As many are beginning to speculate that conservatism as a movement may be dead, conservatives are starting to tally up the evidence of what they hope will mean a resurgence of their views. Everyone is watching the gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey as bell wethers for Congressional elections next year. So far, conservative candidates are leading their liberal opponents, and this gives conservatives a much-needed jolt of hope that the traditional cycle of political waxing and waning is beginning to turn in their favor.
Undoubtedly evangelical Christians - from all communions - are hoping for a conservative resurgence as well. But if there's one thing they should learn about conservative politicians, it's that they are politicians first and conservatives second. Which means that questions of power and continuity in office always trump those of social policies. At best, conservative politicians have been a finger in the dike against the liberal moral flood that's trying to inundate the nation. It will take more than conservative office-holders and judges to roll back the steady, forward march of liberal and libertine morality.
It will take Christians seeking the Lord for revival and learning how to stand firmly on the Word of God, without compromise or apology, in the stances and demands they make in the public square. We must not be afraid to say, "This is what the Lord says" when it comes to our preferred objectives. Only the Word of God is living and active and able to penetrate the souls of men; mere reason and political finessing won't change the heart of the nation. We've tried for a generation now to make nice with our conservative allies and not to be "too Biblical" in our demands. That, of course, hasn't worked.
We need a more prophetic presence, one that is both lived and spoken, in the public square of this country. But before we can do that we'll have to get back to the Word ourselves and study it intensely to discover what it teaches on matters of public policy, to make it our daily essential spiritual food, and to use it in pleading with God to come and revive us. As the next cycle of political change begins, let the Christian community strike a more Biblically distinct posture to both parties, and the let the Word of God do what it will.
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