In a matter of days, Americans cast mid-term ballots. As stewards, all believers share a responsibility to vote.
Charles Finney, 1835, “Politics are a part of religion in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to the country as part of their duty to God…. God will bless or curse this nation according to the course Christians take in politics.”
Whatever the candidates or issues, no believer gets an “excused absence” from the ballot box. Here are some guiding principles:
You don’t have to listen to the media very long before you know that our nation is in trouble. Most of our population is without Christ and acting like lost people. We’ve been here before, but there were some common value threads that existed. Now these common threads are eroding because of competing ideologies in the public square.
The frame of reference for a lost person is significantly different from the perspective of those who have surrendered our lives and values to the Lord Jesus. On the whole, what matters most to lost people is their current happiness. Many believe if they can minimize the negative and maximize the positive experiences of life, then they are satisfied. But, from a biblical perspective, life is simply not that Pollyannaish. We know from Scripture that authentic life is about knowing God through Jesus Christ and surrendering to His ways.
Into this context we are called, and we know we desperately need our God. We need a spiritual awakening – not so that our government is more peaceable, or so we have more people in our churches, but so lost people and their families are at peace with God through Jesus Christ. I pray for a day that hundreds of thousands of people surrender their lives to Christ in a short amount of time. Such a movement of God’s Spirit would change many things in the United States. The most obvious is how we think about our personal relationship with God and mankind.
Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade, said, “Just as the untrained soldier is at the mercy of his enemy, the uninformed Christian cannot prevail against evil forces in the world of politics. Knowledge is essential to effective action. ‘The wise man is crowned with knowledge’ (Proverbs 14:18).” To serve God effectively as a citizen, you must learn how to take action for His glory within the framework of this existing two-party, political process.
As you gain knowledge, take a good look at the ideology behind candidates and the people with whom they work while holding office. The people with whom candidates caucus determines the outcome of many votes while they are in office.
You also want to listen to what candidates say they will do with regard the protecting the lives of the pre-born and the aged. One congressman told a large group of leaders that 90 percent of the decisions made in office hinge on his/her view of life. Are they pro-life or pro-choice? If they are not decisively pro-life, they will adopt policies that perpetuate the American Holocaust that has claimed the lives of more than 60 million preborn children. Historically, we also know that once a culture is desensitized to terminating an “inconvenient” life in the womb, it is only a small step to accelerating the aged toward the tomb.
There are other matters that may prove important. But this particular issue is the litmus test of public service. Baptists have used resolutions to speak to this issue on numerous occasions. Because it is so divisive, candidates, judges and school boards are not quick to inform you, or they speak around the issue. Be informed so that you are comfortable with the candidate being pro-life.
Exercise godly stewardship
King Solomon writes, “The good influence of godly citizens causes a city [state or nation] to prosper” (Proverbs 11:11). Vote in every election as a service for God. Only when you cast your vote do you fulfill your Christian responsibility in government.
Exercise the influence that God has given you through our unique system of self-government. If you fail to vote conscientiously for godly rule, evil increases in our nation. As we have learned from our history, our nation suffers from the consequences of our choices.
Once again Bill Bright is a sage, “It is commonly believed that decisions in America are made by a majority of the people. This is not so. Decisions are made by a majority of those who vote.” Your one vote does make a difference!
Live dedicated to freedom
When the signers of the Declaration of Independence affixed their signatures to that historic document, they were well aware that if the colonial cause failed, they would be executed as traitors. As men of principle, they were that dedicated to the cause of freedom.
If we thought that the freedom to exercise our faith in the marketplace of ideas was under siege in the last 10 years, we haven’t seen anything yet. It is our religious freedom that enables us to live as convictional people without persecution in neighborhoods, to do business, to plant churches in public buildings, and to pray in public. It is our freedoms that allow us to speak to the rest of the world that silences or exterminates unwanted minorities. Every vote is a voice for freedom for those who live now and the generations to follow.
“Any less dedication on our part will result in a loss of that precious freedom for which they and thousands of others were willing to die. We dare not fail them, ourselves, and far more important, our Lord, to whom this nation was dedicated. Our nation is now faced with its greatest crisis in history.” (Bill Bright)
(Adapted from “Your Five Duties as a Christian Citizen” by Bill Bright)