“If you vote for a pro-abortion candidate for personal reasons (like economics) that are not more weighty than justice concerns (the wholesale destruction of children), then you are doing something profoundly un-Christian. If this happens often enough, you are either not a Christian or your Christianity completely fails to inform your political life. One wonders if it informs any other aspect of your life as well, and if it doesn’t, then by what right do you call yourself a Christian?” ~ Gregory Koukl
So, who do you vote for then, when both candidates support abortion, you earn less than you did five years ago, have children to support and a family to provide for and are losing your house because of failed economic policies? Or do we vote? As Christians, how do we interact with “the world” system—how does the body of Christ interact with the body politic without becoming stained and tainted in the process? Is this even possible?
I copied that quote above (from Gregory Koukl) from another blog post I read recently, and I intend to write a little bit about statements like this as well as many emails I’ve received over the last few months leading up to this election. I am not here to endorse either candidate, and quite frankly I don’t care who you vote for. But I would like to address a matter of concern that has been pressing upon me and share my thoughts with whoever might be interested.
Over the last couple of months, I have received countless emails and read countless blog posts—some from respectable evangelicals and others from less reputable sources—decrying the character of Barack Obama. Almost all of them contain some deception, distortion, and more than a little bit of fear-mongering. The issue for me, however, is not the person and character of Barack Obama. I fully trust in God’s sovereignty, and I know that whoever is elected to office in the coming weeks will be as much a selection of God as an election of the people.
The issue for me is the character of the Christian—those of us in the Body—and my concern is this: Why are we so willing to compromise our principles and so quick to adopt the strategies of our enemy? Is this not the very tactic that the serpent used in the Garden, deceiving the man and the woman with half-truths and enticing them so that by the corruption of their hearts sin entered into the world? Should we be so quick to follow that lead, or as followers of Christ, should we take a different path? Twisting the truth to manipulate people to do our bidding might be the way of this world (or, this present evil age, as Paul has put it), but I would attest that it is not the way of Christ and it is patently un-Christian. My Savior did offend many people, but He spoke truth. In fact, he called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and I believe to worship Him is to love and worship the Truth. Jesus did not and does not offend as a result of a deception or concealment of the truth, but because of the revelation and conviction that the truth in Him brings. The truth He spoke revealed the evil in men’s hearts to the point that they cried out for His blood.
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
Now I will admit my ignorance up front. I do not know much about Barack Obama, nor about John McCain. I do not watch the news or follow the media coverage; in fact I rather detest the television to be quite honest. I am not big on politics, either. I prefer the Bible and a good commentary to all that. I would prefer to know my Savior more intimately than either of the two men running for office because I don’t plan on spending eternity with Barack Obama or John McCain, but with Jesus Christ.
Now having said that, I do not think Barack Obama is a Muslim or a socialist. I do think that he is black. As a person, he seems genuine enough, as does John McCain. I can’t say I like Obama’s stance on abortion, but I will address the problem of abortion in my next post. I will say this, though. John McCain is only slightly more restrictive in his practical philosophy on abortion than Barack Obama, which made him rather unpopular I think when he ran against George W. Bush for the Republican candidacy back in 2000. He, like Barack Obama, claims to be a Christian. I read somewhere that Senator McCain considers faith to be a private matter, and he prefers not to talk about it openly in a public manner. I recently heard an excellent sermon that took that position to task, and it is clearly stated in Scripture (Matthew 10:32-33, Luke 9:26, and Romans 10:9-10 are just a few examples) that we are to confess Christ publicly.
It is not my intention to criticize Senator McCain, and lest I be misunderstood, let me say I admire this man and appreciate his service to this country. I am not trying to call his faith or his character into question. My point is that we evangelicals are often far too quick and eager to forgive (and dare I say ‘justify’) those candidates who we’re subtly (or not so subtly) urged to support and align ourselves with, while viciously attacking with all the tactics of the enemy those we’ve been encouraged to oppose. The problem is not that either one of these men are terribly wicked people. Neither one of them is going to lead us into heaven or take us straight to hell. I honestly believe that they are both men who desire what’s best for the men, women, and children who live in this country. I also believe that they are both, like me, sinners.
But the real issue, I think, is that the church needs to quit committing adultery with the government; her heart should belong to God. To be quite honest, I do not think either party (or either party’s candidate) really represents my faith in the righteousness of Christ. I think this love affair of religion with politics is especially bad for the children, and by that I mean the children of the Living God. I honestly don’t care who wins the election, but I’m tired of seeing so-called Christians mindlessly following political party leaders as if they could (or should) be our shepherds. Personally, I am not looking to Washington–where people who are driven by their love of money attempt to make decisions to satisfy their own self-interests–to solve the problem of sin in our society. There is only one place to go for that, and that is Christ. People are sinners, and we live in a selfish, sinful society. That’s just the truth of the matter. There are more people who love and hold on to their sins than to the promises of God and, my friends, I am afraid it has always been that way. I don’t imagine we are too different from the Israelites who, in their sins and selfishness, stoned the prophets, preferring instead people who told them things they want to hear with no regard for truth. Let us practice some discernment and distinguish between the voices we hear in the kingdom of men, and that which we hear from the Kingdom of God.
God is not going to save this nation through the election of a president. Isn’t it time we stopped acting like He will? God will continue to save His people by election as He so chooses through the person and divine revelation of His Son. This is the same manner He has always worked, and to believe that it is up to us (our vote, our effort, our involvement, or whatever) is to deny the absolute sovereignty of God.
A call to Christians–please take to heart the words of John:
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17)
Jesus did not come to overthrow a government, but to establish a Kingdom no man-made system could ever touch or tarnish. Put your treasure there, and trust in Christ lest you continually disappoint yourself by the hopes of men.
Regardless of who you vote for, or who wins this election, I pray that this nation of ours would repent and look to Christ instead of corruptible men for leadership. I pray that we would ALL begin to honor and glorify God, to love Him with all of our hearts, all of our souls and all of our strength; and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. I pray that we would be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. That we would die to ourselves and live in Christ. And to stop looking to our government to either fix or blame for all our problems. Our government gives us some liberties we ought to value and protect. But it is overrun with the influence of those who love money, and the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. I pray that as individuals and as a society we will start to overcome that because I am afraid that we have become like the Israelites who, in their sin and their selfishness, stoned their prophets, turning instead to men who would tell them things they wanted to hear. I pray for repentance and I pray for forgiveness… for me, for you, and for our country. May the Lord hear these prayers as He directs His will in the affairs of men. In Jesus name, amen.
Peace & Blessings,