Tag: Voting

Accountable to God and Posterity: Choosing Wisely as Christians in the 2024 Caucus and General Election

Accountable to God and Posterity: Choosing Wisely as Christians in the 2024 Caucus and General Election

By Pastor Ethan in Pastor's Column on April 8, 2024

Separation of Church and State is a phrase we are all familiar with. As a pastor, I frequently hear it used as a proverbial cudgel to beat American Christians into a sense of silence and apathy regarding the political landscape of their communities, states, and nation. After all, it is the law of the land, right? Wrong. The phrase separation of Church and State is absent not only in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, but also in America’s founding documents. Instead, it comes from an 1802 letter written by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association, whereby he assures the association that the First Amendment, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” guarantees a “wall of separation between Church and State.” In other words, separation of Church and State does not exist to keep the Church out of the State, but the State out of the Church.

Americans are uniquely positioned to live in a Representative Democracy, a Republic, where we vote for representatives who legislate laws on our behalf. If, as Christians, we believe Jesus is the Word (Jn. 1:1), that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn. 14:6), and that the Word of God is profitable in all matters of life (2 Tim. 3:16-17), should we not desire to see these eternal truths influence the representatives we elect, and therefore the legislation we pass? Indeed, a tremendous opportunity lies at the feet of the American Church.

Religion is, by definition, adherence to morality, and politics is, by definition, the legislation of morality.

Today, American Christians are told ‘religion’ and ‘morality’ have no place in politics, a message proclaimed loudly from many American pulpits. The rapid moral decline of our nation and world testifies otherwise. Religion is, by definition, adherence to morality, and politics is, by definition, the legislation of morality. Thus, the question remains:

Where are we to go from here?

Firstly, as Christians, we must repent when rebuked by God. In 2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan confronts King David over his sins of adultery and murder. When confronted, David’s immediate response was to cry out to God for repentance. In Jeremiah, the prophet is frequently heard associating himself with the people’s sins as he cries out to God for mercy on their behalf. When confronted with the sins of our nation, may we, like Jeremiah, humbly acknowledge our own sins as we seek God’s mercy and, like David, confidently approach the throne of God in humble repentance (Heb. 4:12).

Secondly, as Christians, we must resolve to embrace our identity fully. In Exodus 20, God establishes the Ten Commandments. The third commandment, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Ex. 20:7 NASB95),” is often associated with swearing or invoking God’s name carelessly. While this is undoubtedly an aspect, a more profound meaning is found when viewing this command through the lens of the New Testament. The Hebrew word for take means ‘to bear’ or ‘to carry,’ and to bear in vain means ‘without success.’ As Christians, we have taken on the name of Christ, and it is only by fully embracing that identity and abiding in Him that we will bear fruit in our lives (Jn. 15:4-9).

Thirdly, as Christians, we must rekindle a desire for the welfare of our nation and its people. In Jeremiah 29, God gives instructions to the exiles sent to Babylon. He commands them not to give up hope, but to continue living their lives through building houses, growing food, and marrying their sons and daughters to produce large families. Then the Lord commands, “Seek [demand] the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will have welfare (Jer. 29:7 NASB95).” Much like the exiles, we are still called to live generously, even amid a godless society. Additionally, as American Christians, we are uniquely positioned to demand the welfare of our nation through the representatives and leaders we elect. What better welfare could we desire than to see the Truth and Life of God’s Word penetrate every aspect of our society so that hearts and minds may be changed to the glory of God?

Finally, as Christians, we must respond to the work the Master entrusted us. In Luke 19, Jesus tells a parable of a master who entrusts his servants with money when he leaves, instructing them to do business [occupy] until he returns (Lk. 19:13). Every Christian has been entrusted with gifts and talents they are called to steward and do business with until Christ returns. He is returning, and we must ask ourselves what we want to be caught doing when He comes. Will we be actively engaged in the work of our Master, investing His resources for His glory and honor in every area of our lives? Or will we lay aside our task, bury our giftings, and live apathetic to the world around us?

Each of us has a role uniquely positioned by God at this moment in life “for such a time as this (Esth. 4:14).” We stand at yet another moment in history, accountable to God and our posterity. Rise to the occasion, emboldened by the strong, mighty, powerful God you serve. Though perhaps you feel overwhelmed, wishing this task would not have come to you. I will close here with a quote from Gandalf the Grey:

“So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”