Why the Word of God Will Not Let Me Vote for Mitt Romney: A Gentlemanly Response to Dr.Joel Beeke

There are few men in this world to whom I owe so much. While many readers may say that Dr. Beeke has been an influence in their lives through his writing, his preaching, and his conference messages — I have so much more that I owe to Joel Beeke.

Dr. Beeke has been a key figure in forming me into the minister of the gospel that I am. Four and a half years of study under his instruction at Puritan Reformed Seminary have shaped and molded my spiritual life, my family, my sanctification, and my pastoral ministry. The very first sermon that I ever preached began with the two of us storming the throne room of grace as we prayed in his study. Dr. Beeke laid hands on me as I was ordained to the Gospel ministry here in Los Angeles, CA. He has preached in my pulpit on numerous occasions as he has visited the West Coast. He continues to pray for me and my “success” as a minister within the RPCNA. I really believe that any crowns that I receive in glory will be partially his crowns as well. 

Positive Elements in Dr. Beeke’s Article 

 As I read over (a number of times) Dr. Beeke’s article, Why My Conscience Won’t Let Me Not Vote for Romney,  and prayed through the argumentation in the article, I was reminded of my instruction from Dr. Beeke. Always begin criticism with a positive because the hearer will respond better, and it is with sincere pleasure that I do so now.

There are many positive applications in Dr. Beeke’s article. I appreciate his call to protect the life of 98% of abortions in America (Mitt Romney claims to be opposed to 98% of abortions in the US). I was challenged to think about the primaries and convicted concerning how I do not call on my own people to seek office. I was encouraged that Dr. Beeke called on the church to consider the fact that they will stand before God and give account for what they have done in the flesh. And of course, I appreciated the fact that he called on Christians to NOT vote for Obama! These are great applications that we should take into the polls as Christians.

 Humanistic, Relativistic, and Moralistic Political Theory

 However, I found the article lacking principle based on the Word of God. There was no biblical view of the magistrate put forward. There were no arguments based on the person and work of Christ (to whom the nations were given as an inheritance). You see, if I did not know the author, the portion of the article that instructed Christians to vote for Romney would not help me understand any foundational purposes for casting this vote other than fear; fear of what God’s providence has in store for our country.

 Each of the reasons (save the final judgment) were reasons that humanists, moralists, and relativists are also using to defend voting for Romney. That’s not enough. The Word of God is not silent on the issue of the state and it is not silent on the issue of the church’s responsibility to preach to the kings and princes of this world.

Was biblical truth preached or was moralistic relativism promoted? It pains me to say that Jesus was not lifted up in the article.

A Call to Confessionalism: Principles, Not Pragmatism

 Dr. Beeke is  part of a denomination that claims to uphold both the Belgic Confession of Faith as well as the Westminster Confession of Faith, yet there  was nothing of those confessional principles within the call for the church to vote for Mitt Romney. But the fact remains Reformed Christians are a part of a confessional heritage. Our confessions are summaries of what believe the Word of God teaches.

As confessional Christians, we must stand on our confessions as the principles of our Christian life. Below is the opening paragraph of Article 36 of the Belgic Confession of Faith, Dr. Beeke’s primary subordinate standard:

We believe that our gracious God, because of the depravity of mankind, hath appointed kings, princes, and magistrates, willing that the world should be governed by certain laws and policies; to the end that the dissoluteness of men might be restrained, and all things carried on among them with good order and decency. For this purpose He hath invested the magistracy with the sword, for the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of them that do well. And their office is, not only to have regard unto and watch for the welfare of the civil state, but also that they protect the sacred ministry, and thus may remove and prevent all idolatry and false worship, that the kingdom of antichrist may be thus destroyed, and the kingdom of Christ promoted. They must, therefore, countenance the preaching of the word of the gospel everywhere, that God may be honored and worshipped by every one, as He commands in His Word.

 How can such a high and glorious view of a magistrate in subjection to the gospel be confessed as an article of faith and then pragmatism be promoted as the application of that confession?

 If our confession does not match the current reality in our culture, we should not stoop to the level of the failing culture, but we should call men and women back to a confessional understanding of the teaching of God’s Word concerning the magistrate. Ideas like “we are not electing a pastor” and “our constitution does not have a requirement of religious profession” are not helpful in instructing the church.

We need to stand on principle and have all of our application flow out of those principles. This is part of being confessionally Reformed. To abandon our confession as a way to promote an agenda that is opposed to our confessions is not standing with our forefathers.

The Reformers and Puritans: Ministers Who Changed the World 

 You see, the Reformers and Puritans were men of conviction and men who were not afraid to stand on the Word of God even if the status quo was against His Word. One of the wonderful things about Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, of which Dr. Beeke is president, is that men are trained in the gospel ministry with the Reformers and the Puritans cheering us on to take up the banner of truth and biblical conviction.

 Men like Guido DeBres as he tossed the Belgic Confession over the wall, calling on the magistrate to conform to the Word of God. Men like Martin Bucer who wrote De Regno Christi, a structure for what a biblical government and culture would look like. Men like John Knox who called Scotland to turn unto King Jesus. Men like the Westminster Divines, who despite civil war, pressed ahead to stand for truth and a magistrate under submission to Christ. Men like the fathers of the Dutch Further Reformation who called for the magistrate to uphold both tables of the law. Men like the Covenanters who were slaughtered on the moors of Scotland over a biblical political theory. Men like the American Puritans who saw the opportunity for a city on a hill (See the chapter in Dr. Beeke’s Puritan Theology that espouses the American Puritan ideal of the city on a hill). Men of confessional conviction with a clear doctrine of the state.

 Where is our conviction when we can look at our forefathers, who suffered so much and lost so much and proclaimed so much, and then say, “They just wouldn’t understand. This is a different time.” Where is the Puritan Reformed conviction? Where is the reformation heritage? Promoting the status quo of the GOP is not the way ahead. It’s a deep compromise that is against our confessional heritage and against the fathers in the faith to whom we look for encouragement to live out the Christian life.

A Way Ahead

 So what should we do as confessionally reformed Christians? Promoting a Bishop of one of the fastest growing cults in the world is not it! I have been asked on occasion why there are not more Reformed men in politics. Why don’t we see leaders be raised up to promote biblical truth?

I truly believe it is because what the church has to say on this issue is the same as the moralistic, humanistic, and pragmatic talking heads of our age. The church will not prosper so long as she binds men’s consciences to vote for someone who hates our God and the true religion.

You see, the Scriptures do have a political philosophy. We may disagree on some of the applications  of that philosophy, but on this we can agree:

 The nations of the world are called to “kiss the Son lest they perish (Psalm 2).” This is our message to the kings and rulers of this age. How can they take us seriously, when we bring the gospel to them, if our actions declare that we do not believe  the nations are called on by God to kiss the Son. We need to stand on our confession of biblical truth and see that a new generation of political reformers are instructed from God’s Word, not the Red-State-Blue-State-Status-Quo.

As much as I love my professor and friend, Dr. Beeke, I must disagree with him in this matter. When you, reader, stand before God on judgment day and He asks you what you did with your vote,  I hope you can say that you lived radically unto Him and called on the princes of your nation to kiss the Son and submit to the true head and heir of the nations.

This is why my conscience will not allow me to vote for Mitt Romney. It has been instructed by the Word of God through our reformed confessions. It is a close race, that is for sure, but in God’s sovereignty, we do not have a man in the fight. We need a man who will kiss the Son. Only this will get us on track as a nation.

90 Comments

  1. Jon Sturm November 3, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    A wonderful post. Thank you!

  2. timbloedow November 3, 2012 at 1:53 am #

    Thank you very much for this.

  3. letjoyresound November 3, 2012 at 2:37 am #

    Nate, I appreciated this post and I too greatly respect Dr. Beeke. Thanks for speaking consistently about this issue all these weeks!

  4. Keith Ling November 3, 2012 at 6:37 am #

    Sorry, we are electing a politician to a political office. It is not a church office. If you know a vote for anyone other than the two major party candidates will be useless, then voting for anyone other than Romney is a foolish vote. The situation before you is “do I press back against the ungodliness and total misrepresentation of Christ’s principles, or do I waste my vote on a third party so I can feel good about myself because I voted on principle?”

    • theterpstra November 3, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

      if you have the choice between murdering stealing or neither, what should you choose? choosing any evil is still an evil

      • Kim Quon November 3, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

        You can make a choice to not steal and to not murder; however, there will be a new president. Although Billy Graham has taken the Mormons off the cult list, I have not had a chance to research it further. We know what Obama will do with four more years and that will be to destroy what’s left of our country. By not voting for Romney, you ARE voting for Obama and everything he stands for even if you do not go to the voting booth. Although he claims to be a Christian, where is the fruit in his life? Our choice is between these two men. I do not believe it is choosing between two evils, but rather, choosing which man will be more willing to be open to God’s will in leading this country. Romney is not perfect just like the rest of us; however, I do believe that he will at least be willing to listen to Christian council.

      • Jonathan Manring November 6, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

        If that is your criteria for not voting, then you should never vote, not even for the position of church elder. Because men are sinful, we always vote for the lesser of two evils. The criteria rather should be to vote for the most good that can be accomplished.

    • David J Shedlock November 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

      Keith, both you and Dr. Beeke refuse to admit that the Bible describes the minimum qualifications not just for clergy, but for civil magistrates, so your claim does not stand.

    • deanmay November 3, 2012 at 5:58 pm #

      Voting for wicked warmongering socialists is the useless vote. Voting for Robamaney will get us more wickedness.

    • Nabil November 5, 2012 at 9:03 am #

      The article addressed your view point rather well.

      Here is a key statement to take away from it:
      “… the portion of the article that instructed Christians to vote for Romney would not help me understand any foundational purposes for casting this vote other than fear; fear of what God’s providence has in store for our country.”

      So the question that we must not run away from is: “Do we fear of what God’s providence has in store for our country?”

  5. Adam Kuehner November 3, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Praise the Lord for Dr. Beeke’s ministry and praise the Lord for this accurate, Biblical, Confessional response by Pastor Eshelman!

  6. Barry York November 3, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    Thank you, Nathan, for this Biblical, historical, and gracious response, to which I add “Amen!”

  7. Steve Bradley November 3, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    Indeed, praise God for this fresh, cordial, Scriptural, and confessional response! I can’t tell you how refreshing it was for my wife and I to read this article this morning. Thank you for taking the time to produce this thought-provoking piece.

  8. Kyle November 3, 2012 at 10:33 am #

    Indeed, you’re the best suited RP pastor to offer a “gentlemanly” response to Dr. Beeke (loved the second paragraph! I’m right there with you).

  9. Ron November 3, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    I can only echo what so many have said. Great response.

    Keith – You are correct, we are casting votes for a political office, not a church office, but the realm under consideration does not negate the Biblical call to act on convictions and principles. To act on Biblical principles is never wasting anything! It glorifies our Lord.

    • Jason Camery November 3, 2012 at 11:23 am #

      Thank you Nate for this!! And Ron thank you for your point also!

  10. Jess Jacobson November 3, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    And, if a get to that place you describe we can still pray for & submit to such a leader in the same way Daniel submitted to Nebuchadnezzar…

  11. Ann November 3, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    Watch The Agenda for free a few more days to see what is really at stake if Obama is re-elected. http://www.vimeo.com/52009124

  12. puritanopresbiteriano November 3, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

    Pastor, thank you so very much for writing this. I am sure it was hard seeing you and Dr. Beeke are close. Thank you for your gracious and truly gentle tone and I do hope Dr. Beeke reads it. You have said it very well what most Presbyterians and Reformed folk have been saying here and there as to why they cannot vote for Romney. Your post is solidly based on Scripture and our Confessions, it is very refreshing and sadly found lacking on the side of those that argue in favor of Romney.
    May the Lord cause His Church to return to first principles in regards to the role of the civil magistrate as the Scriptures teach. That the Church will uphold Christ’s banner over this Nation and not the banner of the GOP, DNC, or others. Christ as King over this Nation must once again be the battle cry of His army as it was for our spiritual fore-fathers who have bequeathed to us such a rich heritage and example that was sealed with their blood and all for the glory of God and to maintain the preeminence of King Jesus in all things.

  13. Jeff Kessler November 3, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

    There is a decent chance that 4 years from now we will once again have a Mormon (as an incumbent) running against a socialist (although not as radically so as BO) from the Democrat party. My humble recommendation is that those of us in leadership of the RP Church debate this on the floors of Presbytery and/or Synod sometime between now and 2016 as opposed to public forums like FB. I doubt it has changed any minds and I don’t think it has been positive for our church. And yes, I’m guilty too.

    Jon Held, (via a comment on another GR post), and Jerry Porter, (via Jared Olivetti’s FB wall), are asking for more active and positive teaching from the church on civil government, folks being encouraged to run for civil office, and how to be more involved in political campaigns, etc. Suggested are seminars at International conference, sunday school classes, and of course from the pulpit. This will take more planning and work than writing GR articles and FB posts, but let me add my voice (and help if asked) to theirs. While we argue about voting for Mitt Romney, are there young people in our churches who don’t know the difference between socialism and free market capitalism? And which (if either) is most Biblical?

    Speaking of work, Pastor James Faris has written about voting on GR too. As I read his post, it was really nice to know he also has spent time this summer and fall going door to door and otherwise helping with a political campaign. Perhaps some of the other authors have done likewise. If so, it would be great to hear of your experiences of political work along with your articles and posts.

    My Pastor, Dave Long,and I, along with a few other folks met this spring with Mike Pence. Dave had the opportunity to ask Mr. Pence of his faith and it was wonderful to hear of his conversion and faith. He asked us to pray for him and his family as they run for Governor of the state of IN. Somewhere in the conversation, the subject of the Presidential campaign came up. Along with running for Gov., Mr. Pence is also a United States congressman. He had reached the number 2 or 3 position of leadership before running for Gov. Many across America wanted him to run for President. For a brief moment, he got very serious and looked all of us in the eye and said words something like this: (a paraphrase) “Much more important than me being in the Indiana Governor’s mansion, is for President Obama to be removed from the White House. Please pray for that.” Those of you who can’t vote for Mitt Romney, will you at least pray that President Obama is voted out of office this Tuesday?

    • alcoramdeo November 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm #

      Dear Mr. Kessler,

      In the hope that such a debate as you suggest would be an exercise born of true worship and conducted in holiness, godliness, humility and love, I offer the following for your consideration:
      ——————————————————–
      While applying it specifically in Romans 14:5, Paul states a general principle of the life and walk of faith; of all faith-based confession and action: Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind or, as the ESV puts it, Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. This is fundamental to true obedience to Christ by each child of God. The Church of Jesus Christ, eternally unified in heaven, relies upon this reality for the expression on earth of that same unity. We will not, as imperfect men, agree on all points of doctrine. But because we collectively, i.e. corporately as the Church “have the mind of Christ” (1Corinthians 2:16), we can agree that each of us must respond to God on the basis of that personal conviction and understanding which He administers to us through His Word by the power of the holy Spirit, and without which we are subject to the error of Israel in the time of the judges, when “Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, etc.; cf Proverbs 21:2).

      There is, of course, one Truth even as there is one Lord and one faith, and it is in these that we are being sanctified unto the full expression of our unity. But for the present we are comprised of myriad genetic compositions, social backgrounds, and personal histories, thus requiring different approaches to our education in the truths of the most holy faith. The point is that each of us will be “taught by God” (John 6:45, Jesus quoting Isaiah). The means of that teaching is, first and foremost, the working of the Holy Spirit and although He may employ men to convey God’s instruction to us, we are to weigh before Him what we have– by any means– heard, in effectual fervent prayer for wisdom toward its application in our living (James 1:5, cf 5:16). No matter how learned, wise, loving, kind, gentle, or apparently “successful” the messenger may be, it must never be because of the man who says a thing that we accept and obey it, but because we have learned it from God Himself. In fact, the mission of the preacher/teacher is the same as the purpose of the Bible itself: to introduce us to and acquaint us with its Author. The ministry of God’s Word is that we might know God.

      An inherent and basic weakness of the fallen nature is insecurity. Man was created for fellowship with his Maker and, separated from that, he became aware of and extremely uncomfortable with the sense of his disconnection. Thus man naturally seeks the secure feeling that accompanies the agreement of his fellows. Even the redeemed are so steeped in the conduct of the fallen world that we naturally gravitate toward agreement even at the cost of compromise– we would far rather stand in company with others than alone. Yes, our theology tells us that we are never alone for God is with us, we are in Christ, and we are inhabited by the Holy Spirit, but these are all ours by faith which denies our senses. It is far more pleasant to be able to see, hear, touch human companions than to walk by faith and not by sight (2Corinthians 5:7). So it is that when we “see” truth in the Scriptures we at once seek confirmation among our brethren, longing to align them with us or ourselves with them.

      In every issue of life, we must present ourselves before our Lord, offer ourselves wholly to Him, holding back nothing even as Christ held back nothing from the father for our sakes– offering ourselves to Him as “a living sacrifice,” which is to Him our “reasonable service,” or “spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1). In so doing we are to refuse conformity to this world [as in seeking to remain within a "comfort zone"], and be transformed by God’s renewing of our mind (v.2). Following this, we may have occasion to “stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24), perhaps even to preach the Word, reproving, exhorting, and rebuking (2Timothy 4:2). If so, let us be exercised to, at the same time, encourage our hearers to practice that scriptural nobility of daily searching the Scriptures to determine the truth, or otherwise, of what they have heard (Acts 17:11), for it is by the Word of God that belief by faith comes (v.12, cf Romans 10:17).

      We who believe in God’s sovereignty should have great peace and comfort in our liberty to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) entrusting to His wisdom, grace and power the results of all our labors (v.16), which is in fact His working (Philippians 2:13) which He has promised to complete (1:6).
      ———————————————————–

      Sincerely yours because Christ’s,
      al Hartman

    • timbloedow November 3, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

      Jeff, we should probably have both…and as long as we don’t have inordinate expectations from Facebook and internet blogging. One of the blessings of reformed doctrine is that Joe Layman can also dig into the Bible himself and discover the truth that is there. These kinds of discussions will also reveal to observant shepherds what the laymen are thinking and even HOW we are thinking – or not thinking – to help them in their teaching and application to connect with those of us in the pew rather than speaking over our heads or around us or whatever the case may be.

      • Jeff Kessler November 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

        I was perhaps not as clear as I should have been. I hope nothing I said above leads anyone to think I don’t believe Joe Layman should be digging into the Bible himself.

        Dr. Beeke wrote an article. The zeal of those who disagree is such that I think they should at least consider church courts to push their cause. While I’m not opposed to a blog like GR to discuss these issues, I do think the FB route has been overdone.

  14. marklaroi November 3, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    “This is why my conscience will not allow me to vote for Mitt Romney. It has been instructed by the Word of God through our reformed confessions. It is a close race, that is for sure, but in God’s sovereignty, we do not have a man in the fight. We need a man who will kiss the Son. Only this will get us on track as a nation.”

    ~Amen.

  15. Natalie November 3, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    This was helpful. Found it after reading Beeke’s article. I appreciate the thoroughness of the argument, the spirit of love, and the devotion to Christ and His Word first and foremost. I’ve been on the fence this year about what to do with my vote. There is so much pressure in Christian circles to compromise. I believe God used this to help me make my decision. Thank you.

  16. Mark November 3, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Great stuff. I linked to it from my past post where I looked at biblical standards and wisdom and reached similar conclusions. Keep up the good work!

  17. Mark du Preez November 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    Thankyou sir. It is lovely instruction in true understanding of confessionalism. Consistent application of that principle is surely evident not only in the Puritans, but all the Reformed leaders historically. It could not have been easy to write this piece.

  18. reformedcovenanter November 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    The naivety of those who continue to vote for the GOP because they are supposedly “anti-abortion” never ceases to amaze me. Do they not realise that the GOP will never do anything significant about stopping abortion precisely because they have a vested interest in maintaining it? If the GOP was to outlaw abortion then the major reason for evangelicals and Romanists giving them their vote would no longer exist. It is therefore in the GOP’s electoral interests to be anti-abortion in rhetoric, but pro-abortion in reality.

    Of course, if you carefully read the books that Nathan recommends in the post, you will find yourself rejecting the GOP and all other Christ-rejecting political parties for various other reasons as well.

    • Jeff Kessler November 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      You are obviously a great debater. “The naivety….never ceases to amaze me” and “GOP-voters cherry-pick” are great, sharp lines. Some would even say insulting, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

      Besides doing much writing, what do you do to be involved? Have you been close enough to anyone in GOP to know of what you are talking about? Perhaps you have. I’d love to hear about it.

    • Jonathan Manring November 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      Your post reveals that you are not involved in the pro-life movement. If you were, you would know that pro-life politicians can and have done many things for the cause of life. Things like the Republican US Congress voting to defund Planned Parenthood (supported by almost none, if any, Democrats). Or things like Republican President George Bush reinstating the Mexico City policy, cutting off funding for abortions worldwide. Or things like 9 Republican state legislatures passing fetal pain laws banning abortion after 20 weeks. Or maybe something like a Republican Presidential candidate saying that he will not sign a budget that has funding for Planned Parenthood in it (which would remove $365 million in federal funding from the abortion giant). Republican candidates are far from perfect, but many of them are at least willing to stand in the gap between unborn children and their killers. Perhaps you should join them in this laudable effort.

  19. David Kincaid November 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    So in your advocacy of supporting political candidates who “kiss the Son lest they perish,” does this mean that those of the Reformed persuasion should vote only for candidates for U.S. President who self-consciously uphold Reformed creeds and confessions? This appears to be the logical conclusion of your position.

    Or would you be willing to vote for a man who is a member in good standing of an evangelical Protestant denomination and who publicly professes faith in Christ? If this is your standard, you could endorse Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

    If we examine the religious convictions of former U.S. Presidents, it is safe to say very few seemed to embrace a genuine evangelical faith. Contrary to the revisionist pseudohistory popular in certain circles, few of America’s founding fathers evidenced the living faith of the Scriptures. George Washington studiously avoided mentioning the Name of Jesus while Thomas Jefferson repeatedly mocked the authority and veracity of the Scriptures. (See Dr. Gregg Frazer’s excellent research in this area.) So you have ruled out Washington and Jefferson; continuing down the list of U.S. Presidents, you will discover similar doctrinal difficulties with essentially all of them.

    I and many other evangelicals have prayerfully determined to vote for Romney. This does not mean we ignore the heresies of Mormonism or Romney’s less-than-ideal public record in certain regards. We merely recognize, as Dr. Beeke astutely suggests, that our choice is between a man who professes Christ while belying that confession on nearly every front, and a man who is a member of a theological cult but at least is not openly hostile to basic biblical values of life, marriage, economics and freedom of conscience. Regardless of which man is elected, the Church will certainly have a huge task before it. But if Obama wins, it is not alarmist to suggest that his policies will continue the wholesale slaughter of the unborn unabated (and paid for with public funds), the homosexual agenda will continue to have a champion, and the massive onslaught on life and freedom of conscience through Obamacare and other federal policies will roll forward, quite possibly including full scale persecution of those unwilling to endorse this godless agenda. It is true that there may be a sovereign plan that allows this to occur, but I for one would want to make certain that I have clearly heard the voice of God before casting my vote in a manner that appears much more likely to contribute to bringing this all to pass.

    • reformedcovenanter November 3, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

      “a man who is a member of a theological cult but at least is not openly hostile to basic biblical values”

      As if one can be a member of a cult and not be opposed to “basic biblical values”! The problem with this outlook is that it focuses so much on the second table of the law, that it ignores the fact that the REAL problem is our idolatry. This confirms me in my suspicion about conservatives: they are Marxists in reverse. That’s right. “All that matters is matter” is the creed of conservatives and Marxists alike. Both of them ignore the rights of God and are thus, in the final analysis, just different forms of materialistic humanism.

      • David Kincaid November 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

        NIce way to edit my statement to make it say what you want. That’s another thing Marxists are good at.

    • markdp8 November 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm #

      Muslims also confess Christ in some blasphemous way. It is rediculous to suggest that Romney confesses Christ. If one is determined to vote for the man then that is clearly a firm decision – why try and make it an “evangelical” decision

      • David Kincaid November 3, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

        You misread my comment if you think I suggested Romney genuinely confesses Christ. There is no evidence to indicate he is a believer. Voting for him is not an endorsement of the Mormon Church, no more than voting for Bill Clinton was an endorsement of Southern Baptists.

        If you’ll re-read what I said, the phrase is “prayerfully determined,” not the same as deciding to vote apart from divine guidance.

      • reformedcovenanter November 4, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

        The problem is that such GOP-voters cherry-pick what “basic biblical values” are important to them, while ignoring others.

      • markdp8 November 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

        My apologies I did misread your comment. The point I really wanted to speak to is that the Romney led GOP is also a largely socialist big government unprincipled collection. I am not sure why Christians feel so compelled to vote for them. Since when has a Republican had any real influence on any moral issue. Christ has never encouraged us to look for the popular vote. Why is the Christian conscience appealed to in seeking votes for either one of two candidates? There are other ways to influence the political process and better maintain the integrity of the Christian conscience and biblical responsibilities.

    • Erica L. Allen November 5, 2012 at 2:52 am #

      Anyone can profess Christ, but if his works do not back his confessions then it is dead! Sending jobs away from America is in whose best interest? Some of you eloquently present your argument, but it is all rhetoric…what God has ordained WILL BE!!

  20. Carmon Friedrich November 3, 2012 at 8:59 pm #

    Thank you for this gentle and biblical response. I love the quote from the Belgic Confession, and I can’t fathom how any Christian could take issue with anything it says and not see how it applies to all times. In the Netherlands when it was written, they had been experiencing severe persecution from the Spanish Roman Catholics under Phillip II (husband to Bloody Mary), a much more fearsome oppression than an Obama presidency, yet they trusted God with their lives and knew the ruler’s heart was in His hands.

    • puritanopresbiteriano November 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      Carmon,

      Thank you sister for that excellent observation about our Dutch brethren under true physical and bodily danger from the Spanish Papists and yet they upheld Biblical Principles instead of pragmatic and relativistic ones. I a great lesson for Americans not faced with anything close to what the Dutch were. As Christians in America, we need to “man up” as the Apostle Paul tells us and act and live like Christians in principle and action, including in choosing rulers. Thank you again Carmon!

  21. Ken G Smith November 3, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    The question seems to boil down as to whether the candidates meet GOD’S standard for ruling or not.
    Dr. S. Bruce Willson, RPSeminary President past, taught that in our republic citizens fulfill two roles: citizen-subject and citizen-ruler. When we place our vote in the ballot box, we act as citizen-rulers.
    There are many implications; but one I’ve taken from it is this: may I criticize my government officials who vote in Congress (or anywhere else) against their consciences for whatever reason if I vote in the ballot box against my conscience? As a citizen-ruler I must choose according to God’s requirement period.

  22. argingerigorian November 4, 2012 at 1:01 am #

    Reblogged this on BLOGerigorian.

  23. Silvio Ribeiro November 4, 2012 at 1:51 am #

    Tanks pastor Nathan.

  24. DoNotGiveInToEvil November 4, 2012 at 5:25 am #

    It’s quite correct to say we need godly rulers who will “kiss the Son.” But would such men ever seek office in this federal leviathan as we know it? Would such men claim sovereignty over the lives 300M+ people as central-planner-in-chief? Would such men accept a salary paid by expropriation of other people? Would such men even trust themselves with the type of unilateral power that the presidency has gathered to itself? We need to acknowledge it: Just as godly rulers did not come through the Nazism or the Stalinist ranks, the type of government we want as Christians won’t come through this constitutional republic’s mode of operation either. There is another way.

    • Jeff D November 5, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      Such men would definitely not seek to do good by lording political power over others as benefactors, but I believe that such men might seek office to divest the presidency of its power, so that the president is no longer a sovereign.

  25. Jules November 4, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    So, in other words, you’re saying you’ve never voted.

  26. puritanopresbiteriano November 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    For a Pastoral exposition via sermons on this topic, I highly recommend the following three sermons by RPCNA ministers. I trust you will be blessed and edified by them:

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1023121039371 -Rev. David Reese

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1028121625451 -Rev. Steve Bradley (p. 1)

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11412165420 -Rev. Steve Bradley (p. 2)

  27. Keith November 4, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Of all that the Bible calls us to do, the highest calling is to love God above all (to BE a Christian). Before we consider any call to elect a Christian, should we not first be primarily concerned with that call? If the answer to that is yes, and we have only 2 candidates that have any chance of being elected, should not then our priority to be to fulfill that command by electing the candidate that will allow US to BE a Christian, and in so doing thwart the one who would persecute God’s people?

  28. Jennie November 5, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    You claimed that Dr. Beeke lacked “principal based on the Word of God.” But there was much more Scripture cited and referenced in his article than your own. If I am correct, your only direct citation of Scripture was from Psalm 2, with a dubious application of verse 12. God’s command to the kings of this world to “kiss the Son” is not setting a requirement for who is allowed to govern a nation, but a command already established rulers to personal wisdom, repentance and submission to the King who is sitting on Zion’s throne. We can vote for Mitt Romney and at the same time appeal to him to “kiss the Son.” Also, the nations that are an inheritance for the Son are not the USA, Canada, the UK, China or any other government. Christ’s “holy nation” are those whom He has called out from every tribe, tongue and nation to be “a people for His own possession” (1 Pet 2:9; cf. Ps 2:8).

    You say that no man should be set forth as a governing authority unless he is a Christian. But Romans 13:1 states that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” This means that God has ordained and appointed many, many governing authorities who do not “kiss the Son.”

    You responded to few, if any, of the poignant issues and questions that Dr. Beeke posed, such as the opportunity to defend and stand up for the millions of lives of unborn babies who are being slaughtered under Obama’s approval and support. Addressing the abortion issue alone, I simply do not understand why any Christian would willingly neglect an opportunity to hinder the murder of countless unborn babies. This is not driven by “fear of what God’s providence has in store for our country,” but love for those precious and helpless children and a desire to see God’s law and justice upheld.

    This article is deeply distressing to me as a Reformed Baptist Christian and mother of two precious children. I pray to our God and plead with you that you would refrain from further encouraging other believers to vote by default for Obama.

    • just1sojourner November 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

      Thank you Jennie. I have been disturbed as well by the often repeated comment that “fear of what God’s providence has in store for our country” as well as the “voting for the lesser of two evils” and “how could you believe that Romney is going to be our savior” and questioning my loyalty and devotion to Christ along with a lot of other assumed motivations and implied theological and doctrinal shortcomings disturbing and upsetting.

  29. Paul November 5, 2012 at 1:59 am #

    I agree with Dr. Beeke, “We are not electing a Pastor.” And we can vote for a non-Christian in good conscience. We have religious liberty in America. I did not see Dr. Beeke’s article as a “fear” tactic, but rather a logical, moral choice for the well-being of the country. We have a responsibility as citizens to vote for a man that will better the country….he does not have to be a Christian.

  30. mi1truth November 5, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    Many of you keep talking about the slaughterings of babies, yet I never see you rocking babies who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or almost dying from lack of nutrition. Your lack of Works is shameful…yet you try to persuade others to trust what you think?! Yes judgment is coming regardless of who wins office and its coming to the Church first! What happens when more jobs are outsourced and people will be robbed and killed…where will you be then… the Word tells us to do not just pray…you would put a Mormon in position over your brother? That is not Biblical that is traitorous!

  31. Ben Manring November 5, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Dear Pastor Eshelman,

    I appreciate your expressions of respect for Dr. Beeke, and the sentiments that lead you to the position you espouse here, but I think you’re missing Dr. Beeke’s point. You say, “However, I found the article lacking principle based on the Word of God. There was no biblical view of the magistrate put forward.”

    While we may hold confessional and biblical standards that address what magistrates are supposed to be, the fact is, we don’t have one of those to vote for. This is the premise of Dr. Beeke’s argument. He’s assuming we all agree on the principles of what make a good and godly leader. If that were one of our realistic options, certainly we should take it.

    Perhaps the only civil election we have mention of in the Bible is Moses taking the advice of his father-in-law Jethro to set men of ability, “such as fear God, men of truth, etc.” over the congregation. (This was probably an election, since the appointment of rulers was down to level of rulers over tens, and there were several million Israelites, far too many rulers for Moses to appoint by himself). The standards were no different for these men than they are for those we would want to elect. Realize, there is no one that meets the standard. None. Not Moses himself. The men elected by the congregation of Israel, within a few months of that election, acted to reject the counsel of God, receiving the advice of the 10 spies, rather than that of Caleb and Joshua. They died in the wilderness with the rest of that generation that would not follow God’s orders to advance into the good land he had prepared for them. Do you suppose that their evil ways only came to the fore when they reached the wilderness of Paran? Yet God told the people to hold an election, electing men according to the standard. Clearly, it meant find the best you can according to the standard. I don’t think the Lord would have been happy with Moses coming back the next day to say, “Well, the most devout among us can’t find it within the ranges of their consciences to vote for anyone. They’re going to sit this one out and let the wicked choose our leaders. Do you still want us to go ahead with it?”

    The kind of argument you offer against Dr. Beeke’s position assumes that our vote implies much more than it is. All a vote says is, given our options on the ballot, I’d rather have this man than this other one. I think you’re falling into the fallacy of the “sovereign officer selector” (see my paper on this topic, referenced by Dr. Beeke in his post). You’re responsible for selecting among the choices you have, not the ones you don’t have.

    • Nathan Eshelman November 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

      There are more than two options in this race. That is the fallacy that a two-party system wants you to believe. As long as the church continues to submit to the lie of the two party system, we will not be able to support a biblical view of the state.

      • Jennie November 5, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

        How can you say there are more than two options in this race when it is impossible for a third party candidate to win this election?

        • Nathan Eshelman November 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

          It’s impossible because Christians and real conservatives refuse to go outside of the box of the current system. It’s only impossible because we continue to play by their rules. How can you really say that it’s “impossible” when you know, by faithfulness to the Scriptures and actual conviction, it would be totally possible.

          Was it “possible” to reform the church in the 16th and 17th century? Of course not. How’d it happen then?

      • Jeff Kessler November 5, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

        A lie? Or just a reality you don’t happen to like?

      • Ben Manring November 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

        Dear Pastor Eshelman,

        There were more than two options. There really aren’t anymore. Symbolic gestures, at this point in the race, are no better than not voting. The place for dealing with these other options is earlier in the race (e.g., the primaries), or at the lower office level, from which all of the candidates for President come. We can’t start at the top and expect to have the kind of influence that patient, practical, sound politics can produce. By now, you’ve only got two options. I don’t like either of them either. But one is much worse than the other.

        • Nathan Eshelman November 5, 2012 at 2:10 pm #

          So consciences should be bound and people should be “forced” to vote for one of the two? Is there room for conviction and biblical principle? Will God REALLY judge us for not voting for Romney?

      • Ben Manring November 5, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

        Dear brother,

        I am truly sorry for the difficulty this causes men of conscience, which I trust all of us are. Part of the problem, I think, is that we are, many of us, finally coming to the realization that we do not live in a predominantly Christian nation anymore. We find ourselves in an increasingly hostile environment, hostile to our livelihoods and freedom, to our fellow men, to our rights as parents, and yes, to our rights as Christians. We need to handle it with the same goal in mind that Paul has when he teaches the church to pray that we may “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim 2:2). I apologize for encouraging you again to look at my essay “On a vote and prayer: Can a Christian cast a ballot for Mitt Romney” which Dr. Beeke references, but I present this view there:

        http://manringen.blogspot.com/2012/10/on-vote-and-prayer.html

        There is also a version of this essay in which I deal with the Establishment Principle, and its relationship to the question we’re dealing with, but comparatively few Christians understand that perspective, so the one on the blog is written for more general audiences. You, being an RPCNA pastor, would be well acquainted with it, so if you’d like to see it, I’ll be happy to send you a copy.

        In the end, having informed ourselves to the best of our abilities, and having used our minds and strength as well as our hearts and souls, praying, we must vote our consciences. We may, each of us, end up doing the wrong thing at the voting booth, but we will have done all that our frail flesh can accomplish. There is good in that, and may the Lord honor us for it, preserving us in an evil day in spite of our mixed up voting principles. And may we honor one another. I love you, brother, and I pray that the Lord blesses your ministry and life as you serve him in good conscience.

        • TimBloedow November 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm #

          It has been very interesting reading the comments here. I think it’s great that people are engaged. It’s also hopefully very helpful to our elders to see the extent of the logical fallacies in our midst and the importance there is in providing instruction in how to think as well as what to think. I love apologetics, but this is not my website, so I am resisting hard the temptation to jump in at various spots. The one logical and Biblical fallacy that has started to appear much more though in some of today’s posts, and regularly which greatly disturbs me is the way a number of people are using their current human context rather than the Bible as their STARTING Point for developing their political theory. This is not consistent with the principle of the sufficiency of Scripture. But it seems to be a serious blind spot among many who are fearful of what another 4 years of Obama would look like and think that the most important/responsible way to respond to this concern is to vote Romney.

          When you start saying things like, we used to have more than 2 options, but we don’t anymore, so… or we don’t live in a Christian nation anymore, so… THEN you’re making arguments that appeal to human context, not Scripture, as your starting point for developing your political theory, and the way I see it, that’s a denial of the core doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture

      • Ben Manring November 5, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

        Oh, and understanding your question on conscience a bit better, I don’t think having to choose between the only two options you have, should bother your conscience. That’s all the power you’ve got. I don’t subscribe to idea that we do evil in choosing the lesser of two evils. We do good in so doing. The “hold your nose and vote” expression may be funny, but it’s misleading. We should come out of the voting booth praying with thanksgiving that we had a chance to do a good work, affecting the election to the best possible end.

      • Ben Manring November 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

        I see that two replies popped up while I was penning that last. I do think it’s unfair to suggest that Dr. Beeke and I have begun with the human context and are somehow denying the sufficiency of Scripture. You’ve really only make an accusation, and not a case. Your argument is not clear to me, at least. I’ve made an extensive scriptural argument which you didn’t seem to care to answer. We do acknowledge the human context (what context do you live in, by the way?) and are trying to address it according to scriptural principles. Anyway, it’s apparent that I’m not making any headway, so I’ll wish you the best and cease. God’s blessings, brethren.

        • timbloedow November 5, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

          Speaking for myself, I don’t have anything new to say beyond what our Covenanter forefathers and their adherents today – like Nathan Eshelman and others – have to say, so if you’ve interacted with that information, you know what I would say, if not, then you need to read it. the other reason I haven’t spent more time on this interesting discussion is that, at present, I am too busy with other matters.

      • Jennie November 6, 2012 at 9:47 am #

        Perhaps Christians do need to go outside the box of the current system, but today is not the time to try to do that. It should have been done much earlier, and we can certainly try to do it in the future. Today, your vote for a third party candidate or your absence of a vote is a vote for Barack Obama. Under God’s sovereignty, that is the reality we all live in.

      • Jennie November 6, 2012 at 9:54 am #

        Also, in reference to your “binding the conscience” comment, it seems to me that you have attempted to bind Christian’s consciences by telling us that we may only vote for a candidate who “kisses the Son.” I can see no genuine biblical basis for this, as I pointed out in my original post about the interpretation and application of Psalm 2. In fact, a much stronger case can be made from Scripture that Christians ought to vote for what will *actually* bring the most righteousness and upholding of God’s law possible in the current situation, as Dr. Beeke tried to point out.

  32. Jeff Kessler November 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Nathan:

    In your original response to Dr. Beeke, you make the following comment: “I was challenged to think about the primaries”, but now a couple of days later, you are talking of going out of the 2 party system. I’m not sure how things are done in CA, but here in IN, only Dems and the GOP have primaries. Perhaps you are already through with thinking about the primaries?

    Speaking of going out of the 2 party system, you also comment: “It’s impossible because Christians and real conservatives refuse to go outside of the box of the current system.” Now what if the “real conservatives” aren’t Christians? You obviously don’t compromise with any non-Christians in the political arena, so how is this problem handled?

    At the risk of being called compromising, un-Biblical, without convictions, pragmatic, etc., I think I’ll continue to work (as opposed to just writing) within the current 2 party system.

  33. Bill from ze Hill November 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

    The current political situation indeed leaves a great deal to be desired by us who are Christians. I am wrestling at this moment with whether to vote for Romney or no one. The outcome would be unsatisfactory in various ways no matter who gains the 270 electoral votes needed to secure the election of U.S. President.

    My main point of exhortation here is that we be **realistic** in deciding if to vote (and for whom), if to dissent (abstain), or if to “write in” a different person. And to be utterly truthful, we live in a pluralistic nation whose political system allows unfortunately for potentially very wicked people to be elected to office. Yet, per Rom. 13, we are obligated to obey those rulers provided that they do not require us to do anything against God’s law. Yes, God could miraculously override the mechanism in place for electing our rulers and cause a man who bends the knee to Christ to be elected. However, such has never happened in the history of this country and I see no sign of it occurring this time either. We are NOT electing a pastor-in-chief; our country is NOT a theocracy, and the system, because it is made of humans who are fallen, is, and always will be, highly imperfect.

    Also, I encourage you to avoid the trap of merely voting for Jesus as if He were to actively lead the country from a physical location. That will ONLY happen when He returns (we can pray for Him to come back immediately). I have known of some that wrote Him in on the ballot in previous elections. Doing so *will not* serve any purpose (unless He returns) and could make Christians look even more naive/unrealistic about the political system in place here and give the more objectionable candidate a greater number of votes. We realize that He is our King and Head and we must confess and serve Him, but He has appointed men to rule the nations more directly. We see this throughout scripture; many were anointed by the Lord while others dishonored Him. He usually intervened actively only under extremely specialized circumstances (e.g., the captivity in Egypt, the fall of Israel/Judah as recorded in the historical O.T. books, various acts of providence in that kingdom and others nearby).

    Those of you who decide not to vote (including perhaps yours truly :D ) are not entitled to complain stereotypically about where this country goes should a man that has little regard for God’s standards be voted in. By giving up your Constitutional right to participate in the process, you are not involved in helping to effect change in the most expedient way in place. Perhaps, on the positive side, you can endorse candidates who profess Jesus Christ as Lord and savior and give practical and financial support to them so that they can get onto the ballot as possibilities provided that they have enough main stream exposure. But realistically, a person who is a professing Christian will have a very serious struggle being victorious in most voting districts because of the aforementioned pluralistic society that we live in.

    As has been mentioned in other forums and is known to be quite true, evil will triumph if good people do nothing. Again, the Lord could overrule our sinful wills and motives, but He has typically not done so (we also are not robots who are programmed to do His bidding at all times).

    Be wise, prudent, realistic, and God-honoring in making up your mind, but please understand that we live in a constitutional republic where pluralism prevails mightily and not in a theocratic establishment (which would still be imperfect because we are fallen people even if striving to live for Christ all of the time). Happy Election Day!

    • timbloedow November 5, 2012 at 11:39 pm #

      Bill tells us to be “realistic.” Rev. Beeke tells us to use “common sense.”

      If these terms and concepts are not synonyms for Scripture or God’s law – and I think we all know that they aren’t – then they are in antithesis to it. I don’t understand why Christians are playing dodge ball with Scripture. We are not talking about calculating the angle for the wall of a building. We are discussing a matter that is morally, epistemologically and theologically laden. And either the Bible is sufficient or it is not. And, what definition of orthodoxy allows for a non-sufficient Scripture? Where is the theological fallacy in this articulation? What is a more fundamental question than this in the discussion before us? Who is our authority/Sovereign/King? How does He speak? What does He say?

      • Bill from ze Hill November 6, 2012 at 7:04 am #

        Realism and common sense are NOT, (read this) NOT antithetical to God’s law. They are appliations thereof. Read Proverbs, for example, which has what many would see as being “common sense” principles. God often executes His will in the context of reality. Even the Westminster Confession says that the doctrine of transubstantiation is repugnant not only to scripture but to common sense and reason.

        The fact of the matter is that through history, including that of the U.S., God has not overriden the mechanism in place (but it is acceptable to pray that He might do so). If the above argument presented by Mr. Bloedow et al. is taken to its (il)logical conclusion, one could justify refusing to have insurance or a savings plan for difficult circumstances (scripture by implication at least encourages those things) or not maintaining safety for oneself or one’s loved ones when danger is looming. The Bible does not give direct instructions on how a country’s political system must operate, other than it following God’s law (i.e., it is not a textbook of specific technique or practice apart from obeying His law).

        Let there be no personal attacks or judgment upon those of us here who take either the dissenting perspective or that of participating in the electoral process. To those who support dissent, I pose this: What do you suggest as an alternative to simply remaining passive (as seems to be supported by some) ? Do you purpose to support God-honoring candidates who have a fair chance of being nominated/elected? To those who will vote, I would encourage you to think carefully about where each candidate stands with respect to how they will uphold His moral law. But there ain’t no denyin’ that either Barack Hussein Obama or Willard Mitt Romney will be elected as our President once the electoral college codifies the vote on a state-by-state basis. We must accept the outcome as God’s will and honor Him and our rulers accordingly.

        • Nathan Eshelman November 6, 2012 at 10:07 am #

          No one who dissents on principle is passive. As I have said at other times, I voted, just not for president. That is active principled dissent.

          Sent from my iPad

  34. timbloedow November 5, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    OK, I just saw on Facebook that Rev. Beeke has written some additional comments to clarify his column that Pastor Eshelman responded to with this piece. It does clarify Rev. Beeke’s comments perhaps, but not in a good way in my view, and I want to make two points here in response.

    Several people here have objected that Pastor Eshelman was misrepresenting Rev. Breeke by attributing “fear” as his motivation or one of his motivations. Yet, note what Rev. Beeke says in his latest comments: “The other group I addressed was believers who intend to vote for a third party candidate in the presidential election. I have empathy for them. … However I do think that in this present election so much is at stake that we cannot afford to be fragmented among various presidential candidates. The Obama administration is not the run-of-the-mill liberalism we have seen in previous years. It is driving our nation full speed over a cliff of socialism and immorality into an abyss that is profoundly anti-Christian.”

    I am sorry but that is a statement of fear. It is a statement of doubt in the sovereignty of God. He’s saying that voting for somebody other than one of the 2 main options may be acceptable in other elections, but not in this election. But why is it acceptable in other elections and not this one? If on a principial basis, then why do the particulars of this election trump those principles? And why is this the election when so much is at stake? I’ve heard that same comment from respected Christian leaders ever since I started being interested in politics over 20 years ago.

    With all due respect, Reve. Beeke’s position on voting appears to have a significant basis in fear.

    I will make my second point in a separate comment.

    • Jonathan Manring November 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm #

      Just because Dr. Beeke dreads the flood of wickedness he sees ahead does not mean he is motivated by fear. He is motivated by a sincere desire to prevent as much wickedness in our government as possible. Those who seek the glory of God should have a strong desire for this.

  35. Mufasa November 5, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    RAWR!

  36. timbloedow November 5, 2012 at 10:51 pm #

    Another point of concern in Rev. Beeke’s recent statement is the following:

    “No Excuse Not to Vote. In the blog post, I addressed two groups of people. My strongest words were reserved to Christians who do not vote for any presidential candidate. I believe that to fail to vote is to remain silent when God has given us a political voice to speak against abortion and immorality. Regardless of whom you mark on the ballot, the Christian should vote. The lives of millions of children are at stake, and God calls us to stand for the orphan in the political and judicial system (Isa. 1:17).”

    My paradigm for Biblical political theory is Law and Lordship. For me, one of the things this paradigm does is remind me that there are vertical as well as horizontal concerns to Biblical political theory. I have become convinced that making “issues” of primary importance in our politics – which is to say, our man-to-man horizontal relationships, and the 2nd table of the law – is operational Humanism. Even when those issues are as fundamental and important and irrevocable as abortion. As important and serious as abortion is, the rightly understanding and acknowledging the Lordship of Christ, the King over life and death, is more important. And we can’t expect God to bless our works of justice among men if we subordinate matters of worship, idolatry and blasphemy to these things. There is no justice among men outside of the correct honouring of the God who owns us, the King to Whom we owe our allegiance. If honouring the Lordship of Christ and saving innocent babies require different and even competing decisions, then we must choose the Lordship of Christ, and can do so with a clear conscience, though hopefully not a sanctimonious attitude and hopefully with a commitment to be far more engaged in the public life of our communities, rather than putting all our political eggs in the one basket of voting at election time.

    • David Kincaid November 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm #

      Show me in the New Covenant where believers are instructed to enforce the first table through the force of the civil magistracy and I will be with you. Otherwise, we follow the wisdom of America’s founders who held with the Presbyterian revolutionaries that the magistrate cannot biblically bind the conscience of citizens in matters of faith and doctrine.

      • timbloedow November 5, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

        Show me from the whole Bible why my response to you has to be limited to sources in the New Covenant? From the whole Bible, theologians far better than me have already answered your Q’s. If you have genuinely read them and still reject their arguments, I’m not going to convince you, so at this time I won’t make the effort to try.

    • Jonathan Manring November 6, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

      First of all, I agree that the first table of the Law should be enforced as the second is. But shouldn’t it raise a red flag for you that your paradigm tells you that God’s law is opposing itself? I respectfully submit that supporting the 6th Commandment does not clash with supporting the 1st. Rather, keeping the 6th supports the 1st, and vice-versa. God makes no contradictions in His Law. We do not have to choose between parts of it.

  37. Tony Gazo November 6, 2012 at 9:26 am #

    Dear Nathan,

    Thank you for your gracious yet pointed remarks. I pray that Dr. Beeke and others take them in the Spirit intended.

    In Christ.
    Tony Gazo

  38. Ram Rao November 6, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    Having read both Nathan Eshelman’s post above and Dr. Joel Beeke’s writing, I am persuaded by the latter. Perhaps it has do with having been born and raised in a third-world Asian country, where the world-view of political candidates is so vastly different from even those we currently have in the US. As the Reformed Presbyterian Church plants churches in Africa and Asia, it will be interesting to see how those churches clarify/modify the testimony of the RPCNA especially in matters concerning the Civil Magistrate.

    Today (for the first time in my 61 years) I have the right to vote. I will be prayerfully exercising that right in regards to the President of the US and other federal/state/local offices.

  39. Jonathan Manring November 6, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

    I would submit that Christ is not most glorified when a man “confesses” Him (i.e. pays lip service to Him), but when the laws of the nation most uphold His laws. A vote is a small piece of influence that we have to influence the laws of the nation for good. When we use it to select a man for office, we are not approving him or his religion, but using what influence we have to influence the law as much as we can for good. “Dissenting,” or not voting, is a neglect of the duty we have to use this influence.

    • markdp8 November 6, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

      Interesting. Especially the first sentence. If you truly confess what you have written there, then it is understandable why you would disagree with a Reformed Confessional approach to politics. You have redefined confess whereas the writer of the blog posting does not. It must be all rather confusing. It is far simpler then to go with the “common good” approach I suppose – just stick in enough scripture and mix it all together with a good dose of common sense.

  40. gazo July 3, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    Excellent site you have got here.. It’s hard to find quality writing like yours nowadays. I honestly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

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    [...] Why the Word of God Will Not Let Me Vote for Mitt Romney: A Gentlemanly Response to Dr.Joel Beeke (gentlereformation.org) [...]

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    [...] cuando tenemos esa oportunidad y ambos candidatos no medien al estandarte de la Biblia.  Este post del Rev. Nathan Eshelman, pastor del RPCNA (Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America) en Los [...]

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