In my previous three blogs, I explored: my disagreement with the “lesser of two evils” debate, what it means to “seek the good/welfare of the city,” and asked the question, “who will suffer and does it matter?” In this last post, I want to take a short time to explore the lie that “my political choice is between me, God, and no one else!”
As I stated before, this post is appearing on “The Green Room” which is a blog by the students and alumni of Eternity Bible College. These are my opinions and in no way does what I write in this series exclusively express the positions of Eternity Bible College’s students, staff or alumni. My hope is that if students, staff or alumni disagree with me, we could do what Christians out to do, to dialogue in a healthy, scripturally based manner.
Recently I read an article in the “Coalición por el Evangelio” (The Gospel Coalition, Spanish version) which walked through some reasons why the author, as a Chilean-American struggled with his choices in this year’s election. At the end of his article, he wrote something to the tune of, “who you vote for is ultimately between you and God.” His statement seems to be reflective of a lot of articles I’ve read in these last few months. I’ve heard/read people vehemently argue for their candidate with implications that it is our Christian duty to vote for said candidate but they always close with the classic, “but who you vote for is between you and God.”
ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?! One of the unfortunate effects of individualism in the Western Church is that we’ve forgotten that we have been saved into a people, a covenant community; we form part of the family of God.
Now, because there is no such thing as the “perfect Christian candidate” I understand the idea that in this election (or any for that matter) there isn’t a “Christian vote” and a “non-Christian” vote and therefore every vote will vary, Christian to Christian. I don’t have time or space to do a proper study for you, but an overwhelming majority (I want to say over 75%) of the commands given in Scripture are given corporately, to a group of people. The entire Old Testament, as well as every book in the New Testament with the exceptions of Luke-Acts, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus, are specifically written to a group of people, not to an individual!
Here’s why this matters: the data demands that the Christian life is not meant to, nor possible to live alone. Have you ever tried to “one another” yourself? You can’t, it is literally impossible! The overarching concept of what means to live as a Christian is that Jesus is the Christ/Messiah; translation, Jesus is King over every aspect of your life, including politics.
Before I started writing this blog series, I would have imagined Christians would generally agree that Jesus is King over our lives and the truths of the Gospel ought to permeate every aspect of who we are, not just our “Sunday morning” life – sadly my interactions with folks has brought me to conclusion that many Christians’ lives are idolatrously compartmentalized, allowing Jesus to be King only over aspects of life they see fit. The idea that Jesus is only Lord over part of your life has zero finding in Scripture and I would doubt there is a genuine relationship with the Creator of anyone who claimed otherwise. The statement, “Jesus is King” also has an influence on our political lives in America. Many of my readers agree with this, that’s why the social-media feeds are filled with reasons to support their candidate.
Let’s get back to the point, since the Christian life is not meant to, nor possible to live alone; why does our political decision-making process happen alone in the privacy of our own voting booth? How in the world can we say that a person’s vote is between them and God when nothing else in the Christian life is meant to be done alone? I’m not knocking the act of voting here nor the fact that we go into booths privately to vote, I’m knocking our practice to assume we can/should make this decision alone; just you, God and your 10-15 minutes of quiet time in the morning; to do so doesn’t fit within God’s design for his people.
For those of us who will vote in this election and upcoming elections, we were not created to make these decisions alone and therefore we will not be able to faithfully allow Jesus to be King over this aspect of our lives if we try to do it alone. Let us not fall into the deception of American individualism which tells us that we should make this decision alone, we need other believers to dialogue with! An individual’s autonomy is not a gift, it is a curse.
Do you have a candidate that you support? Are you pretty sure who you will vote for in this coming election? You need to find other believers to challenge you from Scripture to vote another way and then make your decision based on the truths of Scripture pressed out by the covenant community into which you’ve been saved.
A Very Dangerous Place To Be
Herein lies a danger; if the Church’s political history tells me anything, most of us will either refuse to listen to feedback or surround ourselves with people who think just like us. Both of these reactions are small, arrogant and fueled with a weakness and a fear that a brother or sister may have an argument which shatters our perfectly groomed world. If you choose to take this posture, know you are choosing a posture of pride, not humility, and contrary to the American world-view, pride is a not a good thing.
If you find that you do not know and dialogue with a Christian who is voting for a candidate other than yours, you are in a very dangerous place. You are susceptible to hard-headed, stiff-necked thinking, a mindset that has built up dogmatic barriers against the transforming truths of Scripture. Let me give you a hint; if you do not find yourself asking the opposing side to present Scripturally based arguments, and if you are not swayed (even slightly) by valid, Scripturally based arguments, you have already bunkered yourself into a dogmatic, pride-fueled, stiff-necked mindset; you are already in a very dangerous place.
My challenge to you is this: Find other believers who hold a strong commitment to Scripture because you were not created to do this alone. Wrestle with opposing views and seek to see their legitimacy, because arrogance is fueled by pride and pride will lead nowhere but demise. Decide now if your ultimate allegiance is to Christ, because Christian thinking is based on Kingdom values, not American ones. Choose in wisdom to exercise or not to exercise your Christian liberty to vote, because your liberties were not given to you to build an earthly Kingdom, they were given in order that the world might experience the grace, love, and compassion of Jesus.