As a nonpartisan ministry, we do not endorse candidates or adopt partisan agendas. However, I need you to know that I did not support Joe Biden’s positions on abortion, religious liberty, and sexual morality in the 2020 presidential election. I plan to address these crucial subjects and offer biblical responses next week.
Nonetheless, I need to say to you that, despite my biblical and personal objections, Joe Biden is my president. If you are an American citizen, he is your president as well.
I am making this statement in response to comments our ministry has received that condemn Mr. Biden in terms too malicious for us to publish. Moments before the president-elect took the stage for his inauguration on Wednesday, the hashtag #NotMyPresident began trending on Twitter. By 11:30 a.m. ET, there were over 21,000 tweets that included this hashtag.
This is not the first time we have seen such vitriol. When Donald Trump was elected in 2016, the hashtag #HesNotMyPresident was used more than 180,000 times within a few hours. After he was inaugurated in 2017, “Not My President Day” rallies were held across the country.
Now we are seeing the reverse. Both reflect the sentiments of those disappointed by a presidential election, but both are unbiblical and truly dangerous to the future of our democracy.
The US Constitution and Emperor Nero
According to the latest polls, only 16 percent of Republicans view President Biden favorably. This news is not surprising: only 10 percent of Democrats viewed President Trump favorably after he was elected in 2016.
Since 76 to 81 percent of White evangelical and “born again” voters supported Mr. Trump in the 2020 election, their disappointment with the outcome is understandable.
However, if you are an American citizen, Joe Biden is now your president. The US Constitution (Article II Section 1) is clear: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” Amendment XII explains the process by which the election is certified. This constitutional process led to Mr. Biden’s election and the inauguration we witnessed Wednesday.
I understand that many continue to believe that the 2020 election was rigged or otherwise decided unfairly. However, as a practical matter, Mr. Biden has now been installed as the forty-sixth president of the US. As such, he is among those “who are in high positions” for whom we are commanded to pray (1 Timothy 2:2). He is one of the “governing authorities” to whom we are commanded to “be subject” (Romans 13:1).
Note that these biblical statements were written when Nero was the Roman emperor. He was not elected, fairly or unfairly. He became emperor after his predecessor, Claudius, died in AD 54, perhaps by poison. Nero killed his mother and his first wife, then blamed Christians for a fire in Rome, leading to the torture and crucifixion of many believers. In fact, according to tradition, he was directly responsible for the executions of both Peter and Paul.
I do not mean to compare Joe Biden to Nero on any level. Rather, my point is that our biblical support for our leaders is not conditioned upon our support for their political positions or personal beliefs.
Four biblical responses
How should Christians respond to leaders with whom we disagree?
This question pertains not just to the president but to all elected and appointed officials, as well as those in authority over us in all other relationships.
First: Pray for them.
As we noted yesterday, all believers are to intercede for all those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2). We are to pray for them to seek God’s wisdom (James 1:5), follow his lead (Proverbs 3:5-6), and glorify our Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31). This is our daily responsibility and privilege.
Second: Encourage them where we can.
Jesus taught us to “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). We are to “honor the emperor” (1 Peter 2:17) and to “pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7).
Franklin Graham was right when he responded to Wednesday’s inauguration: “I encourage Christians to make this a day of prayer—for peace and calm, and praying for our new leaders.” Johnnie Moore, president of a Christian leadership organization that informally advised President Trump, offered congratulations to the new president and vice-president and stated, “You can count on my prayers & the prayers of tens of millions of Evangelicals whose commitment to pray for our nation & its leaders knows no politics.”
Third: Hold them accountable to biblical truth.
As when Nathan held David accountable for his sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 12:1-15), there are times when we must speak truth to power. But we must do so “with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15) rather than with a spirit of moral superiority. We are beggars helping beggars find bread. The ground is level at the foot of the cross.
Fourth: Serve our highest authority.
The way we respond to the 2020 election will either harm or enhance our witness for our Savior. Not all Americans share our biblical values, just as we will not share the secular values of secular Americans. We should not seek to impose our beliefs on them but to persuade them by living our values with humility and sharing our faith with grace.
As we do so, our loyalty is ultimately to our Lord. The same apostle who commanded us to “be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” (1 Peter 2:13) refused to obey the Sanhedrin’s command to cease preaching the gospel. His statement was clear and courageous: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
If we must choose between our rulers and our Lord, as is true for many believers in China, North Korea, Cuba, and other repressive places around the world, we must choose Jesus. But only if we are forced to choose, and then by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).
Here’s the bottom line: Joe Biden is our president, and Jesus is our King.
Would your Savior say he is your king today?
NOTE: Our newest book will usher you into Jesus’ abiding presence through historical insight into the biblical locations where he walked. Wonderfully designed with many full-color photos, you will be immersed in the Holy Land as you follow Jesus through Israel—and into his last week on earth. Please request your copy of To Follow in His Footsteps today.
Publication date: January 22, 2021
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Mark Makela/Stringer
The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Christian Headlines.
For more from the Denison Forum, please visit www.denisonforum.org.
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