By Dave Chikosi
“I want this guy to win so bad it hurts,” US President Bill Clinton once told his Deputy Secretary of State. The year was 1996. President Clinton was going to do everything in his power to help Boris Yeltsin become a second term President in Russia. So he promptly coaxed and convinced the IMF to open its deep pockets to lavish Yeltsin’s administration with a whopping $10 billion dollars.
The rest is history. Yeltsin, in a remarkable reversal of electoral fortunes, came back from behind and went on to beat his rival by thirteen percentage points.
But Clinton’s ‘I-want-this-guy-to-win-so-bad-it-hurts’ sentiment could also be an apt description of the political sentiment of a huge section of the Evangelical church today, not just in America, but worldwide. Evangelicals who love President Donald Trump span the globe, and they have good theological reasons to want him to win so bad that it hurts.
Trump is running on a platform that rejects abortion, and same sex marriages. These are the two deal-breakers for all Bible-believing Christians. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Trump also supports guns, capitalism and Israel. Compare and contrast with that other guy – nice, decent and all but, boy oh boy, does he have a one-world agenda from hell!
Thus it comes as no surprise that many Evangelicals want “this guy to win so badly.” They have been praying fervently for quite some time now, for divine intervention in these 2020 Presidential elections.
Renowned spiritual adviser to the President, Pastor Paula White, was recently heard on a viral YouTube video summoning angels from Africa to come and help fix things. To which one African on social media quipped, “Africa does not have enough angels to donate to needy countries overseas. We have enough problem here and we have no angels to spare.”
So far it doesn’t look like Heaven is responding positively to these election prayers. The foreign Government above has moved rather slow, if at all, in intervening in this election – and for good theological reasons too. But before we talk about why it is not good theologically for our Heavenly government to pick a side in an election, let’s talk about why it’s wrong politically for earthly governments to do so.
A foreign election intervention, by definition, is a covert or overt attempt by a government, to influence elections in another country. This is no new or uncommon occurrence. As early as the 17th century Poland was interfering in Russian politics so much that in 1610 a Polish prince became the next Russian Tsar!
And Russia returned the favor. In the very next century Russia’s Peter the Great was getting all up in Polish election business, even as he routinely bribed Polish noblemen. This was the social class responsible for electing the king. The meddling culminated in Russia invading Poland and “walking away” with a chunk of the country – about three-fifths to be exact.
I don’t know of any rational person, aside from self-serving politicians on either side, who thinks that foreign interference in a country’s elections is a good thing. To allow a foreign power or individual to become a de facto participant in a country’s election is to make the process other than free and fair. And free and fair elections are the sine qua non of a democratic system. Thus foreign election interference undermines democracy, and causes the electorate to question whether electoral outcomes actually reflect the will of the people. That cannot be good for democracy.
I submit that a similar consideration should be made in the case of Christians asking for Divine intervention in an election. God gave us human free will and agency. He does not want to ride roughshod over us. And so for Him to answer prayer by picking a country’s next leader is to subvert the gift of human freewill that He gave to all of us.
This, in turn, would be a subversion of democracy. But we know that it is not Divine practice to subvert or undermine freewill, not even in a matter as momentous as the salvation of sinners. God will not interfere with a sinner’s choice to go to hell, even though He wants the sinner “to win so bad that it hurts.”
If God’s responsibility, not ours, to select political leaders, why then did He pick Roman Emperor Nero, under whom tens of thousands of Christians “were torn apart by dogs and others burnt alive as human torches”? Why did God select Adolf Hitler under whom six million Jews died in the most horrific holocaust known to man?
Add to those two a coterie of equally murderous, past and present coconut heads of state that include Benito Mussolini, Pol Pot, Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler, Leopold II of Belgium, Idi Amin, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong- un etc. Time and space would fail us to enumerate all the heinous and dastardly deeds visited by these evil rulers upon their own people. And Yahweh is supposed to be responsible for sponsoring the rise to power of these genocidaires from hell?
The reality is that there is no Biblical support for a modern political theocracy (God-ruled nation) that some are praying so hard for. Historically there are only two Biblically valid theocracies ie Old Testament Israel and the Blood-bought Church of God.
Both came about as a result of a Blood Covenant or Testament with Yahweh, with the Church having the better and currently active Covenant. No modern nation state outside these two entities has a special Covenant with Jehovah. To teach otherwise is simply to mislead folks doctrinally – for whatever reason.
So now what of all those hours spent in prayer and fasting asking for Divine intervention on behalf of a Presidential candidate? Well, where is the Biblical precedence for that? I don’t see anywhere in scripture where Jesus or the Disciples took time out to pray for the coronation of a particular Caesar.
Instead the attitude back then was, “I must work the works of Him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work” (John 9:4). They weren’t trying to recruit the Emperor or solicit the Empire’s help to fight the darkness. They were going to have a revival come hell or high water.
The Church is going to have a global revival and resurgence regardless who is in the seat of political authority. There is no devil in hell big enough to stop it. A genocidal Nero cannot stop it nor can a friendly Constantine spark it. Let not the Church be distracted by political sideshows.
Let her redeem the time and quit wasting valuable man-hours on man-made agendas. Let her go back to keeping the main thing the main thing which is soul winning and disciple making.