My One and Only Comment(s) on the Election
I’ve noticed that many Christians (many of whom are my friends) are going to vote for Barack Obama. I have a hard time voting for him on a number of issues that space will not permit me to expand upon. Personally, I think that some Christians are willing to give what I find to be Obama’s bad policies a pass because he identifies himself as Christian. I’ve heard a number of interviews with Obama, and read a couple, and never in anything I’ve heard him say about his faith even smacks of Christian orthodoxy. Nothing! Now, please allow me to clarify what I mean here. I do not presume to read the man’s heart, but I can interpret his words. He defines his faith normally in social gospel categories, and implies that Scripture contradicts itself. (Click here for Obama’s speech on the interrelation of faith and public policy.) He over simplifies issues, attacks characitures, and agues that Christians oppose abortion based on non-rational reasons (what he calls “religious grounds.” See my response here.)
Everything I personally heard Obama speak of on his faith is someone that a modernist liberal -anti-supernaturalist- “Christian” could have affirmed a hundred years ago. The catch is that Obama knows how to speak “evangelical” language…without speaking of the evangel. And many Christians are snookered by it. I agree with Martin Luther that I’d rather have a pagan King who knows how to rule than a Christian who doesn’t. It’s not that I don’t care about having a leader whose conscience is informed by the word of God (of course I do!), it’s that regeneration doesn’t guarantee good political positions.
It should be said here that this doesn’t imply that i’m simply taken with the belief that McCain is everything the media makes Obama out to be (cool, the wave of the future, our source of “hope,” etc). I do not. I think all Christians should be weary of the view that says all democrats are bad people, and all republicans are good people. If we confess that sin has affected all people, then we should acknowledge that both sides are flawed, and no political party is going to usher in a utopia. We shouldn’t believe it, and we should set our expectations on such a belief.
But, we can’t live up to our responsibilities as Christians to be salt and light in the culture on the one hand, and on the other wait and wait, and wait for the right candidate or party to come along. This isn’t about making one party less of an “idol,” but about which option will do less damage. And that is something we can measure.
Who’s going to provide less incentives to work? Who is going to be responsible for increasing the number of aborted children which year? (click here for more) Who is going to put this country in relatively greater danger? Etc. Clearly Christians are called to make distinctions between greater and lesser “evils” (though we may feel uncomfortable stating things that way).
Stealing a candy bar is bad and an offense to our holy God, but killing 6 million Jews by putting them in ovens is much worse and will garner greater judgment. In the same spirit, we can vote for the sinner that will only steal 5% of our income, rather than the one that steals 25% (these are random numbers chosen for the sake of the example).
I do not think that Senator Obama is the right choice for the United States of America. Neither do I place my trust and messianic expectations in Senator McCain (though I do think he is the wiser choice of the 2 candidates). I will not be voting for Senator Obama, but I do not kid myself. He may very well win this election. If I do belief in the absolute sovereignty of God (and I do), then I also recognize that it is God who sets us kings (and presidents).
If Obama wins, perhaps it is God giving the people exactly what they want in order to show them the consequences of their hasty choice (as in the case of King Saul). But maybe not. Perhaps it is God’s will to humble Obama’s detractors and show them that God can work justice through means that many do not expect (as in the case of king David).
By tomorrow night, we’ll we have a winner (we hope!), and it is our duty as Christians to pray for those in positions of leadership (Rom. 13:1, 1 Tim. 2:1-2, 1 Pet. 2:13, 17). May the sovereign Lord be glorified in this election, and may He use the next president as His instrument of justice and righteousness, and may we as followers of “the way” recognize the authority and rule of our president as a flicking and faint pointer to the King who will one day rule with perfect and absolute justice, peace, and righteousness, the Lord Jesus Christ.