Following the election, a story from one of my mentors has come to mind.
When I was a young man in pastoral training, being dandled about upon the knee of Dr. Roy Blackwood as it were, he would tell me stories of the 17th century Covenanters in the United Societies of Scotland. Often I heard him describe how these men and women, persecuted, pastor-less, and poor, would have rigorous discussions over Bible texts regarding life matters that were before them.
One issue they faced was whether to pay the king's cess (tax) or not. They knew these monies would be used to fund the armies that were pursuing them as they sought to worship, already driven to the wilderness in order to assemble. Good folks struggled mightily over what the right thing to do was. Citing Scripture, some would argue for trusting the Lord by honoring the king and paying taxes even though the funds would be used for evil. Other, citing similar verses, would urge trusting the Lord would best come by exercising civil disobedience to the king and withholding taxes to seek to prevent the evil. That these folks had seen loved ones tortured and/or put to death made their Bible studies ones of utmost earnestness.
Though we do not _now _have the same personal immediacy of that situation, many life-and-death issues are before us in our land. From the abortion issue to unsustainable, generational debt to forced healthcare to the homosexual assault on marriage to nuclear disarmament of rogue nations to the remaining wars, the stakes are high. We have completed an election where we had two presidential candidates who were far from perfect choices. They especially did not profess with both mouth and life allegiance to the true Christ. If our comment section is any indication, this complicated matters for believers with respect to voting. Like those Covenanter studies, good folks on either side struggled to know how to best honor Christ as King in their voting. Following this election, we will almost certainly find ourselves with even greater difficulties and perplexities lying ahead.
However, we are not without hope. Helpful analysis is being offered and good ideas are emerging. Can we not take a deep, collective, and prayerful sigh over our frustration, then move ahead by pursuing the faithful living out of our heavenly citizenship through, in part, faithfulness to our earthly one? Though we may continue to struggle to know how to best do this, I know that I personally have received the following encouragements from the discussion.
- Remember that voting is an important civic duty but it is not an all-important one. The Lord ultimately sets rulers over us.
- Encourage the congregation more in working to get to know and to pray specifically for local leaders.
- Be sure calls from the pulpit occur at appropriate times for people to consider serving in public office.
- Find positive ways the church can be trained and involved in the political process after this election but before the next one.
- Work hard at making disciples who are not just thinking about being, but are practicing being, salt and light.
Good words from others follow. Let's not forget that even our Lord sighed deeply when confronted with this world's pains and unbelief (Mark 7:34). But then He went on to touch and engage it. Let us be sure to do the same.
Aftermath: Lessons from the 2012 Elections - Albert Mohler gives his usual insightful analysis and points out what the political landscape is revealing to us.
Diversity, Diversity, Diversity - David Murray at HeadHeartHand explains how the Republican Party must relate more compassionately to minorities. "There’s plenty advocacy for businesses and for the middle class. But why don’t conservatives equally speak for the poor and for those who are discriminated against? If we don’t speak for people, if they don’t sense that we are their advocates, that we have their interests at heart, we won’t get a hearing from them."
Five Christian Responses to the 2012 Election - Rick Philips at Reformation 21 says, "It was grievous to witness a political party set forth a clear social agenda centered on the availability of abortion, the advancement of liberty for sexual sin, homosexual marriage, the legalization of narcotic drugs, and government intolerance for religious freedom. To then see this agenda lifted up in triumph over the American electorate is to witness the defeat of the conservative Christian political agenda and to tremble over the future of our morally libertine society." He then offers some ways we as believers may need to respond.
Wretched TV - Here is the case being made for how the results of elections should be traced back to the church of all places. The American church really does need to do some soul-searching at this time.
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