Author archives: Claire Gatzke

After Election Day Is Over, Christians Must Continue Engaging the Culture

by Claire Gatzke

October 29, 2020

As political campaigns get more combative and election seasons last longer, election fatigue can come early for many people. With election day now less than a week away, I’m sure many Americans are thrilled that another presidential election cycle will have come and gone so that they can check out for a couple of years before the next one starts up.

While I am empathetic to this sentiment, this is not the right mindset for Christians to have. No matter what happens on November 3 (or whenever the results of this election are called), Christians cannot “check out” and take a vacation from political engagement.

As Christians, we must have a long-term perspective. Our engagement in the public square does not start and stop based on election cycles. Since our political engagement is based on God’s commandments and biblical imperatives, we must keep following these commands and imperatives even when an election is not fast-approaching. How are Christians to continue to engage when there is no voting opportunity any time soon?

For one, Christians must continue to pray for elected officials and government leaders. Obviously, we should pray that leaders that fear God and govern according to biblical principles are put in positions of authority. However, once the election has happened, we should be praying for whoever ends up in positions of power, whether they are God-fearers or not. In 1 Timothy 2:1-2, Paul “urges that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

As soon as the election is over, Christians must diligently and continually pray for our elected officials, whether we ourselves voted for them or not. No matter who is elected, we must pray that God would speak to them, that they would surrender to God, and that they would govern justly. We must pray this not only for our own benefit so that we can live peaceful lives as Paul said, but we must do so out of our desire for justice and out of love for our neighbor, knowing that God’s way is the best and most conducive way for all humans to flourish.

Not only must we be diligent in our prayers for government leaders, Christians also must be committed to talking about political issues with their family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. The novelty of voting is that everyone gets to do it (if they’re eligible). However, voting won’t help our culture flourish if people are voting contrary to biblical principles and values. The only way to really sway the political and cultural environment is by changing people’s minds so that when they vote, they vote biblically.

For example, even if Trump is elected and the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, decisions on the legality of abortion will be left up to each individual state. The only difference is that abortion will not be legalized at the federal level; it could still very well be legal in many states.

We are absolutely obligated to restrain evil by voting; however, this is not sufficient. To successfully stop abortion and other evils, Christians must engage with individuals in their spheres of influence conversationally to change hearts and minds. If public opinion on abortion is swayed, then people will not elect officials at the local, state, or federal level who advocate for the moral acceptability of abortion. Also, a cultural shift toward valuing unborn life will have a positive impact on women with unplanned pregnancies to move away from seeing abortion as their only option, which will in turn lead to fewer women seeking underground abortions should abortion be made illegal.

No matter who wins this election, there is still a lot of work to be done in redeeming the culture and influencing the public square. People’s eternal destiny, as well as the soul of our nation, are at stake. As we continue our engagement post-election, we must keep an eternal perspective. Every political loss and win is temporary because this earth is “passing away” (1 John 2:17). While we must engage passionately, we cannot put our hope or faith in any political candidate or party, only in Christ our Savior and King. Regardless of who is in the White House and whether that person is friendly or hostile to orthodox Christianity, Christians have orders from God and must be faithful to Him alone; we cannot disengage, give up, or get comfortable.

How Should Christians Use Social Media?

by Claire Gatzke

October 2, 2020

In a world ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more of our communications with family, friends, and others are happening online, including our political discourse. With more of our speech happening through social media, we need to evaluate our social media “speech” in light of God’s Word.

With the 2020 election fast approaching, the number of political posts on Facebook and other social media platforms increases day by day, with each side posting things in condemnation of the other. As Christians, we have a responsibility to engage politically on social media in a way that is glorifying and honoring to God. But what does this mean? As Christians, how does the command to love our neighbors affect how we use social media?

Speak the Truth, Even When It’s Unpopular

One way of loving our neighbors is to speak the truth in love. With both candidates appealing to Scripture and claiming that it supports their policy proposals, the question of Christian faithfulness is at the forefront of this upcoming presidential election. Because only 6 percent of Americans hold a biblical worldview, many are unsure which candidate is more in line with God’s Word. As God’s ambassadors, we must be true to his message and be faithful in proclaiming it in a way that reflects His character.

This means not shying away from posting controversial or unpopular things on social media. We must be bold in our affirmation that the Lord’s statutes are good, holy, and just. As Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Not only must we not be ashamed of the reality that we are all sinners who can only be saved through belief in Jesus’ death and resurrection, but we also must not be ashamed of anything that God’s Word says is true, including His teachings that are unpopular in our culture. In a society that is increasingly hostile to the truths of God’s Word, we must be bolder than ever both online and in person.

Verify Your Sources

The need to speak the truth offers another guideline as to what we should post on social media. We live in an age of disinformation where it is harder than ever to discern fact from fiction. We must humbly recognize the limitedness of our intellect, acknowledge the possibility that we could be deceived by false information and try to protect ourselves from falling victim to this.

Before posting or resharing something on social media that makes a factual claim, it is wise to double check the source. If it is not a reputable source, it needs to be vetted. What is the source’s background? Do they have reliable information and connections that would bolster the veracity of their claims? Do they have expertise? If not, avoid sharing. As Paul wrote in his letter to Titus, Christians must have “soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8). This means that our speech, including the posts we share and claims we make on our social media platforms, must be based on valid reason and good judgment.

Be Respectful

Speaking the truth in love also means that we must be respectful of those with whom we disagree. In 2020, it seems like there is more to disagree on than ever before. Not only is there disagreement between the two main political parties and between the church and the secular culture, but there is also disagreement within the church itself ­—on everything from wearing masks to what political and moral issues are most important. Despite our ideological differences, we must show grace and love to those who disagree with us —even if they are not showing grace and love towards us.

Very practically, this means that we should refrain from writing or sharing inflammatory posts about someone else or responding in anger to people online. We can and should attack false and evil ideas, but we must not attack the people deceived by them. As James explains, “with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10). Before posting something on social media, ask yourself whether you are being respectful towards those who think differently than you, whether they be your fellow Christian or a non-believer.

Even if other professing Christians and those we agree with politically are not following these principles, Christians have a responsibility to follow what God’s Word says. As Martin Luther said, “Be careful not to measure your holiness by other people’s sins.”

Full of Grace, Seasoned With Salt”

In today’s world, we have many opportunities to interact with non-believers and share the truths of the Bible quickly through the internet and social media. However, we need to make sure that our use of these tools does not cause more harm than good. Before posting something on social media we need to ask ourselves: “Would posting this damage my witness to my friends, family, and coworkers who follow me?” As Paul said in his letter to the Colossians, “Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversations be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:5-6). Just as we pray for wisdom and discernment in our interactions with people in person, we need to pray and let God lead us in how we should present ourselves and communicate with others online.

At the end of the day, it is important to remember that our chief goal is not to convince people we are right or persuade others of our position; our chief goal is to glorify God. While speaking the truth is no doubt a part of how we glorify God, the way we speak that truth and the way we speak towards others and about others is equally important. Brothers and sisters, in this election, let us speak the truth loudly and lovingly.

Claire Gatzke is a Policy & Government Affairs intern focusing on biblical worldview.

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