Jesus never voted. He didn’t live in a democracy.
Remember the WWJD wristbands? What would Jesus do? That is a helpful memory device to restrain selfish reactions and to prompt compassion, using Jesus as a model. However, there is a weakness in that helpful reminder: We don’t always know what Jesus would do or would have done. The Bible doesn’t record Jesus’ actions or responses in many of the situations that confront us. One of them is voting.
What Did Jesus Teach?
That doesn’t mean we are without guidance. We should ask, “What Did Jesus Teach?” Jesus taught and modeled the way of truth and wisdom that can help us make hard decisions today, even in the confusing realm of politics. As a church, we always want to keep the main thing the main thing. We want to make more and deeper disciples for Jesus Christ. Though the politics of living in this culture are important and have consequences, we want to keep the message of salvation and Lordship central.
Rest assured, Berean will never tell you who to vote for or what political party to support. Instead, we will always point to a biblical world view and the gospel as our guide and instruction.
So, here are some guidelines as we approach the election in November:
- The responsibility of pastors and elders is to call you to be a responsible citizen according to the teaching and examples in the Bible. Inform yourself of the values and goals of the candidates and be a participant in the privilege of voting.
- Berean’s mission is bigger and broader than partisan loyalties. We recognize that not everyone who attends Berean is on the same page politically. We do not vote as a bloc, nor do we officially endorse candidates or parties.
- There are moral implications to your vote. Though there is no perfect political answer to every moral question, Berean pastors and elders have taken a clear and consistent stand on several moral and biblical issues that are relevant and timeless:
All life is created and sustained under the grace and authority of God, especially human life in all its stages. This is the core belief in the sanctity of life, from pre-cradle to post-grave. The Bible is clear that God not only gives life but also mandates that his people treasure, protect and care for life, and particularly for those most vulnerable.
In the creation narrative marriage is defined as the union between a man and a woman. This undeniable biological makeup of marriage has been normative throughout human history, in all cultures, and affirmed by Jesus himself. The irreducible fact of male and female, and the vital importance of marriage and home, is woven throughout scripture. We need to discern what is wise policy and law to guard this core building block of civilization.
Freedom of Conscience
Inherent in the gospel invitation is the freedom of the individual to respond to God without governmental or tyrannical control or coercion. This means more than the freedom to worship in our churches. It means freedom of conscience to hold deep religious convictions, and implies the freedom of expression, and freedom of association, unregulated by the State. We are free, and compelled by our Lord, to live out the implications of our faith in all the facets of our lives, not just in the privacy of our worship gatherings or in our homes.
Though these biblical stances are very general, they inform a host of specific issues under each umbrella. They give timeless guidance as we try to enhance human flourishing.
A new King and Kingdom
God has ordained government to guard humanity against lawlessness, to protect life and liberty, and to build stable infrastructures where human flourishing is enjoyed by the generations. But His governance of his people doesn’t begin or end with what we see and build. His reign is over a New Kingdom, a New People, with new hearts. This spiritual transformation alone can change the world. Every other hope is temporary. So, even though we must participate in earthly governance, our ultimate hope and allegiance is not of this world or its rulers.
There are no perfect candidates or platforms. Jesus teaches us to pray for our rulers because they are mere humans, and will all prove fallible in some way. Even so, God appoints all rulers and kingdoms in their time. God’s timing and appointments are often a mystery. Nevertheless, we must pray and discern whether the policies and platforms we vote for will move us closer or farther away from the things Jesus taught.