Thursday, December 13, 2007

How Then Shall We Vote?

It’s less than a month until the Iowa caucuses which begins the 2008 presidential election race. I’m sure many of you have followed the candidates, issues, debates and gaffes from the consistent coverage provided on blogs, newscasts, mags and newspapers. I’m not here to offer an endorsement (not that it would matter) but to offer some thoughts on politics in general and this election in particular.
I offer these thoughts because bible believing Christians are an influential and much sought after constituency for both parties. It seems unlikely that the eventual republican nominee will attain that position without significant support from conservative evangelicals who by the way are mainly white. Nor is it probable that the eventual democratic nominee will lead his or her parties ticket without the support of liberal bible believing Christians most of whom are African-Americans.

How then shall we vote? For many the answer to that question is concrete and clear even while it remains quite divisive. The vast majority of my conservative evangelical brothers, sisters, colleagues and friends are committed to voting for the republican nominee. On the flip side the vast majority of my liberal bible believing brothers, sisters, colleagues and friends are just as committed to voting for the democratic nominee. Both groups are convinced that biblical convictions are driving their decisions. How could one group of people that agree on some of the deepest issues involving eternity have such a divide on some of the most significant issues concerning life in this age? I suspect the reasons are many and perhaps I’ll have time to explore them in future posts.

For now I want to give you an idea of where I’m coming from and hopefully offer some helpful counsel regarding pursuing our witness through the murky waters of politics.
My initial thoughts on the role of politics and government are taken from Deut. 16:18-20

Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the LORD your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly. Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.
Those of us who wish to be guided by scripture with regards to our political decisions have to take this important passage into account.

This passage differs from those in the New Testament that address the issue of government in that it is not given in response to a question. Jesus, Paul and Peter responded to questions concerning how God’s people they were to live in the midst of ungodly governments. It seems that many believers today tend to confine what scripture says about government and politics to those texts alone. In my view however the Deuteronomy passage speaks more to God’s basic motivation for instituting government. God instituted government among His people to carry out biblical social justice. This justice was to be applied to great and small, rich and poor, native Hebrew and immigrant. Other passages indicate that God was particularly concerned with social justice for the poor and powerless (see Exod. 23:1-9, Psalm 82, Isa. 10:1-4 and take special note of Deut. 10:17-19).

How then shall we vote? I’m not entirely sure nor do I plan to encourage you to pick one candidate over another. And that isn’t even the most important aspect of this discussion. As I said before, bible believing Christians from various ethnicities, socio-economic groups and political parties will have a large say in who become the next President of the United States. The question is will that person ride the crest of bible waving support focused on pursuing justice and justice alone or simply use God’s people to pursue the narrow and selfish interest that seems so rampant in politics today?

To Him Who Loves Us…
Pastor Lance


Rodney in PA said...

Pastor Lance,
I agree with everything you said. I think that this passage is a good one for us to remember, we should also use it when we pray for those we seek to elect. But I do have a question. Dose it matter that this was theocracy and not democracy? I mean i still think this is food for thought and a good passage to keep in mind, but i wanted to know if u think it makes a difference in how we view this passage for present day application?
To God be the Glory,

Lionel Woods said...

I wrote briefly on this in the past Pastor Lance my perspective is mixed as for now. I like some of the moral values set forth in the Repbublican party and I like some of the social policies of the democratic party. It is hard as it relates to my perspective on the right to life, a liberal view on marriage, and now Freedom of Speech for Christians out West is now becoming a hot topic. On the other hand, we look at wars that may not be the best decisions, big corporate tax breaks at the expense of funding education for the poor, while at the same time raising standardized testing targets. We also look at early childhood development, healthcare for the elderly and poor and how that is being underfunded.

So as a believer we have a huge dilemma and we have to sit and wrestle through which of these seem to be more important to God, because we are not our own and as we do everything else to the "glory of God" when we cast our votes this year, it has to be done to that same Glory. Much prayer will be needed brother.

BTW, thanks for the plug and I have to put you back up on the site. Thanks for all you do brother. God bless.

Ebenezer Erskine said...

I like what you have to say here, you may have an ally in my blog. Please come and check out my mission, I think you will be in agreement.

Pastor Lance said...

sorry to get back to you so late rodney from PA.

I don't think the difference in type of gov't is a significant one here. the crucial issue is what does God expect from gov't and those officials who make up gov't? we can therefore apply this by supporting and voting for those who seek to pursue justice in gov't.

yo lionel, you're right in saying many of us have a genuine dilemma when it comes to gov't and politics. i'll try and address this in an upcoming post.

thanks for dropping by EE and Lord willing I'll be sure and check you out.

pastor lance