January 27, 2021

Kinnon, Armstrong, Moore: Pre-election Thoughts

Some good things out there as we approach the end of this exhausting, frustrating election cycle.

Bill Kinnon launches off of some thoughts about the success of Fireproof as compared to the dismal performance of Amazing Grace, and makes some dead on true observations about evangelicals and the “We Need A Change” mantra.

Bill references John Armstrong’s fine writing on “Patriotic Grace.”

I like Russ Moore. He’d make a good president at Southern Seminary. But until he is, you should read his excellent thoughts at the Henry Institute, where his columns and sermons appear. He preached one of the best sermons I’ve heard this year on “Why Jesus Is A Single Issue Voter,” with excellent applications paralleling the current business with previous evangelical blind spots on human life issues. The sermon is also transcripted at the same site.

The Guardian has a video report on the mood among U.S. evangelicals who are pondering defeat.

Election discussion is welcome, but I’m actively moderating.


  1. apparently i’m out of the christian entertainment loop (oh darn) because i’ve never heard of the movie fireproof. i watched the trailer and noticed that it was made by the same people as facing the giants.

    i will go ahead and admit that i’m slightly biased in my view of the movie as a georgia tech alumnus and the movie had a surprise appearance by university of georgia’s football coach mark richt, who is a devote christian man.

    but as bill kinnon keenly noted “they started with a solution and then worked backwards”. my biggest qualm with the movie was the fact that everything worked out perfectly in the end, all because they had enough faith in God. apparently this one is similar.

  2. You’ve got to hand it to the RCC. They Know where they stand and get the word out. That takes courage of conviction and a sense of purpose. Wouldn’t you think the SBC would send Russ Moore’s sermon outline out in a blanket email? Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. No matter who wins the election I will remember that the SBC wasn’t even in the fight.

  3. Alan (not + Alan) says

    That video is truly frightening. It’s bad enough they were holding this GOP convention in a church but the rhetoric spoken and questions asked was alarming. A Muslim country? Hypnotism?

    And the pastor tossing out “We are in a position of weakness now because we haven’t had a strong candidate running” or that the core values of evangelicals and the conservative base are “competition and free enterprise.” Seriously? Those are the core values of being a Christian?

    Do people forget we worship GOD? You know, the creator of EVERYTHING? The Beginning and the End?

    We so desperately need change. Change from our sinful pride and arrogance and this evangelical culture of ME, ME, Me to a focus of humility and Jesus.

  4. Amazing Grace failed because it was so poorly and inaccurately advertized. Remember how it went? “Amazing Grace, you know the song, now find out the story behind it.” I went there thinking I was going to see a movie on the life of John Newton. After 20 minutes I finally figured out it was going to be Wilberforce’s movie. That ruined it for me.

  5. While we have to say that we don’t know how accurate a representation this video is of what went on in that church, the pastor’s quote at the end of it is very disconcerting indeed. If support for “competition and free enterprise” is indeed how (some) evangelicals define themselves I will join the iMonk in calling myself a post-evangelical.

    I am encouraged by the short comment in the video that we don’t have to be frightened by anything that may happen after Nov 5 because He who is in us is greater than he that is in the world (that was the gist of it), and I am also encouraged by John Armstrong’s piece.

    And of course Russell Moore’s sermon on Joseph should be required listening for all Evangelicals, not just in America.

  6. The video is interesting, although it must be noted that the guardian is an unashamedly left-leaning publication. While that’s not bad in and of itself, it does mean the excercise of adding a little salt to what they report is not unworthwhile.

    I’d love to know where the impression that the UK and France are being ‘taken over’ by ‘the muslims’. I live in the UK. Nobody is, or has ‘taken over’ lately. As far as I am aware the last people to ‘take over’ were the protestants 😉

  7. I’m over the moon that Obama’s likely going to win!

  8. Michael Dee Smith says

    We who are CHURCH are called to be distinct from others in no way other than whom it is we claim to follow and proclaim. If we behave as though God depends upon a particular political party or presidential candidate to rule, we are seen by the world as imposters, and those who judge us judge us well.

    I’ve never been so torn by a presidential election as I have been by this one. It is testing and confronting me with both past and present sins of idolatry. If I cannot follow after both Mammon and Christ, if to follow one is to leave the other behind, what of politics?

    This is not to say following Christ has no connection to politics. It has everything to do with it, for it shines the brightest of lights on the question of who can justifiably claim the power to rule over us. There is only One, and all the others are imposters. When we make too much issue of this or that candidate, what are we saying about Christ? What does it say about Him to others? What does it say about our hearts?


  9. Excellent, excellent sermon by Moore. He makes a very good biblical case for life, and I think has good insights into the spiritual motivations behind the Choice side. (By the way, I think it’s “Joseph is a one-issue voter”, not “Jesus”…)

    The “Amazing Grace” movie was excellent, but JCL is right– I remember being confused for a long time while watching it, expecting the Newton story to come to the forefront– and it never really did. What, did the promoters think that it would sell the product better by making up a fictitious popular-song-backstory link, than advertising it as the Story About How Slavery Ended in England? Now, that probably would have gotten non-evangelicals into the theater.

    This election cycle has been affecting me worse than any I can remember, physically. Every time I think about it, my stomach gets sick. I need to take to heart the fact that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world, nor is my citizenship…

  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Fireproof = Facing the Giants II?
    Or at least made to the exact same formula?
    Welcome to CHRISTIAN (TM) moviemaking, scratching all those itching ears.

    That video is truly frightening. It’s bad enough they were holding this GOP convention in a church but the rhetoric spoken and questions asked was alarming. A Muslim country? Hypnotism? Alan Not +Alan

    I’m not surprised. Not after the live-action South Park that’s been going on and growing for the past year. Don’t you know We’re Living In The End Times (TM) and Obama IS The Antichrist (TM)? (Snopes.com even put up a special page on that new Urban Legend.)

    Morning drive-time radio starts each morning with “X Days Left Until IT’S FINALLY OVER!” followed with reading off the political hate mail they’ve gotten in the past 24. And some of that hate mail sounds like its forwarded from Art Bell’s phone lines at 3 Ayem. (Which I’ve stopped listening to for my local weirdness fix; it’s gotten too weird.)

    My writing partner (a burned-out country pastor) is running his “Don’t Go Stupid On Me” sermons every Sunday. His area’s Christian response to this election insanity is “put on the white robes and go up to the hilltops so you don’t have as far to go when (not if) you’re Raptured.” Thank you, John Nelson Darby. And Hal Lindsay. And Edgar Whisenhaunt. And Rayford Steele LaHaye & Cameron “Buck” Jenkins…

    (No wonder so many fanboys flock to Obama as Messiah; he’s the only one preaching Hope (TM).)

    And thank you Ayn Rand, for all your cultists jamming the blogs with “Who Is John Galt?”, and/or signing themselves “I Am John Galt”, and/or lecturing us sheeple how the latest headline fulfills Atlas Shrugged, Chapter XXX, Pages YYY-ZZZ. (Yes, literally quoting chapter-and-verse; A stopped equalling A somewhere along the line.)

    My old college roomie lost it after the 2006 elections, emailing me “THE COMING ONE-WORLD GOVERNMENT IS HERE!” in 24-point boldface caps, with an accompanying rant about the UN and how he was now spending all his time “Studying Scripture and Waiting”. I am glad I’m no longer in contact with him, given how the 2008 election is shaping up; I don’t think my brain could handle the resulting End Times Insanity.

    Between the Left Behind fanboys, John Galt Celebrity Impersonators, and Survivalist Retreads coming out of the woodwork to lecture me on Politics Politics Politics Politics Politics, I understand why so many Soviet-era Russians were alcoholics.

    P.S. When your financial planner starts out a consultation with “You know we ARE living in The End Times…” and/or his financial advice starts consisting of offering to pray with you, things have gone seriously wrong.

    And a favorite quote of my writing partner, from one of the Desert Fathers:

    “There will come a day when men will go mad. And they will lay hands on the sane among them, saying ‘You are not like us! You must be mad!'”

  11. I’ll have to defend _Fireproof_. I watched it with my wife a couple of weeks ago, and the lesson seems to go deeper than _Facing the Giants_.

    Without spoiling the plot too much, you’ll see someone change his life kicking and screaming. He doesn’t want to change; he see no reason to change, because everyone thinks he’s a hero – except his wife. Then, when he realizes the necessity of reform and decides to do something to save his marriage, he finds his wife has suffered far too much to accept the new “him.” Like reality, there’s no guarantee that she’ll give him another chance. We’ve all seen this before; chances are, in some way or other, it’s our story at some point in life.

    As for the election writing, I’ll agree with Noonan about the need for “patriotic grace.” One of my church members has decided to vote Libertarian simply because she’s disgusted with both parties. Personally, I think the animosity on a national level accelerated with the concentration of power in D.C. during the last decades of the 20th century. Of course, as someone pointed out somewhere else, American voters have consistently voted for a larger national government, whether I like it or not.

    The Gospel lectionary reading 2 weeks ago came from Matthew 22, “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” One of my church members complained after the sermon, “I kept waiting for you to tell me who you were voting for, but you never did.” Instead, she heard me tell the congregation to pray for the victor, regardless of the party.

  12. my little church is pretty diverse. If I gave a sermon that in any way seemed to favor McCain it wouldn’t be. I know, I asked. I Can’t wait for this to be over. A pro life sermon, right now, would be a pro GOP sermon. I guess i will just stick to serial exogesis. It took years to get spiritual unity, I pray we still have it in a couple weeks.

  13. Moore’s sermon brought me to tears. Though I voted for McCain anyway, I had bought into the idea that abortion wasn’t really an issue in this campaign because Obama’s policies would (will?) probably not increase the number of abortions… but more than the voting/political issue, the sermon confirms God’s call on my life to PERSONALLY care for the orphans and widows. Thank you for sharing the link.

  14. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Those who stand for nothing will fall for anything. No matter who wins the election I will remember that the SBC wasn’t even in the fight.

    Oh, but the Baptists ARE standing for something!

    I’ve been reading Onward, Forward, Toward (formerly Totem to Temple) as long as I’ve been reading Internet Monk. One of the longstanding themes there is when the GOP is in the White House, Evangelicals go for Triumphalism and Dominionism (“Now we can finally MAKE America a REAL Christian Nation!”), and when the Dems are in the White House, they retreat into Uber-Holiness and Grinning Apocalyptism (“End Time Prophecy! The End Is Nigh! Don’t Be Left Behind! I have my survival bunker stocked with Seven Years’ worth of freeze-dried food and mattresses full of gold ingots and barter goods — do you?”).

    P.S. Only two more days and all the knock-down-drag-outs about Halloween will be over for another year. Two more days and all the Hell Houses, Judgment Houses, Tribulation Trails, and Church Harvest Festivals will shut down until next October.

  15. It is all fine and well to try to slow the prophecies of the end times by voting and choosing sides, but at the end of the day Satan WILL rise up and control someone in power who will bring what we as mere men and women call “peace” to the world. We, as children of a loving and Holy Father with a Savior as powerful as Jesus, must urgently seek to disciple those who do not yet know Him as their Savior. A woman will not desire an abortion if she follows God. Men and women will not desire those of the same sex if they have acccepted the Word of the Lord, and make it their own. If we are evangelical, than we need to start evangelizing. Start now. Who do you know who needs Jesus? Tell them!!

  16. Simon, C

    I appreciate your sentiments, but I think that they are optimist, if not a bit unrealistic.

    One of the holiest men that I know struggles to this day with being attracted to other men. He never gave in, so he did not sin in that way.

    What happens when someone tries to follow God, and fails. What is your response to them?

    Is it with love and mercy, or with the oft used hurtful comment, “You must not have really believed?”

  17. LOL – Headless Unicorn’s first post. From Left Behind to Ayn Rand. Very funny. It does all sound pretty nuts, yessiree. Reminds me of the scene in Contact when Dr. Arroway is driving back to the VLA after the outer space message is announced to the public.

  18. I meant to say Unicorn’s first comment.

  19. Anna, I would like to pray for your friend that he may be able to gain insight to his past experiences. Even those that may not have been by his own choice, but thrust upon him by some one stuck in their own sinful ways, and then seek healing for anything that needs to be healed, and forgiveness for his sins. Jesus healed many. Forgave all. I would never say that a person did not truely believe, for who am I? Only God knows a man’s heart. God can, and will set each person, who seeks Him with all their heart, free from the bondage of sin. In my own life, I know I can always be doing more to obey God, serve others and love unconditionally. Maybe your friend can as well. Remember, God has the power. The Holy Spirit living in me confirms it.


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