Tag Archives: politics

Editorial: “It Is Better To Take Refuge In The Lord Than To Trust In Princes…” (October, 2016) — Jon Mitchell, Editor

At the time of this writing, the 2016 election for president of the United States and other elected governmental offices on the federal, state, and local level will take place in a little over a month.  Much attention has been given to the presidential race over the past fifteen months or so since the first candidates in each party announced their candidacies.  Many in the brotherhood, myself included, follow politics closely, especially in presidential election years, and like to discuss the various candidates and races in person and online via social media and the like.

There was a time when I never thought much, if at all, about any connection between my Christian faith and political views.  However, that changed in 2000 when I became a preacher and, not coincidentally, began to take my Christian walk more seriously.  During that first year of full-time work I read and for the first time personally applied to myself Jesus’ command and promise in Matthew 6:33:  “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  I also read for the very first time ever Paul’s charge to Timothy:  “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity” (1 Ti. 4:12).  These verses became very important to me, and still are.  I was 24 years old, a brand new preacher who had never planned to become one and had received no purposeful formal training.  My personal biblical studies and burgeoning experiences in dealing with brethren and the lost were, along with advice from older, more seasoned preachers and brethren, all I had to guide me.  I knew how easy it would be for people to condescend to me due to my age and inexperience, and so I was determined to do the best I could, however imperfectly that would be, to set the proper example before them in all areas of my life.  The only way I could do that would be to put God and his will as the top priority in every single aspect of my life as best I could.  That is still my goal today, and I still fallibly try to meet it.  It’s a good goal for all Christians to have.

I realized that if I as a Christian first and preacher second were going to “set the believers an example” by “seek(ing) first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” then my politics would have to completely coincide with God’s revealed will.  Otherwise, I would be guilty of choosing to follow Matthew 6:33…except in the voting booth.  Christ’s condemnation of the hypocritical example the Pharisees set before those who sat at their feet (Mt. 23:2-3), at the time newly discovered and studied by me, weighed heavily on my heart and I did not want that same condemnation.  Thus it was that during that 2000 election year I started diligently researching God’s Word for guidance as to what governmental policy positions God would approve of and what kind of leader God would want America or any country to have so I could vote accordingly.

Something God said in the Psalms jumped out at me:  “It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes” (118:9), and again, “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (146:3).  This was a stark contrast to how I had looked at politicians previously.  An honest retrospection of how I had viewed my choices for president in the 1990’s and in 2000 made me realize that I had thought them to be the only ones who could not only  save America from its woes, but also make my personal life more abundant and fulfilling.  My political discussions with my brethren that year—and every election year since, especially this one—made it clear that I am far from the only Christian who thinks this way.  If I was going to truly trust Jesus’ promise that he would provide for my needs if I put his will first (Mt. 6:33), then I would need to follow God’s directive to put my trust in him instead of princes and politicians.  Christians, please take this to heart.

David’s inspired words also caught my attention:  “The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me:  ‘He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God’” (2 Sa. 23:3).  Solomon wrote something similar:  “It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established by righteousness” (Pr. 16:12).  God wants men who are just, righteous, and who fear him to rule over nations.  My initial reaction to this was to wonder if I could only vote for faithful New Testament Christians since only we by the blood of Christ are completely justified and righteous…until I saw that the Bible also spoke of non-Christians possessing these attributes to a lesser degree (cf. Mt. 13:17; Ac. 10:1-2, 7, 22).  I concluded that I could follow God’s parameters if I supported a candidate who, as best as I could tell, showed by the fruits or evidences of his personal and political life that he was just, righteous, and feared God (cf. Mt. 7:16-18).  Any candidate whose personal life, personality, and policy positions were proven to be unrepentantly ungodly could not receive my support if I was to truly heed Matthew 6:33, 1 Timothy 4:12, Psalms 118:8 and 146:3, 2 Samuel 23:3, and Proverbs 16:12…no matter how much they promised to make my own life and the country better.

As I continued to study, I noted with interest how little the Bible had to say about the pros and cons of various domestic and foreign policy philosophies which held such prominence in what people looked for in candidates.  I couldn’t find guidance on which specific economic, educational, healthcare, or foreign policies God would endorse.  Rather, I found that God would rather his followers live in an impoverished nation which was rich in righteousness instead of a wealthy, unrighteous nation (Pr. 16:8).  I also saw that he was looking for leaders who surrounded themselves with wise counselors whose advice they would be willing to heed (Pr. 25:5; 29:2; cf. 1 Ki. 12:6-15), men and women who were tough on crime and evildoers (Pr. 20:8, 26; Ro. 13:3-4) and who would not oppress the poor while also refusing to enable the lazy (Pr. 28:15; 29:14; 31:9; cf. 2 Th. 3:10).

Thus, I realized that if I was to put God’s righteousness first in the voting booth, a candidate’s positions on promoting what God calls righteous in our nation would have to matter more to me than their domestic, economic, and foreign policies per se.  All my life, the killing of innocents in the womb and the legitimizing of the abomination of homosexuality have been matters of governmental policy.  Both have been promoted and fought to be further legitimized, by various candidates, even though God condemns both (Ps. 139:13-16;  Ro. 9:11-13; Ez. 18:1-20; Pr. 6:16-17; Mt. 19:4; Ro. 1:26-28; 1 Co. 6:9-10).  In addition, I’ve seen candidates excuse away or defend certain crimes and criminals, candidates who themselves have oppressed the poor and needy or have promoted policies which do the same, while also enabling the lazy to continue to avoid honest work.  Keeping Jesus’ and James’ admonitions to heed all of God’s will in mind (Mt. 23:23b; Ja. 2:10-11), I realized that I could not support a candidate unless I could see that they were making an honest effort to promote and defend God’s righteousness in all of these areas and  humbly listen to wise counselors who upheld the same.  This would have to be top priority, more important than any attractive promises about healthcare, education, foreign policy, taxes, and the like.

The last biblical truth I found was that God ultimately decides who will rule America (Da. 2:21; 4:17, 32, 34-35; 1 Ti. 6:15; Re. 1:5; cf. Ro. 13:1ff).  If it is his will that an ungodly person rule our country, he will make that happen and, as Habakkuk also taught me, will do so likely to punish our country in an effort to bring us back to him (Hab. 1:1-11).  Since righteousness exalts a nation and God abhors evil rulers (Pr. 14:34; 16:12), the only reason he would allow an evil ruler is to bring a nation low in order to motivate it to come back to him (cf. He. 12:5-11).

Normally as far as I can tell, there has always been at least one candidate who has come across both personally and in the policies he promotes as just and fearing God.  This year is different.  For the first time in my adult life, it is generally agreed in both religious and secular circles that both major candidates are personally abhorrent by biblical standards, and both promote various ungodly policies.  Both have recently been under investigation for wrongdoing.  Both are well known for personally saying and acting both publicly and privately in ways that are extremely ungodly.  Still, both are loudly supported by those who wear the name of Christ…and the lost in the world are noticing.  Social media and the blogosphere show that many  are turned off to Christianity by what they (correctly) perceive to be our inconsistency.

Many Christians loudly support these ungodly choices because they are understandably scared.  Yet, let’s remember that God wants us to live by faith (Hab. 2:4), to put his righteousness first, even if it seems that doing so will bring harder times, and trust that he will still take care of us.  He doesn’t want us to put our trust in princes, in Trump or Clinton or anyone else.  He just wants us to put our trust in him.

God doesn’t ask our help to put the ungodly into power…but he does want us to bring souls to him.  The Bible doesn’t require us to vote, but we are commanded to let our light shine, set the proper example, bring souls to Jesus, and put his righteousness first.  Lost souls are watching us to see if God’s standards matter outside the church building.  Let’s not give them a reason to think they don’t.  If we choose to vote, let’s trust in God and put his standards first.

— Jon

Editorial: Put A “C” Behind Your Name (November/December, 2015) – Jon Mitchell, Editor

As 2015 ends and 2016 comes upon us, those of us who follow political current events in the United States are continually reminded that 2016 is an election year. As we pick the new leaders of our country, let us remember that “the most High rules the kingdoms of men and gives it to whom he will” (Da. 4:32; cf. Ro. 13:1ff). God is in control, and whoever is placed into office, whether it be the Oval Office or the mayor’s office, is placed there ultimately by God.

So as the election nears, what should Christians do? We must pray (1 Ti. 2:1-2), and we must preach (2 Ti. 4:2). We must pray for leaders who will promote godliness and righteousness because righteousness will make our nation greater (Pr. 14:34). We must preach righteousness (cf. 2 Pe. 2:5), the righteousness of God’s Word (Ps. 119:172).

Some are against this, thinking that when we preach about subjects which the world has deemed political we are actually not preaching for God but for a party instead. The truth is that Christians who preach God’s Word do not preach for a political party, whether it be Republican, Democrat, Tea, Green, Libertarian, or any other party. We are Christians. We belong to Christ. We don’t owe our primary allegiance to the Republican or Democrat party, so we don’t have a “R” or a “D” after our name.

We are Christians. We belong to Christ.

We have a “C” after our name.

We preach Christ, his will, his worldview. Like Noah, we preach righteousness. Is it right that we do so? Is it right that we preach righteousness when it comes to the direction our leaders take our nation? Certainly so, because righteousness exalts nations (Pr. 14:34).

God’s Word gives us guidance concerning the choices we make should we choose to vote next year. For example, the Bible tells us that our leaders must be truthful. Such men were recommended by Jethro to Moses to help him lead Israel (Ex. 18:21), and such men are promoted by God to sit on the throne (Pr. 16:12). Rulers are not to listen to falsehood (Pr. 29:12), but are to be honest, truthful men and women.

We need leaders who hate covetousness as well, who would never rule for sheer money alone (Pr. 28:16; 29:4). In America (and in other countries, I’m sure), we have a problem on both sides of the aisle with this. Many politicians vote the way they’re told to vote by whoever contributes the most money to them. We need people in power who don’t care about special interest groups, men and women of integrity who will vote for what is moral and right no matter how much money they’re offered to do otherwise.

We hear so much about how the economy is the most important factor in this election…but is that really true? To the one who puts a “C” after their name rather than a “R” or “D,” the primary issue behind their vote is not the economy. People who put a “C” after their name would rather live in a nation that had a little wealth alongside great amounts of righteousness than live in a nation with great revenues alongside great ungodliness (Pr. 16:8). Solomon brought Israel so much wealth and prosperity, the most she would ever have in her history (1 Ki. 10:14-29)…but he turned to idolatry and thus did evil in the sight of God (1 Ki. 11:1-6). He led Israel into ungodliness (1 Ki. 11:7), and is it any coincidence that the nation’s economy got worse and worse over the years until it finally split apart (1 Ki. 12:1-20)? What’s even more important, however, is that because of Solomon’s ungodliness, the Lord “voted him out of office” (1 Ki. 11:9-14). Which was more important to God? The fact that Solomon made Israel richer…or the fact that Solomon was immoral?

God’s Word also shows us that we need leaders who surround themselves with wise counselors (Pr. 25:5; 29:2; cf. 1 Ki. 12:6-15), who are tough on crime (Pr. 20:8, 26), and who do not oppress the poor while also refusing to enable the lazy (Pr. 28:15; 29:14; 31:9; cf. 2 Th. 3:10). Above all, those who put a “C” behind their name will not go into the voting booth without making their paramount consideration a search for leaders who respect human life and God’s plan for marriage.

Why must we look for those who respect human life? Because of the One who gave it (Ps. 139:13-16). When we kill the innocent, we tell God, “You’ve made something that doesn’t matter to me, that I can discard whenever I want.” Every election nowadays has abortion come up as a major issue when it comes to whom we will cast our vote, and many believe that they can…and should…make a distinction between their loyalty to God and their loyalty to the one for whom they vote. However, such is not the case. Long before politicians grabbed hold of the abortion and marriage issues, God had already legislated on these matters. It’s not fair and right for someone to say, “Now that a political group has taken this and turned it into a political football, we Christians are now muzzled and can’t talk about it because that would be bringing politics into the church!” No, what has really happened is that politics took God’s issue and tried to make it theirs, and they can’t do that. God spoke on this long before any political party thought to, and those who put a “C” behind their name will stick with God.

God inspired Luke to use the same Greek word to describe the baby inside the womb and outside the womb (Lk. 1:44; 2:12). He also showed that babies are innocent (Ro. 9:11-13; Ez. 18:1-20), and then stated that he hates hands which shed innocent blood (Pr. 6:16-17). Thus, killing that innocent baby inside the womb is just as much an abomination in the sight of God as killing an innocent baby outside the womb.

Are voters who put a “C” behind their name going to purposefully give their support to someone who says the murder of these innocents should be allowed to continue? Are we going to give our support to people who say, “If you elect me, I’ll see to it that this DOES continue”? Are we supposed to look the other way and stick our heads in the sand and say, “Well, if I vote for them anyway, maybe somehow and someway these abortions will just stop happening”? Are we supposed to know that babies are being murdered…and yet it’s not supposed to matter when we’re in the voting booth? How can a Christian cast a vote for a politician who has blatantly promised to perpetuate that which God has called an abomination?

Concerning God’s plan for the home, we all know that it’s politically incorrect to condemn homosexuality and same-sex marriage these days, especially since the “Supreme” Court nationalized it. How sad that we’ve come so far in the wrong direction as a nation! Our very first presidents and congressman would have all unhesitatingly condemned homosexuality as sinful if asked about it, whereas these days most politicians from any party would be crucified if they quoted what the Bible says about homosexuality and gave their support to Scripture. Many scream, “How dare you bring religion into politics?” concerning this issue, yet the better question would be, “How dare we throw the Bible out the window and put our own, flawed wisdom in its place and tell each other that we can’t preach the truth about this?!” I can still preach this and will continue to do so until I die…and you must also. We must not be ashamed to preach Leviticus 18:22, Matthew 19:4, and Romans 1:26-28.

We are living in times when owners of private companies can be crucified by governmental authorities and the media simply for agreeing with the biblical definition of marriage…and it’s time for a change. If those who put a “C” behind their name know for sure that a candidate is promising us, “If you elect me, I will promote same-sex marriage,” then how can we knowingly vote for a politician and act like they never said it?

It was not a Republican or Democrat who died for our sins (1 Jo. 2:1-2) and will judge us on the last day (Jo. 12:48). If a politician has a moral stance on marriage and abortion and his or her party is trying to do moral things concerning them, and yet they happen to have a “D” after their name when I would rather it be a “R” (or vice-versa), should I ignore where they stand on God’s issues and vote primarily because of that “D” or “R”? Not if I seek God’s righteousness first (Mt. 6:33), which applies in the voting booth as it does in all other areas of life. If we put a “C” after our name, we must vote for the candidate who is closest to righteousness.

Christians, the Republican party doesn’t own us. The Democrat party doesn’t own us. No party does. Christ owns us. We were bought with a price (1 Co. 6:20). We belong to God. That’s why allegiances to political parties must never override allegiance to Christ. Instead, everything we do or say must be his authority and bring glory to him (Co. 3:17; 1 Co. 10:31)…including what we do in the voting booth.

Jon

carolinamessenger@gmail.com