Feb 182016 5 Responses

What Evangelicals Forget Regarding Elections

“We can win if we can awaken and energize the Body of Christ.” These words by an Evangelical candidate for President of the United States reveal a major misunderstanding regarding elections.

A national reporter heard the candidate say this line and wrote a foolish article claiming the candidate is trying to get Jesus to rise from the dead and help the candidates campaign. Of course, the reporter’s words show a total ignorance of Christianity. First, “The Body of Christ” is a reference to the church and not the physical body of Jesus. But more importantly, no Christian would be praying for Jesus to rise from the dead because every Christian knows Jesus ALREADY ROSE FROM THE DEAD. While it’s acceptable that a national reporter might not understand a metaphor for the church, it is inexcusable for her not to know the basic tenet of the Christian faith.

Yet this is not what evangelicals forget regarding elections. We are well aware many media outlets are clueless to Christianity, whether it be in an election or in any other area. (see: Jesus Isn’t as Conservative or Liberal as You Think)

It’s the candidate’s words, not the reporter’s, which show a common misunderstanding by evangelicals. Christians wrongly believe that all Christians should vote alike. It’s simply assumed that if you vote according to your Christian faith, then you will vote like me. But that’s wrong.

Not all Christians vote alike. And the separation in voting practices is not a sign of disobedience to faith. When someone votes differently than you, that is not a guaranteed sign one of you has betrayed Biblical teaching. It is not only possible, but is nearly guaranteed that in every election the faithful will vote in opposing ways in a variety of races.

I was taught to preach by two great men. Both loved Jesus. Both passionately preached the Gospel to thousands of people. Both worked diligently to help me do the same. One was from rural Oklahoma, the other from urban Cincinnati. While their faith was the same, their politics could not have been more opposite. I doubt they ever voted alike in any major election.

They shared a deep faith, but they looked at politics in radically different ways. Was one wrong and the other right? Did one love Jesus more than the other? Probably not.

Life is complex. Political issues are complex. And we are broken people trying to figure it all out. This causes us to take different sides, see different aspects of complex problems, and forces us to vote for imperfect people. This results in good people responding to their faith by taking opposing views.

Christians vote differently for three reasons:

1. No solution is pure. If every problem was simple and every solution was pure, all Christians would vote the same. There would be a clear Biblical answer on every issue. But because issues are complex and no solution is pure (even good solutions have unintended negative consequences), good people will take different sides.

2. No person (or party) is perfect. The best of us sin and the worst of us are still capable of doing occasional good. Most of us are a strange mixture of the two. As a Christian, no matter whom I vote for will have viewpoints contrary to Scripture. Because of this imperfection, it forces me to make difficult decisions of what issue is more important than another. Sometimes that is easy, but on many occasions it isn’t. I might think one issue is more important and you might think another issue is more vital. This causes us to take different sides and vote for different people. (See: Why I Discourage Christians from Politics)

3. None of us can fully separate our political bias from our faith. There are aspects of our political beliefs which we have confused with Biblical truth. This bias causes us to judge some ideas as unchristian when actually our viewpoint is what doesn’t follow Christian teachings. Unable to see our own bias causes us to vote differently than other believers while judging those believers as being unfaithful for how they vote.

Sadly, American Christians often overly-simplify issues and caricature candidates which causes us to think politics and government should be easy. We foolishly believe that if everyone would think like us and vote like us, all problems would be solved. They wouldn’t. Doubt that? Look at your own life. Is it problem free? Probably not.

We are broken people living in a broken world. Even at our best, we fail. Because government deals with complex issues and because it is made up of broken people, nothing will be simple. Even how a Christian should vote isn’t always clear cut.

Your neighbor may vote differently than you. That doesn’t mean they love Jesus less. It may just mean they apply their faith in a different way.


5 Responses to What Evangelicals Forget Regarding Elections
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