Can’t Pray for A Secularist and Can’t Vote for A Mormon?

Election season seems to bring out the best (sic) in those who profess Christ.

I’ve heard variations of the two following statements:

“I can hardly bring myself to even pray for Obama because of his secular…..”

or

“I can hardly bring myself to vote for Romney because of his Mormon….”

To hold either view, one would have to ignore the thrust of Paul’s argument in Romans 13:1-7. Namely, that God is sovereign over even overtly pagan rulers and He has brought about their rule for our own protection and provision. Whether we like it or not, the one who is in “authority is a servant for your good.”

Ancient Roman reign brought about a terror and totalitarianism that modern American politics has little or no context for. For 250 years Americans haven’t known what is like to be occupied by a foreign nation, much less a nation that ruled according by the whims and fancies of psycho Caesars like Nero or Diocletian. The Roman Christians Paul wrote to were a generation away from being burnt at the stakes and ripped apart by lions for national sport.

And Paul says subject yourselves to…them?!

The overriding issue of the ancient Jews was that an alien Roman bully had conquered and enslaved God’s chosen nation of Israel. And yet the ministry of Jesus virtually ignores that great elephant altogether to focus on loving the scum of society and confronting the hypocrisy of religiolites.

Now.

We are fortunate to live in a First Amendment driven democratic government where free speech is largely valued. If re-elected, I can disagree (vehemently) with the president’s policies on abortion without fear of a Communist shakedown on my family and I. If elected, I can disagree (vehemently) with Romney’s religious leanings without fear of a Mormon Illuminati attack on my personal liberties.

Whomever is elected this year, I can continue to speak out against the infanticide of abortion and the cult of Mormonism in reference to our respective president at the time. Roman Christians of old and Chinese Christians of new could not even imagine such a sacred privilege being thrust upon them. The individual privilege of voting and speaking for or against chief governmental leaders keeps this American experiment ticking.  But with that privilege comes great responsibility. Not to necessarily cast our lots with right or left leaning ideologues, but to vote in a way that both laments and rejoices at such a right.

Yes, I say to both lament and rejoice as a way to honor our right to vote.

We should lament because our only choices on this side of eternity are between two flaw-filled sinful men. Men who will always over promise and under deliver. Men who will say every word and make every action according to a careful diabolical political theory. Men who may have the very best of intentions, yet will undoubtedly fail at bringing the soaring hope of peace and prosperity their rhetoric guarantees.

We should expect as much from, well, men.

Do vote. But vote with a hint of lament and longing gripping your soul.

And we may rightly rejoice as we vote too.

Rejoice that we have an eternal hope in the gospel of Christ Jesus. His is an eternal righteous reign with no end, not a term of four/eight lackluster years (Isaiah 9:7). We haven’t chosen Christ in an election of false promises, He has chosen us with the permanently sealed promise of his own Spirit and blood (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Many men have assumed the office of president. As a subject of another kingdom you must pray for the man who ends up holding that office, even moreso if he doesn’t pray to the one true God revealed in Scripture. And as a responsible and conscientious citizen of a free nation you should vote for the best flawed man available, whether or not he holds your biblical view of God.

But Jesus is the only King.

He is working out his rule and reign within the hearts of His true subjects here on earth (Luke 17:21). This paradoxical rule will not be denied no matter the election results. His Kingdom is here already. So Rejoice! His Kingdom is not here yet. So Lament! Voting may be a small way to honor His Kingdom. But the best way to advance it is by an unwavering commitment to the King’s final commission to us:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Bryan Daniels

Advertisements

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

54 thoughts on “Can’t Pray for A Secularist and Can’t Vote for A Mormon?”

  1. Appreciate your viewpoint here. When it comes to politics, it’s easy to feel hopeless. I know I sometimes do. But God calls us to greater–to pray when the situation is bleak. We must think much more as Christians about what we can do instead of focusing on what we can’t change at the moment. I pray that God would convict us for our lack of faith that prayer truly can change nations and that He has our ultimate good in mind regardless of what I see today.

    Thanks again! Always a joy to read your blog.

  2. Though I do not believe the president is a secularist or Muslim (I think he is Methodist- not that scary a group), I really agree with your perspective from a Christian faith perspective. It seems like every election season Christians become dualists abandoning their trust in sovereignty of God. I’m not saying it doesn’t matter who we vote for (not a fatalist either), but God can use either of these men. Good word.

    1. Absolutely. Also, he’s a Methodist now? I thought he was Baptist (no not Southern Baptist)? And even though I vehemently disagree with some of his policies (particularly abortion), I think we do well to acknowledge that he has convened more prayer meetings in his term than in any other term of presidency prior. Even if I think he’s mistaken, he is at least trying to do what he thinks his faith (which is Christian) requires. It’s too easy to vilify those with whom we disagree because it’s scary to think there might be more agreement than we would like to acknowledge. God can use either candidate (and ultimately will) regardless of who wins.

    2. Thanks Paul! While I’m aware of Obama’s church membership, I don’t think he is particularly religious in his public persona or policies. He seems to subscribe to a religious pluralism depending on the occasion…

  3. Good points. I know that prayer is happening, because the election is closer than anyone would have guessed a couple months ago. I will keep praying fervently and will be voting for the party who wants values to be a part of our country.

    1. don’t mean to butt in but I totally agree. I know that God is the one taking care of His people but I feel it is my duty as a Christian to vote for life and Israel as well.

  4. Welcome back – i look forward to your upcoming postings.

    My opinion? I agree with you. Most of the American Christian society fails to understand and accept the FACT our God is sovereign – even in government.

    And, furthering a complaint I have, why are so many American churches using II Chron. 7:14 as a plea and promise for OUR nation? The nation in this passage is Israel and Israel only, not a “claim” for America. And if I understand scripture correctly, a type of judgement is to start with the church – and it should, we’re becoming such a watered down bunch that we are rarely taught/reminded about sin, repentance, Christ and Him crucified.

    Ok, off my soapbox . . . and, I am voting as a responsible citizen of the United States of America on November 6th.
    cyndi
    http://advocateofhope.wordpress.com

  5. Great thoughts Chief and I particularly like this: “We should lament because our only choices on this side of eternity are between two flaw-filled sinful men…..We should expect as much from, well, men.” Certainly as a Christian man, I understand that men are fallible as am I. Neither is perfect now, in the past, or in the future. Regardless of who wins, we will still have a flawed government which is better than no government at all.

  6. Thanks for the post. I also believe that in all of that there is the challenge for the Christian and the Church to be prophetic (see Psalm 2) about the choices our governments and leaders are making. It might be unpopular but it is the right thing to do.

  7. Oh, you must have been reading my mind when you wrote this; I’ve been very confused and reading so many various points of view can really be confusing. Your seems quite balanced, Chief, and feels “right.” Thanks for this.. I really needed it. I think many Christians are confused about voting right now, and don’t know how they should vote.

  8. Thank you for this post. As a pastor I am always having to deal with people who say they refuse to vote for “holy” reasons. I believe that as Christians it is our obligation to make the best choices available, as the Holy Spirit directs us.

  9. Hi Bryan,
    Are you on Facebook? If yes, did you post this on Facebook? If yes, I want to share this article on my profile if OK with you. Need your FB URL or your email to find you. Yahweh’s grace & peace in Yeshua.

    1. I haven’t shared this on my facebook yet. Have you tried the share icon/widget at the bottom of the article above the comments? That should easily allow you to share it to your FB. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Good to see you posting again, Bryan. I’m kind of taking the same view. The only exception I take with your rationale is that the president is really our civil servant, not our ruler. It is true that he is commander in chief, that he is a leader, but in a Republic he is not our ruler (although he seems to think he is), and is supposed to be checked by other parts of the Federal Government (which isn’t working out so well anymore).

    1. Thanks Josh. That’s a good point. Certainly the Bible doesn’t have a direct context for democratic/authoritarian contrasts. I just think if believers were called to respect the position of ruthless pagan rulers in Paul’s day, our respect should at least be equal for the position our modern public servant leaders are in.

      1. That is true. The bible is not silent, however. The Jews were ruled by an educated elite (Pharisees/scribes), yet despite some sharp words, the apostles did everything they were commanded to do except deny the work of God. You are absolutely correct in pointing out that we must respect the government God has put into place…and Obama is a part of that government. I don’t respect him in the sense that there is anything admirable about him worthy of respect; I respect him the way you respect a wild animal or a firearm. He does need prayer, just as much or more than everyone else. It’s hard deal to come to terms with but it is commanded of us nonetheless.

  11. First I am so very happy to see you back posting Bryan. I pray your summer with the family was special with many blessings.
    I do have a question/comment for you regarding this.
    Even though our “type” of government is different than in the days of Paul, I can’t seem to accept that we as children of the One True God through Jesus Christ our Lord are supposed to try and change the government. I find no Biblical evidence of such. I remember a quote by Spurgeon “Of two evils choose neither.”
    I truly believe this election is dividing believers, it’s just another distraction from the enemy to keep the brethren from doing the Lord’s work in this tumultuous time we live in.
    Blessings to family
    Stephanie

    1. The Chief returns…

      the fact that the two main candidates of this election are not Christians should not dissuade Christians from voting. If Scripture commands you to obey the authorities God has placed over your why not pick the candidate’s whose views accord more with Scripture. I don’t think Spurgeon had voting in mind when he said: “When given a choice between the lesser of 2 evils, choose neither.” If you really think Spurgoen would idly sit back and advise taking no action while millions and millions of innocent lives are being ended I should think you have never truly read Spurgeon.

      “If I profess, with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battle-field besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point.”

        1. With all sincerity Bryan, I was actually asking a question, hoping for a Bible reference type of response from you. And I do see believers at one another over who to vote for. I did not say I wasn’t voting, because I am.
          I am completely “blasted” as you said by weakling’s final statement to me. I not taking flight— I am on my knees.
          I am sorry if my words were misunderstood. I believe we have ONE commandment from Our Lord and Savior (which sum up all the OT commandments). I am to love the Lord my God with all my heart and to love others as Christ loves me, which means speaking the Gospel of salvation…
          Still great to see you back.
          Stephanie

          1. So Sorry! My response to “weakling” was more of an inside joke between us (I know him personally) not a sleight to you. I’ll consider your question and maybe devote a blog post to it (if I can muster up the mental capital to do so). Thank you for your gracious tone. Peace and grace to you and yours!

  12. Interesting post. Glad that you take the position that Christians are to vote, realizing the choices we are given are ordained by a Sovereign God. I was among the first Early Voters in my state today. But some Christians are telling me they will not vote in this election, which they consider a biblical position. Others say they will vote based solely on whether the candidate is pro-life as though abortion were the only issue that matters. I’d like to remind us all that Jesus had a lot to say about how we treat the poor, the widow, the orphan.

  13. Chief, that was fabulously put. I will be sharing this with others to pass on both the grief and the hope.

    As for my vote … it is my hope that enough folks will vote Libertarian to force a 3rd party in future. I don’t really believe there is any difference (in practical policy) between the Republicans and the Democrats any longer. It’s time for real change. Since Ron Paul couldn’t run, I’m casing my lot in for Gary Johnson.

    http://blog.nj.com/njv_paul_mulshine/2012/09/gary_johnson_a_potential_spoil.html

    God bless!

  14. You are missing the point. Scripture calls us to subject to our leaders, but it doesn’t say we have to vote for 1 of the 2. Pray about it and if God calls you to vote Mormon, so be it… but I don’t think He would. We are called to vote and desire God fearing men in positions of leadership. We don’t have to vote the 2 party system simply because you believe we do. There are other options… and since God is sovereign, He will have His leader despite who we vote for… but He is looking for obedience in our vote… not the best of 2 evils.

      1. I don’t like a two party system any more than anyone else; but a Reformed Baptist isn’t running and neither is Reagan. Your REALISTIC choice is between two men. These are fallen policy makers, not God fearing pastors.

    1. AMEN!! Thank you Mark for this comment. You put into words much better than I, what my comment should have said. There are other options, as you say, besides the 2 parties…

  15. “His Kingdom is here already. So Rejoice! His Kingdom is not here yet. So Lament!”
    I think that statement alone says a lot about voting/politics, etc. Vote because we have the freedom to do so, but our hope is not in our government. This is a fleeting world and it will unfold as God has already planned.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s