Throughout this raucous political season, evangelicals have been known more for whom we might elect than for being citizens of the kingdom of heaven. High-profile evangelical and charismatic leaders have expressed unheard of levels of enthusiasm for a man known for being a casino owner, a serial adulterer, liar, and business fraud. Other evangelicals, hopeful for economic transformation in an unequal society, stand bewildered at the choice between an unscrupulous billionaire and a politician who takes six figures from Wall Street for 30-minute speeches.
Polls regularly show the two leading candidates are among the most disliked nominees in recent memory. Meanwhile, we are repeatedly told (for how many elections in a row?) that this is the most important election of our lifetime, and that it will determine the course of our nation. Even those of us who are confident about whom to vote for may find ourselves staring into a bottomless chasm of despair when the election is over. If the vote doesn’t go our way, are we left with anything more than defeat and tears?
Looking for a King and a Kingdom
One evening some years back, one of my sons curled up in my lap while I reclined in my reading chair. As he scanned my book piles, his eyes fell upon the spine of N. T. Wright’s How God Became King. Wright argues that in the Gospels Jesus comes as the God of Israel in the flesh, showing back up among his people to establish his reign as he promised in the prophets. God’s gospel heralds could finally shout “your God reigns” (Isa. 52:7), for Yahweh was now revealed as “king over the whole earth” (Zech. 14:9).
“But I thought God has always been King?” my son said. It was a terrific observation. ...1
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