Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Super Tuesday, But It's Still "A House Divided"

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the big winners of the 11 state "Super Tuesday" primary election yesterday. Ted Cruz won Texas, his home state, and Oklahoma.

Votes continued to be counted overnight in 11 states. This is a real time live vote count for each state provided by the New York Times.

The Washington Times is reporting nearly all primary election voter turnout records are being shattered.

However, America is deeply divided. Perhaps even more so, the Christian church is deeply divided over this election.

On June 16, 1858, 1,000 Republican delegates gathered in the Illinois state house. At 5 PM they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the US Senate. At 8 PM, Lincoln gave a speech titled, "A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand."

Lincoln's friends felt the speech was a mistake, while opponent Democrat Stephen A. Douglass openly mocked the speech and ultimately won the seat in the Senate.

Lincoln's closest friends and business associates said, "I told you so."

However, that was not the end of the story.

Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress and well known Christian Author and Pastor Max Lacado are weighing in on the election of 2016---and candidate Trump---with very different views.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other.” 
June 16, 1858

Lincoln, of course, was reflecting on the words of Jesus recorded in Matthew, Mark and Luke.

However, his closest friends told him the speech was "too radical for the occasion"---his law partner William H. Herndon told him the speech was "courageous" but politically incorrect. Reviewing the speech with Lincoln before he delivered it, Herndon tried to convince Lincoln to modify it---tone it down.

Lincoln said, "I can't."

Democrat Douglass used the speech to politically batter Lincoln, even suggesting Lincoln didn't favor a united country. Douglass won the Senate seat.

Years later, Herndon reflected and said at least the speech awakened some of the people and it probably, ultimately made Lincoln president.

Another colleague, Leonard Swett, said it was the "speech" not Lincoln's lack of ability that defeated him in the Senate race.

In 1866, Swett wrote a letter to Herndon saying, "Nothing could have been more unfortunate or inappropriate; it was saying first the wrong thing, yet he saw it as an abstract truth, but standing by the speech would ultimately find him in the right place."

Lincoln, our 16th President, profoundly led and restored America in regard to slavery---ultimately giving his life because of what he believed to be true.

Dr. Robert Jeffress is pastor of mega First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. Some consider the 15,000 member church a kind of "mother" church within the Southern Baptist Convention.

Pastor and best selling Christian author Max Lucado is well known to most within the Christian community.

Both love God. Both influence millions through books and sermons on television.

Each have a very different view on the election of 2016.

Dr. Robert Jeffress:

Jeffress got a lot of attention when he participated in a Trump rally in late January. He has appeared with Trump since, including this past Friday.

Monday on the American Family Radio network, Jeffress was asked about it.

He said, "Evangelicals are flocking to Trump by the droves" because polls indicate there's not much support nationally for a born again Christian to be elected---obviously referring to Huckabee, Carson, Cruz and probably Rubio.

He said electability should now take center stage.

On AFR,  Jeffress summarized his comments at the Trump rally:

"I had been asked to come there and pray. I'm happy to pray. I prayed II Chronicles 7:14 to the crowd there, but then Trump invited me unexpectedly to come up and talk about some things. So I thought, well, here's my opportunity to talk about the values that are important to evangelical voters---and I talked about the importance of the sanctity of life. I said very clearly: 'Now some people may not believe Donald Trump's conversion to pro-life; but even if you believe it, let me remind you that Hillary Clinton doesn't even claim a pro-life conversion---and if she's elected, we'll have the most pro-abortion candidate in history.'"

Pastor Jeffress then explained his recent comments on National Public Radio that were taken by many evangelicals to be in support of Trump.

He said, "I was trying to explain why so many evangelicals are open to Donald Trump. I'm not saying that's the way I think it should be....I was not agreeing with that position."

Pastor Jeffress said, "After the same-sex ruling last June, I think it was such a gut punch to many evangelicals that they pretty much gave up on the idea of depending on government to uphold biblical values and they're saying, 'Okay lets let the church do that and let's just depend upon government to do the other.'"

He said, "Let me make it clear. I'm not saying that's what I think; I'm saying that is the explanation of why evangelicals by the droves are going to Donald Trump."

The pastor says there's a real difference between the way things are verses the way things should be. And he says he thinks it's important to vote for a candidate who will uphold things that we believe in.

He also says that the marriage issue is apparently gone---it's not going to be re-litigated. He says Ted Cruz told donors at a private fund raiser in New York that unfortunately he believes we have lost the marriage issue.

Jeffress says we are at war on many levels and we need someone who can win a war---much like George Patton did even though his tone and language was not great.

In his opinion, Trump is the most electable of the Republican candidates.

Dr. Jeffress says, "Look, I would love to have a born-again Christian who has humbled himself before God and whose faith is part of every area of his life---if he could get elected. I'm saying I don't think that candidate can get elected today."

The pastor says, speaking to the church, "disagree with me" if you must---"But nobody has the right to be a Pharisee and try to impose their opinion as an obligation on other people. I think we need to respect the right of other Christians to disagree."

Best selling author and Pastor Max Lucado:

Max wrote an opinion for The Christian Post a few days ago expressing concern that evangelicals are voting for Donald Trump.

He says as he evaluated the guys who would date his daughters, he had certain criteria---none the least was decency.

He says, "Decency mattered to me as a dad." And "Decency matters to you."

"Then why isn't decency doing better in the presidential race," he asks?

"The leading candidate to be the next leader of the free world not pass my decency test," he says.

Lucado says he doesn't know Trump, but he is chagrined at his antics. "He ridicules a war hero. He made mockery of a reporter's menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to a former First Lady, Barbara Bush, as "mommy" and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people stupid, loser and dummy. He says these remarks were not back stage, but in front of people."

Lucado says these indecencies are completely unacceptable, "And to do so while brandishing a Bible and boasting of Christian faith"...I'm bewildered, both by his behavior and the public's support of it."

Lucado says he feels like one man who said, "We are voting with our middle finger."

He says, "Anger fueled reactions have caused trouble ever since Cain was angry at Abel."

Pastor Max Lucado and Pastor Robert Jeffress disagree as to how Christians should vote in this election.

One thing they both agree upon is the need for God's guidance at this crucial time in America.

One thing we all agree upon is that our country is deeply divided and we must hear from God---and He must hear from us as we humbly confess our sins and ask Him to heal our land.

Abraham Lincoln said, "A house divided against itself cannot stand"...I believe government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free"... "I do not expect the Union to be dissolved---I do not expect the house to fall---but I do expect it will cease to be divided."

He reminded his colleagues of their previous "impulse of resistance to a common danger" ---"Of strange, discordant, and even, hostile elements, we gathered from the four winds, and formed and fought the battle through, under the constant hot fire of a disciplined, proud and pampered enemy."

"Did we brave all then to falter now?" he asked.

And finally Lincoln may have spoken to us all as he spoke to them: "The result is not doubtful. We shall not fail---if we stand firm, we shall not fail."

This is a time in history when Christians must stand firm by kneeling and shout by listening and being led by God's Spirit.

The steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord. He will lead us in this matter.

Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.