When it comes to politics, it seems one can never be too clear in what one is saying. It seems many people either intentionally or unintentionally misunderstand things. You spell something out a dozen times, and they still get it quite wrong, for whatever reason.
Here I have in mind some of my recent musings on the Australian federal election. It seems that no matter how many times I seek to clarify things, explain things, and clear up misunderstandings, they come nonetheless. As I say, such misunderstandings may be deliberate, or I may just be doing a lousy job of communicating.
I would have thought that both in my recent writings, as well as my earlier ones, I have made it perfectly clear that in a fallen world no one political outcome will be perfect or fully in line with biblical ideals. Thus to write about the Labor win – and expressing my many concerns about it – is of course not to suggest that the opposite outcome would have made everything just rosy.
But my critics keep coming back, attacking me for things I never said. They are quite happy to set up straw men and shoot them down, not realising – or refusing to realise – that I never said half the things they claim I have said in the first place. So with all this unwarranted criticism, let me offer this article.
For what it is worth, I actually wrote this piece a week before the August 21 election. No prophetic insights here, or divine foreknowledge: just a quiet hope that this in fact would be the outcome. But that hoped for result did not eventuate, so I of course did not run with this article.
But given my many critics, it might be worth resurrecting this piece and printing it anyway. It will hopefully make clear just what I did, and do, think if the Coalition would have gotten into power. Here then is what I wrote a month ago, and would have posted had things gone a bit differently this week:
The Election Outcome
I believe that in response to massive amounts of prayer, Australia has been spared a Labor-Green government. I believe that we deserved such a government, but God was gracious and merciful, not giving us what we deserved – divine justice – but giving us what we needed – divine mercy.
Contrary to what some might think, I do not believe the kingdom has just come to earth with the Coalition victory. Nor do I think Tony Abbott is the messiah. Nor do I think all our problems will now disappear. Nor do I think we can now all relax and take a three-year holiday.
Am I pleased for the outcome? Absolutely: the alternative would have been disastrous for anyone who is passionate about pro-faith, pro-family and pro-life causes. I have written a number of articles outlining my concerns about a Labor-Green win.
So the worst of the parties have been defeated, and a relatively better coalition has gotten in. But this does not mean utopia has come to earth, or the millennium has now dawned in Australia. Scripture does not offer us the luxury of believing any one earthly government is going to come up with all the goods.
So in a sense, all this election has done has stalled the steady decline of Australia. The West – including Australia – seems to be continuing on a relentless push toward self-destruction as God is renounced and various non-Christian worldviews and belief systems predominate.
But such biblical realism is not meant to dampen some legitimate cause for rejoicing here. While the election of a conservative government will not usher in the Kingdom, it can result in at least holding back the tide in many areas, and at least slowing down the various downward trends.
It is even possible that some things can be turned around for the good. And that is nothing to sneeze at. If abortion can be reduced, if heterosexual marriage can be maintained, if the war against faith and family can be lessened, then these are all very real and valuable goods which we should all applaud.
So we will see how things unfold here. With a number of Greens in the Senate, it will be a rocky road ahead. But the truth remains that on so many different levels, a Coalition win is a tremendous relief compared to having the Labor-Green machine in power.
Lest I sound a bit too low-key here, make no mistake. I am in fact thrilled with the result, and really do believe it is a God-thing. I believe it is a miraculous outcome – one which was the direct result of tens of thousands of God’s people praying, fasting and seeking his face.
I really do think that this election result is nothing other than the absolute and undeserved mercy and grace of God. We really do not deserve this temporary reprieve in our downward fortunes. But we can all praise God for it. It is a special mercy indeed.
But as always, this is now just the beginning. Keeping the destructive Labor-Green machine out of office is just the first step. Now for some godly and wise governance. This will not be easy with the Greens in the Senate pushing their agenda, and with the usual opposition from the mainstream media.
Having said this, I am of course under no illusion that ultimately politics cannot save us. Nor can any political party. Nor can any political leader. In a fallen world the best thing we can hope for is some semblance of godly governance, with a minimum of corruption and incompetence.
Please pray for our new government (as we are exhorted to do in Scripture) and keep in touch with your local members. Get to know them, take them out for a coffee, and send them some encouragement from time to time – assuming they are doing the right thing! They certainly need our positive feedback and support.
Is it still possible that this election outcome is in fact in line with God’s bigger purposes? It may well be. God’s understanding of what is best for us is often different from our own understanding. Perhaps in the greater divine scheme of things, a Gillard win – for however long it may last – is part of God’s overall purposes.
Now is not the place to explore that rather deep and complex topic. But yes, I still believe that God is on the throne, and that his purposes will ultimately triumph. How things pan out in the coming months remain to be seen, but God has not vacated his throne, and he still is in ultimate charge of the affairs of men.