What Christians Can Learn From The 2016 Election

What are the lessons we can learn from last night? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

It’s not a secret to many of you that I do vote Republican and conservative consistently. This past election was no exception. Like many of you, I was skeptical. I was thinking it looked like Hillary would win. So was most everyone else. The reality is that we were in fact, wrong.

As I watched the results rolling in last night and thinking there could be a chance that Trump could pull this off, I wondered what I could learn from this. Eventually, we got to the point where it was no longer asking “What does Trump have to do to win?” and instead had switched to “What does Hillary have to do to win?” No doubt, for the Democrats, this was an upset.

I went to bed shortly before the announcement came since I had heard Pennsylvania might not be called until the morning. I got up to go to the restroom during the night and checked my emails to see if there was anything new. One of my friends emailed me and said that Hillary had indeed conceded.

Some of you are pleased. Some of you are disappointed. Some of you don’t know. Still, I hope that the lessons I give here will be ones that you can use whether you agree with President-Elect Trump or not. I think there are several things he did right that we Christians can learn from.

First, if you believe something is true, be willing to say it. Something that I think people found refreshing in Trump is that he blew apart political correctness and yes, I think that does need to die. It got us to be more individualistic and centered on ourselves and our feelings and make those dominant. This is also one reason I think a TV show like House was so popular. A TV Guide cover I saw once about it said “People say they want House to change but they don’t. You watch it because he’s a jerk.” House’s being straight-forward was refreshing to a lot of people.

Second, along with those lines, don’t be afraid of offending people. There’s no need to offend needlessly, but at the same time, we’ve reached a point where we’re afraid to say anyone to anything that will offend them. If we give the Gospel, we will offend people. It will be offensive to people to tell them they’re sinners. It will be offensive to them to tell them Jesus is King and they are not. If you are afraid of offending people, you will not be able to do evangelism well.

Third, be able to accept criticism. Remember the basket of deplorables remark? Many people were described with slurs of racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, and Islamophobic. If you speak out against Islam, well you won’t make it anywhere. You had better get in line with the culture also on homosexuality as well.

The slurs didn’t stop the President-Elect at all. Too many Christians when they get told that they’re a homophobe or Islamophobe or something similar (And I am not saying that Trump is right in line with us on the issue of homosexuality) shut down immediately. They think the label might be true. All it takes then is to have your opponents put a label on you and you stop.

Fourth, we can win in the face of opposition. Trump did it. Naturally, the Republican candidate had the Democrats against him, but also many in his own party and the media. We Christians in the face of opposition often fall back and don’t do anything. What could happen if we push forward?

Finally, what led to his win? Because there were plenty of people who were staying silent, but were supporting him. Most every poll was wrong. There were a lot of people who were shy about their support of Trump and didn’t want to tell a pollster, but they were willing to show up and vote. So now we have to wonder. How many people out there could be silent but do agree with us on issues like abortion, homosexuality, etc.?

Ideological battles can be won. The problem isn’t that the church can’t win battles. The problem is that the church rarely shows up to fight the battle. We assume often that we are a lone voice like Elijah, but there could still be 7,000 that have not bowed their knees to Baal we don’t know about.

Maybe you’re disappointed after last night. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re not sure. Either way, wherever you are, this should be a learning time regardless. I often like to listen to Herman Cain and he ends each show with saying “I hope you learned something.”

I hope we all did.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

On Political Correctness

Is there a problem with being nice? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

A follower of the blog commented recently wanting to get my thoughts in a blog on political correctness. I mainly want to look at the ways it affects us as Christians. Is there a danger in playing along with the whole song and dance of our culture and what does it say about our culture?

I have been of the opinion for a long time that we are making ourselves into a nation of victims. This is not to say that victimization never happens. It does. The problem with this victim culture is that we hold everyone else responsible for our own personal decisions. We also hold them responsible for our feelings.

Thus, if someone writes something criticizing Muhammad and Muslims get upset, it is not the fault of the Muslims. It is the fault of the person who did the criticism. Now does this mean that some forms of criticism are not crossing a line? No. It does mean that all criticism is not ipso facto wrong. To say they are is to get us closer to the thought police.

From a Christian perspective, I see insulting remarks to Jesus on a regular basis. There are actions we can all take when things like this happen. One can boycott an industry if they want to. That’s fine. One can give support to opposing industries or ones that support one’s own belief. That’s fine. The method we have now more often is to accuse the people who insult instead of the worst crime someone can be guilty of. “Intolerance!”

Tolerance has become a code word to identify the greatest virtue of all supposedly. It no longer just means something along the traditional meaning, such as that everyone has a right to their own opinion. It means that you are not allowed to disagree with anyone else’s opinion. If you dare say the Muslim is wrong, you are intolerant. If you say a woman should not get an abortion, you are intolerant. If you question the homosexual lifestyle, you are intolerant. If you dare say Jesus is the only way to Heaven, you are intolerant.

When this happens, something is lost sight of. That would be the argument. Suppose someone thinks that there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet. I don’t think he’s intolerant for saying that. He could be in how he presents it and how he deals with opposition, but that is his view. He has all right to hold it. It is also up to him to give the reasons why he holds that view and I am then allowed to look at that view and critique those reasons.

When the tolerance card is played, we get away from objective discussions, such as the facts of the matter, and move towards subjective ideas, such as how someone feels. I am not responsible for how someone else feels. I am a happily married man, but I cannot control how my wife feels. After all, wouldn’t a lot of my fellow men live differently if we could control how our wives feel? Wouldn’t a lot of women live differently if they could do the same with their husbands?

There is only one person responsible for how you feel.

If you want to know who that is, go look in the mirror.

Now other people can be catalysts in getting you to think a certain way producing a feeling, but the feeling is dependent on you. You can get control of your mind. You can get control of your emotions. Is this an easy skill? No. I wouldn’t even claim to have it mastered in my own life. It’s better than being a victim.

After all, how many of us want to live our lives in surrender to what other people think? How many of us would want our feelings to be dependent on the surrounding culture? Alas, this is exactly what we have. We are not allowed to do or say anything that might offend someone since that could “hurt their feelings.”

Note also, the only exception to this is evangelical Christians. You can do whatever you want to them.

Believe it or not, there are worse things than being offended. Believe it or not, you can actually bounce back from offenses done to you by others. The more you live your life as a victim, the more you are giving them power. That’s something that concerns me about bullying groups. We should stop bullying, but the way to do this is to focus on having the actions of bullies be of no effect since people know who they are.

As it stands, there can be no dialogue in the public square as long as we are constantly worried about offending someone. It’s even nowadays seen as a refutation of an argument to say “That offends me.” How many times have I read someone say that the idea of people going to Hell is offensive. Okay. So what? That doesn’t make it false. Truth does not have to and rarely will line up with your personal tastes. The first question to ask about a claim is not “Does it offend me?” but “Is it true?” If it’s not true, so what if it offends you? If it’s true, then so what again? You have to deal with it.

I don’t know how many times in the debate on marriage I’ve been just told “You’re a bigot!” over and over. It seems unthinkable to people that there could be reasons that are actually worth discussing. Fortunately, I know some people on the other side who can have discussions. Instead, I’m too often told I’m a homophobic bigot and see the arguments that are given don’t even touch my reasoning.

For Christians, my advice is to stop being doormats. First off, don’t be living in fear of offending someone. If Christ had lived a nice and friendly life, chances are he wouldn’t have been crucified. Jesus was an offense. Paul was an offense. Christianity itself is an offense. Expect to offend people. That doesn’t mean everything is fair game, but it does mean that you will offend people. Deal with it.

Next, if you want people to cease being victims, cease being them yourselves. Too often, we have played the persecution card all too easily. If we want to see real persecution, we need to go to China and Sudan and see what happens to Christians over there. We’ve got it good here. We consider it persecution when someone makes fun of us. That’s bothersome, yes, but nowhere near the level of real persecution.

To do this, we must not look at ourselves and how we are, but look to Christ and who He is. We must place our whole identity in Him, something we will spend the rest of our lives learning. It is also an example of why knowledge is so essential. We MUST know who Jesus is and this goes beyond saying “He’s Lord and God and Messiah.” We must know Him as He has revealed Himself. We must know His personality and learn to walk in like manner.

We cannot force the world to be anyway, but we can influence. They cannot force us either. Just because they play the tune, we are not obligated to dance to it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters