It Doesn't Matter Who Is President
© 03.05.2016 By D. Eric Williams
I haven't heard this anywhere else this election cycle so maybe I'm the first one to go on record as saying that it doesn't matter who is elected president. And yes, I'm fully aware that my point of view flies in the face of both Evangelical and conventional wisdom.
For instance, Max Lucado is anxious about a certain presidential candidate whose name rhymes with "stump." Lucado says, "it would be none of my business, I would have absolutely no right to speak up except that he repeatedly brandishes the Bible and calls himself a Christian" while running an "indecent" campaign. So, "America's Pastor" breaks with past practice and publically says it does matter who is president.
The establishment agrees with America's Pastor. Mr. Decency himself, Mitt Romney, donned an extra layer of magic underwear and ascended the stage at University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics Forum last week and delivered a rousing speech designed to electrify the establishment. Basically Mr. Romney said, "I'm a decent fellow and I still want to be president."
Although I haven't recently heard anyone say the presidential race is of no consequence, I have heard that sort of thing in the past. It's an attitude common amongst Evangelicals because of the widespread belief we are living in the "end times." Many, if not most Evangelicals, think the world will get worse and worse until the rapture. They believe Satan is in charge and the continuing degradation of this realm is actually a good thing since it hastens the return of Christ. Well, that's not the reason I think it doesn't matter who the president is. I happen to believe the last days referred to in the New Testament have come and gone. The subject of interest to first century Christians was the last days of the old covenant era not events thousands of years in their future. I've dealt with all that in detail here so I won't bother to rehash the subject in this article. Suffice it to say that my lack of zeal concerning the presidential race is not grounded in any form of "last days madness".
The funny thing is, those same Evangelicals who expect the world to go to hell in a hand basket get all worked up about how bad things are, bemoaning the lack of "godly leadership" at the national level. I call this a bad case of double mindedness. The Bible says a double minded mind is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8) and the unsound condition of the Church in the U.S of A. bears this out. James, of course, is talking about the man who asks for wisdom while enduring hardship yet asks in doubt. The Evangelical Church in North America asks for wise political leaders while doubting it will make a difference (according to their eschatology). Well, stagger on old boy.
Another reason people say it doesn't matter who is president is because there seems to be no appreciable difference between Republicans and Democrats. Yes, the party platforms are significantly diverse, but when the rubber meets the road in Washington D.C. it's always the common man who is run over - regardless of what party holds power. The last couple midterm elections made this clear enough. However, that's not my reason for saying it doesn't matter who the president is.
The fact that the administration represents just one branch of government is another reason people say it doesn't matter who the president is. In theory this is true but we have seen that presidents can get their way through a variety of means; executive orders and memorandums, political appointments and so on. Moreover, there is a continuing trend toward the coalescence of federal power in the executive branch that will probably continue until our current form of national government comes to an end. So, again, the separate and equal powers doctrine is not my reason for saying it doesn't matter who the president is.
Now then, here is my reason; I say it doesn't matter who is president because the Church in North America is not ready to take advantage of any benefit that may come from having a godly man in the Oval Office. Indeed, I believe the reaction to such a turn of events would be inaction. If a godly man where elected as president, Evangelicals would breathe a collective sigh of relief and get back to work on their color by number end time wall charts. They would (secretly) praise God they had been given a little more time - time to live and die before the rapture. Because the truth is, most Evangelicals don't really want to be around when the guano hits the fan. They talk big but even the pre-trib dispensationalists are secretly afraid they're wrong about the timing and that they will have to endure at least a portion of the Great Tribulation. No one wants to do that, Left Behindism notwithstanding.
"No way" you cry, "if a decent man were in the white house it would energize Christians to start making a difference in this world." But I don't think it would work out that way. Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Evangelical would convince themselves they had done enough - more than enough - by voting for President Soter. They wouldn't see a need to take their kids out of the public school system. They wouldn't recognize the advance of centralized power in the federal grants to fix their street or provision the local police - or if they did they would praise it as yet another example of how God works his magic through President Soter. You see, most Christians believe deep down that any reversal of the curse in this "Church Age" will happen through top down change, by the charm and decency of President Soter. And one of the reasons they believe that is because they believe it's the only way Jesus himself will ever get things done. They believe the world will continue to fall apart until Jesus returns with his angelic armies and kicks people around - physically forcing them to bow the knee through a top down imposition of law. In short they don't believe the claims of the Gospel. Their eschatology is more koranic than biblical.
Thus, it just might be that God will give us a(nother) president who (in concert with the house and senate) keeps turning up the heat on Evangelical Christians rather than reduce it. Maybe that's what it will take for Christians to finally wake up and smell the theological coffee. Maybe that will be the catalyst driving Christians to understand they have a duty to bring their life and sphere of influence under the lordship of Jesus the Christ.
Don't get me wrong. Evangelical Christians are doing a lot of good things in the world today. But they are doing those things in the margins, in the space allowed them by the worldly powers. And for the most part Christians are okay with that. So, until individual Christians understand what it means to bring their life and arena of responsibility under the lordship of King Jesus, nothing is going to change. Period.
Again, it doesn't matter who is president because the kingdom of God is not realized through a top down imposition of law. That's how Satan works not King Jesus. Societies change for the good through grass roots transformation. Things change as individual Christians refuse to be conformed to this world and are instead transformed by the renewing of their minds. The world changes as followers of Jesus offer themselves to God as living sacrifices, laboring to bring their life and arena of activity under the lordship of Christ. It would be nice - great even - to have a godly man working in the Oval Office. But it's more important to have godly men and women serving as city councilors, county commissioners, state representatives, senators and governors. It's more important to have godly sheriffs, police officers, bankers, cabinet makers, plumbers, teachers, mechanics, farmers, loggers and so on. It is important to have all of these people working out their salvation in fear and trembling. It's far more important than who is president for every Christian to bring their life under the lordship of Jesus and to bring their sphere of influence under his authority as well - no matter what that sphere of influence might be.
So, vote - for the godliest man running. But remember, It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes (Psalms 118:8-9). And the best way to show confidence in the Lord is to obey him in all facets of life.