Monday, October 29, 2012

Reasons to not Support Mitt Romney: Number 5: Voting is not the only Option

by Steve C. Halbrook
(posts in this series: part 1part 2part 3part 4, part 5)

5. Voting is not the only means of bringing about political change

Previously, we argued that Christians should not vote for Mitt Romney, since he is not biblically qualified. And we didn't propose Obama as an alternative  he is likewise not biblically qualified. And so by now some might be asking, “If I can’t vote for either candidate, then what can I do?”

There are indeed other options besides voting. But before we explore these, let us first note that even if there were no other options, we would still be required by God’s word to refrain from voting.

We must have the attitude of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to submit to Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous decree – even under the sentence of death. As they 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)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not political pragmatists. They could have “voted” for their political freedom by rationalizing that God’s righteous standards against idolatry didn’t exist. But instead, they were willing to undergo death for the sake of obedience to God. 

This is the same attitude that Christians should have. No matter what the perceived threat to our freedoms are, we should be willing to prefer the worst possible tyranny at the hands of civil rulers than to make an idol out of a biblically unqualified candidate by voting for him in order to prevent another biblically unqualified candidate from being elected.

Having said all this, there are other options besides voting that can change things politically. Here we discuss a few.

Raising up distinctively Christian candidates

Instead of advancing the pagan culture by helping non-Christian candidates (or even Christian candidates with a non-Christian worldview) get elected, Christians can work to raise up distinctively Christian candidates. Christians are to set the standard for civil rulers – not to promote non-Christian standards:
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13 – 16)
Christians then must be salt and light in the political arena by setting forth the biblical standard. If they refrain from doing so, how can they expect anything but darkness and tyranny? Remember: "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket"; if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.”

Raising up distinctively Christian candidates requires time, energy, and patience, but if we expect political transformation, we must be willing to do this. All influential political movements begin as a minority.  They go from a minority to, if they prosper, gradually influencing the larger population.  So it is self-defeating to argue “we can’t run on a Christian platform because no one will vote for us!” 

And, as we have seen, rejecting the hard work of raising up distinctively Christian candidates  for the lazy, fast-food approach of backing cheap, already-established candidates that give vague lip-service to Christian values does not work. What has all these years of political pragmatism gotten us, but the choice of two of the most – if not the most – ungodly presidential candidates in U. S. history?

There is much wisdom in the following from Joe Morecraft III: 
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.[1]

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 repentance:
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 how can we expect God to heal our land of its tyranny?

The Great Commission

Christians can lay foundations for future generations by disseminating principles of biblical civil government via scholarship, preaching, 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. All of these can be means of employing the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18 - 20), which is designed to bring nations (their civil codes included) into submission to Christ.

Being in the minority is not necessarily a problem since God is sovereign

Scripture says, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23:2a, KJV) and “Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD’” (Jeremiah 17:5). Thus we are never to seek the most “electable” candidates at the expense of biblical ruler qualifications because we trust in the strength of man (via “majority voters”) to determine our rulers.

Indeed, God – Who sovereignly determines our rulers – is not constrained by human numbers. The Bible is clear that God doesn’t need the majority to turn the political tide.  Whenever God pleases, He can raise up a King David, or turn the heart of a wicked ruler, such as a Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:26-30, 4:34-37). Whenever God pleases, He can put it in the heart of a pagan ruler, such as an Artaxerxes, to enforce the Bible’s entire civil code (Ezra 7:25-28).  And whenever God pleases, He can deliver His people from the slavery of a totalitarian Egypt.

Concluding thoughts: Christ sits on the throne, regardless

As we end this series, we will note this: that the highest and most influential political authority in the land is neither Congress, nor the Supreme Court, nor even the U. S. President. Rather, it is Jesus Christ, Who is the King of kings. And since Jesus’ civil authority is immutable, we are never left without a just ruler simply because His enemies are in power.

By His providence, His justice is being enforced in this nation even now. Rulers are warned that they must serve Him, “lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled” (Psalm 2:12b). Nations themselves are warned: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17) (KJV).

Let us then remember that Christ still sits on the throne, and not support His treasonous enemies, such as Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Rather, let us pray, repent, follow the Great Commission, and work to raise up distinctively Christian candidates.

Let us be salt and light, and press the crown rights of Jesus Christ, the King of kings – not the crown wrongs of His political enemies. Christ, not man, is king. Christ sits on the throne right now, and we could not ask for a better political ruler. 

For the basic beliefs of Mormonism, see Mormonism 101 by Kevin DeYoung


[1] Joe Morecraft III, Exclusive Interview: Rev. Joe Morecraft III On The Usefulness (Or Not) Of Political Parties To Rebuild Our Christian Country, John Lofton, ed. (The American View, July 12, 2006).  Retrieved August 3, 2012.

photo credits: 

Governor Mitt Romney

© Ann Marie Curling / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY -SA 2.5)

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