Wednesday, December 7, 2011

No, Christians should not vote for Ron Paul; or why Obeying God trumps "Political Victory"



Some of the early Christians were so strongly committed to Christ's total
 lordship that they were willing to sacrifice their political freedom (and thus
"political victory") for their commitment to it--even to the point of death.
Sadly today, some Christians, in order to attain "political victory,"
implicitly renounce Christ's lordship when they back biblically
unqualified candidates.


by Steve C. Halbrook


Last September, I posted an article,
Should Christians vote for Ron Paul?, where I argue that Christians should not vote for Ron Paul because he is not biblically qualified to be a civil ruler.

Soon afterwards, I agreed to let my friend Bojidar Marinov post a critique of my article on this site called, Yes, Christians should vote for Ron Paul; or why Treebeard is not a Good example for Christians. I posted this because I believe Christians should hear both sides of this important issue.

In his critique Bojidar raises some interesting arguments that I believe warrant a biblical response. Hence the reason for this article. Here I respond to several of his arguments, and I hope in the process to make even more clear the seriousness of being faithful to Scripture in the voting process when it comes to Ron Paul in particular, and political candidates in general. 

Before we begin, we must make clear what this critique is not about. It is not about personal animosity between Bojidar and myself. If there was animosity, then we wouldn’t have collaborated to post his article on this site to begin with.

Moreover, contrary to America's postmodern standards, debating an issue does not necessarily imply animosity. Everyone—even friends and family—debate issues, sometimes even intensely. And Bojidar and I both intensely believe that who one votes for is a serious matter.

However, disagreements on the matter of voting (as important as they are) are not disagreements on the fundamentals of the Christian faith, such as justification by faith alone. The question of whether Christians should vote for Ron Paul is an in-house debate between many sincere brothers in Christ. 

Furthermore, in regards to Ron Paul, we are not attempting to malign his character; in fact, we believe he has several admirable character traits. He seems much more honest and morally uncompromising than the typical politician. And some of his views on civil government we agree with. (For a speech with some of Ron Paul's good and bad views on civil government, watch Ron Paul's speech at the Values Voters Summit 2011.)

The reason we are criticizing him, even strongly, is that we do not believe he is biblically qualified to be a civil ruler (indeed, many sincere professing Christians are not); and in fact we believe that some of his views on civil government are outright dangerous. 

Thus we implore readers to keep in mind the distinction between Ron Paul's character and whether he is qualified to serve as a civil ruler. All qualified rulers must have character, but not all men with character are qualified to be civil rulers. 

Now, for our critique of Bojidar's article Yes, Christians should vote for Ron Paul; or why Treebeard is not a Good example for Christians.


Not Perfection, but Qualification

Early in his article, Bojidar accuses me of "narrow-minded perfectionism":

[Steve] makes the foundation of his actions a narrow-minded perfectionism which is irrelevant for the times, and having no chance of ever becoming historically relevant.

“Narrow mindedness” is a term often leveled by non-Christians against Christians for standing firm in the faith, so I’m surprised he resorts to such language. Moreover, it does nothing to prove his point—it simply comes across as baseless name-calling.

But lets focus on another baseless assertion: that I seek the “perfect” candidate. Bojidar holds that my standards are perfect—they are thus unattainable.

But nowhere did I state, nor imply, that I seek a perfect candidate. To the contrary, twice in the article I favorably mention the godly kings of Judah (and both times I link to this article). They are real world examples. The Bible does not speak of them as perfect rulers, but it does speak of them as obedient, godly rulers (and thereby qualified rulers).

The “there is no perfect candidate” argument—often employed by those who want to justify unqualified candidates and to dismiss those who strive to uphold a biblical standard for candidates—is a straw man. It is quite a logical leap to go from “Person A says that Person B is biblically unqualified to be a ruler” to “Person A expects Person B to be a perfect candidate.” This is like saying “Person A refuses to marry Person B on biblical grounds”—therefore, “person A expects Person B to be the perfect spouse"!

While the Bible doesn’t expect Christians to find perfect spouses (an impossible task), it does require Christians to marry Christians. Likewise, while the Bible doesn't expect Christians to choose perfect civil rulers (likewise an impossible task), it does require Christians to choose biblically qualified rulers.

If consistent, those who argue that it is expecting perfection for rulers to meet the biblical qualifications for rulers would also hold that it is expecting perfection for church elders to meet the biblical qualifications for elders. And so in this logic, no elders are biblically qualified.

If we must jettison biblical standards in the name of the fact that there is no perfect ruler, then one could rationalize voting for Adolph Hitler. After all, while he wasn’t perfect, one could find something positive about him. We can’t be too picky when we’re dealing with real life politics!

But as for us, we don't argue for perfection, but qualificationThe Bible nowhere mandates perfection in rulers, but it does mandate that they meet certain biblical standards. 



Qualified rulers do not work tirelessly to defend polytheism, but to suppress it. While King Josiah (depicted right) tore his clothes at the thought of God's judgment for polytheism, and thus worked tirelessly to purge Judah of its outward idolatry, Ron Paul (left) has said he has “worked tirelessly to defend and restore individual rights and religious freedom for all Americans”--in other words, Ron Paul has worked tirelessly to defend polytheism. 

Ruler Qualifications

Bojidar questions whether one must vote for biblically unqualified candidates (at least in the modern setting), and whether the Bible clearly defines—and gives a purpose forvoting in the modern setting:

It is immediately obvious that such a law (“Thou shalt not vote except for a Biblically-qualified candidate”) has no direct support in the Bible. “Direct support” is when the Bible contains a specific injunction that can’t be read in any other possible way. We know that the parents must teach their children – there are direct commandments about that in the Bible. We know that the elders in the church must be male, period. We know that there are three Persons in the Godhead – they are mentioned specifically. And so on. But on the matter of voting for candidates in the modern political setting, we can not find such direct command that cannot be interpreted in any other possible way. Therefore, the conclusion that we shouldn’t vote for candidates that are not Biblically-qualified can only be drawn indirectly from the Biblical testimony. Since the Bible has no definition of “voting,” there must be an extra-Biblical definition; since the Bible has no outlined purposes for voting, there must be extra-Biblical definitions for those purposes. There is much of human interpretation involved before we can decide where exactly modern voting fits in with the Bible.

There is no problem if we draw
 indirect conclusions from the Biblical record; and there is no problem when we try to apply Biblical truths to our modern times and setting. The problem is when such conclusions are made into a fixed law that determines the difference between righteous and unrighteous behavior
Why not make a law that we should never help a pagan neighbor in anything, period? Why not make a law that we should never buy anything from a non-Christian vendor? Why not make a law that even if there is a good Christian with perfect theonomic views running for office, we should make his epistemology the deal-breaker? Should I vote for a Clarkian theonomist for office, being convinced – as a Vantillian – that Clarkians have a rationalist epistemology and therefore he will have the incorrect way of arriving at conclusions when a crisis emerges? For everyone of those can a good case be made from the Bible, but only indirectly. And if it is indirectly, then those that make such conclusions must allow for the possibility to be wrong.

And he later says, 
there is no direct Biblical law that forbids us from voting for Biblically unqualified candidates; while there may be some truth in such an injunction, there are greater issues at stake in every generation than the theological purity of the candidates ...  
Bojidar even believes Ron Paul is biblically qualified to be a candidate (although he does not say why):  
In our specific case, Stephen judges Ron Paul to be a Biblically “unqualified” candidate. For the sake of the argument, I will accept that to be a valid claim. (Theologically, I believe it to be lacking, but that’s food for another discussion.) Out of that claim then follows the conclusion that Ron Paul is necessarily an evil candidate. 
I would be amazed if Bojidar could demonstrate that Ron Paul meets the biblical qualifications discussed in this article. Moreover, Bojidar is one of the most vocal critics of radical two kingdom theology, and yet this is exactly what Ron Paul endorses. In his book Liberty Defined, Ron Paul says, "Christ dealt with spiritual matters, not temporal or political."[1] 

Now, regarding Bojidar's aforementioned statements, let us address Bojidar’s argument that, due to my argument that Ron Paul is not biblically qualified to be a ruler, it necessarily follows that Ron Paul is an "evil candidate." While much of Paul’s platform is evil and anti-Christian, assuming that Ron Paul is a Christian, I wouldn’t consider him an evil candidate with a capital E.  In any case, Bojidar presents a false dichotomy.

If Ron Paul is a true Christian, Ron Paul’s candidacy should be likened to a new Christian being considered to be a church elder. Sure, in the regenerate sense he is not an enemy of God. He has been adopted into God's family through the blood of Jesus Christ. But in his theological immaturity and lack of sanctification, he would wreck havoc on the church in his role as elder.

The same goes with Christians who are unqualified to be civil rulers. While they don’t consciously seek to destroy Christians, nevertheless, they are not mature enough to rule well. And if they are not mature enough to rule well, they will—however unwittingly—aid Christ’s enemies.

Now we will address some of Bojidar’s other statements:

A. “It is immediately obvious that such a law (“Thou shalt not vote except for a Biblically-qualified candidate”) has no direct support in the Bible.”

The mere fact that the Bible gives biblical qualifications in the affirmative is enough to imply that we are not authorized to choose rulers who are not biblically qualified. Husbands are to love their wives; this implies that they shouldn’t hate them. Children must honor their parents; this implies that they shouldn’t dishonor them. Every positive carries with it a negative, and vice versa.

And so since the Bible teaches standards for choosing rulers in the affirmative, it also teaches standards for not choosing rulers in the negative: Christians should choose biblically qualified candidates; therefore, they should not choose biblically unqualified candidates.

Bojidar's philosophy could have us think that it is okay to choose biblically unqualified candidates for church elders, since the Bible doesn’t say “Thou shalt not vote except for Biblically-qualified church elders.”

But of course, Bojidar himself realizes the fallaciousness in such thinking, as he himself—three sentences later—states, “We know that the elders in the church must be male, period.” But does the Bible explicitly say “Thou shalt not choose female elders”?

No, but the Bible logically implies this when it states in the affirmative that elders must be male. Likewise, the Bible logically implies that we cannot choose biblically unqualified candidates when it states ruler qualifications in the affirmative.

Besides, being qualified, by its very nature, assumes competency, that is, the ability to properly fulfill one's duties. As such, 
not being qualified for any given position means being incapable of fulfilling that position's duties. Thus it makes no sense to suggest that it is acceptable to choose unqualified rulers. 

B. “But on the matter of voting for candidates in the modern political setting, we can not find such direct command that cannot be interpreted in any other possible way.”

Notice here that Bojidar requires the Bible to speak specifically to the modern setting as it pertains to voting for candidates. Would Bojidar require the Bible to speak specifically to the modern setting for elder qualifications to still apply? What about the Bible’s commands against blasphemy and adultery? To apply to the modern setting, must these commands specifically mention the modern setting?

Of course not. And so, his argument that the Bible must speak to the modern setting when it comes to voting is baseless. God’s moral standards are timeless (Matthew 5:17-20), and thus are not subject to change with modern settings. Indeed, the Bible equips the man of God (in the past, present, and future) for every good deed (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)—voting included.

When voting for civil rulers, we
don't argue for perfection, but
qualification. The Bible nowhere
mandates perfection in rulers, but
it does mandate that they meet
certain biblical standards.
When one argues that something must be explicitly stated in Scripture (that is, that it must be a "direct command") for it to be binding, then he engages in self refutation. This is because Scripture does not explicitly state that something must be explicitly stated in Scripture for it to be binding. 

And if Scripture does not explicitly state that something must be explicitly stated in Scripture for it to be binding, then, by their own logic, those who hold that something must be explicitly stated in Scripture for it to be binding cannot bind on others the philosophy that says that something must be explicitly stated in Scripture for it to be binding, since, again, this very philosophy itself is not explicitly stated (it is "indirect," as Bojidar puts it). 

And so, while Bojidar says that those who draw indirect conclusions "
must allow for the possibility to be wrong," Bojidar must allow for the possibility of being wrong about this very statement; by his own logic, he can't make his statement a "fixed law that determines the difference between righteous and unrighteous behavior." 

Bojidar’s philosophy here is similar to those who self-defeatingly make an absolute theological inference that we cannot make absolute theological inferences.

I agree with the Westminster Confession of Faith's view of explicit and implicit doctrines:
The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. (1.6a)
The problem is not with indirect doctrines per se (the Trinity and the hypostatic union are fundamental Christian doctrines drawn indirectly), but with incorrect indirect doctrines. We must be careful about the inferences we make. However, it is also true that some explicitly stated texts in Scripture are harder to understand than some inferences are to make. In my opinion, the inference that we should not choose biblically unqualified rulers is much easier to make than the explicit Scripture about baptisms for the dead is to understand (1 Corinthians 15:29).

C. “Since the Bible has no definition of 'voting,' there must be an extra-Biblical definition; since the Bible has no outlined purposes for voting, there must be extra-Biblical definitions for those purposes.”

Voting—by the nature of the case—is simply a means of choosing civil rulers. And the Bible gives standards for choosing rulers (we discuss this later). Really, voting is when a ruler is chosen by more than one person.[2]

The Bible implicitly teaches that the purpose of choosing rulers is naturally linked to God’s requirement for justice in the civil sphere. That is, the very purpose of civil government is to enforce God’s justice. And since the purpose of civil government is to enforce God’s justice, then the purpose of choosing rulers is so that they will enforce (or at least try to enforce) God’s justice.

Of course, if Bojidar wants to say that there is no knowable biblical purpose for voting, his argument proves far much more than he would want it to. Because if there is no knowable biblical purpose for voting, then one person’s approach to voting is no better than another’s; everyone arbitrarily decides for himself why to vote. But that would mean Bojidar’s reasons for voting are no better than mine.

Thus Bojidar undermines the very premise of his article, namely, that Christians should vote for Ron Paul. For "should" implies a moral imperative, and moral imperatives are grounded in Scripture. But since Bojidar states that "the Bible has no outlined purposes for voting," and thus we can't in indirect matters make a "fixed law that determines the difference between righteous and unrighteous behavior," then we can't make a fixed law that says Christians should vote for Ron Paul. 

Not only this, but without the Bible as the standard for voting, we would have to reject theonomy for autonomy in matters of voting. I doubt Bojidar, a theonomist, wants to say that he’s not a theonomist in this regard. 

D. “there is no direct Biblical law that forbids us from voting for Biblically unqualified candidates; while there may be some truth in such an injunction, there are greater issues at stake in every generation than the theological purity of the candidates, as we saw above. 

Note that Bojidar states that there may be some truth to the proposition that God forbids us from voting for Biblically unqualified candidates. But for Bojidar, to whatever degree unqualified candidates should not be voted for, there are “greater issues at stake in every generation than the theological purity of the candidates.” 

Bojidar overlooks the fact that the greatest issues at stake in every generation are not political victory, but the Gospel and obedience to God. 


With no Gospel, there are no conversions, and with no conversions, there will be no one to uphold justice;
no Gospel, no reconstruction. This is why theonomists who will not oppose dangerous Gospel-denying theologies such as the Federal Vision have misplaced priorities.

Regarding obedience to God, Ecclesiastes 12:13 reads, "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

If every generation has greater issues at stake than ruler qualifications, then why does the Bible give ruler qualifications? Was God just kidding to those in the generations that ruler qualifications were first revealed to man in Scripture? Was God also kidding when He required His moral standards—including ruler qualificationsto be perpetual (cf. Matthew 5:17-19)? God doesn't give suggestions, but marching orders.

Moreover, Bojidar violates his own rules. Remember, he argues that we can only absolutely abide by what the Bible explicitly states. But no where does Scripture state that we must make void God’s commands for the sake of what autonomous man deems to be “greater issues at stake.” In fact, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for making void God's commandments (Matthew 15:6). Instead, Jesus wants us to dogmatically uphold even the least of the commandments until heaven and earth pass away (Matthew 5:19). 

What Bojidar unwittingly proposes then is antinomianism; autonomy instead of theonomy. But obedience to God’s law, by the nature of the case, is not an option. All of His law—from the greatest to the least—must be observed at all times. As such, God only authorizes us to choose, or vote for, qualified rulers. We cannot deviate from this standard one iota. As William Symington notes in Messiah the Prince: or the mediatorial dominion of Jesus Christ:

As the power of the magistrate is not an absolute power which he is at liberty to employ as he chooses, so neither is the right of the elector an absolute right which he is at liberty to exercise as he chooses. Both the one and the other are placed under the limiting control of the Divine Law; and it is only when they are used according to this law that they are used aright.[3]
 
Since, as we have established, rulers must meet biblical qualifications, we will now discuss some of those qualifications. We do not aim to discuss every qualification the Bible gives for civil rulers (e.g., there are  character issues that I do not explore); however, we will cover enough qualifications to show that Ron Paul is far from being biblically qualified to be a civil ruler—let alone president of the United States, one of the highest, if not the highest, human civil office in the land.
For a more thorough treatment of ruler qualifications, see these ruler qualifications by Robert Fugate


Qualified rulers must understand, and seek to enact, God's
law that applies to civil government. Ron Paul falls short of
this criterion; at best, his understanding of biblical civil
law is rudimentary. 

1. Qualified Rulers have expertise in the Bible’s civil code

The Bible implicitly teaches that qualified rulers must understand, and seek to enact, the Bible’s civil code.

By the nature of the case, to be qualified is to have expertise in one’s field. An expert, of course, does not master his field perfectly, but he does know a lot about his field, and can apply that knowledge.

For instance, an expert at mathematics does not know how to solve every mathematical problem, and an expert in marketing cannot put together perfect sales pitches. However, they know enough to do well in their respective fields; they are more than competent.

Since the Bible’s civil code is the standard upon which to measure one’s competency in the civil realm, we should likewise see that qualified rulers are experts at biblical civil law; they know enough about the Bible’s civil code that they can do an overall good job in civil matters. They would know what the purpose of the state is and what the state’s ultimate authority is; and to a reasonable degree, they would know what the size of the state should be, which sins should be crimes, and how those crimes should be punished.

In these respects, it is immediately obvious that Ron Paul is not qualified to be a civil ruler.

At best, his understanding of biblical principles of the state is rudimentary (it takes more than just being somewhat biblical in matters of economics and small government); and he seems to have a very little idea of what sins should be crimes and how they should be punished. 

Those without expertise in the Bible’s civil code cannot be counted on to rule competently and justly. Indeed, so important is expertise in biblical law in general, and biblical civil law in particular, that it was absolutely necessary for Israel’s kings to daily immerse themselves in it in order to fear God, keep God’s commandments, and avoid arrogance and injustice:

And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel (Deuteronomy 17:18-20).

Given then that rulers must have expertise in biblical civil law, their competency in this regard is a non-negotiable when it comes to choosing them. Thus the Bible reads,

Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.' And you answered me, 'The thing that you have spoken is good for us to do.' So I took the heads of your tribes, wise and experienced men, and set them as heads over you, commanders of thousands, commanders of hundreds, commanders of fifties, commanders of tens, and officers, throughout your tribes.” (Deuteronomy 1:13-15)

The Bible also says:

“Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times.” (Exodus18:21, 22a)

Here the Bible explicitly tells us how to vote: we are to look for, that is, choose, men with the aforementioned listed attributes. Now, we do think Ron Paul somewhat matches—he hates socialism, which is forbidden in the “men who … hate a bribe” attribute. And assuming he is a Christian, he fears God.

But because of his ignorance of biblical law, when it comes to political office, Ron Paul is not “wise” and “understanding” enough. William O. Einwechter writes,

2. Men who are wise.  The Hebrew word for “wise” means to be skilful, prudent, intelligent, or able. It denotes both natural ability and wisdom attained through experience. But wisdom in the biblical sense is never just prudence and skill gained through experience. According to Scripture, wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and proceeds to a knowledge of God and His precepts. True wisdom comes from God as a man searches for it in the Word of God as he would search for hidden treasure (Prov. 2:1-8). Such a man will come to “understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity, and every good path” (Prov. 2:9). Thus, a magistrate should be a man of ability and intelligence who is skilled in judgment because of his fear of the Lord and his knowledge of God’s Word.

3. Men who are understanding.  To be “understanding” is to be discerning, to have the ability to make a proper judgment. It refers primarily to moral insight and ethical discernment. A man of “understanding” is able to discern the right course of action based on the moral law of God. In terms of civil law, a man of understanding knows what is just and is able to judge righteously in disputes or criminal cases because he understands God’s law.[4]

Ron Paul, in short, falls short of the biblical criterions for wisdom and understanding, since he lacks sufficient knowledge—or at least convictionof biblical civil law. Without such knowledge and conviction, one will not rule by God's law. And not ruling according to God's law is serious rebellion against God. James R. Willson writes, 
Though men should do many things that are contained in the written law, but not because it is the word of Christ, they would yet be regarded as doing him dishonour; for in these acts, they do not intend, nor profess to be obedient. Many unregenerate men perform some duties that are agreeable to the letter of the law, who finding their worldly interest thereby promoted would do the same things were there no law of God enjoining the. The law, as the law of God is not in all their thoughts; and were their selfish ends promoted by doing acts directly the contrary; they would do the very reverse. Since the fall, no man ever intended to honour God by obedience, otherwise than as rendered through the Lord Jesus Christ. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin" "Without faith, it is impossible to please God." However many righteous laws may be enacted in a commonwealth, and however well they may be administered, provided there is no purpose or profession to obey the law under which we are to Christ, no homage is thereby rendered to the Mediator. Still the principle with which the system is instinct remains the same. "We will not have this man to reign over us." To refuse subjection to the Lord Jesus Christ, by acknowledging and obeying his law revealed in the Scriptures, is the most direct act of rebellion against the authority of Jehovah of which man can be guilty. God says obey my Son, and walk according to the laws which he proclaims—obey all his commandments; for he rules in my name, and all he does is by my authority.[5]

"For when Kings and Princes are
commanded to kiss the Son of
God, (Ps. ii 10-12), not only are
they enjoined to submit to his
authority in their private capacity,
but also to employ all the power
that they possess, in defending
the Church and maintaining
godliness." --John Calvin
2. Qualified rulers acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the highest political authority in the land, and believe the state's duty is to act as an avenger of God's wrath

In the article Bojidar critiques, I state, “civil government exists to answer to God—as an avenger of His wrath, to terrorize and kill evildoers (naturally, evildoers guilty of crimes against biblical civil law).” I also state, “Truly qualified candidates acknowledge the fact that Christ is the highest political authority in the universe, and as such base their platform on His law.”

I base this on such texts as Romans 13 and Psalm 2:

"For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer." (Romans 13: 3, 4)

Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 2:10-12).

These texts are foundational to civil government. Therefore, qualified candidates acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ as the highest political authority in the land,[6] and serve Him as an avenger of His wrath.

This criterion alone rules out Ron Paul from being a biblically qualified civil ruler; he doesn’t even seem to understand these basic functions of civil government.

In his advocacy of political polytheism (which we discussed in our previous article), Ron Paul rejects Christ’s total political authority. In his philosophy that “Government exists to protect liberty”—and therefore for the people, Ron Paul rejects the biblical philosophy that government exists for God—as an avenger of His wrath (which entails capital punishment for certain offenses against biblical civil law).

Regarding biblical capital punishment, I’m not sure that Ron Paul would support capital punishment for any crimes. The very rationale he gives for opposing the federal death penalty can also be given for opposing the death penalty on the local level: 
"For federal purposes, I no longer believe in the death penalty. I believe it has been issued unjustly; if you're rich, you get away with it; if you're poor and you're from the inner city, you're more likely to be prosecuted and convicted."[7]
Even if one could convincingly argue that only the states should inflict the death penalty, and not the federal government (which Ron Paul would be part of if he becomes president), Ron Paul nevertheless fails to acknowledge Christ as the ultimate political authority—something that federal and state rulers alike must do. Instead, Paul appears to embrace the Constitution and his libertarian philosophy as his ultimate political authorities.
  
Ron Paul's libertarianism rejects the Bible's law of liberty for a man-centered, humanistic liberty. Biblical liberty is theocentric; it is liberty relative to God and His law. Humanistic liberty is man-centered; it is liberty relative to man. Biblical liberty is about doing what God wants; humanistic liberty is about doing what man wants.
Ron Paul shows his humanistic view of liberty (at least in regards to civil matters) when he states: "Liberty means to exercise human rights in any manner a person chooses so long as it does not interfere with the exercise of the rights of others."[8]

Libertarianism's idolizing of human freedom inevitably leads to tyranny. As R. J. Rushdoony writes:
[A] society which makes freedom its primary goal will lose it, because it has made, not responsibility, but freedom from responsibility, its purpose. When freedom is the basic emphasis, it is not responsible speech which is fostered but irresponsible speech. If freedom of press is absolutized, libel will be defended finally as a privilege of freedom, and if free speech is absolutized, slander finally becomes a right. Religious liberty becomes the triumph of irreligion. Tyranny and anarchy take over. Freedom of speech, press, and religion all give way to controls, totalitarian controls.[9]
Regarding the Constitution, Ron Paul's campaign website states: "Dr. Paul never votes for legislation unless the proposed measure is expressly authorized by the Constitution."[10] Keeping in mind Ron Paul’s high regard for the Constitution, note the following from Scottish Presbyterian James Dick:

An important part of the Scriptural ideal of national homage to Christ is a thoroughly Scriptural national constitution. Whether the constitution be written or unwritten, it must contain, along with the verbal or practical acknowledgement of Christ's Sovereignty, the fearless assertion and application of the holy principles of His Word. The Character of the national compact that does so much to mould the national life, must be itself moulded by the will of Christ, if its influence and issues are to be for good. As it is with the individual life so it is with the national life. True individual life has its origin in the creation of a holy disposition to receive and be guided by the Holy Word of God to holy ends. On the part of the individual, anything less than or different from the acceptance of the holy principles of Christ's kingdom as guiding principles of the life, is rebellion against Christ, and, in spite of any profession of religion, tends to more and greater rebellion as the life runs on its course. Similarly a national constitution if it be not according to the will of Christ, is, notwithstanding verbal professions to the contrary, at variance with His will, and so, being shaped in rebellion against Him and in the rejection of the wise principles of His kingdom, it leads to rebellion and to the casting off, one by one, of the cords of His authority, which national traditions or national sentiment may have for a time retained. A Scriptural constitution, on the other hand, seeks to break no bands and cast off no cords of Mediatorial authority, by rather to bind the nations the more closely in dutiful and honourable allegiance to Christ's throne.[11]

"A society which makes freedom
its primary goal will lose it,
because it has made, not
responsibility, but freedom from
responsibility, its purpose."
--R. J. Rushdoony
And also James R. Willson, in 1838, wrote,
[Jehovah] says I have set up my eternal Son, the man who is my fellow, to be "Prince of the kings of the earth." "Be wise—now—therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth—Kiss the Son." Psa. 2:10,12. The people of the United States say by their constitution, we will not kiss the Son. It shall not be obligatory on our rulers or judges to do him homage; "no religious test shall be required." The fruits of all this indignity offered to the Son of God by the nation, are reaped in the prevalent, monstrous, and rapidly increasing corruption of public morals, especially among public men—a large proportion are shamelessly and grossly immoral. The ignorance, the intrigues, and the want of principle among the high functionaries of the commonwealth, under which the nation groans, and by which the national resources have been crippled, may all be traced to the constitution. While the nation thus reaps the fruits of its own doings, the judgments of God,—plague, drought, mildew, insect, and conflagrations demonstrate the anger of the Lord.[12]
This was written in 1838. In that same piece, Willson says the following about the effect a constitution's disregard of Christ can have on the holiness of the Christian life:
The transition is easy from the national disregard of the law of God to that which is personal. If a whole nation may trample under foot with impunity the Holy Scriptures, and the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, why may not one man? If in our political relations it is proper and safe to disregard the law of heaven, why may it not be violated in all business transactions? In any christian nation, where the Scriptures are not recognized in the national institutions, they will be little reverenced in the private relations of life. That this is so, to a most deplorable extent, in the United States, is known to all. The effect of the national dishonour done the written law of God, has been to open the flood-gates of immorality, which overflows the land like a deluge. That there has been for many years a rapid and alarming depreciation of public morals, is admitted by nearly all intelligent observers. Men in power, it seems to be the voice of the nation, were never before so incompetent, and so immoral. Few, however, have yet learned to trace the evil to its fountains, in the infidel constitution of the Federal Government and in most of the state’s constitutions.[13]
In short, the legacy of constitutions that reject Christ's political authority and Christ's law is a legacy of undermining Christ’s law.

Given then Ron Paul’s exaltation of the U. S. Constitution—which fails to recognize Christ beyond the document’s date at the end (“in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven”), and recognizes "we the people" as sovereign instead of Christ—we can likewise expect Paul’s civil legacy to be one of undermining Christ’s law. As Gary North writes, 

[T]he U.S. Constitution is judicially anti-Christian. It is an explicitly covenantal document; it is also explicitly not Christian. It was designed that way. But if it is not Christian, then it must be anti-Christian. There is no neutrality, after all.[14]
Even Ron Paul’s policies that are biblical—such as some small government and economics issues—are undermined by Paul’s anti-Christian civil foundation. 

(By now some may be saying, "But you must uphold the Constitution--otherwise, you can't be accepted in office!"
First, this is a pragmatic argument, and thereby fallacious. Second, it is a denial of God's sovereignty; God rules over the affairs of men, and can have the Constitution replaced anytime He wants. Thirdone can run for office, regardless of his views on the Constitution. If he won't be accepted because of rejecting the Constitution, but he was a biblically qualified candidate, then those who rejected him will be subject to God's judgment. Fourth, a candidate who opposes the Constitution can still plant seeds for future generations to ultimately embrace a Christ-honoring constitution.)

Paul’s emphasis on the Constitution and libertarianism, and lack of emphasis on Christ’s political authority, works to endanger the country on a much greater level than his small government and economics policies could ever help the country.  

Indeed, to affirm anything but Christ as one’s ultimate political authority is to oppose Christ’s political authority. There is no neutrality. And as such, those who reject Christ’s total political rule naturally work to subvert it. 

Thus it is not enough for Ron Paul to uphold some laws that coincide with biblical law. Christ must be publicly honored as the source of all righteous laws, and His righteous laws (not just a few righteous laws here and there) must be enforced.
Given then Ron Paul's lack of acknowledgement of Christ's total lordship, we should not be surprised that in the last Republican race he said the following in defense of Mitt Romney’s anti-Christian Mormonism:

We live in times of great uncertainty when men of faith must stand up for American values and traditions before they are washed away in a sea of fear and relativism. I have never been one who is particularly comfortable talking about my faith in the political arena, and I find the pandering that typically occurs in the election season to be distasteful.

Our nation was founded to be a place where religion is freely practiced and differences are tolerated and respected. I come to my faith through Jesus Christ and have accepted him as my personal savior. At the same time, I have worked tirelessly to defend and restore individual rights and religious freedom for all Americans.

The recent attacks and insinuations, both direct and subtle, that Gov. Romney may be less fit to serve as president of our United States because of his faith fly in the face of everything America stands for. Gov. Romney should be judged fairly, on his record and his character, not on the church he attends.[15]

Ron Paul’s lack of discernment is distressing—he doesn’t see that the religion one holds to has any affect on whether one is “fit to serve as president” of the United States. Instead, according to Paul, one should be judged by his “character.”

The problem with this philosophy is that one’s religion is one’s character; and anyone who holds to any religion but Christianity is a wicked, God-hating idolater. Since Ron Paul is unable to grasp this, if he becomes president should we not expect him to place idolaters bent on subverting Christ's political authority in important positions of power?

On this matter, Ron Paul should heed Samuel Brown Wylie's advice:
For a Christian people to appoint a Deist to govern them, to say nothing of its repugnancy to the divine law, is even shameful. It is just like the trees in Jotham's parable, Judges, ix. 14. "Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us." Because they could not find a tree of more generous growth, to govern them. But this is contrary to the express command of God. Deut. xvii. 15. "Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee ; thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother." Is it to be expected that the man, who is not a brother in the profession of the religion of Jesus, but an obstinate Infidel, will make his administration bend to the interests of Immanuel, whose existence he denies, whose religion he mocks, and whose kingdom he believes to be fictitious?[16]
In the aforementioned quote by Ron Paul, Ron Paul also says that he has “worked tirelessly to defend and restore individual rights and religious freedom for all Americans.” This is another way of saying that he has tirelessly defended the so-called American concept of political polytheism—the national rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ for the serving of false gods.

This is not a philosophy for political reform. Qualified rulers do not work tirelessly to defend political polytheism, but to suppress it. This is exactly what the Bible regularly praises godly rulers for. But Ron Paul's libertarianism blinds him to the evils and dangers of political polytheism. 

And indeed, for Ron Paul, the Constitution legitimizes rank political polytheism. In Liberty Defined, he states:
The Founders were right to reject the notion that the federal government be permitted to establish an official religion, without being hostile to those who express their spiritual views in private or public places. Neither evangelical atheists whose goal it is to abolish any public expression of religious belief nor promoters of a theocracy should be able to force their views on others. A free society with freedom of expression protects the rights of both.[17]
True to the doctrine of political polytheism, Ron Paul wants to force the view on others that says that one shouldn't force his view on others. He is a polycrat who wants to religiously impose a polyocracy on society. 

And so as we have demonstrated, there are biblical qualifications that rulers must meet. And Ron Paul does not meet these qualifications. If rulers do not have to meet biblical qualifications (as Bojidar claims), then one could rationalize voting for Obama just as he could rationalize voting for Ron Paul, if, in his autonomous reasoning, he  thought there was a good reason to do so. 
Even Hitler is fair game for voting. (In a hypothetical election between Hitler and Stalin, one could rationalize that choosing Hitler would be an enormous incremental victory, given that Stalin killed millions of more people than Hitler.)

Whereas in the biblical view, rulers are either not choosable for being unqualified, or are choosable because they meet various degrees of qualification (ranging from those who meet the minimum requirements to the best possible rulers, such as a Josiah or Hezekiah).

(While in some cases it can be hard to discern if someone is biblically qualified, surely rulers must acknowledge Christ’s lordship and have reasonable familiarity and conviction about what the Bible considers crimes and how those crimes should be punished. Again, Ron Paul does not come close to these standards.)

But there is more that must be considered about Ron Paul. Since rulers must be Christians (for example, they must fear God, Exodus 18:21), we must have reasonable confidence that a candidate is a Christian. But consider the following troubling, syncretistic statements Ron Paul makes in Liberty Defined:
Some believe that the Golden Rule should bring all factions together. This means all religions and nonbelievers. Violence indeed has been sanctioned by the great religions, but without theological justification. The principle of the Golden Rule has been endorsed by all the great religions. This was known as early as the time of Confucius. Calls for love, forgiveness, and the Golden Rule have been expressed in some form since ancient times.[18]
Here Ron Paul sounds more like a New Age guru than a Christian. He goes on to minimize the differences Christianity has with other religions by comparing the Christian view of love with that of Confucianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Sikhism, Judaism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, Bah'i, and Shinto. Next he compares the "Golden Rule" as upheld by Christianity with some of these same religions, and notes that "Humanists and Atheists do not condemn the Golden Rule."[19] 

(It is this naivete about non-Christian religions that regularly leads to violence and tyranny.)

Then, Ron Paul compares the Christian view of peace with, again several of these religions, and following that, he compares the Christian Ten Commandments with Judaism's and Islam's Ten Commandments. 

(True, to one degree or another Judaism and Islam borrows the Christian Ten Commandments, but we must not dismiss how these religions would pervert them in their man-made traditions; neither can we dismiss the fact that Judaism and Islam lacks the power to promote keeping the Ten Commandments within one's heart, since they promote false gospels and false gods that do not result in true conversions to God. The God of Christianity is different from the gods of Islam and apostate Judaism.) 

Ron Paul's New Age-like discourse continues, as he then says:
These great religions represent billions of people who agree on love, the Golden Rule, and the Ten Commandments. We are brought together by believing in one God, supposedly the same one, yet we fight and hate and lack tolerance and understanding. The positive truth is perverted and replaced by arrogant enforcers willing to initiate war and aggression for selfish interests while distorting religious belief.[20]
I have tried to be as charitable as possible when it comes to Ron Paul's personal faith, but it is statements like this that make me seriously question whether he is even a Christian. (I hope he is, but I can't see how even a theologically immature Christian can say such things.) And, just imagine what a dangerous role model he could be if he should make such statements as president.

In any case, we must have reasonable confidence that a candidate is a Christian before voting for him, and this is more than enough to shatter that reasonable confidence. 

One of Ron Paul's ultimate political authorities is the Constitution, which
attributes political sovereignty not to Jesus Christ, but to man--namely,
 "We the People."

Working with non-Christian rulers is not identical to choosing non-Christian civil rulers

Bojidar argues the following:

In the Bible, we see Daniel and Joseph supporting pagan rulers by giving them sound advice. In fact, we know that Joseph personally organized and directed the enslavement of a whole nation to its ruler. Both godly men, they could refuse to lend their services to pagan kings on the grounds that these kings were not qualified.

Thus for Bojidar, choosing someone to rule and supporting him during his rule are the same in principle. And so since Daniel and Joseph supported pagan rulers in some capacity, they might as well have placed them into office.

However, the matters of choosing someone and working with someone are different concepts entirely. I might choose someone to oversee a project, and yet offer him no assistance whatsoever. Or, I might assist someone overseeing a project, and yet have had nothing to do with choosing him (as his boss did) to oversee the project.

So it is with voting: I might choose someone to be a ruler, and yet not assist him in his duties at all. Or, I might work with a ruler I didn’t choose. 

Lest one thinks that I’m making superficial distinctions, let’s take this one step further. This time, we’ll consider the fact that one can logically oppose choosing something, while at the same time make the best of the circumstances if others choose what he opposed.

Members of a company may vote to choose a manager. However, there might be a member of that company that didn’t choose that manager, but once that manager is chosen, he works with that manager to bring the best out of what he deems to be bad circumstances.
 
Also, we see in the Bible itself examples of things that are wrong to initially choose, but which require support once they are chosen. For instance, at least generally speaking, one should avoid debt; however, once one is in debt, he is morally obligated to fulfill his debt. He shouldn’t have chosen debt, but once he did, he must work with his debtor to pay it off.

We also see in the Bible that Christians should not marry non-Christians; however, once they have done so, they are morally obligated to fulfill their marriage vows.  They shouldn’t have chosen such a marriage, but once they did, they have to work with their spouses to make the best of the marriage.

And so it is with voting. Nations should not choose unqualified rulers, but once they have done so, they should work with those rulers to make the best of the situation. We are to submit to whatever ruling authorities God has providentially given us. (It is beyond the scope of this article to discuss if and when revolting against the civil authorities is biblically justified.)

The fact that the Bible has ruler qualifications and gives examples of God’s people working with biblically unqualified rulers shows that God Himself distinguishes between choosing rulers and working with them. In short, giving unqualified rulers sound advice differs radically from choosing them.

Regarding Bojidar’s argument that Joseph enslaved a nation, Bojidar's logic amounts to this: Since Joseph gave sound advice to pagan rulers, then it is okay to vote for pagan rulers (and thus surely it is okay to vote for a Christian such as Ron Paul, who is better than pagan rulers).

But we have already shown that advising or supporting a ruler is not analogous to voting for a ruler. In addition, Bojidar’s logic proves far much more than he sees. If the Bible implies that it is okay to vote for pagan tyrants, then it is okay to vote for pagan tyrants today—everything from neo-cons to left wing commies.

In addition, note that Bojidar says, “we know that Joseph personally organized and directed the enslavement of a whole nation to its ruler.” However, if Bojidar wants to say that this example is normative, then he has just given the state justification to enslave the nation via socialistic policies. There is no longer a basis for supporting Ron Paul or opposing socialism. On the other hand, if this example is not normative, then it is irrelevant to the discussion.

Incrementalism

Bojidar writes the following about history:

History is a set of small, incremental victories. Each one of these victories is incomplete, imperfect, and it only improves one or two things at a time. “Here a little, there a little,” is how God works out His victory in history over His enemies. There has never been a complete victory for the people of God in everything; each victory takes care of one aspect of reality, and sets the stage for the next victory. 

He then goes on to argue that a presidential victory for Ron Paul would be a small incremental victory in such areas as economics and the size of civil government.

We will quickly note that just because there has yet to be a complete victory for the people of God, it doesn’t mean that victories are necessarily incremental, that is, “Here a little, there a little.” As we will discuss, God can ordain radical victories in history as well. (God’s act of regenerating the soul is as radical and un-incremental as it gets; and if God chooses to do this to many people at once, one can imagine the radical effect this might have on a nation's civil code.)

Now that we’ve already established that there is a biblical standard for choosing civil rulers, notions of victory work against Bojidar’s argument that Christians should vote for Ron Paul.

This is because when we consider the notion of victory, we must consider whether we have obeyed God. Obedience to God is victory, while disobedience to God is defeat. Thus, obeying God’s standard for choosing qualified rulers is victorious, while disobeying God’s standard for choosing qualified rulers is defeat. Since Ron Paul is not biblically qualified to be a civil ruler, voting for him is a defeat.

Moreover, the Bible forbids sinning that good may come (Romans 3:8)thus the Bible forbids voting for unqualified rulers that “victory” may come. Even if such a “victory” appeared to occur, it would be artificial, since it was gained by disobedience.

We never forsake the victory of obedience in order to gain the victory of being blessed by better rulers (a victory only God Himself can provide in His providence anyway). It is more victorious to be fed by rulers to the lions because we have obeyed God than to attempt to gain better (albeit still unqualified) rulers out of disobedience to God.

Of course, God may use obedience to Him in the face of tyranny to convict rulers to rule by God’s law, which in turn would bless the circumstances of Christians. Consider Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Instead of attempting to escape government tyranny by committing state-mandated idolatry—and thus attain an artificial “incremental victory”—they refused to commit idolatry (refusing to do so carried the death sentence) and attained a radical victory.

(Above: A depiction of Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego being sent to the fiery furnace.)
God may use obedience in the face of tyranny
to convict rulers to rule by God's law, such as
when God convicted Nebuchadnezzar after
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused
to submit to Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous
decree--even under the sentence of death.
When God rescued Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego after the tyrannical ruler Nebuchadnezzar tried to put them to death, Nebuchadnezzar suddenly ended his capital sanction for not worshipping his golden image and instead enacted a capital sanction for speaking against the One True God (Daniel 3:29).  

This civil victory was not incremental, but radical; and it came about as a blessing from God following Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego's obedience.

Speaking of radical victories, let’s not forget Moses, who, when it came to Pharoah’s tyranny, would settle for nothing less than total liberty for the Israelites. Moses’ approach to Pharoah’s tyranny was simply to obey God, and leave the historical results to God. This approach may seem perfectionistic to those content with political compromise, but the outcome was total deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt’s tyranny.

Granted, we do not know beforehand if our obedience will lead to civil deliverance, as when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. Then again, we do not know that it won’t lead to civil deliverance either.

In any case, we needn’t worry about outcomes at the expense of obedience. Our only duty, as Christians, is to obey God. Period. The results belong to God. God may grant us earthly blessings for our obedience (including blessings of civil rulers who rule by God’s law), but even if God doesn’t, we still must obey Him. As Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego told Nebuchadnezzar before he tried to execute them,

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (Daniel 3:16b-18)

Bojidar gives several historical examples to argue that incremental political victories came about without my standards of ruler qualifications. While I don’t have time to research the validity of all his historical claims and analyses, I don’t need to. Historical facts do not speak for themselves. Rather, it is the Bible that provides a framework upon which to analyze those facts.

And since the Bible teaches that violating God’s word is sinful (which means violating God’s standards for choosing rulers is sinful), then we can never attribute victory to violating God’s standards for choosing rulers. If in fact God wants to providentially bring about a less unjust civil system through man’s sinful actions (such actions as choosing the lesser of two unqualified rulers), then it is His right to do so.

But note: if a nation becomes less unjust outwardly, but does so in an ungodly manner (such as by choosing the lesser-of-unqualified candidates via the ends justify the means philosophy), that nation risks paying the price with even more judgment and tyranny down the road. Just because God temporarily lightens His rod of judgment for a season, it doesn’t mean a greater rod of judgment (through such means as political tyranny) is not coming in the distance.

Other options besides voting for non-qualified candidates

We must point out that when it comes to influencing civil government, there are many other options than resorting to the “electable, but lesser of unqualified candidates.”

First, in terms of voting itself, Christians can honor God by voting for biblically qualified, Christian candidates—regardless of whether or not they seem “electable.” If there are no candidates running who meet this criterion, Christians can write-in someone in the ballot whom they think would fit the biblical qualifications.

From the standpoint of obeying God, one never “throws his vote away” when voting for someone biblically qualified. God is honored, and this is enough. But even beyond this, as Joe Morecraft III wisely observes,

I don’t expect many of our people to get elected—if they’re distinctively Christian in character and policy.

But I don’t despise the days of small beginnings. We’ve got to be pioneers, is the point. We’ve got to cut the trails, politically, show them how to do it, how not to do it, for future generations to build on what we’ve done.

I ran for Congress in 1986 as an overt Christian, obviously, self-consciously aware that I was a pioneer, praying that people would build on that. If we have political parties now that are overtly Christian it is a great training program for future days. …

And I think there’s another purpose for a political party, too, rather than running its own candidates, sort of like, you remember the old, [William] Buckley Conservative Party in New York, years ago? It was a restraint, for a while, on other political parties, and I think that if a Christian political party became strong enough—even though it couldn’t run a candidate, or elect a candidate in a certain area, it can began by being a clear restraint on candidates, who maybe wouldn’t run on their platform.[21]

If for some reason there is no one biblically qualified running for office, and writing-in a candidate is not possible, then one should not vote. Let us be clear, however, that one should not take not voting lightly. In Why Reformed Presbyterians do not Vote at Political Elections, J. R. Lawson comments,
Civil government is an ordinance of God. It is His will, as well as a dictate of reason, that there be rulers in every land. It is the right of the people to choose their own rulers. Every man, therefore, should vote, if he can do so in a scriptural way. For any one to decline voting, without a very important reason, is sinful. There is only one thing that can ever justify a person in declining to vote—it is the deep conviction on his mind, that there are certain circumstances connected with the case, which would make it morally wrong for him to do that which, in other circumstances, he ought to do, and which it would be sinful in him to omit.[22]
But again, it is never excusable to vote for a biblically unqualified candidate just because he seems electablethat is, just because the majority may vote for him. As Scripture states, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23:2a). 

Second
, beyond voting, Christians can lay foundations for future generations by teaching principles of biblical civil government via scholarship, teaching, and think tanks. Pressure groups can be employed to restrain politicians with non-Christian platforms. Ungodly rulers can be evangelized. Christian rulers without a biblical platform can be discipled.

Let us not forget the power of prayer itself for raising up qualified rulers and restraining unqualified rulers. First Timothy 2:1, 2 tells us:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Note that the text says to pray for rulers “that we”—that is, Christians— “may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” In terms of the civil sphere, such a life comes about when rulers enforce biblical civil law. (After all, when rulers enforce the unbiblical, unjust laws of men, peace and dignity are violated.) Thus Christians can pray that rulers enforce biblical law.

Christians should not underestimate the power of prayer to overturn unjust civil orders. On the power of prayer, James 5 says:

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.” (James 5:16b-18)

For more on how prayer, by God's grace, has great power to change a society's circumstances, we recommend Joe Morecraft's sermon Prayer and the Fire of God.

In addition to prayer, let us not forget God’s blessing for obedience:

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14)

God then may heal the land of its tyranny if His people repent. And one thing we Christians need repentance of is voting for biblically unqualified candidates. If we don’t repent of this, then we shouldn’t expect God to heal our land of its tyranny.


God humbled Nebuchadnezzar by taking Nebuchadnezzar's
kingdom away and making him like a beast until he
acknowledged "that the Most High rules the kingdom
of men and gives it to whom he will" (Dan. 4:25b). Will God
do something similar to us to wake us up to our denial
of His sovereignty for voting for biblically
unqualified candidates?

Conclusion

Bojidar’s critique of Should Christians vote for Ron Paul falls short logically and theologically. We think he is sincere, but wrong, nevertheless .

Bojidar accuses us of perfectionism in holding Ron Paul to biblical standards for choosing civil rulers, but this is no more perfectionistic than holding church elders to biblical standards. And surely Bojidar believes one must meet the biblical standards to be a church elder.[23]

Bojidar questions whether one should vote for biblically unqualified candidates. But God's commands are never optional. And rejecting God's objective standards for choosing rulers for vague, subjective “greater issues at stake" is sheer antinomianism. It is not theonomic or presuppositional, but autonomous and rationalistic[24]; situational ethics applied to voting.

Bojidar does not practically distinguish between choosing rulers and working for rulers. However, this is a categorical fallacy; one can abstain from choosing unqualified rulers while working to positively influence 
unqualified rulers that God has already sovereignty placed in authority. Making the best of a bad situation (e.g., by working to positively influence bad rulers) differs radically from contributing to a bad situation (e.g., by putting bad rulers in office). 

Bojidar bases his approach to choosing rulers on the notion of “incremental victories.” But given that the Bible has a standard for choosing civil rulers, the Christian’s primary concern should not be with political results, but with obedience to God. The Christian’s duty is simply to obey God, and to leave the results to Him. 


Besides, we are never left with nothing more than voting for the lesser of two unqualified candidates. Christians have several tools of dominion at their disposal, including laying foundations for distinctly Christian political candidates and parties. There is also scholarship, teaching, think tanks, pressure groups, prayer, and obedience.

Bojidar's critique has other flaws: 

  • He states that the two issues I criticize Ron Paul for are abortion and sodomy. As important as these issues are, Bojidar overlooks my very perspicuous criticisms of Ron Paul's political polytheism and lack of affirming Christ's lordship. These are foundational  matters, not trifles that can simply be ignored. Political polytheism provokes God's judgment. Moreover, Ron Paul's view of abortion alone should be a deal breaker. While Ron Paul is pro-life in some respects, he is pro-murder regarding the morning after pill. In his book Liberty Defined, he states:
"Very early pregnancies and victims of rape can be treated with the day after pill, which is nothing more than using birth control pills in a special manner. These very early pregnancies could never be policed, regardless. Such circumstances would be dealt with by each individual making his or her own moral choice."[25]
If murdering the unborn is Ron Paul's notion of liberty, then we should have nothing to do with it. 
  • He fails to adequately distinguish between political victories as they relate to God's will of decree (that is, God's sovereign control of all things, which works all things for good to ultimately bring victory out of even the sinful actions of man) and God's will of command (the victory of man's obedience to God's will of command is what we must consider when we ask "Should Christians vote for Ron Paul," as opposed to considering the fact that God historically brings good out of man's sinful compromises.)


  • He knocks down a straw man by implying that I expect rulers to attain perfect results: "Even in his perfect state, Adam was not expected to immediately make the world like the Garden; it would have taken generations of his sons and daughters of spreading, step by step, conquering little pieces of the world, converting them into gardens, and moving on"; "That’s the second problem in Stephen’s thinking: He doesn’t realize the importance of small, incremental, incomplete and imperfect victories in history. Following his logic, Christians shouldn’t involve politically unless we have the the perfect politicians who will perfectly fight on all fronts."
Nowhere do I insist that qualified rulers must accomplish anything. The point of dispute is whether a ruler is biblically qualifiednot whether he will transform civil government. While a biblically qualified ruler would attempt to make things better, it is possible that he would be met with such resistance that he doesn't change a single policy. But what a ruler actually achieves in office is a post-voting scenario; our concern, and our concern alone, is if he is qualified. Besides, Godnot mandetermines the results. We are dealing with the ought (that is, what God requires man to do), not the is (that is, the events that God has ordained to occur.)
As we have shown throughout this article, Ron Paul clearly does not meet ruler qualifications. He does not advocate biblical civil law as a whole; he doesn't understand civil government's basic functions; he does not advocate Christ's lordship over civil government.

As we have shown throughout this
article, Ron Paul clearly does not
meet ruler qualifications. And, while
we want to be as charitable as
possible, we are not even sure that he
is a Christian. His New Age-
sounding comments, which blur
the antithesis between Christianity
and other religions, are
most disturbing.
And, while we want to be as charitable as possible, we are not even sure that Ron Paul is a Christian. His New Age-sounding comments, which blur the antithesis between Christianity and other religions, are most disturbing. Also disturbing is his support for infanticide via the morning-after pill.

One of the great ironies in all this is that Bojidar and like-minded theonomists, in their support for Ron Paul, find themselves unwittingly embracing radical two kingdoms theology by: 1) seeking to elect a candidate who would further radical two kingdoms theology (remember, we noted earlier that Ron Paul said, "Christ dealt with spiritual matters, not temporal or political"), and 2) rejecting Christ's lordship over civil government by rejecting His rules for choosing rulers.

Moreover, those who claim to be theonomists but who support Ron Paul are simply contributing to the co-opting of the theonomic movement by libertarian humanism. Things may be even worse now than we might think. When you have professing theonomists who are Ron Paul supporters taking issue with fellow theonomists who insist that Christ's lordship be honored by political candiates, I wonder where the sympathies of those Ron Paul supporters really lie in civil mattersis it with Jesus Christ, or Ludwig von Mises? I hope it is the former; I do think there are Christians who support Ron Paul (such as Bojidar) who want to honor the Lord Jesus Christ in politics. I would just ask them to carefully consider whether they are being biblical in their approach.

And, we would hope that Bojidar and those who agree with him 
will come around and help lead the way in national repentance for voting for biblically unqualified rulers, and insist that we choose “wise,” “understanding” rulers that would kiss the Son and restore the role of the state to that of an avenger of God's wrath.

Attempting to bring about justice on man's terms instead of God's terms is futile and results in judgment and tyranny. In 1 Samuel 8, the elders of Israel attempted to circumvent the injustice of Samuel's sons (verse 5) on their own terms. But this was a rejection of God (verse 7), and would result in national slavery (verses 10-18). They wanted an earthly king to liberate them instead of the heavenly King. They made the mistake of trusting in earthly princes (Psalm 146:3) instead of God.

Is this not the same mistake in principle as attempting to bring about justice on our own terms by rejecting God's word for voting for biblically unqualified rulers? Do we really trust God to bring about justice in His own good time, or do we reject God's sovereignty and resort to civil Arminianism by trusting in our own efforts to accomplish civil change? 

God humbled Nebuchadnezzar by taking Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom away and causing him to live like a beast until he acknowledged “that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Dan. 4:25b). Will God do something similar to us to wake us up? 

And so, no, Christians should not vote for Ron Paul (or any unqualified candidates, for that matter). To obey God is better than our humanistic notions of political victory. 


And thus we urge Christians everywhere to heed Bojidar's wise advice when he states in his article that God's "covenant people are never called to morally compromise ..."

Let us also heed the following sobering words from the Covenanter periodical :
To a sincere believer in the Bible, there can be no question that the Lord Jesus Christ, in his Mediatorial character, has been exalted by the Father to the sovereignty of all worlds, and that the princes and potentates of the earth, being placed in subjection under him, are bound to yield to him an unreserved obedience.  Messiah is the rightful Governor among the nations – King of kings and Lord of lords – the Prince of the kings of the earth.  If this simple statement is admitted, and we see not how it can be refused, it must irresistibly follow, that the nations, as such, are bound to submit to Christ the Lord, and their rulers are indispensably required to frame their legislation on the basis of his Word, and regulate their lives according to its infallible directions.  Especially are a people professedly Christian solemnly required to act from a far higher principle than a mere worldly expediency, and to set the Saviour’s glory before them in all their public deeds – in choosing their rulers, in devising or executing laws, and in regulating the measure of subjection.  Should they overlook these fundamental maxims, and act in opposition to them, they will inevitably incur the Divine displeasure, and must bear the fearful consequences of rebellion against the Lord’s Anointed.[26]
And finally, we will close with the following from James McLeod Willson:
We do not demand absolute perfection; but we do demand of any government that asks our conscientious support, that it "kiss the Son," that it put itself under that law which only needs to be understood and applied to reach every interest of social life, and every element of moral order, that it trample upon none of its subjects or citizens, that it regard with interest the special kingdom of Christ, bought with his blood, and cherished as his peculiar possession. In this way, and in this way alone, can we vindicate with effect God's ordinance of magistracy, and perpetuate its claims to future generations, and so secure for them the rich heritage of Christian institutions, and the favour of the Most High. Adopting these views, we must withhold, for reasons which are so well stated in the preceding pamphlet, our conscientious allegiance from the government of our land, endeavouring, in the mean time, while we labour for a reformation, to demean ourselves as becomes the subjects, disciples, and witnesses of Jesus Christ —the King of kings, and the Lord of lords—the Saviour of his body the church.[27]

 Notes

    
     [1] Ron Paul, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect our Freedom (New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2011), 244. Some pages of this book can be previewed at Google Books, Amazon.com, and Scribd. Note: there are different versions of the book, so content on page numbers may vary from book to book.
     [2] Is there voting for rulers in the Bible? Consider the following from E. C. Wines, William O. Einwechter, William Symington, James R. Willson:
     E. C. Wines: “The judicial office among the Hebrews was elective. Josephus says so expressly, though with hardly greater plainness than Moses. "Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you," [Deuteronomy 1:13] were the lawgiver's words to his countrymen, when he instituted the office. The only function which he here claims for himself is that of commissioning those whom the people should elect. Even the supreme judge was chosen by the free suffrages of the people. The historian distinctly informs us that "the people made Jephthah head and captain over them." [Judges 11:11] Four stages may be noted in the proceedings relating to Jephthah--the preliminary discussion, the nomination, the presentation to the people, and the installation. [ Judges 10:17-18, 11:1-11] The enemy was encamped in Gilead. At this point, the people and their rulers, assembled in convention on the plain, said to one another, "Who shall be our chief, to lead us against the foe?" This was the discussion, in which every citizen seems to have had the right to participate. In the exceedingly brief history of the affair, it is not expressly stated, but it is necessarily implied, that Jephthah, of Gilead, a man of distinguished military genius and reputation, was nominated by the voice of the assembly. But this able captain had been some years before driven out from his native city. It was necessary to soothe his irritated spirit. To this end the elders went in person to seek him, laid before him the urgent necessities of the state, softened his anger by promises of preferment, and brought him to Mizpeh. Here, manifestly, they made a formal presentation of him to the people, for it is added, "The people made him head and captain over them." That is, they completed the election by giving him their suffrages, recognizing him as their leader, and installing him in his office. Here, then, we have (1) the free discussion of the people in popular assembly concerning the selection of a leader, (2) the nomination of Jephthah by the meeting to be chief, (3) the elders' presentation of him to the people for their suffrages, and (4) his inauguration as prince and leader of Israel. It is to the analysis of such incidental relations as this scattered here and there through the history that, in default of a more exact account of the primitive order of things, we are compelled to resort, in our study of the Hebrew constitution, for much of the information which it would be gratifying to find in a more detailed and systematic form.” E. C. Wines, The Hebrew Republic: Chapter 10: The Nation's Magistrates (oChristian.com, 1999-2010). Retrieved October 17, 2011.
     William O. Einwechter: “Moses indicates that although he did the appointing, it was the people who actually chose their own rulers. Moses charges the people to 'take you wise men. . . .' The word 'take' means to provide or choose, while the word 'you' means for yourselves. Therefore, Moses gives the people the responsibility of selecting their own leaders. Moses then appointed (installed into office) those chosen by the people.” William O. Einwechter, The Biblical Standards for Choosing Civil Magistrates (Darash Press). Retrieved October 17, 2011.
     William Symington: “Even under the Old Testament dispensation, when kings were designated to office by immediate revelation, the consent of the people was deemed indispensable to their lawful authority; and they were liable to removal from office, by the people, for abuse of their trust. With regard to subordinate office-bearers, also, such directions were given as clearly imply that the right of election belonged to the community. ‘Take ye wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.’” William Symington, Messiah the Prince: or the mediatorial dominion of Jesus Christ (New York: T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row, 1881), 242.
     James R. Willson: "We have in the Scriptures the privilege granted and the duty prescribed of the exercise of the right to suffrage, by the people. 'Take you wise men, and understanding, and known among your tribes, and I will make them rulers over you.' Deut. 1:13. The people are ordered to elect their rulers who are to be inducted into office." James R. Willson, The Written Law, or the Law of God Revealed in the Scriptures, by Christ as Mediator; the Rule of Duty to Christian Nations to Civil Institutions (Newburgh, NY: J. D. Spalding, 1838, accessed at covenanter.org). [Editor's note: we do not endorse any Steelite material that may be on this site]
     [3] Symington, Messiah the Prince, 243.
     [4] Einwechter, The Biblical Standards for Choosing Civil MagistratesSimilarly, Samuel B. Wylie writes that civil rulers
     "should possess wisdom and understanding Ex. xviii. 21. 'Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people, able men.' And Deut. i. 13. 'Take ye wise men and understanding—and make them rulers over you.' They must be men of ability, possessing wisdom and prudence, and well acquainted with the laws of the Most High God. Thus it is, that 'wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability' of their administration, Isa. xxxiii. 6. And without this, there can be no reasonable expectation that they will answer the ends of their appointment." Samuel B. Wylie and James McLeod Willson, The Two Sons of Oil, or, The Faithful Witness for Magistracy and Ministry upon a Scriptural Basis (Philadelphia, PA: Wm. S. Young, 1850), 37.
     [5] Willson, The Written Law, or the Law of God Revealed in the Scriptures, by Christ as Mediator; the Rule of Duty to Christian Nations to Civil Institutions.
     [6] On Christ being the highest authority in the land, John Calvin, commenting on Psalm 2:10-12, writes:
     "For when Kings and Princes are commanded to kiss the Son of God, (Ps. ii. 10-12,) not only are they enjoined to submit to his authority in their private capacity, but also to employ all the power that they possess, in defending the Church and maintaining godliness." John Calvin, Commentary on the Gospel According to John: Volume SecondWilliam Pringle, trans. (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1949), 210.
     Greg Bahnsen writes the following about Psalm 2:
     "We cannot escape the clear biblical truth that each and every earthly ruler stands under the divinely established moral obligation to 'serve Jehovah with fear [and] kiss the Son' (vv. 11-12). Serving the Lord with fear unquestionably means obeying His commandments (cf. Josh. 22:5; Ps. 119:124-126; Dt. 10:12-13). Doing homage to "the Son" in the form of a kiss was an ancient ritual by which the authority of a leader was acknowledged (e.g., 1 Sam. 10:1)." Greg Bahnsen, in Gary Scott Smith ed., God and Politics (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1989), p. 30. Cited in Brian Schwertley, The Commandments of God (Reformedonline.com, 2003).
     The Puritan missionary John Eliot, in recognition of Christ’s political authority over civil government, wrote the following to England (and by implication to all nations):
     “That you would now set the Crown of England upon the head of Christ, whose only true in heritance it is, by the gift of his Father  (a) : Let him be your JUDGE, Let him be your LAWGIVER, Let him be your KING ! take the patern and form of your Government, from the Word of his Mouth, which will have power over the Consciences of all the people of the Land, and compose all differences about that point, into a sweet harmony of obedience and subjection to Christ our Lord and King, with one heart and consent …” John Eliot, The Christian Commonwealth:or,The Civil Policy Of The Rising Kingdom of Jesus ChristPaul Royster, ed. (University of Nebraska, Lincoln, 1659), xiii, xiv. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
     On a nation’s obligation to submit to Christ, William Symington writes, 
     "Nations, as the moral subjects of Messiah the Prince, are under obligation to recognise his rightful authority over them, by swearing allegiance to him. It is the duty of a subject to swear allegiance to his lawful sovereign; at least he must stand prepared to do so when required. So is it with nations. Not only are the inhabitants of a nation, as occasion calls for it, to enter into sacred confederation with one another in order to secure and defend their valued rights and privileges, but the nation, as such, through the medium of its authorised functionaries and by its usual forms of legal enactment, ought publicly to avow its attachment to the Lord Jesus Christ as its King and Prince, to recognise his legal authority, and to bind itself to his service by an oath." Symington, Messiah the Prince, 256.
     In recognition of the state’s obligation to recognize and submit to Christ, Reformed Covenanters in 1872 released a tract in defense of their refusal to vote, on the grounds that A) the Constitution does not recognize Christ’s political authority, and B) rulers were required to make an oath affirming constitutional authority. Hence the tract argues:
     “We refuse to govern because the Government is constituted and administered on principles contrary to the revealed will of God. We cannot be true to God and true to our office in Government-they conflict. As, for example: 1. The Government is constituted on the principle that there is no God. We believe that there is one living and true God, and that he is the source of all authority and power in Government. The Bible, which we have taken as the word of God, declares that civil power is an ordinance of God: "The powers that be are ordained of God." "By me kings reign." The Governing Society does not profess to believe this truth. They deny it when they assert, "We, the people, do ordain and establish," leaving out all reference to God and His authority. …” 
     “It is denied by the Governing Society that Jesus Christ is the Governor of this nation. They will not have this man to reign over them. Having rejected the authority of God, and case [should be "cast", editor] aside His Word, they make no mention of His Son. The precept solemnly addressed to civil magistrates--"Kiss the Son"--is utterly disregarded. No notice is taken of His appointment to the Governorship of nations by God the Father.” John Haslett Boggs, Our Political Protest: Why Covenanters do not Vote: A Discourse (1872). Cited in Wendy McElroy.com (December 13, 2008). Retrieved September 22, 2011. [Note: we do not endorse this site's promotion of feminism and anarchism.]
     [7] GLASSBOOTHdotORG, "Ron Paul on the Death Penalty" (Youtube, December 20, 2007). Retrieved November 3, 2011.
     [8] Paul, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect our Freedom, xi.
     [9] Rousas John Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law: Volume One (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1973), 581.
     [10] About Ron Paul (Ron Paul 2012). Retrieved November 3, 2012.
     
[11] James Dick, Civil rulers serving the Lord: or, the scriptural doctrineof national religion. A sermon, at the opening of the Reformed PresbyterianSynod of Scotland May 15th, 1882 ( 1882). Retrieved October 10, 2011.
     [12] Willson, The Written Law, or the Law of God Revealed in the Scriptures, by Christ as Mediator; the Rule of Duty to Christian Nations to Civil Institutions
     [13] Ibid.
     [14] Gary North, Political Polytheism: The Myth of Pluralism (Tyler, TX: Institute for Christian Economics, 1989), 681.
     [15] tarabyte, "Romney's Faith Should Not be an Issue" (Ron Paul Forums, December 6, 2007). Retrieved October 19, 2011.
     [16] Wylie and Willson, The Two Sons of Oil, 37, 38.
     [17] Paul, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect our Freedom, 245.
     [18] Ibid.
     [19] Ibid., 245, 246.
     [20] Ibid., 247.
     [21] Joe Morecraft III, Exclusive Interview:Rev. Joe Morecraft III On The Usefulness (Or Not) Of Political Parties ToRebuild Our Christian Country, John Lofton, ed. (The American View, July 12, 2006).  Retrieved December 21, 2009.
     [22] J. R. Lawson, The British Elective Franchise, or, Why Reformed Presbyterians do not Vote at Political Elections, a Discourse (Saint John, N.B., 1884), 6.
     [23] While in some cases it may be hard to tell whether someone is biblically qualified (due to, for instance, the degree to which they advocate enforcing the Bible’s civil code), Ron Paul clearly falls short. He does not even advocate the basic ruler functions (for example, acknowledging Christ’s lordship), let alone advocate much of the Bible’s civil code. Instead, Ron Paul advocates political polytheism, which is opposed to Christ’s political rule.
     [24] Sadly, in his article Bojidar calls Clarkian epistemology "rationalistic." I'm not sure where Bojidar gets this; I am unaware of anything Gordon Clark wrote to indicate that he is a rationalist in the humanistic sense. And in fact in contrast in humanistic rationalism, Clark was strongly presuppositional. Clark writes the following in defense of presuppositionalism:
     "Every philosophic or theological system must begin somewhere, for if it did not begin it could not continue. But a beginning cannot be preceded by anything else, or it would not be the beginning. Therefore every system must be based on presuppositions or axioms. They may be Spinoza’s axioms; they may be Locke’s sensory starting point, or whatever. Every system must therefore be presuppositional.
    "The first principle cannot be demonstrated because there is nothing prior from which to deduce it. Call it presuppositionalism, call it fideism, names do not matter. But I know no better presupposition than “The Bible alone, and the Bible in its entirety, is the word of God written, and therefore inerrant in the autographs.” Gordon Clark, "Classical Apologetics," The Trinity Review: September, October 1985 (Unicoi, TN: , 2003): 5.
     Perhaps Bojidar takes issue with Clark's emphasis on logic, but note that Clark shows that logic is embedded in Scripture itself. So a consistent presuppositionalist will have a high view of the laws of logic because he starts with Scripture. If Bojidar believes that Gordon Clark posited that man is capable of not making logical mistakes, he will have to prove it using Clark's own words. And Clark himself acknowledged the noetic effects of sin
     In any case, I neither identify myself as a Clarkian nor a Van Tillian; when it comes to either Clark or Van Til 
(or any other Christian philosopher), I prefer to take what is biblical, and reject what is unbiblical. 
     [25] Paul, Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues that Affect our Freedom, 5.
     [26] Covenanter, ed. Thomas Houston (Nov. 1831), 388. Retrieved November 24, 2011, from Reformed Covenanter.
     [27] Willson, "Submission to Civil Authority," in Wylie and Willson, The Two Sons of Oil, 120.
   

29 comments:

LibertyUnderGod said...

The principle of 'you can't fight something with nothing' is operative here. While you are fighting with the theonomic standard as the norm, which is right and good, what individual are you setting as the presidential standard instead of Ron Paul?

To not have a standard here, is to unintendedly give credence to one of his opponents, since Dr. Paul has no favor with the mainstream media, etc., plus his political opponents, are even more unqualified according to theonomic/Biblical standards.

The historical/epic/epoch aspects of the Ron Paul Liberty Movement/Revolution, that Bojidar Marinov elucidates in his article seem more than relevant and actionable here.

A historical principle from the Book of Esther seems operative and relevant at this time as well:

Esther 4:13-14 says, 13Then Mordecai told them to reply to Esther, "Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. 14For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?"

To my theonomic brethren, Do not think you will escape from tyranny any more than all the other Americans!

Whether some theonomic brethren remain neutral and/or anti-Paul because of theological qualification reasons, most certainly God will raise up (and is raising up) others (from many camps) to bring Ron Paul and his ideas to the fore, whether he is elected President or not.

"Co-bellgerents", as Abraham Kuyper defined them, are needed in the Liberty Movement, not necessarily theological purity in terms of biblical qualifications, though this is certainly something to work towards over time.

While it appears that no one is currently biblically qualified for the office of the presidency (I've contacted the Roy Moore campaign... no answer sorry to say; no action either), I don't think we are free to abstain from the campaign and merely hold up our placard of 'unqualified' and thereby let an even LESS qualified and unhelpful (in terms of fighting tyranny) candidate win.

Deliverance will apparently come from another quarter than Theonomy Resources. So be it.

Respectfully submitted comment,

Jim Fox
Virginia

Friend for Life said...

"Deliverance will apparently come from another quarter than Theonomy Resources. So be it." wrote Mr. Fox... Yes, it will come from another quarter - mainly from King Jesus. You folks have got to stop putting your faith in men. Whatever happened to "Duty is ours and results are God's"?

YoungThinker said...

Mr. Halbrook, this will be the first election I can vote in. I greatly appreciate the insight and depth of understanding published on this blog, it has brought significant reform in my thinking.

We have an administration that is committed to destroying freedom, mocking justice, and giving itself undue power. Without being pragmatic, does it not make (biblical) sense to support an electable candidate who will better uphold freedom and justice, someone who has a moral code which is not hell-bent on controlling every aspect of our lives?

By voting in a person who will at least slow the train running off the cliff, there will be less injustice because those who cannot protect themselves from overreaching government behavior will be given a reprieve. By reducing injustice a biblical principle would be fulfilled. Should the Church be the main force of charity to the weak? yes, but getting government off their back, even a bit, seems a blessing.

I don't know how this blog is moderated..a brief response would be appreciated as I am trying to get my mind around these concepts, and more importantly, how to apply them.

Thanks,
A.M.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Young Thinker,
Thanks for your comments; I do address the matter of obedience-oriented voting versus results-oriented voting in the article. Also, I think Friend for Life summed it up well: ""Duty is ours and results are God's." So, I would encourage you to consider how God might bless our nation with godly rulers for our voting out of obedience, and how He might further judge us for our voting out of disobedience via results-oriented voting. Hope this was helpful. God bless.

LibertyUnderGod said...

Yes. Deliverance will not only come mostly from King Jesus, but ONLY through King Jesus. Our King also uses means throughout history. Every victory he brings is NOT through theonomically qualified candidates. Regarding "Duty is ours and results are God's", this is the very quote on the frontpage of Chuck Baldwin's webpage: See www.chuckbaldwinlive.com. Dr. Chuck Baldwin, Pastor of Liberty Fellowship in Montana, currently running for Lt. Gov. for Montana with Bob Fanning, fully endorses Dr. Ron Paul (and Ron endorsed Chuck Baldwin for President in 2008 when Ron stepped aside. Confidence in men be damned. I concur with the Founder who trumpeted "In questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” There is no other candidate who holds a candle to Ron Paul in terms of being bound down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution. No one! Let's work towards a theonomic republic with Jesus Christ confessed and honored as King and Lord, but in the meantime let's agree and work under The Constitution we have, which is the law of the land and work with The Champion of the Constitution who will actually obey his oath he took under God to uphold and obey it.

Friend for Life said...

RE LibertyUnderGod: Thanks for the reference to Chuck Baldwin who I met through the Constitution Party in 2004. No offense meant, but there is a big difference in theology factoring in the discussion here. I recommend you check out William Einwechter and others who preach the Sovereignty of the Lord and the mediatorial kingdom of King Jesus. Check out the books Steve referenced in this article and you'll soon have such a large view of Christ that your spiritual eyes won't even be able to take it all in. May the good Lord bless you as you seek His kingdom.

YoungThinker said...

Thanks for your response, I appreciate it.

bill said...

You should be ashamed you really should pray and ask God to forgive you. For railing about a man of good charter. Remember jobs comforters perhaps you will have to ask Ron Paul to pray for you.

LibertyUnderGod said...

Bill, can you elaborate on what you are communicating. Not sure I understand yet.

Professor said...

Mr. Halbrook,

You have presented your argument as to why we should not vote for Ron Paul or any other candidate who does not follow Scriptural mandates and precepts. My question then is simple: who should we vote for from the given filed that we currently have? The only other option seems to be not vote and that is unacceptable.

Thank you

Ethan said...

"He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God." -2 Samuel 23:3. If a man does not rule justly in the fear of God, he is not worthy to rule over men.

I do think we ought to start by trying to raise up candidates for more local government (it's less complicated).

Exodus 18:20-21 teaches that we need to educate the people and choose qualified leaders: "And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do [sounds a bit like the Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20]. Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens."

I definitely agree that it's not worth it to vote for somebody who will simply delay the inevitable tyranny. Let it come! It will leave all the sooner. I don't like the idea of tyranny. But I also don't like the idea of "shifting" all our national problems to the next generation. The quickest way to solve our problems is to do it Biblically. This means persecution and tyranny. Where would the Christian Church be if the early church feared the tyranny of Rome? Where would we be if Martin Luther just waited for the next generation to post that 95 theses document?

Anyway, I think we need to brace ourselves: it's going to be a bumpy ride. Better sooner than later.

LibertyUnderGod said...

Our colonial pastors and black regiment pastors, along with their flocks believed they were obeying God in resisting tyranny. They didn't say let it come without a fight. To not get behind Ron Paul is certainly a way of accelerating tyranny, by not resisting it. Even though Thomas Jefferson's admonition of "resisting tyranny is obedience to God" is not a direct scriptural quote, it certainly is a biblical truth and principle. Allowing tyranny to come without resisting it is disobedience to God. I believe our core founding fathers (mostly true Christians) were all on the same page regarding resisting tyranny in the Name of Jesus.

Anonymous said...

This article goes too far and leaves us with our hands tied. Consider the bigger picture here and most definitely vote for Ron Paul. He is the most biblically qualified candidate of them all and THAT is the point.--Pamela

Lianne Simon said...

I believe the issue is much more serious than whether or not Ron Paul meets the Biblical qualifications for political office. Most Christians appear to presuppose that they are qualified to vote. Given someone who meets all of your criteria, how is it that I, someone who strives to be a Godly wife, am qualified to vote for them?

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Lianne, very good point. We must not only iron out ruler qualifications, but voting qualifications. Naturally, in a Christian society, only Christian male heads of households should vote; and there may be other factors to consider as well.

Frank said...

NOTE: I've posed the following question twice now, but either it is not being approved by the moderator, or it's merely been overlooked somehow. If you're intentionally not approving my post, I hope you'll email me why that is (frank.golubski@gmail.com). (And feel free to edit this NOTE if you should approve my post.) Thanks. - FG

===============================

Steve,

You write, "[W]hile we want to be as charitable as possible, we are not even sure that Ron Paul is a Christian."

How can this be, given that Ron Paul has publicly professed Jesus Christ as his savior?

You may legitimately say, "We are not even sure that Ron Paul is elect." But then, both of us can say the very same thing about every member of our respective churches. While we can judge our "fellow trees" by their fruit, I don't think that certain knowledge of any man's eternal destiny is for any other man to know.

So would you mind explaining what you mean by your not being sure that Ron Paul is a Christian? Thanks.

Semper Reformanda said...

While Ron Paul clearly leaves much to be desired when we are considering what Biblical government looks like, that doesn't not mean that we shouldn't vote for him. Perhaps, Dr. Paul is unqualified for faithful theonomic government, but that doesn't mean he's not a step in that direction. It would be ideal to be able to choose a man who is biblical qualified through-and-through, but that would require a Christian consensus; if we had that we would not be where we are as nation today. If there were a theonomic candidate in the running we would not be having this debate, not that he would go very far with America where it is theologically/morally.
Ultimately the question facing us is: imperfect action or no action. Andrew Sandlin makes a strong case for incremental victories, which is not limited to political action but certainly includes it, in his article "Christian Culture Today, Not Yesterday or Tomorrow". (http://chalcedon.edu/research/articles/christian-culture-today-not-yesterday-or-tomorrow/)
You deny the validity of incremental victories saying that God could simply take care of everything providentially in one fell swoop. Obviously, God is sovereign and can do what He wills, yet to just step back and say "alright God, intervene now" is both irresponsible and is also putting God to the test.
Incremental victories have historical precedent: Calvin did not reform the civil government of Geneva by waiting for God to bring just the right biblically-qualified leader to fix everything, he got in there and started reforming where he could, step-by-step; likewise America was not created through one man or one generation but through the little-by-little approach that you've rejected as "disobedient".
We've been handed-down a tremendous legacy in the United States, but for generations now we've squandered it and fallen far from being the City on a Hill that we once were. We do not have the luxury of starting from scratch as did early America or as modern South Sudan has the opportunity to do; we are attempting to reform and rebuild America from within and so, short of a miracle (always possible) or secession, we must be content with what we can do now.
This idea of just standing back and letting tyranny destroy America is defeatist, and is the essence of "'shifting' all our national problems to the next generation" as Ethan says. He talks about how the early church and the Reformers acted instead of waiting for the next generation to fix things. Exactly! If Martin Luther (who had several doctrines that still contained Roman influence) had waited until he could fix the whole problem and be correct on every doctrine, he would have NEVER posted the 95 Theses. He was content to take a first step and let others build from there. The Reformation started with small victories and grew from there – it's a great historical example of this.
Ron Paul will not reinstate biblical government. He's a flawed step, but he's a step in the right direction. I would say yes, "the duty is ours, the results are God's." We have a duty to do what we can, and that means currently that we vote for this "imperfect friend of God," trusting Him that, while it won't solve everything, it will be enough to give us the time that we need to make greater and greater reforms.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

I will say just for the sake of the audience that Andrew Sandlin is a dangerous Federal Vision heretic. Now, that in an of itself doesn't make him wrong on this issue, but I have already thoroughly refuted the arguments and straw men you posed in my critique of Bojidar.

Anonymous said...

To Semper Reformanda: Yea and Amen to your most recent post! As Dr. Paul says, 'Let it not be said that when tyranny raised its head, we did nothing!' Incremental gains are good and right. Theonomical gnat-straining (I know it's not considered that by some theonomists)while the country's on fire, instead of getting in the arena and fighting the fire, however imperfectly, is frankly quite damnable.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Anonymous, if you take time to read the article, you would see that I don't advocate not "getting in the arena and fighting the fire." I just don't limit it to casting a vote. Quite frankly, that's the easy part.

Anonymous said...

That's fine, Steve. But where did my two posts go?

Friend for Life said...

Personally I don't have a problem with incremental strategies while seeking to turn America back to her Christian roots, but I do have a problem with voting for a candidate that doesn't understand the sovereignty of the Lord. I want a praying president who will have the calmness needed to steer America on a right course and this type of clarity only comes from solid theological groundings. I really wish Dr. Paul were such a man, but his answers to pertinent questions asked reveals he is not.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Frank,
I thought I made clear why Ron Paul's profession seems to me to be in doubt (for example, the New-Age sounding statements); did I not?

However, even if he is a Christian (and I hope he is), such heretical statements warrant church discipline, in which case he shouldn't run for office unless he repents.

I wouldn't want to say "We are not even sure that Ron Paul is elect," since we don't know who the elect are--many of the elect haven't come to Christ yet, but will in time. I prefer to ask whether he is currently a Christian.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ronpaul2012.com/the-issues/statement-of-faith/ is Ron Paul's statement of faith. Read it please.

Also, what happened to my two other posts, Steve. This is the second time I've asked.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Anonymous, I don't know about your "other posts," but having a statement of faith doesn't necessarily mean one is foundationally biblical in his politics.

gcdugas said...

In your article I see a pic of RJR with this quote of his...
"A society which makes freedom
its primary goal will lose it,
because it has made, not
responsibility, but freedom from
responsibility, its purpose."
--R. J. Rushdoony

That is funny because Ron Paul preaches responsibility. He does not speak about freedom from it. Rather he affirms the regulation of the free market and normal bankruptcy over the artificial intervention of the state. So how does believing in the corrective action of Providence over the finite wisdom of man codified into statutes make him guilty of preaching freedom from responsibility. It is the same with his position on drugs. They may ruin you and put you in the poor house but that is better than ruining you and putting you in a cage that others must pay for.

Please represent Ron Paul's message with a greater degree of fidelity. Ron Paul certainly preaches responsibility on how we use our freedom.

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Responsibility isn't limited to matters of economics and drugs. It is a matter of obeying God's law in all areas of life--including civil government. Ron Paul's political philosophy, as a whole, denies the state its responsibility to submit to Christ and obey biblical law. By extension, his philosophy also denies man's responsibility to obey biblical civil law (as a whole).

Anonymous said...

Steve, who do you support for president, if anyone?

Steve C. Halbrook said...

Nobody.