Friday, August 29, 2008

Choosing Who We Vote For

By Bruce Mills

We are now in the height of the political election season. The Democratic Party convention was held this week, and next week is the Republican Party convention. Party platforms have been established and legions of the party faithful are now eagerly attempting to convince the public of the validity of their candidate's positions, in an effort to receive the votes needed to elect the candidate.

The question for Christians is, are there any particular issues that are so important to the Christian faith that a believer should not vote for a politician who holds to a position which does not square with Christian doctrine? Or should political issues be considered as matters which should be kept separate from one's faith?

The answer to these questions centers on the value one places on God's Word and its instructions to us, as well as the hermeneutical approach one takes when interpreting the Scriptures. If God's Word is seen to be the inerrant, infallible, written revelation of God to man, then what it has to say is infinitely important for establishing what one believes about these matters and how that impacts one's life. Its teachings become the driving force behind every belief, every action, and every decision one makes. And if one adopts a literal-historical-grammatical approach to the interpretation of Scripture, he or she will not attempt to allegorize or reinterpret the plain statements of Scripture to mean something which better fits with what that individual might wish the Scripture would say. Instead, the Christian will subjugate his will and desires to that which God's Word teaches.

Therefore, when one uses this two pronged approach and examines moral issues such as abortion and the institution of marriage, we find that the Bible clearly teaches that God is the One who created human life and forms each person in the womb, and that marriage is a union of one man and one woman. No other conclusion can be made if one is consistent in using this approach to the Bible and its interpretation. Therefore, it is clearly a violation of the tenets of the Christian faith for man to decide that God-created human life can be terminated by man's choice, and the God-ordained pattern for marriage can be reconstructed into a homosexual union.

So how should this impact one's political viewpoints and how one votes? The simple answer is that we should view every issue of life through the lens of Scripture, because the Bible provides the only objective, infallible standard for how we interpret these matters. What God has to say about these things is far more important than what any person believes. That means that His standards on every issue of life, particularly moral issues such as abortion and marriage, must become our standards and convictions. And because our convictions drive all that we do, we cannot do anything but support and vote for those who hold to views consistent with God's Word and refuse to support and vote for those who hold contrary positions.

Does this mean that a candidate's positions must square with ours on every issue before we can vote for him or her? No. Only those positions which center on moral issues about which the Bible provides instruction are affected by these principles. Thus, a candidate's position on abortion and gay marriage become "litmus tests" for whether a Christian votes for or against that candidate, whereas, a candidate's approach on national defense or how to stimulate the economy do not necessarily rise to such a level of importance.

This is a very different approach than the world takes, which sees abortion and gay marriage as only impacting a few people; namely, those involved in the situation, whereas issues such as national defense and the economy affect everyone. Thus, most people view those issues as the important issues which should decide how one votes. But believers are called to value God's Word above all else. Therefore, they should consider the topics which it addresses as the most important issues to consider when deciding which candidates to support.


DigitalDisciple said...

How would you rate a candidate's position (for federal office) on US relations with Israel on that scale?

Bruce Mills said...

I believe that the United States' support for Israel is a highly important issue in a general sense. By that I mean that I believe our government should generally be supportive of Israel's right to exist, to defend its territory, and protect its citizens from terrorist attacks. I believe that includes financial and military support if required.

However, I do not think that the biblical instruction found in Genesis 12:3 means that we should necessarily support every policy of the Israeli government simply because the nation is God's chosen people.

Israel's history has been fraught with many rebellious acts against God's law and moral standards, yet He was still faithful to them because of His eternal promise to them. But that did not stop His righteous judgment against them for their sinful behavior. In the same way, our country's support for Israel must not diminish, but that does not mean we necessarily approve of everything it might choose to do politically.

So, while I would consider a candidate's view on support for Israel to be highly important, I do not think he/she should blindly support Israel in every decision and action its government takes, because some of those decisions may be unjust or morally wrong.

So, while I believe that support for Israel by a candidate for national office is highly important, I would not be able to give it the same "litmus test" standard that I would to moral issues on which God clearly states His standards.

Bruce Mills said...

Jeff, let me clarify my last paragraph of my comment. I do consider general support for Israel to be a "litmus test" which a candidate must pass in order to receive my support, but because of varying factors regarding Israeli policies and actions, I can see some room for a candidate to disagree with Israel on certain matters and refuse to support that government if it engages in immoral or unjust behavior.

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