From Pastor Dutch Sheets:
November 6, 2008
I feel certain that many in my stream of the Church want a statement from me concerning Tuesday’s presidential election. I will be frank in my remarks but I do not, however, intend to vent anger or attack anyone. I have read several statements from friends and colleagues I respect very much.
Their thoughts are well-stated and, for the most part, insightful. None of them, however, seem to want to say some things that I believe need to be said. I do not claim infallibility or to have the final word, but my convictions run deep and I believe I bear a God-given responsibility to share them.
Was This God’s Will?
Was what happened Tuesday God’s will? I am quite confident it was not. America was offered a very clear choice between moving further toward protecting the unborn or further away; between a Supreme Court that would move toward honoring God, life and morality or away from it. The stakes couldn’t have been higher nor the cost greater. As a nation we put on blinders concerning Barak Obama’s background, associations, beliefs and practices, and set these causes back years, possibly decades. And in doing so we took another step away from God and His plans for America, and another step toward judgment.
Judgment Will Increase
This is not a fire and brimstone warning from an angry, legalistic preacher. In fact, I feel more sadness and grief than anything else.
Perhaps I feel what Jesus felt as He wept for Jerusalem while announcing its judgment. I am not hoping for judgment; I am saying it is inevitable. I don’t know where the unbiblical belief comes from that says a nation can live any way it pleases, can reject God and His ways-even mock Him-and not receive His judgments. Nor do I know when the belief came that it is always mean-spirited or judgmental to warn of these things. To the contrary, I believe it is our responsibility.
In warning of judgment, I am not suggesting that God is going to intentionally and directly hurt people. Much judgment is simply the absence of God’s protection and provision, caused by a rejection of His laws and ways. We have been experiencing some forms of judgment in America for years, but God in His incredible patience and mercy has kept us from the level we’ve deserved. I believe this will change to a degree and judgment will now increase:
For those in the Church who aligned themselves with pro-abortion forces, I believe judgment will result.
For leaders in the Body of Christ who refused to take a stand for fear of losing people, money, and tax-exempt status-I believe there will be a degree of judgment.
For those, both within the Church and without, who voted money over morality-a potential raise or better health insurance over the life of a baby-there will be judgment. (The irony is that this decision to base one’s vote on the hopes of a better economy won’t produce the hoped for result anyway. The scriptures teach that it is righteousness which exalts a nation and that the nation is blessed whose God is the Lord.)
I have heard the argument that God cares as much about social justice issues (such as poverty and racism) as He does abortion, making a vote for Obama OK. I certainly believe God puts a very high priority on caring for the poor and I, too, have wanted to see equality demonstrated through a “minority” president. But to equate having a better income or the desire for a first black president, regardless of his positions on abortion and morality, to the issue of killing 50 million babies is not justice-it is a gross distortion of justice and great deception. I fear that we have been desensitized to this issue of abortion. I believe it kills babies and takes innocent life. I also believe it is blood sacrifice that empowers demons. Let’s not forget this in our noble attempts to be kind and conciliatory.
For African Americans I can easily see how it could bring healing to have a first black president, just as it would be for Native Americans to achieve this or for women if a woman were elected president. Again, I have wanted to see justice in this way. I am only saddened that the price for this healing ended up being Barak Obama, a man that will set the cause of life and, most-likely, our God-given destiny as a nation back so drastically. (I also realize there are some who interpret any criticism of Obama as racism. Racism is so NOT what I am about nor what I live, that I will not even dignify any such accusations with a response.)
What Can We Expect?
What are some of the judgments we can expect on our nation from this election?
More economic woes
More violence in an already violent nation
Disease and death (satan, who is responsible for these things will have greater inroads to our nation.)
Natural disasters (weather-tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, drought; fires; earthquakes; etc.)
Terrorism (they will fear us much less now)
War, perhaps on our own soil
Judgments relating to the Court. The stacking of the Supreme Court against the sanctity of life and God’s influence on America will occur, which will in turn cause the shedding of more innocent blood, more rejection of God’s laws and the stealing from us of our godly heritage-all of which will perpetuate a cycle of even more judgment.
How Did This Happen?
I’ve been asked if this could have been averted had there been more prayer. I’m not sure. I believe there was a remnant of Christians fervently praying over these elections-I don’t think there was anything more they could have done. Others, obviously, should have done more. The complacency and lack of discernment concerning our real condition in America-especially by the Church-is both appalling and horrifying. America is in serious trouble and it seems no one wants to say it. Fewer still are willing to do anything to change it.
Though I understand our reasons, we must be careful in our attempts to placate our feelings and calm our fears through religious phrases like “God is still on the throne” or “God has a plan”. He was on His throne 35 years and 50 million babies ago. And He had a plan back then. The problem is, it was us. I understand our reasons for waving high the banner of God’s sovereignty at times like these-it gives us hope. I will wave it, as well.
But please be careful with this. Too much emphasis on God’s sovereignty and we’re worthless; too little and we’re hopeless. Maybe we should say, “we lost a critical battle but God will give us strategy to win the war.” Then find the strategy.
But still yet, since God is usually willing to work through a remnant, I thought we had enough prayer. Obviously, God decided otherwise. There comes a time when He will not forgive or bless the majority based on the prayers or actions of only a few. America rejected God and asked for a king; I believe we now have our Saul (see 1 Samuel 8:5-7)-a man who does not have God’s heart for America but his own. Like Israel in scripture, our nation believes it can turn from God and still be blessed. In His mercy and justice He will show us otherwise.
Like many, believing I had many promises and confirmations that God would “grace” us with a pro-life president in this election, I failed to consider strongly enough that all promises-even scripture-are conditional 99.9% of the time. Though I never prophesied or made guarantees that McCain-Palin would win, failing to factor this principle in strongly enough no doubt caused me to share my optimism with others inappropriately. If this caused any harm or confusion, I apologize.
Has the fact that my prayers weren’t answered shaken my faith? No. I’m a little confused and discouraged. I’m also somewhat angry at the nation in general and much of the Church. Mostly I’m grieving over the nation and what this will cost us. I am not, however, angry with God and do not question His justice. And it is not true that we wasted our time, energy and money in our efforts anymore than it is a waste when we share the gospel with people who don’t get saved. We must keep in the forefront of our thinking the fact that ultimately we are doing this for Him and that He will reward us for our faithfulness. And who knows, perhaps He will store up all those prayers for the next battle (Revelation 5:8, 8:3-5).
A friend and fellow warrior said it well,
“We did ‘give it our all.’ I know the Lord was pleased with that. A coach wants to know one thing at the end of a heartbreaking sports loss: ‘Did you leave it all on the field?’ (your passion, your commitment, your strength, your courage, etc.) I know that we ‘left it all on the field.’ We didn’t hold anything back until the game ended. Tragically, it ended in defeat. We will rise for another day because Jesus is worthy.”
Where Do We Go from Here?
Does this election outcome shake my faith that we can see a great awakening and ultimately reformation in America? Absolutely not (and it strengthens my resolve). We will simply get there through greater pain and loss. Even my passion to see the Supreme Court shift is not from a presupposition that there can be no spiritual awakening without it. It is simply due to my deep conviction that their decisions bring so much death, destruction, curses and judgment to America; and because our full destiny as a nation is unquestionably linked to their decisions. So, yes, we will get an awakening and reformation; but the reality is that this reformation of the nation will reform the Supreme Court (and government, in general), not vice-versa. My faith has never been in people or a political party; my faith is in the God who works through them.
I’ve been asked if my feelings about Sarah Palin have changed. They have not. I believe she is an Esther, a Deborah, with a huge mantle from God for reformation. God has a great destiny for her related to this nation if she chooses to continue down this path.
So, in conclusion, we must re-group as an apostolic, praying church and advance. We must maintain an immovable faith in God, His plans for America and His mercy. And we must move beyond simply asking God for a spiritual awakening and ask Him for strategy to produce reformation, as well. I, for one, am just getting started!
For God and this great nation,