Bruce Ashford, an author and the provost of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina, believes that contemporary Christians find themselves living in an evolved culture — one in which their biblical values are no longer heralded.
“For the first time in history evangelicals’ views especially on morality are being viewed as not only morally inferior, but really morally bad and reprehensible,” Ashford told The Church Boys podcast.
The academic, who recently co-authored the book, ”One Nation Under God: A Christian Hope for American Politics” alongside Chris Pappalardo, discussed a variety of issues, including his belief that Christians are called to be involved in the political process and his warning about how citizens — and Christians, in particular — should view politicians.
“Your hopes are always going to be dashed if you view any politician as a Messiah or savior,” he said.
Listen to Ashford discuss balancing the gospel with modern-day politics below:
Ashford noted that Christians today have responded to the current cultural dynamic in a variety of ways, including by withdrawing from the public square or even coming to view the political system as a Messiah of sorts that can solve any and every problem.
He also warned that people on all sides of the political spectrum should be careful not to “demonize other human beings,” noting that he personally disagrees with most of President Barack Obama’s actions, but rejects mistreatment of any politician based on political persuasion.
“For a Christian, the only person who we are truly and fully against is a spirit … Satan himself,” Ashford said. “So, I am not fully and completely at war with any human being and there’s no human being who’s fully and completely evil.”
He discussed how some on the left saw George W. Bush as an antichrist of sorts, while viewing Obama as a savior, while noting that others previously saw Bush as a savior and are currently demonizing Obama.
Regardless, Ashford said that he rejects any attempts to “make a demon out” of individual politicians. And considering the current presidential race — one in which many critics believe that angry rhetoric has taken an unhelpful seat at the electoral table — Ashford urged restraint.
“[I'd encourage people] not to vote out of blind anger and really ask the question, ‘Which man can step into this office with wisdom, and dignity, and strength and the appropriate amount of humility — and really lead our nation during a very troubled time.”
In ”One Nation Under God,” Ashford and Pappalardo pledge to “equip the reader to apply Christianity to politics with both grace and truth, with both boldness and humility.” Find out more about the book here.
Editor’s note: The author of this piece is a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.