Today I saw a post from a well-known Christian leader that said this:
“The devil has made a strategic mistake and has awakened the Church! Stay tuned!”
Considering this prophetic minister prophesied a Trump victory, and seeing that the initial response to this tweet from others was the assumption that he was referring to the presidential election and rallies, protests and prayer meetings (to overturn the initial result) that have ensued, I assumed that by saying, “the church has woken up,” he was implying these political actions are equal to a revival of sorts in the American church. In his response to some of the criticism (very little), he was very clear: his post was about the election.
As Americans, we have a First Amendment right to protest. If people feel there was wrongdoing in the election, then by all means, they should lift up their voice and object. It is what I love about America and something for which many nations are jealous. They should pray for God’s will to be done (as Yeshua taught us). To equate that, however, to the “church waking up” is of deep concern to me.
Here’s what the church waking up would and should look like:
- Believers would give themselves to prayer and fasting for revival. We would hunger for God like never before.
- We would renew our commitment to the Great Commission. While I have always been involved politically, the Great Commission and politics are two very different things. Theologians have debated for years regarding the level that believers should be involved in politics. Theologians do not debate, however, on the need of every believer to share their faith.
- We would give more of our time to the Good Book instead of Facebook.
- We would seek to clothe the poor and feed the hungry. We would look out for widows and orphans. We would give of our time and money to rescue young women (and even men) from human trafficking.
- We would give ourselves to worshiping Jesus, the Pearl of great price.
- We would refrain from hateful language in the way we respond to each other online. We would learn how to disagree with one another, while possessing the fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
From the Womb to the Tomb
I wonder how black evangelicals would view his comment. Are you aware that about 80% of their community voted for Joe Biden? Now, before you call them “baby killers” and say they are accomplices to murder for voting for a pro-choice candidate, can I ask if you have ever sat down with a born-again black democrat to hear their view? For me, I could never vote for a pro-abortion candidate, but a friend of mine sat down with a black pastor and the pastor said to him, “We are pro-life from the womb to the tomb.” His insinuation was that the Republican Party was strong on protecting the unborn, but not so strong after the baby enters this life, particularly if he is a minority.
I’m not saying I agree with that, but I want to hear their point of view. I can imagine that for them to hear a white pastor (of a mostly white megachurch) proclaiming that the amount of prayer for President Trump’s re-election could be described as the church waking up, would be hurtful. And it reinforces in them that not only do we not understand them but we don’t want to.
When George Floyd was killed, I resisted my natural tendency to go to my political corner. In prayer, I heard the words, “Do not process what is happening in America in a political way. If you do, you will choose a side, right or left; but I am seated in heavenly places, not on the political right or the political left, but in heaven ABOVE.” In fact, I noticed that when I would be in prayer, I would hear one thing from heaven—firm and clear—and then, when I would watch the news channels, I could feel myself being pulled away from God’s heart to a political position. And I realized—they are two different kingdoms.
Who side are you on?
It reminded me of Joshua’s encounter with the preincarnate Yeshua. He wanted to know if this unknown warrior was on his side or the enemy’s side. Yeshua made it clear that it was quite the opposite. The question instead was if Joshua was on the side of Yahweh.
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”
“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?”(Joshua 5:13-14)
What this pastor calls as “the church waking up”, I see as an unholy mixture of the gospel and politics, causing more division than I’ve ever seen in my life. In fact, alarms are going off inside of me. I have never seen anything like it and I have never seen so many Christian leaders equating loyalty to Trump and his causes with loyalty to God.
Are you aware that the phrase, “Stop the Steal” was coined by Roger Stone in 2016 in case Trump lost? Now I see it on Christian TV networks. I hear prophets repeating White House talking points instead of the counsel of heaven. The idea of “counting every legal vote and not counting every illegal vote” (something I very much support) was created by politicians before the election. And now, “prophets” are praying it. The Hebrew prophets did not get marching orders from the king, but delivered them to the king from heaven!
Render to Caesar
Yeshua taught on the relationship between God and politics.
Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?”
But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” (Mark 12:13-17)
Yeshua affirmed a place for “Caesar” or politics. But He separated it from his kingdom. Let me ask you, whose name was on the flags people were waving on Saturday in D.C.? It wasn’t J-E-S-U-S. And that is fine! We should rally for our preferred political candidate. Just don’t confuse it with devotion to Yeshua, who said his kingdom is not of this world.
Yet, people are breaking off relationships with friends and family members based on who they voted for or who they think won the election (I have seen it!). How in the world can that be described as “the church waking up”? I see that as pastors not doing their job in equipping the saints. The apostles had little time for politics and protests—they were singularly focused on bringing people to Yeshua. And honestly, the best way end abortion is get more people born again!
I think we’re entering into one of the most dangerous minefields that the American church has ever experienced. May righteous leaders rise up and guide us in the right direction.