Evidence of suppression of Christian expression in the military grows. Under Obamacare, freedom of religion has been abridged in the requirement that our Catholic brethren provide employees with birth control coverage through their health insurance programs. The president’s “concession” requiring only the insurance companies to make that provision is no concession at all. The Catholic Church still pays for the service. It makes no difference that we Protestants do not share the Catholic conviction concerning birth control. It would be a mistake to assume that this requirement doesn’t touch us. If the Catholic conscience can be overridden in this case in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, then other religious freedoms for the rest of us can be similarly abridged.
These are not simple differences of political opinion, but are rather issues of morality that matter deeply to God. As America’s moment of decision approaches, take note and remember these things, together with much that will yet be revealed in the course of the presidential campaign. Listen carefully to what the candidates and their surrogates say, note what is actually done by both of them and then vote according to your conscience.
Determine not to be swayed by personal charisma or lack of it. Look past political ads designed to inflame and pit one segment of the population against another. Modern political campaigns focus on exciting emotions with inflammatory sound bites and visceral graphics. Examine facts, therefore, not mere assertions, slanderous statements by either party about the other party or glowing statements of hope and promise. Most of us would have to admit that both parties have broken faith with the American people through promises never kept and values compromised.
Because of the overweening ambition of the candidates to get themselves elected, political campaigns inevitably breed dishonesty and distortions of fact. Neither presidential candidate is or will be immune to this, especially as election day draws nearer. This will be a hard-fought, bitter and deeply divisive campaign and whoever wins will do so by a narrow margin, leaving the country even more dangerously divided than before.
The prophetic warning: Know that the outcome of the 2012 election will have a significant effect on how much or how little time we in the body of Christ yet have to prepare for the very difficult days that must inevitably come. No matter who wins, America and the world are in serious trouble. The church must awaken spiritually, morally and biblically and we have a limited amount of time in which to do it. We must grow in numbers, in grace, in righteousness and in love in order to be ready to minister to those made desperate by the coming collapse. Neither presidential candidate has the power or the wisdom to prevent this. We are witnessing and will soon see the catastrophic collapse of a once great culture. The effect in human suffering will be enormous.
A shift in strategy: In light of this, we must shift our strategy from trying to call a once-Christian nation back to God and refocus our efforts to thinking of ourselves and our ministries as the early Christians did under Roman domination. The former leads to shrill cries of prophetic judgment against a people who once knew God and should still. The latter acknowledges that the culture has long since ceased to be Christian and determines to win the hearts of those under its influence through love, grace, demonstrations of miracle power and service. Fail to make this shift and we will find ourselves ever more marginalized and ineffective in the days to come.
The promise: For those who will receive it, a determined remnant is about to experience an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit that will prepare and propel us into these coming days as a people ready to shine as lighthouses of hope, healing and salvation in the midst of growing darkness. It is a season of equipping for signs and wonders, of character change in the deepest reaches of our hearts and lives, of learning the ways of God and of refusing compromise at any level. It is a time for awakening.
About the author: R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People, The Prophetic Church and his latest, Renewal for the Wounded Warrior, which are available with other resources at the church’s website.