One Christian’s View on How to Vote in the 2016 Election

vote

If you are a conservative Christian and you are watching the events of the election unfold, you may find yourself in a bit of a moral dilemma regarding your vote.  Primarily regarding the fact that on one hand you have a candidate that will seek to implement wide sweep policies counter to your faith.  On the other you have someone who half-heartedly supports policies aligning with your faith, but demonstrates a moral character that in no way represents Christian values.   And on the policy front, the third-party candidates only offer additional moral compromise.  I could use a significant portion of this text diving into the mud explaining why that is the case with the candidates, but I am going to assume that the media has done that for me, you understand the dilemma, and you are seeking God’s guidance on what to do.

So first and foremost, I am not speaking for God.  I will however make my humble attempt at explaining how I have come to my upcoming voting decision and pray that it is pleasing to God.   Though I fail time and time again, I do seek God’s wisdom and try to live a life that is pleasing to him.   And though for many reasons I agree with the separation of Church and state at a national level and value the freedom of religion this great country has provided as a result, I can’t compartmentalize them as a Christian on an individual level.  My vote, though private, is as much a reflection of my faith as any other action I may choose to take.  So with that, I must seek to please God with my vote.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.  – 2 Corinthians 5:9-10

I must warn you that I am an obsessive thinker to a fault.  So the amount of effort I put into thinking about decisions such as this bridges upon a laughable ridiculousness.  Where I mentally wander to with things like this is a place that I believe many of us do.  We want to be intellectually and faith founded in our decision so when given a moral dilemma such as this, we journey into the “greater good” world.  I have gone so far as to chart numerous policies and positions of candidates and estimate sin or Christian moral impact if implemented to arrive at a net impact type metric to found a decision on.  I only wish I was kidding.   And though I know you are now curious of what that looked like, I am not sure that graduated scales of ethics, graded Christian morality, or evaluating Biblical shades of gray is what God requires or even desires in any decision.

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. – 1 John 2:6

So let me first say that I think there may be some scriptural support in the Old Testament for “greater good” type scenarios.  However, for the ones I am able to find, God seems to be providing specific direction as to what to do.  If you feel that God is clearly and unequivocally telling you who to vote for, then you have your answer.   But for those Christians that do not find themselves with that clear direction, I think we must do our best to imitate Christ.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. – 2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus in his time on Earth did not sin and it is he that we are to imitate.  Sin based on the original language is defined as “missing the mark”.   It isn’t just violating a commandment, but it is demonstrating any behavior or action that misses the perfect life of Christ (the mark).  So voting or supporting someone who supports policies that kill unborn babies would be “missing the mark”.  Voting or supporting someone who participates in “locker room talk”, whether jokingly or in action, regarding the sexual assault of women is “missing the mark”.  I also don’t think there is any strong evidence of repentance, change of heart, or even a sincere apology regarding this past act.    So I can only conclude that voting for candidates on the current ticket is a sin and we are called to be like Christ who did not sin.  But what about the “greater good”?

In looking at the life of Christ I can imagine scenarios where Christ could have committed one sin for an earthly “greater good”.  With his omnipotence he could foresee those that would go on to persecute and kill Christians in mass or those that would deceive and lead people away from the gospel in mass.   Couldn’t he have used one strategic murder, lie, or sin for an earthly “greater good”?   And yet despite this, He chose to remain sinless and thank God for that.

I think our desire to make “greater good” decisions and ultimately justify a single sinful vote, is because we are concerned about the direction of our country and perhaps temporarily lack faith in God’s plan.   We have to keep in mind that the Government cannot enforce Christianity nor do I think they should.  They couldn’t possibly do it if they wanted to nor can they keep me from sharing the gospel. Christianity is a personal decision that each of us have to make and as Christians we can always choose to be faithful to Christ despite the political or social landscape we find ourselves in.  It could become increasingly harder, unpopular, or even worse.  However, we must consider the faithfulness of persecuted Christian brothers and sisters all around the world.  So we should imitate Christ, have faith, and seek to not sin in all situations.   So what choice does this leave regarding the vote?

I guess a “no vote” could be an option but I do not take this amazing country we live in for granted.  I believe it is our civic duty to vote so I will be writing in a candidate that I believe God would be proud of. I suppose nobody is perfect, but I believe there are more faithful choices grounded in their Christianity.   The immediate response to this is that you are “wasting your vote” and perhaps mathematically even contributing to the win of an undesired candidate leading to undesired outcomes.  I would suggest this is “greater good” thinking that will result in a sinful vote.   I will seek to not sin in my vote, to imitate Christ, and to have faith that God is in control and that I can remain faithful to him despite how the country I live in might change.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. – Proverbs 3:5

Dealer of Folly in 2015

As I kickoff 2015 I have felt convicted to reflect on that which is important to me.  From the perspective of the world, people I interact with, some supposed friends, and just my general interpretation of the words I hear, I am tainted.     And though the word “tainted” may bring many things to mind, I am specifically referring to being infected with an undesirable quality.  It has become increasingly clear that I find myself in a place and time where I am viewed as a dealer of disgust.  Numerous are my symptoms. I am hypocritical, ignorant, uninformed, selfish, unloving, intolerant, and outdated to name a few.

This is not a recent onset of infection. The truth is that I have been ill since I was 13 years old.   Worst of all, I am also contagious by design and thus spreading the undesirable in multiplicity.  Don’t fear regarding this news.  The world has built up immunity and has suppressed this illness relentlessly, though a remnant still remains susceptible despite those efforts.  So the chances of you contracting this illness are probably not something to worry about.

Perhaps I am muddling intently or purposefully “stirring the pot” to say in different words, but what I am has become concerning to many.   I am a Christian.

There is a good chance that if you are reading this then you know me in some capacity.  If what I am has not been clear to you; shame on me.   I have seen better days where I was more contagious.  Given the political climate I have tried to bring to light here, Christians find themselves being comfortably Christian when amongst Christians, but comfortably normal and generic when not.  This dualistic lifestyle that I have been guilty of might just be the key to worldly success.  I need the courage, as do many Christians, to view worldly success and acceptance as having little value.

Matthew 6: 19. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20. but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Do not misinterpret my words.  I am not calling for divisive actions or a proud embrace of the symptoms I have highlighted. If you as a Christian were prepared to sound your war cry upon reading this, then pause for a moment to be certain we are in accord.  In fact, it is my argument that the infection I have described is perhaps a misrepresentation of genuine Christianity and more describes your average census survey Christian.  Otherwise my remnant statements seem yet again ignorant when looking at the below data.

So it seems that 31.7% of the world is census survey Christian and that number rises to over 75% for the US.  These people come in many forms and contribute to the worldly definition of a Christian.  And yet they all feel comfortable, at least on things like surveys, bearing the name of Christ.  To do something in someone’s name, or while bearing a label,  seems to be based on the discretion of the label bearer and not the label.  What does this mean?  It means that I could very well do something horrible in your name today while declaring it boldly.   And though you would likely not condone the activity, it seems that I have the discretion to do the unthinkable while bearing your label to bring taint upon you.  The ones whose activity you would condone and allow to bear your name are the genuine type.   Genuine Christians are only those that Christ has saved to bear his image, and I am fairly certain that percentage is much much smaller.   I think it is also safe to say that the worldly definition of a Christian is severely tainted since the law of numbers regarding false image bearers would prevail.

Matthew 7: 13. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

In 2015 it is important to me that everyone understand that I bear this image with humility.   I am a Christian and severely flawed.  I know the standard and fall short.  I often act in ways that my label would not condone.  In humility I claim Christ because my broken state leaves me undeserving of this love and favor.  This is the true illness and I have had this one since birth.  I am sinful but not a slave to it, nor is it an excuse.

Romans 6: 17. But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18. and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 

It is my prayer in 2015 that everyone have genuine encounters with genuine Christians.  I am sure that the worldly definition will start to erode regarding these genuine people.  But at the end of the day, there is no guarantee that you will be susceptible to their message or that they will be bold enough to deliver it. Let’s hope the “illness” becomes the cure.

I hope everyone has a great 2015.  I will seek to be a dealer of folly.

1 Corinthians: 18. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

 

 

 

You have to be good to truly know bad.

In preparing to teach my Life Group a lesson out of James 1 regarding temptation I came across this amazing quote that really puts things into perspective.

C.S. Lewis: “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means–the only complete realist.”

The blog was inactive, but yet still active

The truth hurts sometimes, but I will admit that I did not make a single post in 2011 and now half of 2012.  Though I didn’t post for this period of time, I had many readers contact me to ask various things about my posts.  I am humbled that God has given me the opportunity to talk with so many over the silly things I blogged. I wanted to share some of the conversations anonymously.   I hope and pray that my responses were spirit lead and can somehow be helpful to others.

Real Questions & Real Feedback 3

Anonymous reader of my blog:

Mr. Mac,
I found some posts of yours from a few years ago on election and predestination.  You have no idea what perfect timing it was to read what you had to say.  I’m currently going thru some very similar situations at my church.  Other than MacArthur and his church, I really began to wonder if there was anyone else out there who believed and understood the sovereignty of God.  I was on the SBC site looking for it’s doctrinal statement and found a link to some your posts.  The history behind all this for me is this.  I’ve brought up issues like this and others in our church (a southern baptist church in mid Missouri) and I’ve really been given the cold shoulder.  I’ve been told I’m too controversial, that we don’t need conflict like this in the church.  I was told last week I could not lead a bible study because my views on predestination among others didn’t align with the SBC. The sad part is just last Sunday, rather than having a message from a preacher, we had some Xtreme Power group
come in and “raise the roof for the Jesus”.  It really was the most disgraceful display of the Gospel I’ve ever seen or heard.  The guy spoke only of how God loves us and wants a relationship with us and all we have to do is raise hands and come down and say a prayer.  The man never mentioned brokenness over sin let alone the sovereign purpose of God.  By then end with emotions flying he actually said he knew there were people out there with pain, (i.e. hip pain and carpel tunnel) and if they’d come forward he’d pray for healing. Of course my first question was does that align with the SBC?  The people in my church talk about free will and when I point them to 1 Corinthians 2:14, they just say I’m to divisive.

If you have a chance to respond I’d certainly appreciate it, but understand if you don’t have time.  It was really just nice to find someone in my area that let the bible changed the way he views himself and the Lord rather than changing the Lord and scripture to suite himself.
Sincerely,

My hopefully spirit guided response:

About 10 minutes before you sent this email I was reading over some of my old posts about the SBC and predestination. I don’t find it a coincidence that I received this email moments later. God is good. I am happy to hear that you are opening up your heart and mind to let the scripture speak to you. It is so easy to read what you want to hear instead of truly listening. Let me be the first to tell you that I do believe that you can be saved without a complete understanding of God’s sovereignty. I challenge you to pray for your brothers and sisters at church and that you approach the subject delicately and with love. I also believe that it is an advanced topic for mature Christians and it can be Earth shattering for someone who is just breaking the scripture’s surface. It is a controversial subject that tends to create anger amongst God’s people and I know that is probably not his intent. What I can tell you is that there are others that share your understanding of God’s sovereignty including myself. I am sure there are others within your Church that may not be as bold as you. I also caution you to explore God’s word for other theological concepts beyond God’s sovereignty. I know that may sound strange, but I can attest first hand that searching and studying scripture in regard to predestination can become an unhealthy obsession and may become more of “proving someone wrong” than growing in a relationship with Christ and loving thy brother as thy self. After all, you did come across my Blog article so I already know your digging and searching 🙂 Don’t forget that there are probably other theological topics that Christan brothers and sisters disagree on and this one is no different. I think you are probably on the right track and if you have any questions at all, please feel free to ask me. I should probably write a few more articles in the near future. I feel like I have grown since writing those posts and would like to build upon them and provide some clarifications. If there is one thing I believe to be absolute truth it is this. God is in control. Nothing surprises him or catches him off guard. We cannot put him in a box based on our beliefs of the way He should be. If He wanted to give a man a completely free will decision then I believe he could do that. If he wanted to create vessels fit for destruction..he could do that. If he wanted to deny us grace..he would be justified in doing so. It is a mistake to say that “God wouldn’t do that” or the “God I serve is not like that” if it is based on our feelings and not scriptural relevance. I also know that there is absolutely nothing within my power I could have done to make an obedient decision to follow Christ without God doing a miraculous undeserving work on my heart. I think many Christians will agree that they deserved to go Hell. However, I feel that they only believe this because they are going to Heaven. If God were to go ahead and send us to Hell, I think a lot of those people would begin justifying why they should go to Heaven. So in the depth of their hearts they may not have a true grasp of their sinfulness and complete/utter reliance on God’s grace. I am truly truly deserving of Hell and to think that I am a Child of God is very very humbling and humiliating. Take care and hopefully I didn’t babble to much.

In Him,
Derek