About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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I was raised in the 1950/60's by Christian parents who assisted in planting our local Free Methodist Church.  It is my impression that mom and dad's generation of Methodists rejected participating in the political process.  Other than voting, such involvement was worldly.  My thoughts on such issues began to be formed in 1970.  It was then I embarked on a life-long search for Biblical truth that has formed the conviction whereby I live, a conviction my Methodist heritage and I both value.    


A couple years after attending Bible college in upstate New York in the mid 1970's my wife and I moved to Vienna, Virginia, a Washington DC suburb.  Sorry dad, but it didn't take me long before I was baptized into American style politics.  It's difficult to avoid in DC.       


We moved south to Richmond, Virginia, known back then, but probably not now, as the Capital of the Confederate South.  I became situated geographically right between the two main leaders of the emerging Conservative Christian Right.  Jerry Falwell, president of Liberty University was in Lynchburg.  Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network was in Virginia Beach.  With their influence and our visits to both sites, how could I not have been immersed into their brand of political conservatism? 


It was in Richmond where I joined the fight to defend America from the left-leaning Democrats, all along hoping to restore the nation to what I then believed was America's Christian roots.  I became a canvassing coordinator for our local Republican congressional candidate in the 1982 mid-term election.  Of course, being Canadian I couldn't vote, but who cared?  The battle needed soldiers, and nationality didn't matter.     


After our return to Canada in 1984, I joined the now defunct Christian Heritage Party.  In 1987 my political path encountered what I believe was a divinely placed political pothole.  I had the privilege to ask Ern Baxter, a well-respected Bible teacher, what he thought about Pat Robertson's run for the American presidency.  His one-sentence answer was politically profound.  He told me that if Pat Robertson becomes president of the United States he will have demoted himself from being a preacher of the gospel.  That did it for me.  Matthew 28:19 and 20 became clearer to me than ever.  After Jesus said that He was the ultimate universal authority, He commanded His disciples, including us, by saying: 


"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations [Greek ethnicities], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."


Jesus didn't command us to baptize a nation, making it a disciple.  A nation can't be a disciple.  He commanded us to make people from all ethnicities His disciples.  We do that via the life-changing power of the proclaimed gospel, something political activism can never do.    


Here we are in October, 2023, seeing what I never imagined when I joined the fight in 1980.  Here we are, a long way from President Bush's 1990 aspiration of a "kinder gentler America."  Here we are with a fractured Republican party, twenty two days of a broken congress, a divided America, a chopped up Canada, and sad to say, an Evangelical church that appears to have lost its divine calling.  Here we are, at the opposite end of the political spectrum in which many of us were raised.  Where do we go from here?  With humble and genuine repentance we search for the Biblical balance between two political extremes, and as we do, we obey Jesus' command by making disciples for Him from all ethnicities.


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