Should Christians Be Politically Involved?

When you watch political news do you find yourself getting excited or angry? Our emotional responses to changes in politics may point us to having an identity that is too tied to our political preferences. Join Jonathan Carl as he helps us to think through our political involvement and it's connection with our identity. "To clothe oneself with or to put on a person means to put on the characteristics of that person and become like him or her. Paul says we are to "clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. (Rom 13:14). This spiritual transformation has a decisive beginning, but it is not final or complete. The process of putting on the new self who is in Christ is the sanctifying process that makes real in our experience what has already happened at salvation. In other words, we are to become by God's grace the people that He has already made us." Neil Anderson, "The Daily Discipler", p.108 Galatians 3:27–28 "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (ESV)

Our Words - Danger! (Part 1)

Has anyone every hurt you with their words?  Have you ever regretted something you said and wish you could have taken it back?  Our tongues can be so quick to speak but yet can deeply damage others at length.  It is important that we consider the dangerous aspects of our words.  God cares for us and warns us about our tongues, we would be wise to listen…
before you post, tweet, or talk...

Harshness Multiplies.  Our words are like a “fire” (James 3:6) that can quickly turn a disagreement into a disaster.  Fights can escalate and expand quickly with the wrong words.  When people handle fireworks or weapons they are extremely cautious because they realize the danger embedded within them.  Don’t disregard the explosive and damaging potential of your words.

Proverbs 15:1 “a harsh word stirs up anger”

Foolishness Displays Itself.  Think about a time when you did something stupid.  Did you feel embarrassed or ashamed?  Did you quickly try to cover up or explain away your mistake or mess?  When we speak people begin to form opinions about us, our character, and our competence.  Don’t give people a reason to think poorly about you.

Proverbs 15:2 “the mouths of fools pour out folly”

Words Hurt Us.  We can often lash out to find temporary relief from our bitterness only to realized the poisonous brew we drank in our cruelty.  We can tell crude jokes to gain a laugh but in the end we lose our reputation.  Don’t hurt yourself with your words when there are so many opportunities for good. 

Proverbs 15:4 “perverseness in it [the tongue] breaks the spirit.”

Words Hurt Others.  Ever give a piece of bad advice that you wish you could take back?  Ever witness the hurt you caused someone with your malicious or manipulative mouth?  God calls us to prioritize others above ourselves.  May we pour out love and truth from our lips instead of hatred and lies.  Don’t tear down others when you have the opportunity to build them up.

Romans 16:18 “For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.”

Words Hurt God.  Our tongues are meant to bring God honor, but often we are self-focused and miss the purpose the mouths God gave us.  Scoffing and mocking bring God’s opposition (Prov. 3:34).  God’s hates lies and divisive words (Proverbs 6:16-19).  Don’t disregard God’s warning about His hatred of wicked words when He has created you for a greater purpose.

James 3:10 “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Words Evidence A Path Headed to Hell.  Doctors use scans and tests to evidence and diagnose the physical condition of a heart.  Our words can evidence and diagnose the spiritual condition of our souls.  Jesus lovingly warns us that “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:33-37).  Will your words justify you as being on a path to Heaven, evidencing a saved, good heart?  Or will your words condemn you as being on a path to Hell, evidencing a lost, evil heart?  

Examine your heart through the evidence of your mouth and be concerned if you think you are saved but your tongue tells another story.  Don’t be a hypocrite and be surprised by a future rejection from Jesus’ eternal presence (Matthew 7:23).

James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.”

We can we do about all of this today?  We can listen to God’s words about our words and sincerely seek His forever forgiveness, cleansing, and change.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Why Would a Southern Baptist Pastor Write a Controversial Open Letter to the President?

Why would I, a Southern Baptist pastor, write a controversial open letter to the President of the United States, Donald Trump, about about the "accidental drive-by 'lightweight' tweet"?  What is the big deal anyhow?  What political party should Christians publicly identify with?  Is there hope for America’s future? Watch the video for answers to these questions plus the full story of the Presidential tweet (also at https://youtu.be/GXgqtE9).




Video thanks to my friend & fellow pastor Caleb Phelps!!  We hope you'll listen in to our conversation until the end! :) We're praying for our President & country!

Original open letter to the President here: http://jonathancarl.org/2019/09/TrumpTwitterWar.html


A few helpful thoughts on politics and Presidents from the late Reverend Billy Graham:
  • “Evangelicals can’t be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future.”
  • “Politics has always been ugly to me, and yet I accept that as a fact of life. The emphasis I tried to leave was love, not … my own love for them [Presidents] but that they need to have love for the people who were opposed to them.”
  • Billy Graham to Lyndon Johnson “We are not saved because of our own accomplishments...I am not going to Heaven because I have preached to great crowds or read the Bible many times. I’m going to Heaven just like the thief on the cross who said in that last moment: ‘Lord, remember me.’”
  • “Their [the Presidents’] personal lives—some of them—were difficult, but I loved them all. I admired them all. I knew that they had burdens beyond anything I could ever know or understand.”
Interviews & articles about the "lightweight" tweet in the Washington Post, USA TODAY , The News-Enterprise , the Louisville Courier Journal, WDRB News, MSNRELEVANT Magazine ,Faithwire, The Hill, Premier Christian Radio, Business Insider, New York Postthe Huffington Post, a second article in the Washington Post, and an interview with KTRS Big 550 St. Louis 

Tons of truths about Jesus' love, hope, and forever peace @ www.TrustworthyWord.com

Dear Mr. President, I’m a Casualty of Your Drive-By Tweeting War. We All Are.

Dear Mr. President,

I’m a Casualty of Your Drive-By Tweeting War. We all are.  Last week you tweeted an insult my way.  It was an accidental mis-tweet of course, I’m just an ordinary citizen (Jonathan Carl) and not worthy of POTUS attention like ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl.  Nonetheless your drive-by tweet quickly brought a spectrum of intense vitriol and hatred my way.  Although I was an accidental casualty caught in the cross-fire of your “lightweight” tweet, your attack was very purposeful and hurtful.  Many others, whether American citizens or global citizens, feel wounded and hurt by the shrapnel and side-effects of your ongoing Twitter attacks.

In light of the lessons of my wounds I thought I would share a few personal thoughts as well as some helpful wisdom for us all from a well-admired man whose birthplace I pass almost every day.

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1861)

I’m not mad at you, I’m sad for you.  My first reaction was to laugh out loud at your mistake when I saw your tweet.  My second response was sadness and compassion for you.  Our words overflow from our hearts and can quickly evidence the health or sickness of our souls.  Your heart must be in a dangerous place to have such a consistent flow of defamation and disrespect towards so many.

“I am rather inclined to silence, and whether that be wise or not, it is at least more unusual nowadays to find a man who can hold his tongue than to find one who cannot.”
Abraham Lincoln, Remarks at the Monogahela House (February 14, 1861)

President Trump's Mis-Tweet
Be Slow to Tweet. It is wonderful that you want to communicate frequently with your constituency and the world.  Exercise self-control and be more patient and selective with your correspondence.  Please don’t make the Twitter-universe such a dark and depressing place.  It shouldn’t be a place to argue, fight, or jockey for position.  We can disagree and debate without childish name-calling. You can make Twitter a better place if you choose a platform of love instead of hate. As everyone’s mother used to say, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t tweet anything at all.”

“In times like the present men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and in eternity.” Abraham Lincoln, Second State of the Union (December 1, 1862)

Apologize more.  Everyone makes mistakes.  All of us have regrets about past things we’ve said and wish we could change.  When you mess up, please learn to say you are sorry and admit you were wrong.  Even to ordinary folk like me.  Such humility goes a long way.  Aim to own up and stop trying to coverup, hide, deny, or ignore your faults.  No-one is perfect.

“Every man is said to have his peculiar ambition. Whether it be true or not, I can say, for one, that I have no other so great as that of being truly esteemed of my fellow-men, by rendering myself worthy of their esteem.” Abraham Lincoln, Address Delivered in Candidacy for the State Legislature. (March 9, 1832)

Be humble. You called an experienced reporter a “lightweight.”  Let’s be honest, you are a lightweight too.  We all are.  God is the only heavyweight who knows it all and gets it right all the time.  That should keep things in perspective for all of us.  You are not the ultimate Commander-In-Chief.  May we all be reminded of our national motto, “In God We Trust” and be more faithful to Him, avoiding the temptation to trust more in a politician, party, or post.

“I rejoice with you in the success which has, so far, attended that cause. Yet in all our rejoicing let us neither express, nor cherish, any harsh feeling towards any citizen who, by his vote, has differed with us. Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling.” Abraham Lincoln, Remarks at Springfield, Illinois (November 20, 1860)

Choose kindness.  Goodness speaks much louder and more effectively than harsh words.  Gentleness builds up instead of tearing down.  The world is hateful enough.  Meekness is not a weakness, but a strength.  The world needs more light and hope.  My prayer is that you grow into a bright beacon of joy and peace in a traumatized universe.

“This struggle is too large for you to be diverted from it by any small matter.” Abraham Lincoln, Speech to the One Hundred Sixty-fourth Ohio Regiment, Delivered at Washington, D.C. (August 18, 1864)

Let’s Keep Things In Perspective.  At the end of the day, being right or wrong on social media regarding the prediction of a catastrophic weather event like Hurricane Dorian isn’t the main issue.  Thousands of souls are suffering and they need our prayers, encouragement, and support.  We need good leaders.  Please lead us well.

Sincerely,

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