November 9, 2016
Dear Biola Community,
Paula and I stayed up last night like many Americans, awaiting the election results for the President of the United States. It seemed to be the culmination of an interminably long and harsh political season.
During the course of this campaign I have shared with our students that Biola University strives to model for them the truth of God’s Word and the lordship of Christ over all we do and are. I have challenged them that the cross and the authority of Scripture call them to live out the virtues of patience, forgiveness, goodness, kindness, self-control, faithfulness, humility and grace. I have told them how much I longed to see more of these God-authored virtues on the campaign trail, and I exhorted them to commit to being a generation known by the fruit of the Spirit.
This morning as I draft this letter I am reflecting on the Bible’s words that we as God’s people are to be “a holy nation.” Our identity as Christians should transcend our national identity. In this passage Peter—inspired by the Holy Spirit—also calls believers to submit to and honor human institutions, including governors and emperors. We do this regardless of who is elected president.
I know some within our community are experiencing disappointment and even fear while others are rejoicing. In this sensitive moment we are to bear with one another in love. Above all, we must continue as a community abiding in truth, abounding with grace and compelled by Christ’s love to be a relevant and redemptive voice in a changing world.
I prayed last night and early this morning for Donald J. Trump, our president-elect. I prayed for his leadership, his agenda, his counselors, his decisions, his heart. I prayed that he will become known as a president who leads this nation toward unity and better days. I prayed for our profound freedom as a nation to be able to live out our deeply held religious convictions. I prayed that at the end of a long and increasingly divisive campaign, we as Americans would find common ground amidst our differences. I prayed that the Spirit of the Living God would mend breaches and renew our faith and that we as followers of Jesus would be the couriers of grace for many who seem so graceless right now. I prayed for our witness to the world, a world that is watching us closer than ever before.
I prayed for us as the Biola community that we would be agents of healing. I prayed for students and members of our faculty and staff who are experiencing confusion and disappointment right now. I prayed that we would encourage these sisters and brothers in love. I prayed that the faithful people of God would not lose their salt-and-light calling. I prayed that we would not buy into pervasive despair and disunity. I prayed that Biola University could in God’s mercy be a university that would lead in this season of reflection and moving forward in unity. We need to see all that is happening as an opportunity to spread the gospel. God has promised to purify the church, and I pray this extraordinary political event is God’s way of advancing the kingdom.
In light of this election I would like to pray together, as the Biola community, Thursday morning at 9:30 a.m. during the chapel time in Calvary Chapel. Please join me at that time as we pray for our leaders, our unity, a God-honoring way forward and God’s wisdom for the days ahead.
Today’s world needs models of conviction clothed in grace. We need to stand up for biblical truths that are now under siege or not understood, and I believe we can do this while also embodying the virtues of civility and humility.
Biola, this must be our posture going forward. We must be a people of hope and reconciliation. We must recommit ourselves to loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind, more confident than ever that our allegiance and our calling is to Jesus Christ, above all else.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
Barry H. Corey