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A Christian's vote -- the text implied

Posted Monday, October 22, 2012, at 12:02 PM

Imply: A writer or speaker implies something, meaning that it is indicated or suggested without being explicitly stated. (Translegal.com)

At the close of Election Day 1976, we Goldwater conservatives stood in front of the Court House in Warrenton, Mo., and wondered who in the world was Jimmy Carter and where had he come from? The opinion put forth which seemed most likely was that Carter had asked God if He would please make old Jimmy the 39th President of the United States. God had looked around for somebody better, shrugged His majestic shoulders and said, "why not?"

As this is being written there are only two weeks left of what has seemed ceaseless electioneering. When the appointed hour arrives there will be those of us who will choose to exercise our right of suffrage (or not to so exercise) based solely on firmly and honestly held beliefs that one Party or the other accurately reflects how "the Bible says" a Christian "must" vote.

It is the opinion of this writer that those who puts themselves forward as being a Christian have taken up an obligation to separate what the New Testament clearly implies from what is merely their own inferred opinion. Sometimes the difference is a fine line, one often unwittingly crossed.

Following are a few observations about what the New Testament does not and does imply about elections. How a Christian decides for whom one will vote being a separate subject altogether.

New Testament times were much different (ruled unilaterally by Caesars and all), but it is not readily apparent the Christian is scripturally obligated to vote at all. In the five translations I have Scripture does not specifically say "be in the world but not of it." But the idea is implied if you wish to research it. Part of being in the world, and a citizen of it, is generally assumed to be voting. Now I'm all for everyone voting; just not sure the text implies I would not be a Christian if I pass on a given ballot or part thereof. If, indeed, as a citizen I ought to vote, there does not seem to be any requirement to vote either for/against any Party line, or for/against things about which I remain ignorant.

The one, perhaps only, fundamental duty Scripture seems to clearly imply is an obligation to support whoever wins. You or I may not like, even despise or fear, the philosophies embraced by any person elected to authority; but the Christian's calling is to:

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." (Romans 13.1, NIV)

And, once God finds His Jimmy Carter, we are called upon to speak no hurt against that man or woman:

"I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (I Timothy 2.1-2, NIV). Also see Titus 3.1-2 and I Peter 2.13-17.

The Church of this generation can be criticized for many things. One of the lesser of these things may well be disrespect spewed out against those "in authority" by persons holding themselves forth as Christian gentlemen and woman.

This writer has read and studied the Bible has it has come down to us for a while now; and, back in the Dark Ages even earned a B.S. in Biblical Studies. Please advise if holy writ implies any higher political obligation than supporting of those "in authority" -- whatever we think of them.


Comments
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David,

There can be no doubt that we are to be submissive to governing authorities. But that does not mean we must oblige laws antithetical to our beliefs. Christians are not authorized to revolt, but are authorized to refuse to support and suffer the consequences as did so many martyrs. Happily, in a representative form of government, we have an acceptable form of revolt in the ballot box.

Again, as Christians, we are instructed to speak no hurt against civil authorities. That said, Christ caused the Sanhedrin and other leaders to be enraged by telling them the truth, pointing out their hypocrisies, and admonishing them about their sins. It is almost like truth is an exception to this injunction.

For example, it is the truth, and therefore not contrary to the Bible to point out that the President supports abortion, partial birth abortion, the killing of born children who were intended to be aborted, and desires to make everyone, Christians included, to pay for the abortifacient medications of people under his healthcare system. There are numerous other truths about our civil authorities at all levels regarding policies that are antithetical to traditional Christian beliefs.

You point out that there is an injunction to support whoever wins elections. Certainly, Christ said to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. Additionally, Christ never advised slaves to revolt or urge his followers to free slaves. But he did instruct us to follow his example. Christ treated all, good and evil, with respect and human dignity but refused to stop doing what was right or to start doing what was superfluous.

Although most of the Western world professes Christianity, the United States is where people of profound beliefs went to avoid persecution at home. Although these immigrants had differing beliefs, they were sincere Christians who lived lives they believed Christ would have wanted. It is no accident that the only domestic war was fought in sizeable part to preserve the life and dignity of people in bondage.

We are advised that by their fruits, we shall know them. I know very little about Mormonism, but I know that Candidate Romney gives substantially to charity, worships God regularly, has lived a life of personal integrity, and refrains from conduct that many Christians find offensive.

On the other hand, our president wants to compel people to engage in conduct that is morally objectionable, does not respect unborn life, has never been particularly active with charitable giving, and is supported by the leaders of China, Russia, Venezuela, and others who seem to be opposed to many things precious to Christian believers.

Christ came not to bring men together, but to divide them. We must made decisions from between the candidates that are on the ballot. By casting a ballot, we must divide them. I will cast my ballot based upon their fruits, not their words, backgrounds, appearance, political party, or other similar things. If both candidates lived lives of substantial Christian virtue, then the lesser considerations become much more important.

CH

-- Posted by Charles Hear on Thu, Oct 25, 2012, at 7:36 AM


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