Phil Congdon, New Braunfels Bible Church, November 9, 2016
With millions of other Americans, I watched in something approaching shock as Donald Trump was elected president of the United States on November 8th. Pollsters were so wrong in their predictions, and supporters of Clinton so sure of victory (including the vast majority of the news media), the whole process seemed almost surreal at times. There are a few timely reminders to take from this.
First, we should stop believing what the major news sources tell us. Much, if not most, of what is ‘fed’ to us is designed not to inform, but to indoctrinate, not to tell us what has happened, but to tell us how to think. By any measure, the effort has been amazingly successful. ‘Politically correct’ positions are presented with positive language, while ‘politically incorrect’ positions are presented in a negative light. The responses of major news outlets to Trump’s victory is a case in point. Most of them are opining on “what went wrong in the election” (Answer: Nothing) – as if the system must be wrong, since their candidate lost. Others are ‘advising’ Trump on how he must govern. This isn’t news; it’s propaganda. Ignore it.
Second, our society has embraced atheistic, materialistic humanism (the idea that there is no God, that there is nothing but matter, and we are in control of our own destiny), and it has bred a culture of false self-importance. We think that getting rid of those who disagree with us will make everything ‘bad’ in society good, and getting the ‘right’ person to lead us will make everything ‘good’ better. This ‘messianic syndrome’ is prevalent in America, and causes irrational reactions (crowds rioting in the streets the night following the election because their candidate lost is one example). If it goes unchecked, it can ultimately lead to anarchy.
As Christians, we should exhibit a wisdom that is ‘out of this world’ – that does not follow the foolishness of those who are blinded by sin. How we react to this election, which seems the most startling in my life, can be a reflection of our faith in God, not men, and our commitment to His eternal truth, not the unstable and uncertain direction of our human leaders.
Every person who has lived through a few presidents probably has a view on which ones have been good, and which were not. Some who are a little older than me might point to Eisenhower or Kennedy. In my experience, and in my opinion (no offense if you disagree!), Reagan is the greatest president I have known. But as I think back over the years of his presidency, I realize that the idyllic visions I had when he was elected didn’t happen. Yes, there was much good that came out of those years – the economy was healthy, our military was strong, and the ‘evil empire’ of communism was weakened significantly. But abortion was not stopped, or even impeded. Our national debt grew worse. There were moral and ethical scandals in his administration.
Many Christians – while disapproving of some of Trump’s actions and words, viewed him as a ‘better option’ than Clinton. Her unbridled support of not only abortion, but also Planned Parenthood’s selling parts of aborted baby’s bodies, is an egregious evil. Her ethical standards were an embarrassment to even her supporters. Her deception and outright lies concerning Benghazi, and dubious accumulation of millions of dollars through the Clinton Foundation, are just two examples.
But while we may feel like Trump winning was the better outcome, we should ‘keep our heads’ about us. We all know that Trump is not ‘the answer’ to America’s problems, or the solution to our evils. Whatever ‘good’ he may do – for example, appoint justices to the Supreme Court who, unlike recent appointees, will uphold our Constitution – this is only dealing with ‘surface wounds’ in our nation. The deeper needs are all spiritual, and will only be turned around when we recognize our Creator, accept His offer of life through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, and follow Him. Let that be our focus…as we head into the coming years.