I am America’s newest celebrity. I make daily appearances across countless television networks, and I dominate the news media coverage from dawn to dusk. No matter where you turn, people are talking about me with incredible passion and emotion—from the lavish boardrooms of the biggest Fortune 500 companies to the smallest coffee shops tucked away in rural towns.
Everywhere I look, I am the lead story, the headline, the main attraction. Donald Trump lauds me in speeches. Ted Cruz courts me at rallies. Marco Rubio promises to be my best friend.
Who am I? I am an evangelical.
Now before you criticize or condemn me for my prominent role in this year’s presidential election cycle, perhaps you should get to know me first. The first thing I want you to know about me is that I am much more than a voting demographic or a percentage on a Fox News graphic. I am a real person, and my beliefs run far deeper than the platforms of political parties or the speeches of presidential candidates.
The word “evangelical” actually comes from the old English word “evangel,” which means “good news” or “gospel.” This “good news” is found in the pages of the Bible, where God revealed that the solution to our sin problem was provided through the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ.
The greatest news ever published is not that free health care is available to all, or that America’s borders are going to be secured from terrorists, but that God graciously grants eternal salvation to all those who look to Jesus Christ by faith, trusting in Him alone for salvation. This is my heartbeat as an evangelical.
As an evangelical, I am not interested in turning America into a theocracy. I have no desire to replace the Bill of Rights or the Constitution with the ancient laws of the Old Testament. I do not anticipate that a new president or a new Congress will ever cure the moral and spiritual ills that presently plague our country.
Instead, I rest my enduring hope in the power of Jesus Christ to change people’s lives from the inside out. When people come to know Jesus Christ personally through the “good news,” their lives are completely transformed in a way that human governments can never match. Changed individuals eventually lead to changed families, cities, states and nations.
As a proud patriot, I look forward to voting this November, but as an evangelical I do so remembering that my ultimate hope is not in my favorite candidate, but in my savior Jesus Christ.
I am adjusting well to my newfound celebrity status, so do not be shy when you see me around Greater Hazleton. Let’s share a smile and a handshake. I would love to talk with you about the country, the candidates, and the confident hope that I have in Jesus Christ.
Just don’t ask for an autograph.
Ryan Day is pastor of Grace Baptist Church, Hazleton, Pa. This letter to the editor first appeared in the Hazleton Standard Speaker. Reprinted by permission.