Conscience, Christ, and the Ballot Box

As I said in a previous blog post, my conscience is convinced that I must vote for Mitt Romney. That has predictably generated some discussion. It’s not surprising that there are various brothers and sisters in Christ who agree or disagree, some of the latter including dear friends whom I love a great deal.

In this post I would like to clarify a few matters and offer a prayer for the election tomorrow that I hope many can echo in their own prayers.

1) Accountable to God for Our Vote. When I put our voting responsibilities in the light of Judgment Day, I am not invoking God’s wrath against those who vote for someone other than the Republican candidate. I am however reminding us of our accountability before God. As Christians we must do all things, including politics, in the fear of the Lord. Sins of commission and omission may bring fatherly discipline and a loss of reward on the great Day. The very fact that we are redeemed by the blood of Christ demands that we be holy (1 Peter 1:15–19).

2) 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).

What Dietrich Bonheoffer wrote concerning the Nazi holocaust is equally true of today’s abortion holocaust: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil; God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

3) Need for Unified Opposition to Evil. 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. I recognize the righteousness of supporting third party candidates where the main parties have lost their way. I also long to see godly and experienced Christians running in the primaries to gain Republican nominations.

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 understand that some believers have scruples of conscience against voting for Romney because he is only a moderate conservative and also not a Christian. My aim was, and is, to persuade their consciences that Christians need to use common sense. I freely admit that we don’t have an ideal candidate, but this is a time to stand together against evil that the other party advocates so blatantly with its bold stand for unbiblical, homosexual marriage and its unabashed support for abortion.

4) Sovereignty, Responsibility, and Urgency. I have full confidence in God’s providence over all things. Whoever rules the United States in 2013 will be appointed by God. At the same time, God’s sovereign providence does not remove our moral responsibility, nor the suffering that poor choices bring. We should foresee these consequences and be motivated to choose wisely. There was indeed a strong tone to my exhortation and it was a tone of urgency. God’s sovereignty does not make us passive or emotionless, but empowers us to take action.

5) The Supremacy of Christ. Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14), including all Presidents of the United States. Even though the nations rage and the people plot a vain thing, God has enthroned His Christ and He will reign (Ps. 2:1–9). All men, whether kings or beggars, must bow the knee to Christ or suffer His wrath (Ps. 2:10–11). But because this King shed His precious blood, all who trust in Him, no matter how sinful they have been, will be blessed by God (Ps. 2:12).

 

Let me close with a prayer for election day.

Our Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Thou art very great. We praise Thee for Thy name is above all blessing and praise. Thou canst do immeasurably above all that we ask or think. Thou hast made the heavens and all their host, the earth and seas and all that fills them, and the angels of heaven do worship Thee.

Thou hast blessed our nation with an abundance of food and wealth. Thou hast revealed Thy law and gospel in Thy Holy Scriptures. Thou hast sent Thy Son to give His life a ransom for many. Thy servants have testified to our people.

Yet, O God, our land is bathed in the blood of innocents. We have taken Thy gifts, and made them our idols. We have hardened our hearts, and listened not to Thy commandments. We have turned Thy holy gospel into a license to sin. We have celebrated that which Thou dost condemn. We are a proud nation, and Thou dost hate pride.

Have mercy, O God, have mercy upon us! Thou dost not change, and therefore Thy people are not consumed. Forgive America for its many sins. Forgive each of us for all our sins. In wrath remember mercy. Thou didst promise that for the sake of ten righteous men Thou wouldst spare wicked Sodom. O God, hear the prayers of those who delight to fear Thy name, and do not give this nation over to a lie.

Thou art the Most High, who doth rule over the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever Thou wilt. If the heart of the king is in Thy hand to turn it as Thou pleasest, certainly then Thou rulest over the votes of the people. Direct their votes, we pray Thee, to those that will govern our nation with wisdom and lead us in ways that are right. Grant to us a president, senators, representatives, judges, governors, and other officials who will do us good and not harm. Give us a government under which Thy people, Thy church whom Thou dost love, may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

Yet, Sovereign Lord, our deepest prayer is that Thou wouldst do whatever is necessary in the United States so that Thy name be hallowed, Thy kingdom come, and Thy will be done, both here and throughout the world, now and in all generations to come. Glorify Thyself in Thy church and in Thy Son now and forevermore. Amen.

Comments

  1. Amen! and Amen! to your prayer, brother.

  2. Mike Mathis

    Thanks good brother for saying so well my exact thoughts on the matter. We live in serious times but Psalm 124:8 always applies no matter what the times look like.

  3. Jim

    Amen

  4. Ben Manring

    It’s clear from the comments on your original post that you’ve taken a lot of heat for expressing this sound point of view. Our well-intentioned brethren don’t seem to be able to distinguish, on the one hand, the real evil of there only being two choices, neither of them fully meeting the biblical standards set forth for godly rulers, and on the other hand, the positive good of choosing the best option of the two. Selecting the lesser of two evils is not evil. If a gunman confronts you and says, “Your wallet or your life,” and you give him your wallet, you have not sinned. You’ve chosen well. What are we to say of the man who says to the gunman, “I don’t know, they’re both bad. You choose for me”? Our brethren tend to say of us that we are pragmatists, disregarding clear biblical standards of civil leadership. It’s not true. Would that we had the real choice of a wise Christian magistrate on our ballots! In this Presidential election, sadly, we do not. Can we still choose wisely? Indeed, not only can we, but we must.

    • My dear brother Ben:

      If that gunman says, not “your money or your life”, but says instead, “your children or your wife,” which lesser evil will you choose? This is much closer to the truth of the matter at hand. We have a totally blood-thirsty tyrant vs.a 3/4 blood-thirsty false prophet. I choose neither, and like David of old, I will let God choose which judgment he will put upon us, for they are both represent the judgment of God, whether economic collapse or spiritual darkness.

  5. Mark

    “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 ”

    Dr. Beeke,

    Are you using your political voice to speak against Romney’s support of abortion in many cases?

    Do you believe Gods call us to support the moderate/situational cases of abortion that Romney wishes to allow?

  6. Mark

    By the statistics I have seen and overlaying them by Romney’s exceptions to the abortion law… Romney would want to allow hundreds of thousands of abortions every year.

    • johnemi

      If I could push a button which would make it certain that only hundreds of thousands of abortions would take place every year, instead of the current well over a million a year in the USA, I would most likely push it.

      • Mark

        Only in a pretend world is voting for Romney a certain way to reduce abortions.

        You are assuming that all the following will happen without a hitch.

        1. Romney will get a chance to appoint a pro-life judge.

        2. Romney will actually do it.

        3. The courts will get a case in which to make the decision.

        4. The judge who Romney appointed will actually do what is supposed he will do.

        Given Romney’s history of flip-flopping, its a far stretch.

        • Yet isn’t the only vote which offers a chance of reducing abortions a vote for Romney?

        • johnemi

          @Mark: The idea that any president could reduce abortions to merely hundreds of thousands with the way the country is now is a pipe dream, IMO. But if somehow pro-lifers were to win the proverbial lottery and actually have a president be able to do this, I wouldn’t get hung up on exceptions like Romney’s; I’d probably take it in a heartbeat. I partially voted for Romney with the mere hope that he might roll back a few things that Obama did concerning abortion, as Obama is a pro-lifer’s nightmare. And even if Romney had won (of course now he lost) and still nominated pro-choice Supreme Court nominees, they would be less radical on abortion than Obama’s, I think.

    • If I could save but only one life by voting for Romney, I will do it.

      • T. Webb

        And how many lives will be saved because Barack Obama is making healthcare available to more people?

        FYI, In good conscience I can’t vote for either Obama or Romney, and it doesn’t matter because I’m in a red state so my vote doesn’t count anyway.

        • If the government becomes insolvent, Obamacare won’t save any lives. Of course, while Republicans are insistent on tax cuts, they won’t be much better on the issue We need spending cuts and tax increases to reduce the deficit and debt. But parties who take that position don’t get far in the polls.

  7. Barrett

    At what point will a presidential election not have “too much at stake” to not fall in line begins two lost parties and their candidates? I’ve bought the lesser of two evils line for the past 8 years, voting for the R that was on my registration without feeling strongly about the candidate. If you do so in 2012, there will be something just as important in 2016 that “we can’t afford to be fragmented over”. The Ds and the Rs know this, and as long as they can stir up enough “this is the most important election of our lifetimes” fervor, it confirms they can put forth whoever they like, and all we’ll say is “Baahhh”.

    • George

      I agree with Barrett. I’m also not convinced that the Obama is really that much worse than Romney. Romney may say he’s pro-life but so was Bush & Bush Sr. and that didn’t really matter much. Consider the long-term effect of voting for a 3rd party. They won’t have a chance this election, but 4 years down the road when the “end of the world” is again coming if you vote for a Democrat, perhaps a 3rd party will be that much closer to actually competing with the establishment.

      • johnemi

        Bush Sr. came “out of the closet” so to speak as being pro-choice after his presidency was over. Hardly a good example. W was better, but was horrible with Iraq. Even then, barring an act of God, the best pro-life president can do little better that make a dent in abortion, the way the country is now.

  8. I am very unsure of Romney. When he ran in Massachusets(sp) he was clearly prochoice. Has he had a change of heart because it is what he believes. Or is he simply saying what he knows people want to hear. I don’t trust him. He has changed his mind on other issues as well.

  9. Elizabeth

    This is wonderful! Absolutely wonderful! Thank you so much for writing it and helping to clear the confusion so many of us feel through this. And the prayer was so God-honoring! Again, thank you!

  10. Frederika Pronk

    Our conscience works the same way as Dr. Beeke’s. We voted for the person we judged to be most favourable to Christian morals and values. Without a doubt, that is Mitt Romney. We hold dual citizenship and although living in Canada (again) since 1987, we have always voted in presidential elections. We continue to work (vote) and pray that the Lord will call this great nation, the United States of America, back to its Christian roots – the religion of the Pilgrims and the Puritans. Under God, conditions in Canada (economic, social and religious) depend on how American citizens vote.

  11. Richard

    From January 2003 to January 2007 we had a Republican controlled House of Representatives, a Republican controlled Senate and a Republican President. What gains were made in the pro life movement during this time? What will be different under a President Romney?

  12. Lee

    I have a few problems when it comes to the issues at hand.

    1. It seems like we are asked to vote against Obama out of fear rather than voting for a candidate for sake righteousness and fear of the Lord. Why is it just assumed that voting for Romney will actually make a difference? What evidence other than rhetoric do we have that he has changed from his views as Governor of Mass.?

    2. We put way to much emphasis on the Presidential election. There are other very important congressional races in both the States and the Federal. My fear is that we look to the president to fix all of our problems and don’t concern ourselves with the other government positions in the Legislature and State governments. This is recipe for a dictatorship, very much like Rome when it went from a Republic to a Ceaser. We have a much better chance of having change in this country if we strengthen our local governments with righteous leaders in both the County, City, and State levels.

    3. Finally I think we are too short sighted. I’m working to build a foundation for change in the future and that includes rejecting the systems we have in place and putting my resources toward Godly leadership. I think that voting for a third party is one way of doing just that.

    There is more I could add to that, but very difficult to outline a all encompassing argument.

  13. This leaves me with many questions:

    How is that voting is more important than who you vote for?

    “Regardless of whom you mark on the ballot, the Christian should vote.” So voting for Obama is better than not voting at all? Where in the Bible does it command us to vote? Our nation also permits protest and petition – will be held to account if we don’t protest or petition in the way that Dr. Beeke insists?

    Why is voting for a pro-abortion candidate such as Romney more important than rescuing unborn babies in other ways. Does Dr. Beeke insist that people will be held accountable if they don’t give money to crisis pregnancy centers?

    • Andrew

      I totally agree with you, David. Deciding not to vote simply can not be turned into a sin issue. The whole concept is ridiculous.

  14. Ben Manring

    In fact, David, in making his choice, David of old said, “Please let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercies are great; but do not let me fall into the hand of man” (2 Sam 24:14). When Christians refuse to vote, they make the choice of letting our nation fall into the hands of the ungodly to select our leaders.

    • So who are you choosing to be killed by the gunman, your children or your wife?

      The godly have already chosen our leaders: Romney or Obama.

  15. I copied your message and sent it to a friend. Here is my response. I responded in between paragraphs and didn’t copy Joels words. You will have to return to the article if there is difficulty in following my response.

    Holiness and the fear of the Lord go hand in hand. That means in practical, real world life everything we do must reflect the love, mercy, compassion of Jesus. In simple terms everything must pass the Royal Law of Love test as described and lived out by our Savior. Jesus said we have fulfilled all of the law and prophets if we “love God with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength”, that we “love our neighbor as ourselves”, and we “love our enemies, do good to them, and pray for them.”

    Do we make an exception to these commandments in the political realm? Do we vote for the lessor two evils? Would the Christians in Nazi Germany have maintained a clean heart if they vote for Joseph Geobbels instead of Hitler? How does voting for the lessor of two evils reflect the love of God. How is voting for any amount of evil make for a “godly choice”? Shall we sin that grace may abound? Is voting for the lessor of two evils godly?

    Follow the logic of voting for the lessor of two evils. By this measure of godliness a Christians would support the pornography because it’s less evil than visiting a prostitute. They would definately support the youth group smoking marajuana because it is much less evil than meth. Pastors wholeheartedly support gluttony in their church (even though Jesus warns us that gluttons will not be ready for the second coming (Luke 21:34 “surfeiting” which is an excess of eating and/or drinking). The vast majority of Christians look just like the unsaved, overweight and obese. These people are quite literally addicted to food. Not one word from the pastor on this touchy little subject even if it would prepare them for the second coming of their Lord.

    Your voting for the lessor of two evils is beginning to sound a lot like subjective relativism. Is this what you want to teach others? Is this what Jesus taught?
    I was basically a one issue voter for 40 years, i.e. pro life. I supported evil candidates in hopes that Roe vr Wade would be overturned. I have news for all Christians. The Republicans would not overturn Roe-Wade if they could. They would be killing the goose that laid the golden egg. This is one of the primary hooks that Satan and the Republicans who work for him (all who practice evil work for Satan because he is their father i.e. they do the works of their father Satan. Those are lying, stealing, and killing. It’s very easy to identify Satans children. They emulate their father.)

    I do not vote for the lessor of two evils because evil is evil. Let me point out the hypocrisy of pro life Christians. They say their are pro life, but support pro war politicians. What do pro war politicians do? They lie to get the citizens stirred up into a jingoistic war frenzy and then they will happily send their children oft to kill the innocent men, women, and children. We go to war to steal other peoples resources. Period. We murder their citizens to steal their resource. We drop bombs on them. We drop napalm on the children. We blow their little children into many pieces. We do this in the name of Jesus the Prince of Peace. Is this godly? Is this how Jesus wants his followers to show the love of God to the unsaved? What kind of message do you think it sends? Is this the will of God, to murder those whom He died for in order to steal their oil or other resources?
    I couldn’t agree more. We are to speak out against evil and ungodliness. Notice that Bonheoffer did not advocate voting for the lessor of two evils. To speak out against the evils of an UN-Godly government is a righteous act. The Republicans (excepting Ron Paul and maybe one or two others) are all pro war. You can not, by definitions be pro war and pro life. They, like their “opponents” on the other side of the same coin, the Democrats, are not only pro war, but both sides of that same coin, are wholly owned by the Banksters, and the Military/Industrial complex. That is who put them and in office and that is who they represent. These are the ones who profit from war and its inherent evils. They are properly called War Profiteers. They make their fortunes off of the blood our our men and women who have swallowed the lying propaganda to get them to murder innocent people. If you vote for them you support their Satanic evil. Is this the will of God? Is this Godly? Is this what Jesus would do??
    Sir, did you see any godly and experienced Christians running in the primaries? Think now. Ahh yes, there was one, Ron Paul, the medical doctor who is 100% pro life. Alas 90% of evangelical Christians rejected him. He was also the only true conservative running. He was…God forbid, antiwar. Sorry, but unfortunately for Ron, Christians adamantly support ungodly wars of aggression. In reality they bare no resemblance to their Lord. They love to rail against homosexually, Hollywood, and all the liberal causes, but you can’t get them to follow the Prince of peace. Oh they pay Him lip service, but in works they deny Him. They will chose a bought and paid for war profiteering whore (yes, whore. They sell their votes to corporate America. It’s called campaign contributions, or more accurately, bribes. Is this what Jesus would do? Is this truly following Jesus? Does this demonstrate the love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness of Jesus to those whom we rain down death and destruction upon?

    By the way, in case Fox or CNN forgot to tell you, you are also raining down death on your brothers and sister in Christ who happen to be the quite unfortunate recipients of your prayers for victory for our troops. But it’s OK with American Christians if we kill our brothers and sisters. Their is always a little “collateral damage” war. Maybe some were lucky (blessed?) enough to escape Iraq or Afghanistan into neighboring countries (like that real fun place Syria or Jordon) after leaving their jobs, homes, and all that they own to be refugees. Would you like to be a refugee because your fellow Christians in America voted for Nixon, Reagan, Bush1, Bush2, or Romney? Is this the will of God? Is this expressing the love of Jesus to your fellow followers of Jesus?

    The truth is you had a honest, godly, conservative in Ron Paul, but you rejected him for the war profiteers, warmongering, Romney? How do you feel now? This is NO stump for Mr. Ron Paul either. I’m simply laying the truth out so you can see it and repent of your evil.
    Sir, here you sound just like those warmongers Rush Limbaugh and Shaun Hannity etc. Scare your readers and listeners with the hobgoblins of Socialism, Communism, and the next Hitler incarnate, Ahmadinejad. Your script is right out of Orwells 1984. Recall if you will Martin Luther Kings unsung quote in a church sermon exactly one year before he was assassinated. “The United States is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” The most evil rogue nation on the planet today is America. No, you say, then who exactly is invading and bombing country after country and stealing their resources? Who is openly supported Al Queda in Libya and Syria? I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point.
    Sadly, your common sense is diametrically opposed to God Law of Love.You would rather vote for evil, than truly stand up and speak like this to your congregation and your readers. But then again, I can assure you, the moneyed among you would flee your church for other environs. So which will it be, God or Mammon?

    The truth is, it all comes down to money.
    In reality you have little or no confidence in God’s providence or you would stand against ungodly governments. You would boldly preach from your pulpit that followers of Jesus do not, under any circumstance support anything that is ungodly or unrighteous. Especially war, which is the greatest evil ever known to man. Where is your concern for the suffering of the Christians and Muslims who have been murdered by our military. Not one word in your message about that, not one. Why?

    This is a consequence of voting for agents of Satan that the Establishment Republicans and Democrats always put up. How do you think those innocents feel about your support for warmongers? Do you really believe voting for candidates that display all of the three primary characteristics of Satan, lying, stealing, and murder, is a godly thing to do? Would Jesus vote for Romney?

    Ponder this? How will you fare when you stand before the Prince of Peace, your garment of righteousness stained with the blood of the Saints and the millions of innocent men, women, and children who died as a result of your compromise with evil?

    Sincerely and in love,

    your brother in Christ,

    don

    Please feel free to respond. dlucasgringo@gmail.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] today?  Whether we agree with one another or not about certain matters related to voting, this offering by Dr. Joel Beeke should be an encouragement to all of us as we [...]

  2. [...] Conscience, Christ, and the ballot box. [...]

%d bloggers like this: