Monday, October 20, 2008

How would a Christian vote?

Have you heard that Satellite Radio commercial that spoofs political adds? It basically says, "there are those that don't want you to be able to listen to more satellite stations... they also hate puppies and light flowers on fire." That's exactly what politics do, they paint with black or white, there are no shades of gray. One side pumps themsleves up as the savior of the world while their opponent is the devil. Since a person can only vote for one candidate, thus forcing them to vote against the other candidate, I guess that's a great political strategy. It is NOT however, the way the church is to work. It's sinful to allow the Kingdom of the World to dictate the rules by with God's people relate with one another. A person's political views do not deem them"good" or "evil." That's the way the world operates but the church rises above that game.

In the fall of 2004, when TFC was still in her infancy stages, the nation was being torn apart by Red and Blue states. I decided during that election season that TFC would never be labeled Red or Blue (which would exclude those of the opposite color), nor would we be torn apart by politics.

Now, we don't leave our commitment to Jesus outside the ballot box but neither do we claim that only one particular party is the "Christian" vote. We MUST base our votes upon the teachings of Jesus and we MUST trust our fellow Christ-followers who choose to vote differently than we do. That's a brief summer of Sunday's message. If you'd like to listen to or read my message from Sunday, you can do so here - link.

I'd also encourage you to read the following document. This was put together by Jeren Rowell (the District Superintendent for the Kansas City District) and Dr. Mark Hayse (who was on staff with Jeren at the time but is now a professor at MidAmerica Nazarene University). This is really good stuff! Jeren suggested I pass it out at church before the election.

Christians look out for the poor and powerless. God calls us to take responsibility for the hungry, the naked, the imprisoned, and the sick. The Christian ethic is not “every person for themselves” but “justice for all” and “compassion among all.” MATTHEW 25

Christians affirm the stewardship of creation. The earth is the Lord’s and God calls us to manage carefully its resources. The dominion God gives us is one of caretaking and tending, not of abuse. GENESIS 1

Christians work for peace, generosity and equality. God has greatly blessed America, and with our privilege comes a holy responsibility to bless and serve the global community. MATTHEW 5-7

Christians practice economic responsibility. This includes the avoidance of lavish and unnecessary spending, the reduction and avoidance of debt, and willingness to give to others. LUKE 12

Christians believe in absolute truth. God’s call to purity and morality does not change with public opinion. For example, the value of the marriage covenant is not subject to personal convenience or individual conviction. God has clearly established the nature of marriage as a lifetime covenant between one man and one woman. MARRIAGE: GENESIS 2, EPHESIANS 5. IMMUTABILITY: JAMES 1:16, HEBREWS 13:8

Christians affirm personal accountability. The image of God is stamped upon us all and gives us conscience. There is also validity in a community conscience and individuals within a society are accountable to this pervasive sense of right and wrong, or natural law. REVELATION 20

In the current political landscape, it is unlikely that one candidate or one party would embody each of these Christian principles in the measure that we might desire. But let us remember the words of Jesus to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s.” There are some things Caesar cannot do which are the focus and work of the Kingdom of God as expressed through the church. We should never expect a secular government to do Kingdom work in place of the church. However, the church should always support politicians whose policy making and leadership will reflect Kingdom values. What are you willing to give (beyond your vote) that will help the Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven? As you have listened to the candidates, have your concerns merely been about your personal satisfaction, or have they been about the Kingdom of God?

Here are the two presidential candidates websites for you to do some research.
John McCain
Barack Obama

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