To vote or not?

Campaign 2012

Betty and John came into my office with a grave look on their faces seeking biblical advice. They are a faithful young couple, responsible in service, sincere in their faith, with three children, all well behaved and lively. They are what I call "Rocks of Gibraltar"-the kind of couple every church needs to build a healthy congregation. By the look on their faces I assumed the issue was a death, a crisis with a child, or a difficult family member. We had never discussed politics before, so when they posed their question I was surprised.

Betty took the lead: "We have voted in every election since we were eligible. We voted for John McCain last time around, but I think we should sit this election out because we should not vote for a Mormon, and I am tired of these 'RINO' candidates the party keeps shoving down our throats. Neither party represents our Christian values, and I will not be exploited again to support one of those 'bozos.' John thinks that idea is irresponsible and we are stuck in a debate. Can you help us with any biblical advice?"

Now Betty and John do not actually exist. They are fictitious names used to protect the innocent, but their sentiments are rampant in churches across the country. So what do you say to people facing this dilemma?

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Here are a few biblical suggestions:

  • First, we must readily acknowledge understanding of the issue (Ephesians 4:32). No one seems to be listening seriously to the Christian voter. Many will give us lip service, but when push comes to shove, the values we live by are thrust to the background as irrelevant or at best "secondary."
  • Second, we must readily admit that for most of us we have not prayed regularly, seriously, and ardently for God to give us candidates who will lead in godly ways (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We say prayer is important, rightly insist it is the most important thing we can and must do, but then we just as promptly forget to do it regularly. Have you prayed for godly candidates? Regularly? Ever?
  • Third, we must remind ourselves that we live in a fallen world (Revelation 14:8; Jeremiah 17:9). It is this world that selects candidates. Given the state of our culture in 2012, is it any wonder that the candidates are not reflecting Christian values? Why are we surprised that a growingly pagan culture selects ever increasingly pagan politicians? Let us grow up and be sober-minded.
  • Fourth, we must vote (1 Thessalonians 4:11). God has granted us the privilege to live in a country where we are given not only the right, but also the responsibility to select our leaders. The reality is that even if Betty or John ran for office, there would be Christians who disagreed vehemently with them on any number of issues. The challenge is simple: Select the candidate who most represents the values and positions you support, and then vote. Anything less is simply irresponsible. Realize that not voting is a strategy that has the appearance of cleverness and power, but it is a bullet without lead. Poof! You are a pawn for the opposition and neutralized without a fight.
Bill Newton
Bill Newton

Bill is a pastor based in Asheville, N.C. He also serves as a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.


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