A few helpful resources before you vote…

Here are some resources and quotes I’ve found helpful in thinking about this years election…

I highly suggest that you check out Jonathan Leeman’s article: “What Makes a Vote Moral or Immoral? The Ethics of Voting.” And I found Justin Taylor’s article “The Case Against Pro-Lifers Voting for Joe Biden” helpful too. Taylor quotes John Piper: “No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office.”

I recently read David Platt’s helpful book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask. You should buy it right now on Kindle. Here are a bunch of quotes from that book:

“This world is not a democracy. This world is a monarchy, and God is the King.”

“In the end, what’s most important, and what I am definitively advocating for based on God’s Word, is the realization that how we use our vote is a matter of faithfulness before God. For our vote is a unique privilege and responsibility that God has entrusted to us by his grace, and God calls us to use every means of grace he grants us to love him above all and love our neighbors as ourselves.”

“Even if we lose every freedom and protection we have as followers of Jesus in the United States, and even if our government were to become a completely totalitarian regime, we could still live an abundant life as long as we didn’t look to political leaders, platforms, or policies for our ultimate security and satisfaction. We can still have hope, peace, joy, and confidence regardless of what happens in our government, as long as… we look to Jesus alone for these things, and all of our hope hinges on him.”

“We are not worried or panicked about elections, no matter how important they may seem… Instead, we seek the kingdom of Jesus and his sinless righteousness with true peace and total confidence in his supreme reign. After all, we know that throughout history, leaders have risen and fallen. Presidents have come and gone. Through it all, one King alone has remained constant, and he is not up for election. Regardless of what president is chosen in our country, Jesus will be in control of it all.”

“According to God,… my concern in voting should not just be for me and my children but also for others and their children.”

“A clear takeaway from the book of Jonah is that we are to work for the spread of God’s love in all nations more than we are to seek safety, security, prosperity, and comfort in our own nation.”

“By God’s grace, we have been given so much as citizens of the United States of America. For all that God has granted us, we should be deeply grateful. At the same time, we follow a King who commands us to lay down our rights and use the grace he has given to love our neighbors as ourselves. This, after all, is the essence of the gospel that has saved us.”

“Don’t sell your soul to a political party whose campaign slogans center on you. Instead, vote in a way that demonstrates supreme love for God and selfless love for others.”

We should use great caution in labeling any candidate “as ‘God’s man or woman’… When non-Christians hear these sorts of statements, they might believe you’re saying that God endorses whatever that candidate says or does… Let’s be careful before saying that a candidate or a president is ‘God’s person.’ After all, Pharaoh was ‘God’s person’ in the sense that God raised him up to show his power. Still, God most certainly didn’t endorse him or his policies.”

“Before the 2012 election in the United States, one survey reported that 70% of people who identified as white evangelical Protestants said that an elected official’s personal character was critical to his or her ability to govern ethically. Four short years later, before the 2016 election, that number had dropped from 70% to 30%. Over the course of four short years, self-identified white evangelical Protestants completely shifted their views on personal character in an election. It’s at least worth asking why that shift occurred.”

“How could the Roman church hold together? Paul didn’t tell them to create different churches, one for carnivores and one for vegetarians. That probably would have been easier in some ways, just as it might be easier for our church in metro Washington D.C. to separate congregants by political perspective (or a variety of other distinctives)… Instead, Paul called the church to build unity around Jesus. He prayed that God would ‘grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 15:5–6).’”

“Take the time to listen to, learn from, and love one another, particularly those who differ from you.”

In chapter 7 Platt lays out a very good and important recap:

  • God calls us to steward our vote for the sake of his commands, including his commands to do justice, subject ourselves to and support government, seek the welfare of our nation, and love our neighbors as ourselves.  
  • The most important decision we can make is to yield our hearts to Jesus, placing all our trust, allegiance, and hope in him alone.  
  • The driving force in how we vote is supreme love for God and selfless love for others, both in our nation and throughout the world.
  • We work to know the Christian position on issues that are clear according to God’s Word in order to form a Christian position on less clear issues that require our wisdom.  
  • Before voting, we weigh issues in terms of factors like biblical clarity and practical consequences.  
  • No matter how we vote, we are eager to maintain the unity of the church around Jesus and his Word, not around our personal political convictions.

The Gospel Coalition also has helpful articles on the platforms of both the Republican and Democratic parties. Wayne Grudem, a very influential and respected theologian, offers his reasons for endorsing President Donald Trump here (or see here for a longer version). And David French offers a negative evaluation here.

Lastly, remember “Church, disagreeing with someone’s politics, views, religion, and ideology is never permission to harass or bully that person” (Eugene Cho, Thou Shalt Not Be a Jerk: A Christian’s Guide to Engaging Politics).

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 10 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :)

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