We are now less than two weeks from the election. While there is a lot that people are fighting about, the one thing everyone seems to agree on is that we’re ready for it to be over; in a dead man walking kind of way.
Within the church, people are disagreeing as well. One side says Donald Trump is too bad of a person to vote for, while the other side says that we have to vote for him because to allow Hillary to become President is a death sentence for the Supreme Court and many of our civil liberties.
But there’s another voice that sometimes chimes in as a kind of referee encouraging everyone to relax. And they have some really spiritual arguments for why we shouldn’t be that worried about it.
So here are my two favorite “Christian” reasons for being ambivalent.
- God is in Charge Anyway
This is basically the sovereignty of God argument. It says that, “God is still going to be God regardless of who is elected, so chill out.” From a strictly logical sense, this argument is the fallacy known as the non sequitur. Which means the conclusion does not follow logically from the premise.
It’s like saying, “Burritos are yummy so I should buy a new car.” Burritos are in fact yummy, but my decision to buy a car should be determined more by things like need and my ability to afford one. Burritos are going to be yummy regardless.
It is true that God is in charge, but our responsibilities and obligations are given to us independent of that fact. After all, God is also in charge if I neglect to pay my mortgage, abandon my family, or set off a nuclear bomb in the middle of a city.
Indeed, if we think it significant that God is always in charge, we should contemplate the implication of the command to occupy until he returns (Luke 19:13), seek the welfare of the city to which he has sent us (Jeremiah 29:7), and cast down every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. (2 Cor 10:5).
Of course God’s sovereignty is always relevant to our lives, it’s just not always instructive to our choices and should never be an excuse for passivity.
For those of us who are more inclined to panic at the current state of affairs and live in a state of perpetual fear, the fact that God is good and always in charge should comfort us and allow us to trust Him and be confident regardless of the circumstances.
But ultimately, it should lead us to be more interested in His purposes for us in our current circumstances, not less.
- Persecution will be good for us.
This argument says essentially that, “I know things are bad and getting worse, but maybe shouldn’t do anything about it. After all, I’ve read Revelation and the decline is inevitable. Maybe we should embrace the loss of religious freedom and be ok with the government taking control of our churches, universities, non-profits, businesses, and families. After all, a little persecution will be good for us.”
What would your life be like today if our Founding Father’s took this position?
The first reason we know this is a bad argument is that no one would be willing to make it outside America.
Raise your hand if you’re willing to tell a Christian brother in Syria, Iran, or Nigeria how much you’re looking forward to experiencing a little persecution so our churches can flourish.
I’m sure we’d all become a bit sheepish at the sight of the machete scar across his face.
We should be prepared to obey regardless of what happens in the future, but that should never become indifference to what happens in the future, particularly when we are in a position to influence it.
Remember, if persecution happens in any form, that means bad things are happening to real people. In the Middle East, parents are forced to watch their kids be executed unless they recant their faith. In America, businesses are forced to shut down. Different degrees of bad, but still bad.
The church has been created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph 2:10). We were not created to allow some harm because it will be good for us.
Of course God can take even the worst circumstances and make something beautiful from it, but if bad things start happening to our friends, neighbors, and churches, it should be despite our best efforts, not because of our passivity.
In 2014, it is estimated that only 20 million of the 60 million evangelicals in America filled out a ballot. That’s a lot of influence for good that was never leveraged.
Sometimes the reason we aren’t engaged is that we don’t know how to. We’ve tried to help in this election cycle by providing a voter guide that will help you identify which candidates share your worldview and value system. You can also access it by texting your zip code to 77039.
But sometimes we aren’t engaged because we’ve convinced ourselves we don’t need to be.
There are many things people within the church can disagree about this election season, including what to do with Trump v. Clinton. But we should all be able to agree that we won’t be afraid, we won’t be indifferent to evil, and we don’t quit because it’s challenging.
Why? Because we all want to be like Jesus.