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Thursday, July 14, 2016

A Controversial and Possibly Unpopular Post

I want to start this post off with this: everything I say today I truly believe is right based on Scripture. If you disagree with me, I do not hate you. :P I do encourage you, however, to examine the Bible carefully on this issue, and judge whether I am right or wrong.

This November, the United States of America will be electing a new leader for our country. This year's elections have been as hotly debated as ever, among all circles. Much discussion goes on every election season about how we, as children of God, should vote for our leaders. I want to give what I believe is the Biblical stand we should take on this.

In the beginning, there were four governments instituted by God for mankind.
  • Self-Government (instituted at Creation) Genesis 2:16-17
  • Family Government (instituted after the fall) Genesis 3:16-19
  • Church Government 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1
  • Civil Government Exodus 18:21, Deuteronomy 1:13

Before the flood, God did not allow men to set up civil government. When Cain killed Abel, for instance, God pronounced Cain's judgement and set a mark on him to prevent others from killing him. He did not let man rule over man. However, after the flood, God ordained that leaders should be set up to rule, in order to secure a temporal good: protecting mankind from violence. James Madison once said that the only reason civil government is necessary is because man will not conform to reasonable laws without restraint. How true this is! Whether they be the laws of God or of the land, people just HAVE to break them. In any case, each of these governments that God set up are to fulfill the goals God has for them. As Christians, we should be applying God's Word in every area of our lives, including what we do with our ballot. The policies we support or reject, and who we choose to represent us: these all should be guided by our faith in Christ.

Deuteronomy 1:13 Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.

As citizens of the U.S., it is our privilege, but more importantly, our responsibility to provide able leaders for our country. Listen to this quote:

“Let each citizen remember at the moment he is offering his vote that he is not making a present or a compliment to please an individual — or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn trusts in human society for which he is accountable to God and his country.” — Samuel Adams, The Writings of Samuel Adams, 1781

Did you catch that? We are accountable to God for how we vote. Sobering. 

“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate — look to his character.” — Noah Webster

So then, what are the Biblical guidelines for how we need to place our vote? 

Exodus 18:21 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

1. The candidate must be naturally competent.
Note where it says "able" men. This word means strong, valiant, and virtuous. This would seem obvious, but many of those filling positions of authority today are NOT able men! They will simply vote with their party, even on things that are totally unconstitutional. Some of them can't even balance their personal checkbook, and we are allowing them access and responsibility with billions of dollars worth of assets. Smart.
Important Note: Natural competency is not enough. Just like in church government, we can't ordain a pastor just because he has a good speaking voice, and knows how to write a great outline. There are other important factors to consider besides the fact that this guy knows his stuff. Moral and spiritual aspects are much more important than ability.
2. The candidate needs to be personally conscientious.
"Men of truth, hating covetousness" 
  • Conscientious in the area of morality: Job 29:16 "I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out." How many times do politicians put their stamp of approval or disapproval on something they haven't even read?? That's immorality! Proverbs 25:2 "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 29:7 "The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it."
  • Conscientious in the area of money: Many that go into office are simply there to see how much they can get out of it. Ridiculously large salaries, lavish vacations, etc., are not the right thing for these people to be focused on! 1 Timothy 6:9-10 "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
3. The candidate must be spiritually conditioned.
"Such as fear God"
Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
Nehemiah 7:2 That I gave my brother Hanani, and Hananiah the ruler of the palace, charge over Jerusalem: for he was a faithful man, and feared God above many.

“Look well to the characters and qualifications of those you elect and raise to office and places of trust.” — Matthias Burnett, Pastor of the First Baptist Church in Norwalk, An Election Sermon, Preached at Hartford, on the Day of the Anniversary Election, May 12, 1803

So we have talked about all these things that the candidate should be: how do we apply it? Keep in mind that "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate." (Proverbs 8:13) The statement "I don't want to waste my vote, so I'll just vote for the lesser of two evils" is completely unscriptural. Christians should not vote for evil, period! When we look at a candidate, if they do not meet these qualifications, we should not vote for them. If there is literally no other options, vote for the best one. BUT. This is rarely the case! With the presidential election this year, neither candidate for the main parties is Godly. I'm just going to say that right out. So...what does that mean? We need to research, and find who is the best person to vote for according to God's Word. If that means voting for a third-party candidate (gasp!), then what's it to you? If you are honoring God, isn't that more important than going for who you think will win? God will bless if Christians choose to please Him with their votes, regardless of the odds. My vote is not wasted if I am obedient to God. I will not compromise Biblical truth in order to vote for a man who may have a better chance of winning, but who is not qualified naturally, personally, and spiritually. Let me give you a couple more verses to think about.

Psalms 75:6-7 "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 
But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another."

Proverbs 16:33 "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD."

Your vote is in God's hands, not yours! He is in control: choose to obey, and leave the results up to Him. He will bless you for it.

I realize this was a long post, and controversial to boot, but I think it is such an important issue. Many Christians tend to gloss over it, or just decide not to vote at all. I do not condone that! (See my introduction :) I want to thank my dad for his extensive research on this issue. The quotes and Scriptures in this post I borrowed largely from his work in finding them. The convictions I have stated are wholly my own, however. I would encourage you to study this issue out with an open mind. There are SO many more Scriptures I could have put in, but couldn't due to time/length. I would love to hear your comments, but please do keep them respectful. :) I am simply stating what I believe is right.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend! Enjoy the sunshine and/or scorching heat wherever you live! ;D

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