The 2020 Election is The Greatest Evangelical Test—And We're Failing It | Opinion

What does it take for evil to prevail?

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." The statesman-philosopher, Edmund Burke, knew that vigilance and action were indispensable to the survival of liberty.

Today, American freedom is more fragile than ever.

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, we just witnessed Governor Northam act in fear of his own constituency by declaring a state of emergency ahead of a peaceful rally that advocated for Second Amendment rights. To the disappointment of the elites and many media outlets, the day was a huge success and ended without incident. The assembled crowd proved themselves to be freedom-loving, patriotic Americans.

That is great for freedom. But let us be honest, the greater challenge in America will be a moral and religious test that confronts evangelical voter apathy.

It is no secret that with secular atheism on the rise, coupled with an ever-widening moral gap, Christians in America now face one of the greatest tests in 2020. As Biblical literacy and religious practice continues to fade into the American cultural backdrop, it's no coincidence that belief in government and the government's ability to create utopia is on the rise.

In December, President Trump announced that an estimated 25 million evangelicals in the United States are still not registered to vote. This is at a time when Christian action has never been more urgent than right now.

Every candidate in the field of Democratic contenders affirms some form of abortion on demand, infringement on free speech and religious liberty, infringement on gun rights, redefinition of sexuality and the family, restrictions on school choice, redistributive policies that includes higher taxes, restrictive market regulation and freedom, government run healthcare that also infringes on the rights of the church, supposedly free college tuition, and a behemoth government with legacy costs that near $100 trillion in tax bills to American citizens.

All the while, many Christian resources today are focused almost entirely on devotional living, few are actually equipping Christians to think Biblically, ethically and logically, about first principles for American freedom. This is why the Falkirk Center for Faith and Liberty, cofounded by Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Charlie Kirk, exists to help equip, educate and train Christians on issues facing culture and public policy.

Christians need to be committed to action.

God rebukes Moses for prayer with no action (Ex 14:15-16). James, the brother of Jesus, also states that "faith without deeds is dead" (Ja 2:15-17). The challenge for Evangelicals today is no different than in the early days of Israel or the early church.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the famed German pastor martyred during WWII, knew that faith required him to step beyond step out of the comfort and quiet pacifism of the Academy and to oppose the Nazi regime while facing certain death. William Wilberforce knew that abolishing the British slave trade meant more than prayer with no action; it required civic engagement, parliamentary tactics, and statecraft.

Tragically, Evangelicals today are getting a soft-serve version of Biblical truth with almost zero responsibility to participate in public life.

Political engagement is fashioned as cringeworthy and general apathy is praised as a morally superior virtue. There is a new crop of leaders that is devoting most of its time to posturing and pontification about a moral witness at the expense of public action and the Gospel witness.

In our present context, no Christian should be unaware of the great legal tests being applied to the image of God in every man, woman, and child—born and unborn. This has been true since Roe v. Wade in 1973 and it is one of the single greatest issues of our lifetime, with the abortion totals estimated at about 60 million. This fact alone is reason enough to awaken the support of 25 million evangelicals who are unregistered and unengaged.

Evangelicals are concerned citizens. We should never be misled into thinking we are free from that duty of voting. It is the animating principle behind all public policy. Candidates for public office interpret the outcome of every election as permission to implement the policies they ran on.

The greatest enemy of action in 2020 will be pride. It is the vain promise of personal righteousness at the expense public freedom. It is also the fool's high-horse, falsely reassuring a belief that all politics is merely a distraction and has no lasting consequence in the real world.

The greatest Evangelical test is upon us.

When Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor, he did not mean in words or thoughts only, but in deeds and action. It is impossible to think that we can serve God or love our neighbor without properly stewarding the one responsibility we have in shaping the policies and laws that have direct impact on all their lives.

Our role as Christians is not to be a people of words, but action. Vote.

Ryan Helfenbein is the Vice President of Communications and Public Engagement at Liberty University and Executive Director of the Falkirk Center for Faith & Liberty.

The views expressed in this article are the author's own.​​​​​

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