How should Christians approach political elections? By this time tomorrow, many professing Christians in Texas, Alabama, and several other states will have punched a ticket (or button) for their preferred candidate in the Republican Presidential Primary. As souls who carry the name of Christ, how should we approach this pivotal moment in the campaign? I recognize that there are many definitions of Christianity. And I admit my voice is a little less than a whisper in a crowd. These are simply my thoughts as a Christian, husband, and father. They flow freely as the expression of ardent love for my native land. And I pray they might be of use to someone else who shares that love.
My answer to the stated question is this: We ought to think as Christian citizens.
First, we ought to think. Major decisions are made with our minds, not our passions. Christians are people whose minds have been made new. We now possess the mind of Christ. As the Apostle Paul said, we “pray with the understanding…I will sing with the understanding also.” (1 Corinthians 14:15) We ought to be thoughtful. In the political world, revolutions are fueled by raw emotion. Republics are fashioned by intellect. The United States is only as great as the character and thoughtfulness of her leaders and citizens. We ought to approach our vote tomorrow with deep thinking, not raw emotion.
Furthermore, we ought to think as Christians. We think through the lens of the Scriptures. Christians want good men to lead. The Scriptures sketch the character of good men. Just as in Christ’s Church, we seek men who lead with principle, not pragmatism. We long for statesmen with conviction. This republic’s halls are in desperate need of honor. Few are the captains of Capitol Hill who carry themselves with humility, nobility, and self control.
My soul is stirred and my tears flow when I meditate on our country’s history. Built by the hands of Psalm singing saints, our ancestors risked their lives to hack a republic out of the wilderness. Fortified with spiritual iron by the preaching of Edwards, Davies and Whitefield, what made this republic great was her character, vision, and virtue. Where did they learn of such standards? Under whose tutelage did Washington and Henry learn of humility, honor, and self denial? Their character would have been nothing without their Bible. This republic would not have been forged the way it was without the Word. And we will not be great again until our leaders and citizens are gripped with love for and submission to the Jesus of the Scriptures. All questions of domestic and foreign policy aside, what does your candidate think of our nation’s history and faith? When you throw in your lot with a candidate, be sure to do so with the mind of Christ. As in all things, seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33)
Finally, we ought to think as Christian citizens. As the hobbits plead with Treebeard (pardon the Tolkien reference), we are part of this world. We are citizens of this particular country. This particular country is governed by the rule of law. Handed down from our fathers, this rule of law serves as the solemn bond between the states and the national government. Our rule of law is the U.S. Constitution. As citizens, we evaluate a candidate’s legitimacy by their embrace of this document. What will the president-elect do on inauguration day? Take the oath. Which oath? To preserve and defend the constitution of the United States. What does your candidate think about this constitution? If we were electing county dog-catcher, we would expect the candidate to know the rules of dog-catching. To put it another way, when electing officers of the Church, the congregation elects men who will uphold and defend the Bible. In our nation’s history, good presidents embrace the constitution, bad presidents disregard it. As citizens of this particular republic, our minds scan for leaders who stick with the rule of law embodied in the constitution.
There was no apathy in Paul’s agony for his own country: “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh; who are Israelites” (Romans 9:1) What did Paul desire for his people? “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” (Romans 10:1). What is our prayer for this nation? That they might be saved. We pray for our children to the thousandth generation, that they might “lead a quiet and peacable life in all godliness and honesty.” (1 Timothy 2:2)
For these reasons, we deeply love our country and fervently pray for her as loyal citizens. There is still everything right with ardent, principled patriotism. Resist both apathy and obsession. Approach tomorrow with a depth of thought, with a hunger and thirst for your nation’s righteousness, with respect for the established rule of law. In other words, think as Christian citizens.
“Whether this (liberty) will prove a blessing or a curse, will depend upon the use our people make of the blessings which a gracious God hath bestowed upon us. If they are wise, they will be great and happy. If they are of a contrary character, they will be miserable. Righteousness alone can exalt a nation.” Patrick Henry, 1736-1799
Posted on Monday // February 29, 2016 // 5:30 PM
by Chris Thomas