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"Fear Not, Little Flock": The King's Promise that Presidents Can't Match

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If our hopes indicate what we value most—what keeps us going, then our fears reveal the same in reverse. What do we need (or think we need) so much that we would be unable to go without it? And what do we believe in so much that if it doesn't come through for us we're totally disillusioned?


Even the most casual observer of these final days in the countdown to the general election is aware of the enormous largess being spent on fear. Tragically, some of the most extreme examples of fear-mongering hail from churches, on the left and the right. Earlier in the campaign, some evangelicals expressed alarm that a Mormon might become the high priest of the nation's soul, while reviving the rumor that Barack Obama is a Muslim. ("After all, he's not quite like us, is he?") Yet many conservatives now think that Mitt Romney is just right for the job. In fact, maybe we've been too hard on Mormonism. It's a God-fearing faith of family values. Isn't that what matters most?


Let's face it: Mr. Romney belongs to a religious community that officially rejects the Christian creed and Mr. Obama is a member of a liberal Protestant denomination that has largely abandoned it. Since George Washington we've been electing presidents with dubious confessional credentials, including a string of deists, Unitarians, and agnostics who nevertheless invoked the Unknown God for the American cause. The real question is not whether Americans generally will elect a non-Christian, but whether churches will redefine Christianity as a surrogate of civil religion. Judging at least by public profession, our next president will once again not be an orthodox Christian. That's not a tragedy. The real tragedy is quasi-apocalyptic and eschatological claims that are made in churches on the left and the right that create a cycle of false hopes and false fears. The official name for this is idolatry. Who is Lord, Christ or Caesar? Churches and Christian leaders often send mixed signals on that one, especially at election time.

Responsibility versus Fear


Now, there is fear and there is responsible concern. Christians are called to be faithful in caring about and acting for their neighbors' welfare. Our temporal good is wrapped up in the common good of our nation. We are right to be concerned about the value of human life and marriage, as well as "justice for all," including our weaker and less privileged neighbors. We are faced with complex crises, foreign and domestic. Some wonder if they'll ever find employment. Others fear that the economy will hit yet another, perhaps more catastrophic, dip. While the Arab Spring has become a scorching Islamist summer and dictatorships are replaced in some cases with jihadist sects, tensions continue to build between Israel and Iran. North Korea continues its threats, relations with China grow increasingly strained, and many feel a sense of vertigo about the future role of the U. S. in the world. These are not unimportant matters; they demand our attention.


Yet all of these anxieties get whipped up into a virtual frenzy at election time. It's easy for opinions and strategies—even deeply-held political convictions—to morph into deified ideologies. Unrealistic hopes typically end in disillusionment and cynicism, if not something worse.


My next post will focus on how we put first things first again.

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  • Guest - sojourner

    Also don't get me wrong, I never heard Jesse Jackson or Al sharpton say anything about the gospel so I don't know how they got the the title reverend. I also don't agree with the title the black church, things of that nature should never be. I think the biggest misunderstanding on both sides is not understanding the 2 kingdoms view. But let me state I hold to reformed doctrine I don't go to a reformed church, I go to a multicultural non denominational church, the hold to the the doctrines of Grace and a host of other doctrines, my reasons for not going to a reformed church is not because of those things you listed above. But Grace and peace to you all.

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  • Guest - sojourner

    Excuse my typos and grammar errors.

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  • Guest - Bill

    Ezkekiels Daughter,

    You really need to stop singling out african americans abd african american churches.

    Ib your first post there was no need to say "particularly african american".

    And in your second post you wrote "The reason AA Churches reject and rebel has nothing to do with my attitude. It is due to a systematic theology of doing things “our way” w/out prayer or referring to the Word of God."

    Even if what you wrote in your second post is factual, it is not a problem of african american churches but all churches white, black, latino, asian whatever. Poor theology is a problem of the church period. Not a problem that only the african american churches face.

    You need to stop singling out african american churches as if white churches were any better than african american churches.

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  • [...] Fear Not Little Flock: The Kings Promise From Michael Horton: If our hopes indicate what we value most—what keeps us going, then our fears reveal the same in reverse. What do we need (or think we need) so much that we would be unable to go without it? And what do we believe in so much that if it doesn’t come through for us we’re totally disillusioned? [...]

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  • Grace to you Bro. Sojourner!

    @ "bill", my reason for "singling" AA churches is this:

    Since our current President has been in office I have seen US "African Americans" totally abandon the faith for the sake of defending this black man.I feel that we should honor authority, but honor doesn't mean that I agree with everything you believe, especially if your beliefs are contrary to what the Word of God instructs. Mr. Horton's blog post is simply sharing a view of this current election and how it's being packaged and how it focuses on our fears which causes doubt of our King's promises. I know my comments were possibly offensive; however, as an black woman born and raised in America, I can only share from that position of authority. It is true that poor theology is a problem in today's modern churches. My sincere hope is that everyone examine himself more thoroughly in these last days for, Wide is the gate that leads to destruction.

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  • Guest - Mitchell Hammonds

    E.D.,
    You take your opinions way too seriously. While I don't support our current president for various reasons I can't say that those who do support him are abandoning the "Faith" by doing so. This idea is ludicrous. They are (in my opinion) severely misinformed about Obama but this doesn't mean they've "fallen away." You also have beliefs/opinions that are contrary to God's word... it should only take you about 30secs. of self-examination to understand this. Go read the Decalogue or the Sermon on the Mount... you'll join the rest of us other "failures." You're entitled to an opinion but you should also learn how to voice it... written or verbally. Your original comment was made to take a stab at African Americans... in my opinion of course.

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  • Guest - Bill

    Ezekiels Daughter, you'd be surprised how many african american pastors and church leaders oppose Obama. This is why you need to be careful when you say that the african american church supports Obama at the expense of christian values. See here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoCWQhYVYVI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kq8gJuuQ3s4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAAzl-uEGxw

    I hope this dispels your ideal that black christians are abandoning their christian principles and embracing Obama. As those videos show they are opposing Obama.

    With that said as Mitchell mentions I also don't see anything wrong with christians (white, black, latinos, asian) supporting Obama.

    I am convinced that this presidential race has nothing to do with race. It's true most whites will vote Republican and most blacks will vote Democrat, but this was always like this. Bill Clinton got as much of the black vote as Barack Obama and has the same problems with the white vote. No different from Al Gore or John Kerry. African Americans in general vote democrat more than white americans, but this has nothing to do with Obama being african american. Read here http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/25/politics/obama-40-percent/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

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  • Thanks for your comment Mr. Mitchell. To say that I take my opinion too seriously is conjecture. I am merely stating an observation. Initial comment was my opinion responding Mr. Horton.

    The responses to the other brothers are based on my personal experiences and conversations with people in my world.I speak on observation and personal facts..whether you believe them or not is not my issue, nor is it my issue if you are offended because I don't believe in the electoral system (Check out the documentary AGENDA. I'm not merely speaking on those that I know personally, but Pastors that have publicly spoken in support of these abominations. My statement was in response to Mr. Horton's blog. ...be easy..count to 10.

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  • This is not a conversation about the President, racism, or politics...it's a conversation about our King and our need for discernment, humility, and total trust and dependence on Him. That is where my focus is. Be well and put Christ first.

    Jesus us Lord of All! Sola Christus!

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  • [...] Horton sounds a similar note in, Fear Not Little Flock: The Kings Promise Presidents Cant Match: &there is fear and there is responsible concern. Christians are called to be faithful in [...]

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