In America, we fail to realize people around the globe would die to have their voice heard politically or be able to vote in a legitimate election. They don’t possess the opportunity and freedom to run for office or vote. In America, we need to remember this fact… We can vote. We should vote. How then shall we vote?
When it comes to political engagement, some Christians will try to convince you to remain silent or shame you for speaking up.
Why? Because they believe being ‘political’ is somehow antithetical to the Gospel. As if the infinite Gospel of the Kingdom is too small to contain politics.
Have you noticed these pietistic holier-than-thous are the ones who’s social media feeds and conversations are brimming with under-informed political commentary and flimsy theological arguments? Have you noticed how they subtly shame others?
They claim Christians are to be ‘apolitical’ (non-political). But they attempt to persuade others by making political statements and taking political postures themselves. It is intriguing that these pietistic pundits tend to lean left politically. If you lean left, that’s fine with me but don’t cloak it in Christian garb. Don’t cloak the right in Christian platitudes either.
Some have developed an allergy to certain personalities. So, they vote for more ‘tame’ personalities that don’t upset their sensibilities. They are too fearful, shallow, and shortsighted to think through the long term implications of their vote.
Do they believe the Gospel is too delicate to withstand the storms of politics?
Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow Christian friend who stated that one of his biggest fears was to be labeled a Christian Nationalist. Christian Nationalism is a loaded term and carries negative connotations. My response to my friend was, “what do you mean by Christian Nationalism?” After all, several definitions exist. He lacked a coherent response. Obviously, he had not thought deeply about the issue. His position was emotionally based in his fear and a need to be accepted. No one likes to be called names or rejected. Even though that is exactly what Jesus promises in Scripture (see John 18:15-25, Matthew 5:11-12).
In the final analysis, my friend was incapable of properly articulating much less understanding one of his biggest fears. That’s a problem. Meanwhile, his social media posts over the last two years are filled with poorly formed political and theological arguments of why Christians ought not to be political or vote for certain candidates who he finds distasteful. He posts articles and books from pastors and Christian leaders who support his chosen political position. Unbeknownst to him, the non-Christian world has already labeled him a Christian Nationalist. My friend is walking into the very snare he’s trying desperately to avoid.
The holier-than-thous’ defense is usually some form of Tone-policing. I’ve written about this here…
“Hey, look at me, I’m not one of them” is not an effective strategy to reach lost people. The unbelieving world doesn’t care. They hate you, your Bible, and your God. No amount of virtue signaling is going to change that. So, get over it and return to biblical fidelity, a bold public witness, and a faith that is undefiled by the world. (It wouldn’t hurt to apologize to the people you’ve shamed).
Dear Christian, if your worldview isn’t big enough to contain politics, then your worldview is too small.
As Christians, our politics and how we vote must be formed and shaped by a biblical vision of the world and grounded in truth. The Bible doesn’t tell us who to vote for. However, the Bible does tell us how to vote. The Bible provides moral laws and principles to guide our politics and inform our vote. John Stonestreet once said, “The Bible isn’t a book to be looked at, but a lens to be looked through.” In addition, we must understand our cultural moment.
We ask the questions; What is our current situation or cultural moment? And what does the Bible have to say about it?
For the Christian, there will be political implications that flow from a Biblical worldview. What we believe about God, ourselves, others, and creation will shape our politics and how we vote. Our theology should direct our vote.
A few thoughts…
Authority – America is different from other nations. From a governance standpoint, our government is not the authority. “We the people” are the authority. With that in mind, go and read Romans 13. Question the Romans 13 sermons that were used during the COVID lockouts to justify closing churches, keeping you silent, and subservient. God’s Word is our ultimate authority.
Opportunity – As I said, In America, we fail to realize that Christian brothers and sisters around the globe would die to have their voice heard politically or be able to vote in a legitimate election. Honor your brethren in closed countries by stewarding your privilege well in your nation.
Stewardship – All Americans and particularly Christians have the privilege and responsibility to vote and influence politics. We Christians vote according to biblical principles. Again, our government structure is unique. In His providence and mercy, God has given us a voice and influence to steward in the political realm. The purpose of government is to promote righteousness for the good of the people and government (read Proverbs). If we refuse to steward the gift God has given us, we will lose the gift.
That said, we run afoul when we place politics or politicians at the center of our lives. Do not enthrone a politician over and above Christ. Instead, proclaim the Lordship of Christ over politicians and political realm allowing His Word to guide you.
“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be shaken.” But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord…”
– 1 Peter 3:14-15a
How to vote?
Wisdom – Fear of the Lord leads to wisdom and life. The fear of man sets a snare. Pray for wisdom and seek it in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.
Directionally – Personally, I vote direction. This helps me from getting caught up in personalities, propaganda, and pandering. What direction does the platform point the nation? Does it lead to righteousness, human flourishing, prosperity, and protection for the most vulnerable? What are the logical conclusions and moral outcomes of a candidate’s or party’s chosen platform and direction?
God’s Commands and Principles – For starters, one can use the Ten Commandments as a guide. Perhaps begin with what type of platform should we NOT vote for and move on from there.
Human Life – I’m not a single issue voter but I am a single issue voter in the first instance. If a politician or platform or party does not protect human life in the womb, I could care less about their great economic policies. It’s a matter of first principles. If they get human life wrong, God doesn’t care about their economic or foreign policy or tone.
Character – Remember, you are voting for sinners just like you. The problem we have when discerning the character of a candidate is the accuracy of our understanding. The media deliberately distorts our perception of how people really are. We are limited. This is where we need to pay attention to platform for the future and pray for discernment.
Purpose – Government is designed to restrain evil and promote good. That is its ultimate purpose. In America, we have checks and balances to restrain government from becoming evil and tyrannical. That is why it is important to understand the purpose of government and then vote purposefully.
Our conscience is a guard, not a guide.
In other words, our conscience is designed to alert us when we are tempted to sin or help convict us when we do sin. It is a guard and is not our authority. When we try to use our conscience as our guide in making decisions, we are actually listening to emotions. Emotions can lead us in the wrong direction. God’s Word is our guide. It is our authority.
What we believe about God, ourselves, others, and creation will shape our politics and how we vote.
Now, go vote biblically, soberly, thankfully, and righteously as if God is watching. Because He is.
My Posts on politics and culture: