A Practical Guide to Saving a Nation

Praying hands

I cannot count how many times I have heard someone say about the upcoming election, “2016 is our last chance to turn this thing around.” It’s the right instinct, the right sense of urgency, but the wrong focus. In the grand scheme of things, presidential elections just don’t matter that much. Yes, yes, I know: Supreme Court nominations, etc., etc. But in the grand scheme of things, the Supreme Court doesn’t matter that much either.

Take Roe v. Wade. It is true, more than 50 million unborn children have been massacred since 1973, but which is the bigger problem: That millions of mothers chose to kill their unborn children, or that the court let them do it?

We have to get out of the mindset which sleeps through the battle for hearts and minds and then tries to win a last-minute victory in the court system or the Oval Office. Secular liberalism controls education, entertainment, and media, but we imagine we’ll fix things by casting a ballot. Ultimately, the problem isn’t political at all—it’s a matter of cultural decay, because “the salt has lost its taste” (Matt 5:13). If you feel a sense of urgency about the direction of our country (and you should), the ultimate answer is gospel, not politics.

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The Minimum Wage: When Benevolence Hurts

Construction worker

The minimum wage has been the subject of much contention recently and is likely to draw more attention in coming months, as the Democratic platform endorses the “Fight for 15” campaign and Trump has come out in support of a $10 minimum. Their motivation is simple. As Trump put it, “You need to help people. I know it’s not very Republican to say.” (Thanks, Donald, the GOP replied.) But does the minimum wage actually help people? It’s worth digging into the subject both because it is not going away anytime soon and because it offers an example of how first glances can be deceiving when it comes to economics.

The case for the minimum wage is obvious. As the cost of living rises, it seems compassionate to mandate a “living wage” for all employees. Require businesses to shell out part of their profits to add a few dollars to each minimum-wage employee’s hourly wages, and they will be better able to provide for themselves and their families. In fact, the argument goes, raising the minimum wage can even help to pay for itself because it reduces families’ need for federal assistance through food stamps or similar programs.

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Chariots, horses, and living Christianly in post-Christian America

So, we can all agree that modern-day America is not a Christian nation, right? For many believers, it seems the now-inevitable nomination of Donald Trump by nominally conservative voters has put an exclamation point on a demoralizing story of pushback and defeat in the “culture war.” Losing battles is hard, but losing allies is sometimes harder. Being a Christian in the public square suddenly feels a lot lonelier, which may be why we are hearing increasing calls to abandon it altogether. Stop pretending America is a Christian nation; stop trying to engage, let alone restore, the culture.

In some ways, this growing disenchantment with the political process is a good thing. Democracy and the political process have always offered a tempting shortcut past the Great Commission. Winning elections is more exciting than winning souls and offers more immediate and dramatic results, with a good deal less dying to self required in the process. Worse, as long as Christian causes were political winners, our cultural strength masked deeper problems, as the lazy conviction that America was Christian helped hide the degree to which the American church was not.

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We need to pray against Donald Trump

It is time for evangelical Christians to unite to actively pray that Donald Trump does not win the Republican presidential nomination.

This isn’t about policy. The Bible leaves room for disagreement and debate over important political questions. But this is about character, and about whether serious character flaws should be disqualifying for the presidency of the United States. This is about a candidate who claims to be a Christian and asks for Christian support, yet lives a testimony of vulgarity and unrepentant sin. And it’s about our testimony, as Jesus’ followers, if Donald Trump wins with Christian votes.

When Bill Clinton was in office, we said character mattered in a president. Did we mean it? Because Donald Trump is the guy who decided that what his casino really needed was a strip club. Trump is the guy who thinks violating marriage vows is something to be proud of, boasting about “my experiences with women, often seemingly very happily married and important women.” Yet Trump says he has never asked God for forgiveness for anything.

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You should not support Donald Trump.

Perhaps you’ve heard: Donald Trump is running for president. (It’s been mentioned on the news a couple times.) Not only running, in fact, but consistently leading the polls by significant margins over his competitors in the Republican primary. Despite his awkward answers when asked about his faith at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa–he doesn’t ever ask God for forgiveness, he explained, but he does “drink my little wine” and “have my little cracker” in church–he leads among Christian voters as well as other demographics. This is embarrassing. Voting wisely is part of loving our neighbor, and Christians ought to be doing better than supporting a man who is basically the incarnation of the biblical definition of a fool.

Put aside the political question of why Republican primary voters would support a man who once described himself as “very pro-choice” on abortion, including partial-birth abortion; who once advocated universal healthcare and praised single-payer systems in other countries during last week’s debate; who used to actively support Hillary Clinton; and who was a registered Democrat until 2009. Perhaps he has simply changed his political views. All of them. Be that as it may, I am more interested in the man himself because, ultimately, a presidential election is not about a binder of policy positions–it is about a person.

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