. The Bible does have much to say about the importance of our words, but never once does it teach us that we have creative power like God. This belief is not scriptural and is actually akin to sorcery and witchcraft.

HOW GOD COMPLETES HIS WORK IN US

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ… ~ Philippians 1:6

Often texts such as the one cited above are quoted as a kind of stand alone truth that is thought to just happen rather than being understood within the context to which they belong.

When we consider the context, we find that Paul does not imply that God is going to automatically complete the work he has begun in us, and we have other texts throughout the New Testament which bring balance to such notions. Our obedience and continuance in the truth have something to do with our walking in the blessings of God and the completion of God’s work in us.

For example, consider Paul’s words from the very next chapter of Philippians:

Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, (you) work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. ~ Philippians 2:12-16

As we can see here, Paul instructs the Philippians to live in truth and obedience because God was at work within them and God’s work in them required obedience on their part. Paul goes on to say, “Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.” (v. 17)

The completion of the work of God in us requires something from us and as we can see from Paul’s opening in chapter one, this was the aim of Paul’s prayers and labor for the Philippians. Paul was willing to give himself unselfishly both in service and in prayer for their furtherance in the faith. And because of this, Paul was confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in the Philippians would perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace. For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1:3-11

The confidence that Paul had that God would complete the work he had begun in the Philippians came from his heartfelt and earnest prayers for them. Paul had prayed so earnestly for them that he says, “I have you in my heart” and “I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.” Prayer is powerful when our heart is invested and we all need to learn more about heartfelt earnest prayers.

Unfortunately in many places prayer has been reduced to declarations often expressed more in a preachy manner rather than sincere and heartfelt requests. Paul’s confidence came from his “requests.” to God on behalf of the Philippians – I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy…

Nowhere do you see anyone in the New Testament praying in a preachy, declarative manner in which they are taking authority or dominion. Yet over and over again, we read of prayers being offered as requests and petitions with heartfelt sincerity – that this is what God works with to complete his work in us.