My name is Ivan Thompson. I believe God has led me to write a book on one of the most controversial subjects in our nation right now. That subject is the role of the Church in healing our nation’s divisions along racial lines, as I believe that history is repeating itself.
Since the time of the Founding Fathers, matters of race have framed divisions in our nation. These issues have once again moved into the forefront— today, these issues are disguised as divisions along political lines, but at their root, they are divisions centered on matters of race. As such, they are heart issues. Who better to address heart issues in our nation than the Church? As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we believe that God has the power to change men’s hearts. Is change needed? I believe it is. I am 55, and I have seen division in our nation over the years, but nothing like this.
There’s a saying that says; there are two things you should never talk about, religion and politics; I talk about both in this book. If that wasn’t volatile enough, I have added in the subject of race. It’s not a book for Republicans or Democrats, but a book for people that claim the Lordship of Jesus Christ. That said, the book is primarily written for Christians who traditionally vote Republican.
Before you jump to conclusions, I am a Regent University graduate, and I voted for Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and McCain. I am an African-American who never voted for President Obama, primarily because of his views on abortion. I know that I may have lost many of my African-American readers in the last sentence. I risk this loss, only so that I can show that I qualify to write to the audience I intend to address.
I didn’t vote for Mitt Romney. I just left the presidential ballot blank. I felt that the Republican Party had distanced itself too far from its Christian support, now labeled the “Religious Right.” I felt that the Republican Party had become the party of economics and all things anti-Democrat.
That brings me to the last election. I felt trapped as many of you may have. I felt forced more than ever before, to choose between “The lesser of two evils.” For the first time, I believed that I could not merely leave the ballot blank and let things sort themselves out. For the first time, like Barbara Bush said before she died, I didn’t know if I could consider myself a Republican any longer because of the party’s nominee.
This book is not a book primarily about President Trump, though I do not hesitate to address him. This book is not written for Christians who merely voted to elect Donald Trump as our 45th President. I was just as torn as many others on this issue as I have always voted with a view toward Supreme Court justices, but in this case, I felt that the end did not justify the means.
I voted for Hillary Clinton, but this book was not written to exalt my choice to vote for Clinton, over someone who voted for Donald Trump. Before 2016, I could have never imagined myself voting for Hillary Clinton. When I voted for her, I couldn’t say, definitively, that she was the better choice.
This book will speak to what I believe is a blind spot for many Christians and Christian leaders who have chosen to look past the character and morals of our president while, wrongly, I believe, anointing him as chosen and ordained by God.
I believe this is so important because embracing President Trump as “chosen by God” sets up followers in the body of Christ to think that if God chose Donald Trump, that perhaps God wants to keep him in office for a second term. It serves up the erroneous notion that we don’t have, in all of America, another Republican candidate, who could run and win in 2020. A candidate with the character and morals that match our Christian views and is befitting of the office of the President of the United States. I believe the label chosen by God, could lull the Church into the position of not picking another leader who more consistently represents its values, before the field of candidates is narrowed to just two choices, “R” and “D.”
Though President Trump is a central figure in this discussion, the racial division in America, and the Church’s contribution to it, did not begin with Donald Trump’s candidacy. This division is, in fact, as old as the Founding Fathers.
The silence of the body of Christ or the willingness to ignore the Bible altogether in matters of race and politics has helped division thrive in our country for over two centuries. If the Church cannot face the truth about how issues of race have divided our nation, there is no hope for uniting the rest of America.
The Church must come to the conclusion that division, discord, and racism are grave sins that have wreaked havoc on our nation since its birth. The Church can no longer turn a blind eye to these sins to keep the “right” party in office or “to preserve other Christian values.” Choosing, and it is a choice, a leader who represents Christian values should not be viewed as an either-or, win-lose proposition. Meaning if we choose someone who truly reflects our beliefs, we will “lose the White House.”
Our current president is not the problem. He is only a symptom of the problem. He is merely the embodiment of a reflection of the hidden sentiments of the men and women who embrace him. I believe our current President was chosen by the free will of the people who voted for him and that President Trump was “allowed” by God to be in office in part to reveal the hidden thoughts of the hearts of millions.
I further believe that many Christian leaders are impaired by a blind spot that is causing them to miss what God is trying to reveal and address in the hearts of men and women in America. I believe that if these leaders remain in this blind spot, they will look past what God is trying to reveal and heal. They will continue to endorse and ascribe to God, the ills He is trying to expose and mend.
Finally, I believe that there will be a consequence for leading the body of Christ into failing the same tests on unity and race that previous generations have failed. I believe it will result in the mantle of our nation’s Christian leadership passing on to others.
The rest of this book is devoted to proving out these points not only in Scripture but in historical episode after episode where our nation has failed to pass tests, which are similar to the ones we are facing now.
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