Ten Things to Keep in Mind After the Election

Here are some helpful thoughts from Doug Wilson about how Christians should respond to the election of Barack Obama.

1. God is still Father, Christ is still at His right hand, and the Holy Spirit is still abroad in the world, recreating that world according to the image of Christ. When the nations conspire against Him, He laughs at them.

2. The most important thing we can do for our nation, and for the world around us, is to gather for worship every Lord’s Day. The privilege of voting in presidential elections comes to us every four years, while we are graced with the opportunity to take the Lord’s Supper week to week. Right worship reforms the Church, and is therefore God’s central instrument for remaking the world. For this reason, we must insist on worship that is in accordance with Scripture. Judgment begins with the household of God. Our generation is fatherless. In the power of the Spirit, in the name of the Son, we must therefore worship the Father.

3. The first and greatest command is to love God, and the second is to love our neighbor. When the question arises, as it will, as to who is our neighbor, a good policy is to always begin with the smallest, the least, the most defenseless. Never apologize for a crawl-over-broken-glass pro-life stance. Live in such a life-affirming way as to expect apologies from those who would redefine the lives of others (always the lives of others, isn’t it?) into expendible insignificance.

4. Honor women. Honor your mother, your wife, and your daughters. We live in a culture that despises women, and which has engineered a vast machinery of propaganda designed to get them to surrender to it. If you don’t know how to honor, on a day-to-day basis, the women in your life, then learn. Make it a priority.

5. Don’t doubt in the dark what you knew in the light. The late Francis Schaeffer taught evangelical Christians to think like Christians as they engaged with unbelief in the public square. But a goodly number of his proteges, disciples, and name-appropriators have begun to “engage with the culture” in a way that looks more like going native than it looks like missionary work. Melancthons fall apart more rapidly than they used to. Get used to it, but don’t you do it.

6. While pro-life work is at the very center of all mercy ministry, it should not be allowed to distract from the broader kind of mercy ministry that offers gospel help to those who have contributed to their own misery — addicts, convicts, the uneducated and the unemployable. Such mercy ministry must be consistently tenderhearted and hardheaded. Sentimentalists are never able to give themselves away in the ongoing way that bleeding (but thinking) Christians must.

7. Learn something about economics. Please.

8. Cultivate a godly sense of proportion. My family, living in the UK, are encountering evangelical Christians who think that “lack of socialized medicine” is just as bad as abortion-on-demand, because in both cases people are dying. This is as wrong-headed as it is possible to get, even for evangelicals, and on two counts. In the first place, deliberate murder cannot be compared to well-intentioned negligence or incomptence. In the second place, to the extent that we do attack death-dealing incompetence — as we must — we must begin by attacking the species of incompetence that lets people die after many months on waiting lists because some people don’t like accurate pricing mechanisms. Water won’t run uphill just because you can arrange for three bishops to say “Trinitarian” or “incarnational” over it.

9. Count the cost. Freedom of expression is part of our Christian heritage, and one of the things we are fighting for is the right to that expression. We cannot lose the tree and keep the fruit of it. When the laws come, as they will, prohibiting (for example) condemnation of homosexual behavior, then count the cost. And the very next Sunday, start your sermon series on the sins of sodomy. The first message should provide the introduction, and allow the congregation to count the cost as well. They might want a heads up — some of them might think it prudent to head over to a more docile church, one with a kennel-fed pastor. Whenever the state yanks on his lead, he always heels, and then waits expectantly for his treat. A much more sensitive and sensible ministry, don’t you think?

10. Fight in the culture wars as those who gladly serve the triune God of heaven. We are not dogs fighting over a piece of meat, and we must never allow the surly or shrill attitudes of the self-righteous to creep into anything we do. We must be puritan cavaliers, and merry warriors. Fight like a regenerate D’Artagnan, and not like a thug with a Bible he stole from the motel, or a like prim and censorious Miss Grundy, she of the pursed lips. We are Christians, not wowswers.