After election: The Christian response

EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Gaines is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of the Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church. See a second article by SBC Executive Committee President Frank S. Page below this article.

Steve Gaines
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (BP) -- Today Americans have a new president -- Donald J. Trump. As Christians, it is Scripturally incumbent upon us to pray for him and for all our political leaders (cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-2). It is also mandatory for us to honor all people, even those with whom we disagree (cf. 1 Peter 2:17).

If we disagree with someone's opinions, we must do so without attacking the person. There has been far too much inflammatory rhetoric coming from Christian leaders throughout this election. That kind of speech is divisive, ungodly, uncalled for, and sinful. May we heed Paul's warning when he said, "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29). May we also sincerely pray the prayer of the Psalmist who said, "Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3).

Our nation's greatest need is for Christians to repent and return to Jesus. May we as Southern Baptists lead the way by praying like it matters, sharing Jesus like it matters, making disciples like it matters, giving like it matters, loving like it matters, and preaching the Gospel like it matters. These disciplines are things all followers of Jesus Christ should be able to agree on.

My prayer is that Southern Baptists will lead the way for another Great Awakening among God's people in America and around the world. May we repent of our sins, walk in humility and love lost people enough to tell them what the Bible says about Jesus, seeking to win them to Him.

May we be responsible and mature in our comments on social media posts, blogs and articles. The world is watching us. May they see Jesus in us.

Great days can be ahead if the Lord blesses us. He only blesses people that pray. Let us pray until His face shines on us afresh and His presence fills to overflowing both us and all the brothers and sisters in our congregations.

See additional article from Franks S. Page below.

What now?

By Frank S. Page

Frank S. Page
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Americans went to bed, if they went to bed at all, stunned with the news of last night's election. The same Americans woke this morning, if they slept at all, stunned with the news of last night's election. We now await the elite to tell us what happened and why Americans voted as they did. I am not among that group. And few would ask my analysis. But, I'm going to give it anyway!

Americans voted out of principle, but also out of pragmatism. This is the way it has always been. In a republic such as ours rarely, if ever, have believers been able to choose the perfect candidate. It was not so yesterday, and it will not be so in future elections. Millions of Baptists went to the polls and voted out of principles and also out of pragmatism. They wanted to vote for a candidate that might support cherished principles among believers. Ignoring the condescending verbiage from the moral elites, Baptists voted and voted in droves.

You can listen to what the moral elites tell us, but Christians still make a difference! Southern Baptists have not gone by the wayside when it comes to exercising our civic responsibility and our belief that some things still matter.

What happens now? We will pray for our new president. I pray every day for our current president and will do so for our new president as well.

We must remember the words of I Timothy 2:1 which says, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." We will pray for our newly elected leader. We will pray for him to follow the paths of righteousness. We will encourage and speak into his life as best we can.

Twice I have met him and shared with him that which I believe is important to evangelicals and Baptists in particular. I will continue to pray and encourage him:

-- to keep his word to provide religious liberty for all religions.

-- to protect the life of the unborn as well as the born.

-- to encourage him to protect marriage as being between a man and a woman.

-- to nominate Supreme Court judges who will protect the constitution and not input activist agendas.

During my daily Bible reading, I read the book of Ezekiel, chapter 20. Verse 19 states, "I am the Lord your God: Walk in My statutes, keep My judgements, and do them." I post a verse every morning on Twitter and Facebook which I claim is my "favorite verse." I did so again this morning and shared Ezekiel 20:19. This was true yesterday and today. We will continue to remember who God is. We will continue to follow His way.

Southern Baptists and evangelical Christians will continue to witness to the lost, minister to the hurting, shelter the dispossessed and displaced, be the first to react in times of national and local crisis, and continue to speak up for the way of the Lord!

There are many who like to analyze and 'funeralize' those who have stood for righteousness. Whether in the majority or not, conservative, Southern Baptist Christians will continue to remember that the Lord is the Lord and we are to do what He tells us to do.

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