Monday, November 3, 2008

A Prayer for the American Election Tomorrow

As a Canadian, whatever happens in the United States has a huge impact on me and those I love. The dominance of the US media in Canada is powerful. When the US economy sneezes, the Canadian economy catches cold. Laws made in the US often decisively affect the making of Canadian laws. And on it goes. Yet I have no vote in the US elections.

Today for the first time in my life I wish I was an American citizen so I could vote against Barrack Obama and for John McCain. I pray that my fellow Evangelicals will not be led astray by the dishonest and illogical campaign that has been waged by Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren in support of the most liberal, most pro-abortion, most anti-marriage candidate for president in the history of the United States.

In many ways, the US stands alone now as the last bastion of Christian influence in Western culture. Europe is on its back. Canada, since the 1960's, has chosen public policies that emulate Europe rather than the US so that the moral fiber of our country has weakened to the point of collapse. The US is far from perfect; I could list its flaws. But the fact that up to half of its citizens are church-going, practicing Christians has meant that secularism has not completely succeeded in taking over all of the cultural institutions. The media, the universities and the military-industrial complex are all but lost to Christian influence. But the heartland of the country still contains large pockets of middle-class, church-going people who run for office, teach school, practice law, become judges, start businesses, raise families and generally create a conservative brake on the secularism, hedonism, individualism and disrespect for human life that fuels the culture of death. And the Evangelical churches are flouishing and growing even as the liberal Protestant churches are shrinking rapidly and descending into self-parody and perversion. In another encouraging sign, the Roman Catholic bishops have found their voice and are speaking out in this election season in support of the Church's moral teaching and the common good of the culture.

We should imagine the Church in the US as engaged in what Galadriel, in the The Lord of the Rings, calls "the long defeat" that she and others have fought down through the ages. If there is no dramatic, supernatural intervention in the form of a great revival of Christian faith in the 21st century, the West will surely fall. It does not matter if the external enemy is Communism or Islam or something else; no external enemy could possibly destroy the West by its own power. Like the Roman Empire, the modern West can only be destroyed by decadence on the inside. The core beliefs about God, human nature and morality have rotted away and no civilization can endure once its core beliefs have rotted. The culture of life created by the influence of the Gospel on Western institutions and thought has gradually been replaced by the culture of death.

The two sins against hope (according to the Baltimore Catechism) are presumption and despair. The proper response to the presumption that has led the West into utiopian schemes for perfecting human nature and society, which will be the occasion of our fall, is not to lose heart and despair. Anything could yet happen. We are not Deists. We believe that the God of Scripture can and does raise up and cast down nations. God's providence is often inscrutable, but His sovereignty is unchallengeable. The West will only fall if that is His will and if it does, then like Abraham Lincoln, we will consider the ways of the Almighty to be just and his judgments righteous altogether.

Many Evangelicals are thinking about not voting in this election. Disgusted by Bush's unjust war, (and rightly so), and unimpressed by the Democratic Party's morphing into the "party of death" they propose to succumb to apathy and say" "A plague on both your houses." But voting is not done for the benefit of one political party or the other. It is done for the sake of the country as a whole. To allow oneself to be reduced to inaction by the drumbeat that tries to discredit all conservatism by virtue of wrong decisions by someone who is not even running in this election is to allow oneself to fall into despair. And despair is a sin against hope.

A Prayer for Election Day in the US 2008
O Lord, who rules and reigns on high, by whose powerful Word the heavens and the earth were brought into being and who preserves and oversees this creation at every moment of every day. We bless your holy Name and we praise You for Your mighty works.

Look down today with compassion on Your people in the United States of America, who look to You for courage, help and comfort. May they experience a welling of up hope within them; may they be preserved from the temptation to despair. Use their willingness to work for the common good and their humble regard for Your laws to benefit the entire nation, including those who scorn Your Word and ignore Your will. Help your people to stand for righteousness with humility, determination and grace. As the democratic process moves on, may all of Your people be found to have been responsible, faithful and obedient to the moral law in the discharge of their duties as citizens.

Lord, send revival to your Church. We ask for revival over all the nations of the Western world, particularly in places where the Church was once strong and vibrant but now is cold and weak. We ask that you would forgive us our many sins and grant to us a spirit of repentance and openness to your chastisement so that the revival might begin with us.

We confess that we do not control history; nor do we rule over this earth. We know our Advasary the Devil overstates his claim to rule, yet his power is not inconsiderable. You alone are God. You alone rule over all. Help us to believe more strongly in what we already know.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.


Amy said...

"if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chron. 7.14

Thanks for posting this; I've enjoyed looking over your blog, especially the Tolkien references :) and I'm so glad people are praying... I'll be at Tyndale early tomorrow morning, DV, to hopefully put in some prayer with other students before Christ and Culture. If that isn't the Christian's role in culture, what is!?

a C&C student

Trevor said...

Craig, I hope someone has the time and stomach to actually respond to this post, but I don't. However, I can't simply let you write these ideas without registering in the strongest possible terms how close minded and anti-Yoderian your post is.

Craig Carter said...

Anti-Yoderian? Is that the Mennonite version of calling someone a heretic? It seems that every time I depart from the liberal individualist party line I get accused of being anti-Yoderian.

Well, either my interpretation of Yoder is wrong or your's is. And if my interpretation is wrong (and it very well could be), and Yoder really is just another liberal Protestant, then as far as I am concerned he is utterly uninteresting - and certainly not inerrant and authoritative for Christian faith and practice.

Allan R. Bevere said...


Thanks for your defense of the politics of the cross resurrected. I follow your blog and appreciate your continued reflections.

When I teach Christian Ethics I use your text Rethinking Christ and Culture.

As one who continues to be frustrated by James Dobson on the right and Jim Wallis on the left (thanks for exposing his agenda!), I have found you to be a breath of fresh air.

Keep up the good work; and while I am not expert on Yoder, I think your reading of him is spot on.

Thanks again!

Halden said...

Amy, that verse has nothing whatsoever to do with America. To apply it thusly is the height of hermeneutical absurdity.