Voting with a Christian Conscience

I believe the evangelical church has finally been forced to conclude we cannot depend upon politics to turn this country around, bring us back to biblical principles, or reverse the anti-Christian bigotry developing in the courts, the media, and the wider culture. Only the church, armed with the Gospel, is able to bring lasting change in the hearts and lives of people. God’s House—and not the White House—holds the key to the future of our nation.

If there’s ever been a time for the church to stand tall, it’s today—whether it’s with or without support from our political leaders. As you look back at history, you’ll see times when God has given nations better leaders than they deserved—at other times, far wares (think of 20th century dictators). Still other times, the leader was a perfect fit for the people. But regardless of the leader, the church must remain faithful to its calling.

I refuse to endorse political candidates because (1) no one candidate is right on all the issues or, for that matter, wrong on all the issues, and (2) the Gospel should never be tied to a politician or political party.

We should never give the impression that one party or another is the “Christian party.” We must be able to say to Democrats, Republicans, and Independents—and everyone in between—that unless you believe in Jesus, you will be eternally separated from God.

I agree with Lyndon Johnson who said in his inaugural address, “Under this covenant of justice we have become a nation—prosperous, great, and mighty. And we have kept our freedom. But we have no promise from God that our greatness will endure. We have been allowed by Him to seek greatness with the sweat of our hands and the strength of our spirit…If we fail now, we shall have forgotten in abundance what we learned in hardship: that democracy rests on faith, that freedom asks more than it gives, and that the judgment of God is harshest on those who are most favored.”

We must pray not only that our candidates believe in God, but that their belief means something to them and their policies. At a minimum, they ought to be convinced our laws are to be derived from God, both through the writings of Scripture and natural law.

How will I vote? In the center of this newsletter, I list seven biblical issues. Amid the welter of negative ads and campaign hype, I will vote for the candidate who best represents these issues.

Run your candidate through this grid, and you will be given guidance as you cast your ballot. And let us pray for whomever wins!


How Should a Christian Vote?

Whether we are enthusiastic about our political candidates or disappointed with our choices, we should not shirk our duty as good citizens.

In my opinion, we should vote for the person who best represents our convictions on the following issues, which I list without further comment and in no particular order.

  1. Character and integrity:
    “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people mourn…The king by judgment establishes the land but he that receives gifts overthrows it…If a ruler listens to lies, all his servants are wicked” (Proverbs 29:2, 4, 12).
  2. Sanctity of human life—abortion, stem cell research using human embryos:
    “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13).
  3. Same-sex marriage or civil unions among same-sex couples:
    “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22).
  4. Freedom for religious speech:
    “So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:18-20).
  5. Racial equality:
    “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26).
    “…and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God” (Revelation 5:9-10).
  6. National Security:
    “And they all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it. And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night” (Nehemiah 4:8-9).
  7. Taxation and government spending:
    “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and vineyards…we are forcing our sons and daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards” (Nehemiah 5:4-5).

Whether our preferred candidate wins or loses, we have a God-given responsibility to pray for our leaders and support them in whatever way we can. Paul, addressing the Romans when Nero was on the throne, wrote, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1).

Be assured I will vote with prayer, seeking wisdom from God. And I hope you will vote with the same values in mind.