The Messianic Paradigm of American Politics

Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.”
-Jeremiah 17:5

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The prophet Jeremiah is called by many “the weeping prophet.” He prophesied during one of the darkest days of Israelite history. Judah, the final remaining portion of a sovereign Israel, would soon be crushed under the powerful Babylonian army of Nebuchadnezzar who had been raised up by God as a hammer His of judgment because they had put their trust and hope in the power and schemes of men, rather than in Him (see Hab. 1:5-11). Jeremiah gave the nation their only hope of salvation, he prayed, “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise” -Jeremiah 17:14

The past 11 years of American politics have seen a dramatic change that though bore shades of familiarity in the past, have not been seen in the degree and manner that they do today. It is the product of what happens when sin is not taken seriously, but needing a Savior is. There is no doubt in my mind that people more than ever today recognize their need for a Savior, the problem however is that people don’t know what they need to be saved from. Thus the great search for the enemy and the rise of accusations has been launched with more fiery intensity than the puritanical zeal of the 15 and 16th century for searching out those accused of fellowship with the devil. Americans clearly see the heartbreak and devastation that exists in this world, and rather than recognizing such as the clear product of the fall of man and the rampant sinfulness that remains ever abundant, we turn to the blame game seeking and searching for our proverbial “anti-christ” to point our swords toward, and launch an all out battle against it, riding with those who choose to join our tribe to bring salvation from the coming armageddon.

This can be greatly seen in the eschatological fervor of the progressive left. For the progressive left, the anti-christ of white male industrialism has brought us to the brink of a cataclysmic event through “frightening” shifts in the global climate. It is preached that this cis-gender patriarchalism has oppressed all generations of minorities and women, and utilizes religion and the societal norms as a means of keeping these poor groups in chains. And behold they look for a savior who will stop this climate apocalypse from coming to pass and who will break them free from the oppressive fetters of that wicked dragon of white cis-gender patriarchalism, and once and for all save them from the fire of industrialization and oppression that pours from its jaws.  Then there is the other side who sees the above mentioned group as the “anti-christ” and thus too looks to someone who will save them from these progressive liberals. It is proclaimed by many in this tribe that though this savior can be crude, arrogant, and foolish, as long as he keeps us safe from those wicked progressives, he will have my vote and many will go so far as to even say he’s “God’s Candidate.” Though these groups are in total opposition both sides are in search for a savior who will finally free them and halt the coming apocalypse. Where is such a savior to be found? Enter American politics.

The president is no longer looked to as the leader of the country, who should embody the American ideals outlined in the constitution, serve humbly and honestly, be intellectually apt and morally sound. Rather, the political division and strife of this country has created a system whereby we no longer look for a leader, but rather we look for a messiah. A messiah who will save our selected tribe from that which we have deemed the “anti-christ” and be relentless in destroying our foe, ushering in a new humanity governed by the standards we have set as good and evil. If you think I am going too far with that description simply turn on the tv and listen to a presidential rally, debate, or town hall meeting. You will hear questions such as “how do you plan on protecting the globe from climate change,” or “how will you save our children in schools from shootings,” or “how will you ensure the end of racism and the bigotry and oppression towards minority groups,” or “how will you protect us from those illegals,” and perhaps “how will you make sure that our choices are never violated?” And as we cry out for their salvation, we have willingly surrendered more power to them, than was ever meant by the founding fathers.

Now please hear me, I am not saying that there is no place for political discourse or to try and develop policies in order to create the most just, safe and productive country possible. That is definitely a vision that should be cast forth by a president. The problem lies, however, in the fervor and zeal by which we put our hope and trust in these leaders. For here is the reality, the only hope for mankind is to have the human condition totally changed. No matter what policies or actions a leader proposes they will never be able to change human nature, especially when the root problem of human nature is no longer taken seriously. What is that problem, it is sin. Sin is the root of all problems. Sin is the reason why the creation groans with earthquakes, fires, and hurricanes. Sin is the reason why a kid takes a gun and shoots up his classmates. Sin is the reason why hunger exists, why cancer exists, why slavery exists (it still does in third world countries), and the only reason the degradation of the family and society exists is because of sin.  So unless these leaders can eradicate sin, they will never eradicate that which ails our country and our world. Yet they will continue to coerce us with illusions of grandeur of how if we just “believe in them with our votes, they will bring us the peace and hope we long for.” So we find ourselves rejoicing when our messiah wins, weeping over them win they lose, and seeking to dethrone the perceived “anti-christ” that then sits on the holy throne of the Oval Office that should belong to our desired party.

We are falling down a slippery slope as the politics of this country shifts more and more towards a messianic paradigm. It is true we all need a savior, but our greatest enemy doesn’t exist across political isles, it exists inside of us, in this growing cancer called sin of which we are all plagued with. This enemy causes us to hold tightly to our autonomy and shuts our ears to anything that might bring conviction, and fixes our eyes on our neighbor as the enemy and says they must be defeated. We all need a savior, but the savior you are looking for will never be in a presidential debate, he will never be giving a state of the union speech, and he will never sit in the Oval Office. The Messiah we need has already come, and he has conquered what no other leader ever could, he has conquered sin and death. Whether you are on the left or the right, the only hope you have in this life to know true salvation, to know true peace, to know true joy, to know true life, is to bow to the true Messiah, the true Savior, Jesus Christ. Your loudest cry in these days of turmoil, should not be “more gun control,” “Get rid of those liberals,” “we want free stuff,” “send them all away.” Our loudest cries should be that of Jeremiah’s, “Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed; save us, and we shall be saved.”

Only when your heart is at peace and your future taken care of because of your saving relationship with the one true Messiah Jesus Christ, will you no longer see your political opponents as the “beasts” of your eschatology, but as image bearers to be loved on, shared the gospel with, prayed for, and forgiven. Only then can you say with me, that no matter what happens in November of 2020, I will sleep very well because I know how the story ends, and the true Messiah has already won. So I sing, “It is well with my soul.”

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