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Life under Biden

The Bible calls for faithful living even in tough conditions

Joe Biden began his presidency with talk of “unity.” If by that he meant join us in tribalistic politics and aborting babies, of course we just say no. But if it means recognizing that all of us with contrasting worldviews live in the same country and hope to be at peace with each other, and that Christians should be faithful to Christ while seeking the welfare of the country where God has placed us (Jeremiah 29), we should go for that.

Godly people in ancient Israel aspired to theological and governmental unity: Our situation is more like that of Daniel, Esther, and Paul, all of whom faced hard choices. All authority comes from God, but Jesus told us to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Lest we think Jesus was ironically telling us that nothing is Caesar’s, Paul told Roman Christians living under godless tyrants to be subject to those authorities and pay taxes, “not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience” (Romans 13:5). Paul told Thessalonians “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs … so that you may walk properly before outsiders” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

WORLD over the decades has tried to transcend partisanship. We reported the downsides of Bill Clinton’s social policies and immoral sociability, but his last year in office was also the last year the United States didn’t run a deficit. (A Republican Congress helped.) I was an informal adviser to George W. Bush when he was governor of Texas, but just before he became president I told him WORLD would zing him at times—and we did. We reported Barack Obama’s bad policies and said both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were unfit to be president. 

Let us keep calm and drink the cup, even though it will probably be bitter.

Those who want Christians to declare war on the Biden administration might quote Jesus saying, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34). But the context of that verse is familial, not political: Matthew 10:35 speaks of divisions among close relatives. Exegetical books like Hard Sayings of the Bible note that unbelievers often respond to Christ with hostility, but Christians should not be the aggressors: Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9).

Jesus taught that “all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” He said in the Gethsemane garden: “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (Matthew 26:52, John 18:11). God has placed us in the United States during the Biden administration, as He placed Daniel in Babylon during the Nebuchadnezzar administration, Christians in Rome under Nero—and now our brothers and sisters in China under Xi Jinping. Let us keep calm and drink the cup, even though it will probably be bitter.

By my choice of comparisons, you can see I’m pessimistic about what will happen in Washington under President Biden. We’ll face tough judgment calls and political battles, but we should concentrate on repelling aggression, preserving life, and seeking peace without surrender. Let’s study Mark 9:50, John 14:27, John 16:33, and Acts 10:36, and remember that Christians can do much regardless of who is president. For example, since U.S. abortions peaked in 1990, pro-abortion Democrats have occupied the White House more than half the time, but the number of abortions has fallen by almost half, with the decline occurring during each administration. 

Hardship might help the cause of Christ. One more abortion reference: During the Trump era it was easy to cheer White House pro-life pronouncements, even as pro-abortion forces pushed ahead with do-it-yourself chemical abortions. Now, maybe more Christians will volunteer at pregnancy resource centers instead of centering our hopes on government grants. Maybe we’ll think harder about justice questions, remembering that justice without compassion is just ice. Maybe we’ll remember that compassion—literally, suffering with those in need—is not an option: All who follow the Bible are called to it.

Comments

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  •  John Cogan's picture
    John Cogan
    Posted: Fri, 02/12/2021 12:33 pm

    I do think politics is downstream from culture (Andrew Breitbart?) and it is culture over which Christians have  longer-lasting influence. While politics is always bending to changing winds, culture rises up from the moral integrity of the masses.  It is based on how children are raised, and on the moral foundations of the populace. If you want to change the culture, live a visual life of following Christ and be ready to share his gospel in word and deed with those who need it most.

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 05:50 am

    Amen! I couldn't agree more! We need to shift our focus from politics to something we, the Church and individual Christians, can do. 

  • HANNAH.
    Posted: Thu, 02/18/2021 02:17 am

    “Our situation is more like that of Daniel, Esther, and Paul, all of whom faced hard choices.” Even more, our situation is becoming like that of Habakkuk. He cried out to ADONAI for relief from evil in his country (1:1-4). The divine solution was horrible (1:5-11), and Habakkuk protested such an appalling answer (1:12 – 2:1). Then ADONAI provided Habakkuk a vision of the oppressor’s future destruction (2:2-17). 

    In 1988, Polish followers of Yeshua (Jesus) demonstrated to me the faith of Habakkuk. Crushed by a communist regime, they clung to Habakkuk’s hope. “For even if the fig tree doesn’t blossom, and no fruit is on the vines, even if the olive tree fails to produce, and the fields yield no food at all, even if the sheep vanish from the sheep pen, and there are no cows in the stalls; still, I will rejoice in ADONAI, I will take joy in the God of my salvation.” (3:17-18, Complete Jewish Bible) 

    Who could know then that Americans would need to do the same 33 years later? Even more, each of us – and the whole world – must heed words (2:20) that bring both warning and comfort: “But ADONAI is in His holy Temple; let all the earth be silent before Him.”

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 02:31 am

    I find this incredible that after four years of attacking Trump, oftentimes subtly, Marvin wants us to make peace with Biden when his agenda is to destroy us and remove any remnant of Christianity from our culture. There is a seismic shift going on in our culture and Marvin seems obtuse to what is happening.
     

    And Marvin has the gall to say President Trump was unfit for office, where he fails to see all the good Trump did. He says:

    "We reported Barack Obama’s bad policies and said both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were unfit to be president."

    During the four years of Trump, World never once wrote an article explaining all the good he did for our country. Never once did World explain the effort of the "deep state" to unseat President Trump. They pretended that the Russian dossier never existed and that the Russian collusion had validity to it. Those of us who tried to inform the readers of World the extent of the plot to unseat President Trump, were treated like fools believing conspiracy theories.  
     

    Marvin doesn't even believe the left stole the election, and he believes that we who believe this are in an alternate reality, comparing us to Qanom followers. I pray that the deception which has a stranglehold on Dr Olasky and other World readers, would be revealed and that their eyes would be open to the deception of the deceiver.  

     

     

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 06:28 am

    Cyborg3, I'm not sure Mr Olasky wants us to make peace with Biden. In fact I think most of what Mr Olasky penned in this article is spot on. For example there is his perspective on the scriptural call of how to live as Christians in a fallen world. Additionally his allusions and quotes of Paul and Jesus and scriptural admonitions are rock solid for all Christians to embrace.

    But, as you point out Cyborg 3, there appears to be some unrecognized duplicity, or maybe blindness, in Mr Olasky's perspective on President Trump's actual accomplishments and focus. Emotions and visceral feelings often cloud our judgment.

    The fallacy seems to be World's purported attempt to "transcend partisanship." Most glaring, again as you point out, is that there is a dearth, if not absence, of similar calls to recognize President Trump as the duly elected President of the United States?  Maybe I missed them? Wasn't President Trump also an elected official whose authority came from God? Politically his accomplishments are apparently overlooked or ignored.

    Finally I would like to know how Mr Olasky would define this term that is often bandied about, "unfit to be president." Conversely what does "fit to be president" mean?  Does someone become "unfit" because they have an obnoxious and annoying public persona? What about a president who has a pleasing and "presidential" veneer aka "fit to be president" but their private life is much different? As is their decision making and political agenda? Barack Obama probably heads this list of recent presidents.

    I am reminded of how the media delight to report scandalous "open mic" gaffs. President Trump lived as an "open mic", no hiding what was on his mind! While all the while he was working to seek to do what was best for America and fit the Republican Platform that he promised to do.

     

  • BC
    Posted: Wed, 02/17/2021 01:18 pm

    I would disagree with others' assessment of World's coverage of the Trump administration. On this specific I will comment, the use of "obtuse" as an adjective for Mr. Olasky is most inaccurate.

  • DCal3000
    Posted: Thu, 02/18/2021 12:34 am

    This is an excellent column, I agree with it, and now, as always, I appreciate Dr. Olasky's take.  I continue to be grateful that WORLD steers clear of mere partisan propoganda.  That said, there is one statement that raised my eyebrows a little - the statement that abortion rates have fallen over the years no matter who is President.  I assume the statistic to be true, but I note that it has also been the mantra of individuals like David French and Phil Vischer, who used it deliberately to encourage evangelicals to feel comfortable allowing pro-abortion presidential candidates like Biden to win.  The full argument, drawn directly from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, was that national politics have no affect on abortion rates, so there is no need to worry if the President is pro-life.  Dr. Olasky clearly means his statement in no such way and practically says as much, but I mention the matter as a cautionary note.  Much has been written over the last few weeks as to why some evangelicals are so prone to believe right-wing conspiracy theories, etc.  Sometimes, the reason is simply that we are fallen, fallible human beings.  But I suspect too that many conservative evangelical Christians, myself included, feel that our religious and political leaders often do not stand by us.  Sometimes those leaders fall into the trap of analyzing and manipulating their laypeople like specimens instead of actually leading us.  They want us to calm down and not embarrass them in front of the powers that be - liberal or conservative.  But what they forget is that they are not the only ones on the cusp of the intellectual, political, and theological battles of our age.  Throughout the country, conservative evangelical laypeople like me feel the paradigm shifts going on around us.  We are acutely aware that we are society's weirdos, that even a fraction of the orthodox Christian ideas that we believe seem to our neighbors to be the height of lunacy and maybe ill-motive.  And we are aware that genuine evils go on around us and, as fallen human beings, even within us.  So, yes, abortion rates may go down no matter who is President.  But, nonetheless, the Biden administration seems to want to use our taxpayer money, taken out of resources that we could use for our families, to promote practices such as abortion.  That is an evil, and, though we should absolutely work with President Biden on the good he will hopefully do, we are right to politically oppose the evils he will do too.  All in all, my point is simply that, though laypeople like me need frequent reminders not to be overly alarmist and overly political, we also need leaders that reassure us that they hear our everyday struggles - the challenges we have as conservative evangelicals in a world that, largely, does not like us.  All of our concerns are not alarmist.  WORLD has long been an encouraging beacon for laypeople like me, Dr. Olasky continues that tradition here in this column, and I pray WORLD will continue to do so in future.  Thank you!

  • RC
    Posted: Thu, 02/18/2021 01:03 pm

    While the murdering of preborn babies is morally wrong. It was going on before it was legalized and will go on if it ever gets made illegal again. Educating what pregnancy is all about and the emotional cost of a mother who kills her preborn baby are the issues. When Pregnancy Support Centers showed a prospective mother, with a sonogram, that her child is more than a clump of cells, that destroyed the pro-abortion propaganda. The Pregnancy Support Centers offer other life-giving assistance as well. Education and practical help are the reasons the number of abortions has dropped. Providing support to your local Pregnancy Support Center moves the issue out of ever-changing winds of politics down to winning lives on the ground.      

  • Cyborg3's picture
    Cyborg3
    Posted: Sat, 02/20/2021 01:07 pm

    Steve, 

    There is a lack of congruency between what Dr Olasky says in the article and the political situation we face. In the first paragraph he mentions Biden’s call for unity and responds positively except for the case if Biden wants us to “join ... in tribalistic politics and aborting babies”. He goes on to say:

    “But if it means recognizing that all of us with contrasting worldviews live in the same country and hope to be at peace with each other, and that Christians should be faithful to Christ while seeking the welfare of the country where God has placed us (Jeremiah 29), we should go for that.”

    Dr Olasky doesn’t seem to understand the difference between the days of Jeremiah 29 and today.  The Jews were a decimated people going into captivity during Jeremiah’s time. God told them to live peacefully and quietly, building up their families, and work hard.  This was good advice for Jeremiah’s time but not for today, especially looking at it from a political perspective.

    We are not a decimated people and we have plenty of political fight left in us to advert the disaster that could befall us if we don’t take action. But what is this disaster which could befall us? What are our political times? 

    Does Dr. Olasky really believe the words coming out of Biden’s mouth? Why was Biden selected by his party? The man is hardly cognitively capable for goodness sake. He has trouble forming sentences and maintaining his thoughts. The man was selected because he was electable and his party knew this. He is the Trojan horse to bring forward the radical agenda of the left. He is a puppet or a “useful idiot”  to be used to bring forward an agenda that the people of America would never agree to had they been able to vote on the issues without coercion from Big Tech, the leftist MSM propaganda and the stealing of elections. 

    We are rapidly moving in a fascist direction where the Democrats have created the narrative that there was an “insurrection” and pushing forward a military thug to investigate it. They put thousands of troops in the capital after the riot and put barbed wire around the Capitol purely for the optics. This was all show to create the illusion of an insurrection. What we do know is that Pelosi knew of planned attacks on the Capitol but she never called in adequate security to check this threat. We also know that the radical leftist groups were told to stand down because they didn’t want to be blamed for any of the rioting that was expected at the Capitol. We know this from the Time Magazine article:

    “There was one last milestone on Podhorzer’s mind: Jan. 6. ...

    To preserve safety and ensure they couldn’t be blamed for any mayhem, the activist left was ‘strenuously discouraging counter activity,’ Podhorzer texted me the morning of Jan. 6, with a crossed-fingers emoji.”

    Pelosi is complicit in the storming of the Capitol because she she was warned by security briefings and she didn’t properly secure the Capitol. Even worse, if it can be shown that this security information was leaked to the radical groups by Pelosi or other Democrats then the case can be made that this was a coordinated effort to destroy Trump and the MAGA movement.  Calls are being made now to remove conservative police and national guard soldiers in Washington DC. The Biden administration and others in the leftist MSM are pushing for a purge of conservatives in the military, government, Congress and even in industry. 

    But who is in charge if Biden isn’t the one calling the shots? All we have to do is look at the radicals being selected for his cabinet. Many of them are from Big Tech, the leftist MSM, radicals from the Democratic Party, former Obama officials, pro-China business people, and other radical advocators (e.g. transgenderism, hate crime, open borders, anti-Second Amendment, anti-religious freedom, pro-abortion, God haters, Christian haters). 

    We have Goliaths screaming out defiance against God. We have Hamans paying to see the Christian world view is removed from the public square. And Dr. Olasky wants us to shut up and go along with it? He wants us to believe the puppet’s words and pretend Biden really is the one in charge? All this talk about unity is to prevent us fighting the many political fights we have before us. It is meant to sidetrack us and accept defeat so the radical fascist left can steam roll us and remove us from having a political voice. The time now requires us to wave the Christian flag (I use this picture with some caution) and rally Christians to let their political voice be heard. We need to stand up to the fascism that is forming. We need to say we will not remove conservative people because of their political views. We need to stand against the “woke” agenda with its false “social justice”. We need to demand a fair voting process without mail-in ballots. Radicals should not be able to fill out ballots for people and turn them in. How do we know if the ballots are legitimate? We need to stop the censoring on social media by Big Tech. We need to keep out Big Tech’s money from unfairly harming the political process. We need to jail the leftist radicals creating the unending violence against police and inner city communities. We must reform our intelligence agencies which have been duplicitous in attacking Trump and subversion of our political process. We need to stand against the many unChristian ideologies that are confronting us. We must stop the propaganda in the public schools and push for school choice. We must start new companies to stand against Big Tech. We need to start new businesses that won’t bow to the PC god and the “woke” crowd. We need to start a conservative and pro-Christian “Hollywood” in Nashville or other cities. We need to confront the new atheists and anti-Christian crowd. We must transform the arts leading the way forward. We need to transform culture bringing with us a spiritual awakening.  This used to be the “Christian Right” agenda about transforming culture but World and many others seemed to have lost faith and vision.  We serve a BIG God so why don’t rise up and do it? Let us make our churches relevant again!

    It is important to say what we are not seeking to do. We don’t want our churches to become political identities, where the work of the church is supplanted for political activities. The churches should have information available about what is happening politically, but it should be subdued where political work should be carried on outside of the church by the members. Preachers should talk about the moral issues which may impact the political discussion but this needs to be done with care and wisdom for we don’t want political divisions in the church. The church should be focused on training up the members so they can live the gospel and take the gospel to our communities. We also don’t advocate a revolution for we still have hope of using the political process to change America. Our fight is political without revolution. 

    We are not afraid but are realists about what we do confront. We love God and recognize that he takes small and insignificant people and changes countries and the world. Small steps forward by many small Christian people can change the world! Carpe Diem!