Vocation of Citizenship
Vocation means far more than “what I do for a living.” According to Luther, Christians have multiple vocations or callings. God calls us to live out our faith in the various estates that He has designed for human life. These estates are the household (including the family and its economic life), the church (the household of faith) and the state (the society and its government).
This means Christians have a vocation of citizenship. In the turmoil and controversies of an election year, we would do well to consider what that entails.
Baptism washes away our sins, but sinners we remain. So it is, we daily repent. Daily, we pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” When we sin against one another, when we speak harshly or take what is not ours, we do well to go to our brother or sister and ask for forgiveness. Some sins nag at us, weigh us down, and for those sins especially, we have private confession and absolution. The pastor, bound to confidentiality, forgives us in the stead and by the command of our Lord Jesus, and our sins are there and then lifted from us, and we become unburdened, joyful and free.
But there is also a place for communal repentance, which we do as congregations, as church bodies, and even as nations. Look around you, fellow Americans, and tell me what you see. What have you grown accustomed to? For half a century, abortion has been the law of the land, and the lives of some sixty million little ones have been taken, by the most brutal of means. No doubt, Satan is at work among us. First he came for the children, but then also for natural marriage, the blessed union of one man and one woman, written into creation. Divorce and cohabitation are far too common among us, hardly arousing even the blink of an eye. Same-sex marriage and homosexuality are not only tolerated among us, but now they are even celebrated, promoted with pride and parades.
And yet, we as Christians have been all too silent. The apostles were told to teach us to observe all things whatsoever our Lord commanded. Christ warned us that if we are ashamed of Him and His words, so also will He be ashamed of us on the day of judgement. This is not about moral issues, as if we were breaking some sort of civil code or regulation. This is about fidelity to the God who created us and to the Lord who as a Bridegroom laid down His life for us.
Now, one may be tempted to say that they are not engaging in unnatural relationship and have loved their children. But the problem runs deeper, for we shall be judged not only for things done, but for things left undone. In the face of the lies that swirl around our children, we are called to speak the truth about the value of children, the sanctity of natural marriage, and, yes, now, the truth of male and female. This world has become a fearful place for Christians. Now I think of the baker, the photographer, the florist who have come under fire for operating their businesses according to the truth revealed in sacred Scripture. I think of Christian adoption agencies and schools endangered simply for operating under the assumption that children need a mother and a father. And then I think of all the Christians who have remained silent, who have not come to the defense of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
Make no mistake, our nation is in crisis. The secular world threatens to overwhelm us, even as we find it more and more difficult to do something so simple as to attend church weekly, with mundane matters like youth sports, or perhaps plain laziness, get in the way. What can we do in all this? Simply this. Repent. Put on the sack cloth and ashes. Bend the knee and bow the head. Sing a song of sorrow over our sin. Pray that the Lord would have mercy on us, wretched ones that we are. Pray that He would deliver us from this body of sin, that He would create a new heart in us, so that we might learn to value His words over the siren songs and deceptions of those who opinion we value far too highly. Pray that forgiven, we might turn away from evil, fight for that which is good, speak the truth in season and out, and at the end, hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
The Rev. Dr. Peter Scaer is the chairman and professor of Exegetical Theology and director of the M.A. Program at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind.
“The Supreme Court handed a partial victory to a California church arguing that Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus restrictions on the number of worshippers allowed at a service violate its religious freedom on Thursday.” Read more here.
Did you know that a record number of pro-life women were elected to the U.S. Senate and House this year? Learn more from Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List.
“Let us remember that Christ’s coming into the world began with an unexpected pregnancy. Mary of Nazareth was unmarried and certainly had reason to be confused and afraid when she was asked to carry the Son of God. But she courageously let God’s plan unfold for her and her Child and brought our Savior into this world, despite her uncertain circumstances.” –Right to Life of Michigan
Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith. Click here to learn more or to donate.
Before today's "new normal" was cool, a musical "new wave" was creating a different kind of "new normal" in the nation. As a product of the 1980s and 90s, I recall the new wave very well. However, remembering and appreciating aren't the same things. During the 80s and 90s, a new form of sub-genre music hit the cultural landscape like wildfire. This new wave was meant to be a mixture of rock and roll and pop music, which ironically didn't aid the quality of rock and roll or pop music. It was a terrible infection that has plagued me for most of my life, and I've been unable to find a vaccine for it anywhere.
If the media is to be believed, we will soon face a new wave of COVID-19. This threat comes after the first wave, where people found themselves sheltered in place and churches sheltered as "non-essential." Those in positions of decree disregarded our sacramental understanding of the church and our need to gather, eat, and drink Christ. I also didn't expect them to regard it very highly. On the other hand, I did expect them to uphold the First Amendment. They didn't and benched our pastors.
According to our United States Caesars, this virus will quickly bring a second coming of disastrous sickness. As a result, many people look to the artists formerly known as pastors for what to do next and what our churches will do if this new wave on COVID creeps up on the horizon. Why? Because churches and pastors were told that if they just shut their doors for the shelter in place time period, then they would be all set to worship in six weeks. It's been nearly six months, and people are sick of not receiving Jesus.
It's time to obey God rather than man and lift high the Christ as Moses did in the barren wilderness after the plague of burning snakes cut through the Israelites. It's time to open up and for pastors to be discerning and cautious with their people. It’s time to tell them of the risks if there are any, and then go about being a pastor to their people. Give them Jesus and let Him be the final curate and physician of body and soul.
The new wave music virus has never left us, and we are still weakened by its effects. There are still some unfortunate souls popping in tapes of Duran Duran, The Cure, and Culture Club. As frightening as that is, every once in awhile, you find a Talking Heads and bring something good out of a terrible musical plague. As a church body, may we find fidelity amid the COVID pandemic and put God before man and Caesar. It is my hope during this time of sickness that our church will not remain silent anymore, but will stand on the chief cornerstone and say, "Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me, God."
The Rev. Gaven Mize is pastor of Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church, Hickory, N.C.
Supreme Court vacancies matter because the genocide of unborn children matter. Read more on why from one LCMS pastor.
Regardless of claims people make today, the Church has been consistently pro-life throughout time. Dr. Gene Edward Veith explains.
“God is the creator and author of life; it is He who gives value to life. Our world needs that absolute truth. As LCMS Lutherans, we have a clear confession … to share with our world. … Our witness is stronger when we stand together, professing life and confessing Christ.” – Deaconess Tiffany Manor, director, LCMS Life Ministry
Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith. Click here to learn more or to donate.
THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION November 27, 2020
by George Washington
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks, for His kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of His providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which He hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
“George Washington issued a proclamation on October 3, 1789, designating Thursday, November 26 as a national day of thanks. In his proclamation, Washington declared that the necessity for such a day sprung from the Almighty’s care of Americans prior to the Revolution, assistance to them in achieving independence, and help in establishing the constitutional government.” Read more here.
Learn more about a New York Times column about pro-life Christian voters in a recent Issues, Etc. podcast with Dr. Christopher Kaczor.
“American society today is divided by party and by ideology in a way it has perhaps not been since the Civil War.” Learn more by clicking here.
“Civil communication is foundational for a civilized community. How much more should we take to hear the exhortations of God’s own apostle – ‘live in harmony with one another’ (Rom. 12:16); ‘that all of you agree’ (1 Cor. 1:10); ‘let your speech always be gracious’ (Col. 4:6)—and so desire always to improve our abilities to speak and to listen well.” – Rev. Dr. Korey Maas
LCMS Files Amicus Brief to Protect Church Autonomy and Integrity November 20, 2020
In mid-October, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), represented by First Liberty Institute, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit case Demkovich v. St. Andrew the Apostle Parish. The brief supports an important constitutional principle protecting the independence of churches and other religious organizations. Because churches work through their ministers to fulfill their religious missions, the Constitution forbids secular courts from intruding in the employment relationship between churches and their ministers to protect religious autonomy.
This case revolves around St. Andrew’s the Apostle Parish, a Catholic church that employed Sandor Demkovich as a music director who selected music to accompany church liturgy and led parishioners in worship. When Demkovich entered into a same-sex marriage, violating Catholic doctrine, St. Andrew’s ended his employment. Demkovich sued, claiming he was discriminated against and subjected to a hostile work environment. The parties agree that Demkovich served in a ministerial role at the church and, thus, the church had a constitutional right to terminate his employment. The parties disagree about whether former ministers may nevertheless bring an employment discrimination lawsuit stemming from their employment relationship. The case raises the question of how deeply courts can inquire into and evaluate the way that churches and other religious organizations communicate internally about their religious beliefs and supervise their ministerial employees.
The LCMS has a particular interest in this question because of the landmark 2012 Supreme Court decision involving an LCMS school. In that case—Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC—the Supreme Court concluded that the First Amendment protects religious organizations’ employment decisions regarding “ministerial employees” (those involved in teaching the faith and ministering to the faithful). This “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws recognizes that judicial investigation into the way religious organizations select and control ministerial employees would threaten the free exercise of religion as well as the religious autonomy of such organizations.
Just this past summer, the Supreme Court reiterated this principle in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru, saying, “Under [the ministerial exception], courts are bound to stay out of employment disputes involving those holding certain important positions with churches and other religious institutions…. [A] church’s independence on matters ‘of faith and doctrine’ requires the authority to select, supervise, and if necessary, remove [key employees] without interference by secular authorities.”
In late August of 2020, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit decided the case against St. Andrew’s. In response, St. Andrew’s petitioned the entire court to rehear the case. Nine amicus briefs, including the LCMS/WELS brief, were filed in support of rehearing.
The Seventh Circuit panel wrote that courts can review the way church leaders “chose to express Church doctrine on same-sex marriage” and the way they “exercise[d] [their] supervisory powers” to determine whether these created “a hostile environment.” Of course, the LCMS believes that discussions of church doctrine should be respectful. But for courts to monitor how ministers “express church doctrine” and whether such expressions create a hostile work environment poses the same threat to free exercise and the same risk of entanglement in ecclesiastical matters as do legal challenges to a church’s hiring and firing decisions. For example, an amicus brief filed by constitutional law professors explained, “[T]he question of how to train ministers to behave and interact with each other inevitably involves religious norms and methods of conflict resolution that lie beyond the ken of secular courts.” To allow employees such as Demkovich to gerrymander their claims—taking discriminatory firing claims and reframing them as hostile work environment claims—would eviscerate the protections won in previous cases. Church autonomy and integrity require that religious institutions be allowed to control their own internal affairs and follow their own convictions in handling ministerial employees and their complaints.
The Seventh Circuit is still considering whether to rehear this case. If it denies the petition for rehearing, St. Andrew’s could petition the Supreme Court to hear the case, a request that would be bolstered by the fact that the circuit courts of appeals are split on this question. Whatever the outcome, the LCMS will continue to follow this development in the law and to advocate for the preservation of religious freedom.
Rebecca Dummermuth is Counsel for First Liberty Institute. Stephanie Taub is Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute.
COVID-19 has been trying in many ways, but perhaps chief among them? Abortion by mail. Read more here.
Are you up to date on a Supreme Court case on the refusal of Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia to allow same-sex couples to be foster parents? Learn more from Nick Reaves of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” — Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address
In all things, we as Christians know that God is at work in the world His two ways: to preserve and ultimately to save. This was a year where the Church’s public voice was under attack like never before. Cleary, “religious liberty for committed Christians” was on the ballot. And, if the last few years taught us anything, it taught us that going forward, the Church needs to be ready to fight for our right/responsibility to be a public voice of the Scripture so that all might hear and believe. We’ll need to better learn when to fight and when to serve. But, knowing that God is already at work in the world, we know that no matter the outcome of any vote, the real work always begins again.
As one who has been in Washington D.C. now for some three years, I can tell you that the laws of the land (even the best ones) can’t accomplish what we hope for if we hope for justice, peace, and unity that truly binds us together. The laws of the land can prevent the really bad stuff from happening (if the bad guys are afraid of the punishment). The best laws of the land can protect our God-given freedoms and give everyone a fighting chance to have a good life in this country, but they can never deliver what only God can give: abundant life in Him, changed hearts full of of forgiveness, mercy, and salvation that gives us power to live life boldly no matter what the circumstance of the day. Ironically, the very Founders of our government realized that when they sought to secure liberty for its citizens, not power for themselves. They understood the dangers of the tyranny of government, whether the tyranny of one or the mob of many. They knew the depravity of humanity and the futility of being a godless people. They knew that the American experiment depended on people being a self-governing people. And they knew that faith in God was the key to all of that. Today, we prepare ourselves for citizenship like that and more.
So, as important as this last election was, win or lose, the work of being God’s people is still the same. It is always more than the politics, more than the vote. We instinctively know that freedom isn’t without cost, that sin always gets in the way, and that real peace and unity are going to have to come from something “more than our best efforts (politically, technologically, personally). We get to be Christ’s people empowered by His real-presence, wise through His Word, and motivated by His Spirit. We are very much aware that going forward, we, as Christians, must become more prepared to defend our right to be the Church in this country. We must be ready for the “cost” of sharing the whole counsel of God with others, especially the saving work of Jesus as pure gift by grace through faith in Him alone. Struggling to know when to fight and when to serve, we now realize what many who came before us have known. There’s a price to be paid to share the truth of the Scriptures with others. But Jesus reminds us even in that struggle, “that if we abide in His Word, we will know the truth. And, the truth will set us free” (John 8).
When I voted this year, I voted for a platform that would keep the secularizing impulses of our culture at bay a little while longer. I voted for the sanctity of all life to be honored and for the religious liberty to worship our Savior in freedom without fear. I voted for people who said they would defend such things. But, no matter who won, I never believed that any of the leaders in government were the ones in whom to place my faith. Today, in full view of the results of Nov. 3, we are called to be who we will always be, people of God for the sake of others. For believers, now is especially the time to hold on to the only thing that really holds, our common faith in Jesus Christ. Now’s the time to recommit ourselves to knowing and sharing the “whole counsel of God,” to proclaim, even defend His created ordering of the world for its preservation, and to proclaim His unique salvation of the world now more than ever. And, whether your person won or lost, whether the next few years will be better or worse, God’s people are not only safe in His hands, but called to a boldness especially now for the sake of all. Since things are “well in Him,” no matter the challenges we face at the moment, it’s time to resourced anew in Him, it’s time to get to work for others ON HIS TERMS ALONE.
The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.
Do you know the history of the pro-life movement? Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List walks you through it.
When it comes to the sanctity of life, “The expansion of medical aid in dying across the United States has not only created a professional and moral dilemma for practicing physicians, but it has also raised concerns within the disability community, among others, about the negative consequences these laws could have on the country.” Learn more in this KFUO news brief.
“We are very much aware that going forward, we, as Christians, must become more prepared to defend our right to be the Church in this country.” – Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, executive director, Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty
Here’s God’s perspective about today. Ready? He wants you, as a believer, to know that no matter what is happening at the moment, “It’s temporary, and all is well with you IN HIM.” That’s right. No matter who won or lost, God says clearly to His people, “In me, because of me, it’s going to be alright.” Jesus says much the same, saying, “In the world you will have trouble. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Even amidst—God forbid—wars and rumors of wars, the appearance of false prophets, even false Christs, Jesus calms are hearts, saying, “See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place . . . But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matt. 24:6, 13).
So, who won the election of 2020? People were energized this year, weren’t they? People were voting “early” like never before. Some still are! (Sorry. That was a bad attempt at humor). So, who won? Well, is that really the most important question today? Am I dodging the issue? Do you think that I’m saying that because of our faith, what happened in this election, didn’t matter?” Let me be clear. I’m not saying that. At the LCRL, we were clear with you all along. We sadly told you that religious liberty was on the ballot. (Yes, there is a strong political movement trying to make Bible-believing Christians second-class citizens). We were honest about the issues, but we were even more confident about the ultimate solutions to these problems being, not in the policy provisions from the folks on the Hill, but temporally in the concerned communities of free people and ultimately in the message of the Gospel of God’s eternal freedom in Jesus Christ alone.
There was a lot at stake in this election, and we tried to keep you informed right up to the day of the vote. But we also kept our eyes on the big picture of things. Amidst all the chaos of a pandemic, the lock-downs, the fear, the violence, and the unrest, we realized that people were struggling to know where to turn. We sensed a hunger in people, a yearning for things that would bind us together again. We continually shared that those yearnings can’t be fulfilled by politics and certainly not violence. So, even though the election was important, it never deterred us from differentiating God’s preserving work from His saving work for the communities that we love.
As God’s people, no matter the politics, we have a unifying message, a message of grace and mercy that comes from the God who created, redeemed, and called us to be His own. People yearn for purpose. We have a purposeful life in Christ to offer them. People yearn for identity. We have a message of an enduring identity in the one who loves us with an everlasting love. We fight for the First Amendment merely freely to share that message boldly with others, without fear. Regardless of good or bad politics, we will share it no matter the cost.
So, on this Friday after the election, you may be thinking “my guy didn’t win.” (Or maybe he did). But whether the right people won or lost, let me assure that for believers, the ultimate victory is already won in Jesus. And because of that, rejoice that Thanksgiving is indeed coming. This year, let it be more than football and turkey. Let it be about giving thanks to the God who created and redeemed you and is even now is “working all things together for good to those who love him” (Rom. 8:28). Rejoice that Christmas is coming too. Don’t forget that the babe in the manger came amidst the violence and unrest of His day. He came in the midst of our troubles, even taking our eternal trouble upon Himself to save us. Remember also Good Friday, the day that Satan thought he had “locked down” Jesus for good. But even then, God said, “No way!” Easter declared Jesus’ death on the cross as God’s eternal victory over our sin, death, and Satan himself (Maybe victory over bad politics too?). Right now, our faith in God is key, our faith in God is sure, and even now, He is at work to bring all things towards His purposely end where He will judge the living and the dead and usher in a Kingdom that will last forever. In Him, all is well! Pretty great stuff, wouldn’t you agree?
The Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz is the executive director of the Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty.
Pope Francis has had quite a bit to say on same-sex civil unions. What do we, as Lutherans who believe in one man/one woman marriage make of this? Rev. Paul McCain explains in a recent Issues, Etc. interview.
Did you know that Lutherans were involved in one of the landmark cases guaranteeing religious groups freedom from government interference? Learn more from the Becket Fund here.
“As God’s people, no matter the politics, we have a unifying message, a message of grace and mercy that comes from the God who created, redeemed, and called us to be His own.” – Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, executive director, Lutheran Center for Religious Liberty
Every year on October 31, Christians from around the world are reminded of a “reforming” movement that brought back to light the central message of the Bible, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Freedom, Life, and Salvation were again heard as God’s gifts offered to sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Martin Luther’s rediscovery of the uniqueness of the freedom of the Gospel as God’s saving work in the world for all shook the foundations of the medieval world. It ushered in many of the precious freedoms that we enjoy in this world today. It clearly identified and distinguished the uniqueness of the eternal freedom that comes from knowing and trusting in God’s gracious work in Jesus from the cultural/political freedoms that come from public policy and citizenship. Distinguishing, cherishing, and engaging both freedoms is part of what it means to be a Christian citizen in the world for the sake of the culture and the mission of the Church.
Does such differentiation matter today? Is the awareness of the distinction between God’s preserving work from His saving work still important today? Or is it the product of a bygone era that no longer matters to a society so “advanced” as ours? What if I told you that Luther’s teaching, often called “Two-Kingdoms,” is more vital today than ever before? James Madison said as much he wrote about the uniqueness of the American government and its inspiration from the Reformation in a letter to Rev. Schaeffer, Dec. 3, 1821, saying:
It illustrates the excellence of a system which, by a due distinction, to which the genius and courage of Luther led the way, between what is due to Caesar and what is due God, best promotes the discharge of both obligations. The experience of the United States is a happy disproof of the error so long rooted in the unenlightened minds of well-meaning Christians, as well as in the corrupt hearts of persecuting usurpers, that without a legal incorporation of religious and civil polity, neither could be supported. A mutual independence is found most friendly to practical Religion, to social harmony, and to political prosperity.[1https://www.kfuo.org/2020/10/01/coffee-hour-100120-lcms-life-ministry/">Listen here.
Did you know that the Becket Fund assisted The Luthearn Church—Missouri Synod in clearing the way for in-person worship in Minnesota earlier this spring? Learn how here.
“I pray that the love of Christ emboldens you to rejoice in the Word and to speak it without fear of consequence … may future generations speak of us like we do of David, Josiah, Luther, and our forefathers. May our children say of you and me, ‘Our forefathers stood their ground on Christ alone, on His Word of truth alone.’ The truth has set you free. Enjoy your own personal reformation. Then let your freedom in Christ be contagious! Let your life continue to shout: Thank Jesus Christ my Savior! I’m free at last … and so are you! Amen.” –Rev. Peter Sulzle, St. John Lutheran Church, Redwood Falls, Minn., for Lutherans For Life
Help support our efforts to contend for the freedom to proclaim the faith. Click here to learn more or to donate.
Remember who is ultimately in control over all things: The same One into whom you were baptized—
- Keep perspective.
Remember who is ultimately in control over all things: The same One into whom you were baptized—the Father who created you and gives all that you need for your body and life, Jesus Christ who has redeemed you paying for your sins by His crucifixion, and the Holy Spirit who has called you by the Gospel and continues to enlighten you with His gifts of Word and Sacraments. He loves you. He will never forsake you. He will guide you as He ever has now and throughout the future even to our eternal rest with Him.
You are a member of two kingdoms. One is eternal. The other is temporary. The eternal one is the true end goal.
- Keep faith in God, not political leaders.
“Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Ps. 146:3).
No political leader can be nor will be perfect, nor will they make decisions that will please all people. This is still a world broken by sin.
- God works His will even in and through the governments of this world (Rom. 13:1-4).
The government in the United States is unique in that we have the ability and privilege to elect those who represent us in local, state and national elections for judges, representatives, governors, and president. The persons for whom we vote is important. Therefore, as members of this earthly kingdom we should desire to live out our faith as good citizens and support good and godly government for our good and the welfare of our neighbor.
- Informed voting is essential. Do your research.
Do not vote because of endorsements of celebrities or because of what you “heard on the news.” Educate yourself on the stances of each candidate and party regarding biblical and moral issues like the sanctity of life from its conception to its natural end (are they prolife/anti-abortion, against euthanasia?), the protection of biblical marriage, and the freedom to worship without government interference.
Find out which party or candidate will protect Christians in the public sector. Will they defend the right of citizens to conduct business according to their confession of faith without being forced to go against conscience? Do they think that a person can be fired or denied advancement because of church membership or belief system? If they deny that right to believe and practice that faith in public vocation and life, then they should not receive your vote.
Pray without ceasing—for wisdom, for our government, for the world, for our neighbors. Pray that God’s kingdom would come and His will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven. Trust Him and go forward into those polling places with the peace that passes all understanding through Jesus Christ our Savior.
The Rev. Aaron Kangas is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Iuka, Ill., and Faith Lutheran Church, Flora, Ill.
“The . . . question remaining is what of current law — e.g., the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1991, Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church v. EEOC, or the First Amendment’s ‘free exercise clause’ — will leave us room to operate our churches, schools, universities and institutions according to our Christian doctrine and consciences.” Learn more from the Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Learn more about the 44th anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which bans federal funding for abortion. Dr. Michael New of the Charlotte Lozier Foundation explains.
“Certainty [in Christhttps://www.lcms.org/givenow/LCRL">here to learn more or to donate.
Americans will soon be deciding who will be the next president of the United States. They will be determining whether they want to re-elect President Donald Trump or whether they wish to hand over the reins to the Democratic candidate, Senator Joseph Biden.
During this election season, I am repeatedly asked, “What are the most critical issues for people of faith in the election?” To me, the answers are clear-cut: religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and judges.
These three issues intersect because many of the attacks on religious liberty and the sanctity of life have come through the judiciary, which at times, has chosen to legislate from the bench, rather than fulfill its constitutional role of interpreting the law. This has been particularly true in cases involving religious liberty and life. That is why it is crucial to have judges who interpret, not make the law, and the next president will likely nominate at least two to three Supreme Court justices as several of them are in their 70s and 80s.
It is important that Christians and other people of faith be able to practice that faith in the public square without fear of governmental reprisal. Medical professionals, ministries, and family-owned businesses need to maintain the right to exercise their freedom of conscience when it comes to the issue of protecting human life.
In addition, it is critical for faith-based ministries and family-held businesses to be allowed to operate in accordance with their beliefs on human sexuality. Without conscience protections in place, faith-based adoption agencies and foster care agencies could be forced to close because they allegedly engage in “discrimination” because they adhere to faith-based standards when it comes to child placement. Faith- based schools and colleges also face potential legal attacks and closure if they require students to adhere to the school’s statement of faith and faith-based standards.
That is why it is essential that whoever is elected president takes steps to ensure that all Americans, regardless of their beliefs, can continue to live out their beliefs and exercise their freedom of conscience in the public square.
Sadly, over the past 60 years, we have seen that ability to practice one’s faith and abide by one’s conscience under increasing attack. The result of these attacks is a diminished voice for the church and its members in our public discourse. When faith is silenced, societal fissures occur, such as lack of civility we are presently experiencing and the breakdown of the family, which was recently documented in a report to the U.S. Senate. This is indeed a tragedy, and it is my hope that whoever is elected this November will encourage, rather than discourage, faithful Americans to take their rightful role as a strong and vibrant voice in our culture.
So, these are the serious issues that each faithful voter must consider whether they vote by mail or in- person. We must all seek God’s guidance as we make our choice because our decision will not impact the America of today, but the America of the future – and whether we, as believers, can be salt and light in our culture.
Tim Goeglein is vice-president of External Relations for Focus on the Family.
Need a new podcast to download? Issues, Etc. host the Rev. Todd Wilken discusses a new study entitled “The Protestant Family Ethic” with Dr. Brad Wilcox of the Institute for Family Studies. Click here to listen.
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“The state should be interested in religion for this purpose: We produce good citizens. So stop attacking us. We are in every way a blessing for this country. We feel attacked for our fundamental convictions as if we're a detriment to our country. And that is a lie." – Rev. Dr. Matthew C. Harrison, president, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod