What the US Presidential Election Teaches Us in Singapore

(Originally sent out as an article under Eagles' Simply Proclaim)

I’m writing this at a pivotal time in history. By the time you read this, Americans will have chosen their 45th President—and the course their country will take for many years to come.

We in Singapore are generally not Americans, but the United States’ role as a global power means that it will indeed affect us in some way. The Internet provides us with just as much ability to comment and be updated as they have.

So what does this have to do with preachers here in Singapore? How can local preachers engage meaningfully with this important event?

  1. Preach Jesus, not politicians.

    It’s no secret that this is one of the most divided electoral climates in US history—perhaps even more so than Singapore’s. American society is sharply polarized, and even if you are not living in the US, you may be prone to take sides and harbor your own hopes for your preferred candidate.

    Whatever the case, we are to keep Jesus’ rule front and center. Political leaders come and go, but His kingdom stands forever.

    Joshua’s experience near Jericho reminds us of where our allegiance really lies:

    Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (Joshua 5:13)

    “Neither,” the swordsman replied. “But as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come” (v. 14).

    Joshua’s question might well be: “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?” The Commander declared that he was on God’s side, carrying out His agenda—above and beyond our human divisions.

    That is why I believe that Christian preaching should be apolitical, regardless of where we ourselves stand politically. Preachers themselves should not take sides from the pulpit—because the pulpit is where we declare that Jesus is ultimately our Lord, and that He demands that we stand first and foremost at His side.

    This is a much-needed truth, and one to remember as we engage in political discussion. As Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch reminds his fellow Americans: “We should hold on to hope—not in a candidate, but in our Lord Jesus.” 1
  2. This is an opportunity for us to address economic and social issues.

    Like it or not, globalization is here to stay. The US presidential elections affect us deeply because Singapore lacks natural resources and is easily affected by global events. As such, we must build strong ties with friends in the international arena, especially the US and China.

    The election will thus have an effect on the global economy. We know that the candidates have different stands on certain social issues and their advocacy of these issues will have an impact on Singaporean society as well.

    We cannot be ignorant about the conditions we face, and Scripture is not irrelevant in addressing them. To ignore social issues is to tell our congregations that they have nothing to do with Christian living—when Jesus Himself tells us otherwise.
 
In conclusion, it’s far more important to be the salt and light of the world than to be on the ‘correct’ political side. In the process of spreading the gospel, we need to be able to deal with economic and social issues such as poverty, jobs and careers, marriage and divorce. People see our lives and deeds far more clearly than they do our political stances!

As we approach a watershed election and an all but certain economic downturn, we will not lack opportunities to address the issues of society in the pulpit, and encourage people to take concrete action to help those who are affected. That is what living out the gospel means.

How are you engaging with the US presidential election today? Share it with me. I read every email. 

1 Andy Crouch, “Speak Truth to Trump,” Christianity Today, last modified October 10, 2016, accessed November 8, 2016, at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/october-web-only/speak-truth-to-trump.html.

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