September 22, 2008

You Preached on the Election?

That is what someone asked me this past weekend. ‘The election? Republicans, Democrats? Obama, McCain? Was I asleep? I don’t remember a sermon on that.’ No, not that election. I preached on God’s election of sinners to salvation.

But the question got me thinking. While delving deeply into government affairs is neither the preacher’s calling (his interest is first of all souls) nor his line of expertise (if he is diligent in his day job) … the question made me think: ‘Souls are deeply affected by the politics and policies of modern American government. Huge moral issues do largely decide where many of us stand politically, and how our elections play out. So maybe I should say a little something about the election.’ Couple that with a biblical-voting-guide kind of question from this Wednesday’s Q and A session, and I thought maybe, over the next few weeks, I’d address a few items via the medium of this column.

How should a Christian think about his privilege of the vote? Are there any biblical principles that guide us in selecting candidates? What should we be listening for in the debates and speeches that will capture a nation’s attention in the weeks ahead? A few political principles for Christians (they'll go from general and innocuous to more specific ... and maybe more controversial as we go along):

1. Make sure you vote! Now everyone says this. After all, ‘If you don’t vote, you can’t complain’ goes the old saying. But believers in the Lord Jesus have an even far more compelling reason to vote (especially since our God does not permit us to complain whether we voted or not – Philippians 2.14!). Even though we are strangers and aliens in this country; even though America is not our true home, we ought to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you” (Jeremiah 29.7) and to “pray on its behalf.” So if you fail to vote, you are failing – not only to take advantage of a precious democratic privilege – but to fulfill a Christian duty. Seek the welfare of the city, state, and country God has placed you in. Vote!

2. Pray! Jeremiah already said it didn’t he? And Paul echoes the importance of prayer in 1 Timothy 2.1 … where he tells us to lift up our voices in prayer for our leaders. I think, by extension, that means we ought to pray for this election. And we ought to be praying for all four of the main players in it – that, should it be God’s will to place them in the White House, He will guide their hands, prevent them from folly, bless their wise decisions, and thwart their foolish ones. Are you praying that – even for the candidates for whom you will choose not to vote? I haven’t been nearly like I should. So I have some work to do. So probably do you.

See you again on this soon.

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