American politics cannot destroy the kingdom of God and should not leave Christians living in fear, said Southern Baptist leader Kevin Smith during a Nov. 8 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Whatever’s going on in the American culture around us, the Bible-believing Christian never runs around like Chicken Little,” said Smith, executive director of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware.
In his sermon, “Politics and the Passion of Christ,” Smith reminded Christians to take a clear stand to show their main identity and commitment is to Jesus Christ as Lord and King. Smith said his main text, John 19:1-16, shows how religious leaders in the midst of political uprising verbally claim that Caesar is their only king rather than declare allegiance to Jesus as Lord.
“Post-Pentecost, we should never fail to identify with or prioritize Christ the King,” Smith said. “I cannot express any loyalty to a lesser king that would cause me to compromise my loyalty to Christ the King. I can render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar, and I must render unto God that which belongs to God. And I can render unto Caesar a variety of things as long as those things don’t cause me to disobey or blaspheme God. … And there’s no way … I’m gonna advocate for a lesser king that is offensive to the majesty of my King.”
Too many people claim America will suffer this election, Smith said. But, if they were honest, they would admit they are mostly scared that they will suffer and life will change, he said.
John 19 shows how there are three choices Christians face with the election, Smith said. A proper perspective recognizes authority as coming from above, reflected in Christ’s response. In a warped perspective the fear of man rules over fear of God, which is Caesar’s response. And in the worst reaction, seen by those in verse 15, the chief priests and religious leaders claim no king but Caesar.
In light of Election Day, Smith stated that Christians have sought to align more with worldly leaders than with God, minimizing other people’s pain for personal gain.
“I know Christians, they’re pro-life but they minimize racism,” Smith said. “In case you don’t know it, out of this election season, black folk and Hispanic folk in the body of Christ ain’t feeling all that good. Because a lot of non-black folk and non-Hispanic folk have made it clear that for the sake of politics, your pain don’t matter right now. ... ‘But now tomorrow, let’s be Great Commission Baptists.’ We can’t really think that really, really works. We can’t really, really, really think that glorifies God.”
No matter the results of this election or future elections to come, Smith said that the saints continually proclaim “that all of creation right now is sustained by the power of his Word.”
“On the worst day, we have a King who reigns supreme.”
Prior to his call as the BCMD executive director in June, Smith served as assistant professor of preaching at Southern Seminary and teaching pastor at Highview Baptist Church in Louisville. In November 2015, Smith was the first African-American elected as president of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.
Audio and video of Smith’s chapel message are available at sbts.edu/resources.