We are, at this moment in American history, in a wilderness. Wandering, lost, and growing hopeless. We are a people starving for leadership in government. And, just as Israel did, we’re peering up at the mountain wondering where godly leadership has gone. “The man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him” (Exodus 32:1).
So what does Israel do? Do they proclaim a national fast? Do they commit themselves to God even in the absence of His direction? Sadly, they did as many today are doing. They took what was tangible—their gold earrings—and formed them into an image of a molten calf. And, as if fashioning a false idol wasn’t bad enough, they then proclaimed, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
They willingly and stunningly attempted to rewrite their own short history as a nation.
“If God won’t speak to us, provide for us, or send us a leader, then it’s up to us to figure out a solution for ourselves. It wasn’t God who delivered us with His mighty hand. It wasn’t God who made us into a nation. It wasn’t God who brought us out of slavery and the land of Egypt.” They choose gold over God. Gold as their god.
“Make Israel great again…”
On Being Apostolic
I struggled with broaching this subject. It would be much easier to avoid it altogether. But that wouldn’t be the Apostolic thing to do.
To be Apostolic must mean more than simply understanding His Oneness and holding the line on standards of holy living. Don’t misunderstand—without holiness, no man can see the Lord. Holiness, however, has to be more to us than abstract generalities. To the point, how can so many be so comfortable preaching about hemlines and hair length with fiery and red-faced passion; and yet so very uncomfortable talking, with any degree of specificity, about holiness in world view?
It has always—always—been the role of the prophet to speak boldly to, and very often against, the kings of Israel on matters of state, holiness, righteousness. Micaiah spoke against Ahab; Ahijah spoke against Jeroboam; Elijah, Elisha, Obadiah, Joel, Amos, Micah, Isaiah, Hosea…they all spoke Truth and called out kings and wicked rulers by name so there would be no ambiguity or question about what God’s people should do and who God was against.
I am no Micaiah. But let me be clear—Apostolics are making a huge mistake if we support Donald Trump for President of the United States. The golden calf cannot provide for us.
Make America Great Again
“Make America Great Again” is a great slogan. And something we all, obviously, want. At least if we care anything about our country. But there is a breathtaking degree of willful ignorance in the campaign behind this slogan about what makes America great.
America is not great because it is rich; America is rich because it is great. America is not great because it is powerful among nations; it is powerful because it is great. So what makes America great?
The Charter of Liberties and Frame of Government of the Province of Pennsylvania (1681)—William Penn’s seminal work that is broadly considered to be the cornerstone of modern democracy—establishes that God has ordained government, quoting from Romans 13 to build its case. One article of the Frame of Government goes so far as to list official “offenses against God” that magistrates could enforce, including: “swearing, cursing, lying, profane talking, drunkenness, drinking of healths, obscene words, incest, sodomy…stage plays, cards, dice…and the like, which excite the people to rudeness, cruelty, looseness, and irreligion…”
The year before the frame was adopted, Penn wrote:
“There is one great God and power that has made the world and all things therein, to whom you and I and all people owe their being and well-being, and to whom you and I must one day give an account for all that we do in this world. This great God has written his law in our hearts, by which we are taught and commanded to love and help and do good to one another, and not to do harm and mischief one unto another.”
In short, America has been great because she has been good. And she has been good because she has attempted to honor God in her past. To believe anything otherwise is to say, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.”
Ask yourself as you read the above portion of the charter, is there a candidate that “excites the people to rudeness?” Cruelty? Looseness, and “irreligion?” Further, ask yourself, “are these holy characteristics? Does supporting this candidate, or aligning myself with him, in any way, threaten my separation or holiness?” Or have we stopped caring?
Martin Luther said he’d rather be ruled by “a wise Turk than a foolish Christian,” and I agree. A President is not the “Pastor-in-Chief.” And there is no religious test for President according to our Constitution. I should, however, be able to hold the President of the United States to the most basic litmus test—can I tell my sons he is a respectable man they can and should honor? The problem is not, altogether, that Donald Trump isn’t a good Christian; it’s that he isn’t an honorable or respectable man.
Shocked? Let me ask you if we should, as Apostolics, respect or honor a man that:
- Doesn’t love or obey God (Matthew 22:37–39)?
- Is a self-absorbed narcissist (Romans 2:8)?
- Drives people away from their property for personal gain (Ezekiel 46:18)?
- Is a serial adulterer (Exodus 20:14)?
- Owns a strip club (Matthew 5:28)?
- Is profane and vulgar (Ephesians 5:4)?
- Has historically supported the murder of the unborn philosophically and financially (Jeremiah 1:5)?
What about retweeting quotes from murderous, fascist dictator Mussolini? Acting as if he didn’t know who and what the KKK is when they endorsed him? Receiving an endorsement from Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan?
There are many who say to these points, “Well, he’s changed. That’s not how he is now.” Oh no? Are we so foolish? Are we so easily deceived? Do we no longer heed Paul’s warning to the Romans?
“For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:18).
To the Ephesians, Paul wrote:
“Don’t let yourselves get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him. Don’t even hang around people like that” (Ephesians 5:6-7 MSG).
To the Corinthians, Paul wrote:
“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33 BSB).
I find myself agreeing with the philosophy of Alexander Hamilton, who wrote defiantly regarding his fight with those in his own party with whom he vehemently disagreed: “If we must have an enemy at the head of government let it be one whom we can oppose, and for whom we are not responsible.” Better to lose with your principles intact than to win with false idols.
Does God Care About Elections?
It might be tempting to think God doesn’t concern Himself with human government. But I leave you with the voice of Hosea concerning this topic (Hosea 8:1-4, 7a):
“Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes , and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off… For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:”