Some Basic Political Principles

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Another election is approaching in the fall. Many Christians are distressed at the condition of the country, and they are equally distressed over the choices they have in elections. While it is never appropriate to use a Christian pulpit as a partisan platform, it is equally unacceptable for Christians to be left without biblical direction as they seek to honor God in their calling as citizens. So as you seek to serve Christ in your voting, remember the principles as you employ the method of casting a ballot. Some of the key principles are below.

We must never forget the sovereignty of God. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1). The ruler of our nation is not the people, not the Congress, not the president, not the Supreme Court. The ruler of our nation is the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in His hand; we are under His scepter. The issue is not whether we will as a nation “make Jesus Lord,” but whether His Lordship will be for our blessing or our undoing. Remember the counsel given in the second Psalm. The kings of the earth, our rulers included, are exhorted to kiss the Son, lest He be angry (Ps. 2:10-12). The sovereignty of God over our political affairs means that we may have only one of two attitudes. We may rejoice as we consider how He will bring all His purposes to pass, or we may lament as we confess our own sins. Excluded is the option of being self-righteously indignant about “those scoundrels in Washington,” or worried about whether God will wake up in time to save our country. Christ is not as powerless as the Baal taunted by Elijah. Principle # 1: Jesus Christ is King of kings.

There is never any neutrality anywhere. “. . . so it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes . . .” (Dt. 17:18-19). “Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, have fellowship with You? They gather together against the life of the righteous, and condemn innocent blood” (Ps. 94:20-21). The fact we hold to a distinction and governmental separation between church and state (and we do hold to it) does not mean that we insist upon a separation of morality and state. And if we refuse to separate morality and state, then we must affirm the only source of all righteous law—the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Principle # 2: Religiously neutral law cannot govern the realm of politics.

Jesus teaches us to love our enemies. But in the realm of politics, there is a sense in which we must respect our enemies. The authorities which exist have been established by God. Those who kick against them, kick against God (Rom. 13:1-7). Political or moral opposition does not bring with it the option of lifting our hand against the Lord’s anointed. Neither may we use our tongues against them in a way which blasphemes. The way some Christians have spoken of the president is monstrous—they have taunted him far too much and resisted him far too little. Clearly, opposition or resistance to lawlessness in political office is allowed and required. John the Baptist rebuked Herod, and David resisted Saul. But do not rail against those whom you must oppose. Principle # 3: Fight like a Christian.

Christians need to be encouraged to vote their conscience. For many years, Christians have been holding their noses, and voting for the lesser of two evils. But as this pattern continues, today’s lesser of two evils somehow turns out to be far worse than the worst option of twenty years ago. It is not my position to endorse anyone here, or urge you to vote for a particular candidate. But it is appropriate for me to say that you should vote for those who fear the Lord. This is not a requirement that you find someone who is not a sinner. “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Ex. 18:21). Principle # 4: If you vote for political disobedience, don’t complain when you get it.

And of course, Congress is not the light of the world. Neither is Congress the salt of the earth. The reason our culture is falling apart is because the salt—the Church—has lost its savor (Matt. 5:13-16). When this happens the Church is trampled on by men, which is how our Lord wants it. The reformation of our culture cannot happen with the Church in its current condition. Think for a moment. Former-president Clinton is a Christian brother. Having said this, let us pause so that some of you may seek to resume your breathing. He is a member in good standing in the most conservative large denomination of our country. How can we complain about cultural and political corruption when we tolerate and even praise doctrinal and moral corruption within the Church? Principle # 5: Political answers are never political.

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