Yesterday I exhorted the saints at Christ Church to make sure that they voted in our local election tomorrow. In the course of that exhortation I said that it was not the church’s business to descend into partisan factionalism, but that it was our responsibility to pray that we would be allowed to “lead a quiet and peaceable life” (1 Tim. 2:2). I said that we ought to be voting in the same direction as our prayers, which means that we should be voting in the direction of civil magistrates leaving us alone. That would include doing something about zoning commissions that are used as a cat’s paw for various intoleristas.
Having said that, I was asked several times about something I said in the pulpit last year, and was also challenged online because of my recent comments about evangelical pastors who had voted for Obama the second time.
The first link in the previous paragraph goes to a sermon outline I preached on Pulpit Freedom Sunday. In that sermon I endorsed, or came close enough to it as makes no difference, a candidate for the state legislature, a man named Gresham Bouma. How does that fit with what I said yesterday?
I do believe that the church should stay out of partisan politics, but I believe this on theological grounds. The rule should be a church standard, and this means the IRS has absolutely no authority to be setting restrictions on what ministers may say. So the first point is that this was said as part of a nationwide challenge to the IRS. This was made possible by the candidacy of Gresham, a well-known member of our Christian community operating with a biblical worldview — a man who fears the Lord, is a man of truth, and who hates covetousness (Ex. 18:21). It was an exceptional circumstance for a specific situation.
In the current race, we have candidates who represent the officious left, and candidates who represent views more friendly to economic growth — but no one is representing a full-orbed biblical approach to anything. To use the power of the pulpit to lean this way or that in a wobbly canoe would be inappropriate.
In short, to say that the pulpit should never be partisan does not mean that it can never be personal. It can be personal, but that is rare.
On the Obama question, the question is simpler and much more straightforward. He supports the killing of babies and therefore no consistent Christian may support him. That is not a partisan issue, and it only appears to be such because the Democratic Party has been captured by bloodthirsty ghouls.
One last thing. This blog is owned and operated by me, the proprietor, and is not supported in any way with tithe money, which means that I am functioning here as a private citizen, albeit a noisy one in a party hat. That means I can say I voted for Lambert instead of Chaney, and in the council race, the voter has three votes that he can spread over four candidates. It is not necessary to use all three of your votes, but it is important not to use any of them in favor of Rebecca, a woman who uses exclamation marks on her yard signs, a thing which ought not to be done. So I voted for the three non-Rebeccas. Those who are interested in more information can check with the Greater Moscow Alliance.
It would be nice if we could get to a place where smart growth officials would quit giving each other awards for the achievement of empty lots, which we already had, and which are not exactly the pyramids.
In keeping with my comment that, as you did in your debates with Hitchens–kept asking the same foundational question even though he kept dancing around it and never would answer it–I will ask again. You say the Obama question is simpler and more straightforward. The next statement you make applies, without qualification, to all the the last five GOP presidential candidates. Their official position was in support of the killing of babies, just fewer than their Dem opponent. What biblical principle makes it OK to support one baby killer but not the other?
Mitch, I think Doug did say a Christian who thought voting for Barack would reduce abortions might do so, though he didn’t think anyone held that position. So I suppose he’d allow voting for a GOP candidate for the same reasons, tho he didn’t vote for Romney himself (nor did I). He can speak for himself. / / / I suppose this post carries his endorsement for those who read it, but an elder is supposed to be in good reputation with outsiders, so his endorsement is likely to carry some weight even with them. (Ditto for their wives; Rudy… Read more »
Hi Mitch, Doug did answer your question quite effectively on the 2nd,
“Mitch, eschatology makes principled incrementalism possible. Without that, it becomes pragmatism, and even with that it can be pragmatism de facto. ”
Shane, I don’t see how that answers anything. It’s a statement of words that carry broad meanings with subjective applications, and could easily be used to justify a vote for anyone less evil than Hitler. It’s like statistics–you can run the numbers until you get the answer you like. We do not know how a particular election or even the history of this nation fits into eschatology specifically–and that’s assuming we know the right eschatology for certain! Are we in a period of reformation? On the way to destruction as a nation as a lesson to other nations to reform?… Read more »
Being unexcusably unfamiliar with the city elections of Moscow, Idaho, I determined to see one the offending “Rebbecca” yard signs for myself. It is true – it is no lie – they use exclamation marks. I’ve never heard of such a thing.
Mitch, where do you see an option that does indirectly not help an evildoer accomplish his goals?
Well this post addressed just about all of my questions. It seems that ministers, on top of their other onerous tasks, have to navigate a somewhat gray area, except of course when something as black/white as abortion comes into political view. I can respect that position. I suppose I can see a little bit of daylight between being a Republican, and being a supporter of most of the Republican party platform but not most Republicans associated with that platform. I definitely appreciate the time and thought that went into this answer.
Dear Mr. Wilson, I had thought a lot of what you say, especially about economics, was partisan exaggeration until I came across this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/27/opinion/sunday/single-mothers-with-family-values.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)
Makes one pause in thought
Jane, it depends on whether you believe God holds us accountable for predicting the future or not. I think the Bible is pretty clear that he doesn’t, and expects us to do the right thing and leave the results to him. Thinking of Presidential elections, in every one since 1996 there has been a candidate on enough state ballots to win the overall election who was 100% pro-life and advocated doing good with government, not evil. They intended to follow their duty to God and oath to the Constitution–notice I did not say they were without sin. But the big… Read more »
It seems that Mitch Turner is frustrated that Doug singled out Obama but did not go all the way to apply a consistent round condemnation of the evils in both major parties. I’m sympathetic to that frustration, and I would also question the warehouse of rationalization (or gullible hope) that it takes to have voted for someone like McCain. However, I also see that the process of awakening from our Christian slumber must begin somewhere. To be most effective, it should begin with a very clear, worst-case example where there are no outs or excuses or nuances. Obama is such… Read more »