The Great Impeachment

To anyone who is paying the least bit of attention to what is going on in our country there is one item that is dominating the headlines: the impeachment trial of the President. However it turns out, at least half of the country (approximately) will be self-righteously angry and the other half smugly delighted.

In the grand scheme of history it probably doesn’t amount to much – perhaps a tiny blimp on the radar screen. So why all the fuss? Given that everyone in Washington knew that with the present makeup of the Senate they were unlikely to find him guilty, the real goal seemed to be to simply embarrass the President. Do whatever damage you can.

While I’m not a fan of this president, I can’t help but feel a little bit sorry for him. How would you like to be in his place?

Sure, he may deserve it, but don’t we all?

I’m reminded of the time a woman who had been caught in adultery was dragged before Jesus by a mob of men (John 8:1-11). I find two things especially interesting about this story. First, the man involved didn’t receive the same treatment. After all it takes two to tango (you get the idea), but only the woman is accused. Secondly, it wasn’t really about the woman, it was about Jesus. They were trying to find something that they could use against him, something to discredit him in the eyes of the populous with whom he had become wildly popular (see verse 6). She was simply collateral damage. They used her to get to him.

There’s no question that she was guilty. She didn’t claim otherwise, nor did Jesus say You’ve got the wrong woman. No, they had an adulteress all right. Guilty as charged. Punishable by death according to the Jewish law.

In one of the greatest turn-the-tables-on-them that you’ll ever find, Jesus told them to go ahead and carry out the punishment, but with one caveat, the first rock had to be thrown by someone who was sinless.

Boy, did he know how to break up a crowd! One by one they left with visions of their own sin flashing in their minds.

What about us? What do you think life would be like if we followed that piece of advice?

Go ahead, impeach him, but let the first witness be the one who has never sinned. The one who has no skeletons in his/her closet. That would make for a short trial.

But forget the Washington bubble. You and I live in the real world.

What would our lives be like if we lived by that standard?

Go ahead and get angry at him/her. Go ahead and speak ill of your neighbor. Go ahead and blame your co-worker. Go ahead and yell at your kids. But first just make sure that there’s no sin in your life.

Impossible standard? Sure it is. But then why do any of us think that we have the right to put someone else on trial when we should be standing in front of the mob with them?

He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve

 

 

Should You be in The Debate?

There has been an interesting and potentially harmful debate taking place in Christian circles since Christianity Today, ostensibly the leading evangelical magazine in America, published an editorial on December 19th calling for President Trump’s removal from office. You can read the editorial here, and a follow up from CT here, as well as responses by Franklin Graham on his Facebook page here and an article here by evangelicals who opposed the editorial and another here (it appears that there were two different groups who published responses although it is unclear if they are the same). Even the President weighed in (no surprise!) calling CT a “far-left magazine”. It isn’t.

My purpose is not to get into the debate. If I have learned one thing as a result of the Trump presidency, it is that evangelical Christians are not unified in their views on this president. People, both leaders and laypeople that I respect line up on each side of the issue.

What has been interesting to me in all of this is the level of heat that has been generated by the editorial, especially in comments left on various social media sites. Having read dozens of reactions, I’d have to say there’s more heat than light at this point.

Which brings me to this. Some of the people (not Graham or the leaders who signed the letters in opposition) who are the most impassioned by the editorial in CT don’t seem to understand what it means to be an Evangelical Christian.

That’s important. Christianity Today represents evangelicalism. They speak as an evangelical magazine to an evangelical audience. So, it’s important to know what an evangelical is, especially if you want a voice in the debate.

So, what is an evangelical Christian?

A number of definitions have been given to try and explain evangelical Christianity, but there are four essential pillars which evangelical Christians strongly support. Evangelical Christians affirm the following statements (from a survey conducted by LifeWay Christian Resources):

1. The Bible is the highest authority for what I believe.

2. It is very important for me personally to encourage non-Christians to trust Jesus Christ as their Savior.

3. Jesus Christ’s death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could remove the penalty of my sin.

4. Only those who trust in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior receive God’s free gift of eternal salvation.

The point in all of this is that many professing Christians have made their position regarding President Trump a hill on which they are willing to die based on their theological beliefs, yet they are uncertain what those beliefs are.

If you cannot articulate what you believe about the Bible, Jesus, salvation, and eternal life, how can you take one side or the other in a debate that is based on a specific theological position?

It seems that too many people who claim to be evangelical Christians are impassioned by the actions of the President rather than the person of Jesus.

Stay in the Word

Pastor Steve