Last year, John MacArthur held church services in defiance of California’s state directives and possibly spreading COVID-19. He then got a call from then President of the United States, Donald Trump, congratulating him on disregarding said directives from governmental authority. During that conversation, John MacArthur told Mr. Trump that “any real true believer is going to be on your side in this election because it’s not just an individual, it’s an entire set of policies that Christians cannot in any way affirm.”
Christians, please understand that’s not true. Your faith is not measured by your ballot. I understand that there are flawed policies and views produced by the Democratic Party (as well as the Republican Party). But voting by policy alone is like knowing good doctrine alone. It’s appears practical, but ultimately incomplete. The humble, faithful and selfless life which the New Testament Church demonstrates and to which we are called asks more of us.
Q) But how could a Christian support Joe Biden, with all of his policies, corruption and flaws?, one might ask. Let’s review the common objections to letting Joe Biden win. You may believe, if we didn’t re-elect Trump, . . .
abortions will increase: Yes, the Democratic Party is stereotypically pro-choice. However, history has shown that the elected President is irrelevant to the abortion rate, which is steadily declining. There are many reasons why pro-life Christians who don’t vote for Trump do not have blood on their hands.
Biden will defund the police: No, he won’t.
Biden will abandon Israel: No, he won’t.
As for any other policy that you think absolutely needs to be in place, let me quote what John Piper recently wrote. “Is it not baffling, then, that so many Christians seem to be sure that they are saving human lives and freedoms by treating as minimal the destructive effects of the spreading gangrene of high-profile, high-handed, culture-shaping sin?” Maybe the increase of hate groups and overall despair (in Republicans, Democrats and independents alike) is an example of allowing such “culture-shaping sin.” All to get a few policies legislated and enforced in our culture, and that really didn't work out, either.
Q) But what will it look like if we don’t vote for a self-dubbed, strongly pro-life, capitalist, pro-Israel, pro-religious power candidate?, one might ask.
Skye Jethani at The Holy Post made a good point. “One of the most powerful and reoccurring themes in Scripture is the Lord’s disregard for empty symbols.” Israelites were attending the temple, but their hearts were far from the Lord their God. The Pharisees were following all the laws, yet Jesus still rebuked them for their failure of godliness. We’re probably all familiar with the separation of appearances and actuality, but God sees beyond appearance.
Going back to the issue of abortion, Skye concludes: “Some have accused me of being a pragmatist on an issue in which there can be no compromise. When it comes to the issue of abortion, yes, I am guilty of putting pragmatism ahead of idealism. I believe in strategies that will reduce abortions, help women, and support families—not in symbolic gestures that present a facade of righteousness but will do little to help the least and the vulnerable. I've taken this posture because I believe God will judge a nation for its actions rather than for its image.”
Like us 21st century American Christians, the early Church of Rome was against the unethical practices of abortion and infanticide, they were against the type of slavery we’ve seen in the past 400 years. They were anti-racist and pro-women. The early Church of Rome never needed political influence to become the “conscience of the world” and the fastest religious growth in history.
Unlike the early Church in Rome, we have more religious liberty and political influence (even on our worst day). We have advanced technology and almost two millennia worth of data from which to glean, including (but not limited to) social and economic studies, statistics, and plain wisdom. Partially (at least) thanks from the hard work and suffering of our cloud of witnesses.
So please, Christians, let’s not be captive to policy and disregard the character of who gets our vote. We can do better.
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