Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Christianity, Politics and Government - Part 1

by Tony Thomas

Politics and religion are like oil and water. The simply do not mix.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the emotionally-charged Presidential election of 2016. This election has created incredible polarization between Christians. The two candidates are not only polar opposites in terms of their policies, they are hugely unpopular and hated by members of the opposing party.

While most Christians have aligned with one side or the other, some have decided to vote for neither major candidate for biblical reasons or their unwillingness to compromise. How should Christians think and respond to this election?

What Does the Bible Say?
  1. The Bible makes it clear that God is the one who establishes rulers and removes them. (Daniel 2:19-21) 
  2. Christians are not supposed to be conformed to this world, but are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. (Romans 12:2)
  3. We are to realize that our true citizenship is not on the earth. It is in heaven. And we await the return of our King, Jesus Christ. (Philippians 3:20)
  4. Satan is the god of the world and he has blinded the hearts of those who do not know Christ. However, God is ultimately in control. (2 Corinthians 4:4, Job 1:6-12)
  5. We are not to put our faith in political leaders. (Psalm 146:3)
  6. We are not to love the things of the world, otherwise the love of God is not in us. (1 John 2:15)
Monergism or Synergism?

While many claim that they must vote for one of the candidates to “save the nation”, this is a naive view. This is synergistic thinking. This is the view that we, in some way, have to “help God” in ruling this world. The truth is God does not need our help. The monergistic view realizes that God is sovereign and in control:

Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.” Psalm 96:10 (ESV)

The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty; the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. Psalm 93:1–2 (ESV)

What About the Candidates?

How should a Christian pick a candidate to vote for? What should we look for in a leader?

John MacArthur recently did series on Grace to You called “Who is God’s Candidate?”. In the final sermon in this series, he says:

“What kind of leader does God bless? A leader with character, with biblical convictions. A leader who is virtuous; a leader who is virtuous and careful with power, who is a strong advocate for all that honors God, who submits himself to God’s commands and is a worshiper of the true God. There is no – listen – no other way to distinguish a good leader from a bad leader. God’s standards are the only authoritative criteria. A leader without virtue, a leader without character, is like a surgeon who is contaminated; the patient will die.” [1]

If neither candidate measures up, we have no obligation to vote for either one. In the words of Professor Darrell Bock:

“My faith is a third way. Its soul does not belong to either party by default. When it seeks to reflect that faith, my vote may conclude that neither candidate represents the world I hope to see where neighbors love one another. That choice is made while recognizing God holds us all accountable for our choices with a multi-layered standard unlike the world. The choice not to vote for a tornado nor a hurricane reflects a preservation of values about what the church is to be far more important than a four or eight year choice. It is a conscious act intended to speak in the face of injustice coming at us from all sides. There are no musts in this election when it comes to the candidates we have.” [2]

To that, I say: Amen!


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