May 18, 2012

Facing the Next Election as a Christian

Considering all the talk about presidential candidates and future elections, this post is fitting for any concerned citizen to consider.

Facing the Next Election as a Christian 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian writer who won the Nobel prize of literature in 1970, on one occasion announced these words: "More than 50 years ago, when I was a child, I remember having heard many older people offer the following explanation for the great disaster that had fallen upon Russia: 'Men have forgotten God; and that is why all these things have happened.' Since then I have dedicated a little less than 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and contributed up to eight of my own volumes in the effort to clear the ashes left from the catastrophe. But if you asked me today to give the most precise formulation possible for the main cause of this ruinous revolution which has devoured more than 60 million of our own people, I could not express it more precisely than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; and that is why all these things have happened.'" (J. S. Feinberg & P. D. Feinberg; Ethics for a Brave New World; chapt. 14)

Solzhenitsyn saw a direct relationship between the established politic of the Soviet Union as a root of the revolution's Bolshevik triumph, with all the consequences the revolution brought with it, and the atheism which sustained the ideology of those who promoted it.

Ideas have consequences. How you think will determine how you live, the decisions you take, the things you value; it will determine the course of your life. That’s why Solomon said in Proverbs 23:7 that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. We have all spent years acquiring, consciously and unconsciously, a collection of ideas that we assume are good and valid; and it is this collection of presuppositions which form our "worldview", the view we hold of the world and the point of reference we use to interpret data from the world surrounding us. Even though not everyone is crucially conscious of it, everyone has a point of reference formed by their most basic beliefs, and which influences every area of their lives, including their perspectives on politics.

That is why we insist on the fact that Christianity is much more than a message about the salvation of sinners through the person and redemptive work of Christ; Christianity provides an adequate point of reference for interpreting things as they are and for interacting with them consequently.

Christians behave in a distinct way from those who are not Christian because they have a different worldview, another perspective on things; and that distinct Christian perspective must govern us during the next election day when we go to exercise our right to vote.

It is lamentable that many Christians relate their Christianity only to that which fits within the “spiritual life” compartment. They behave like Christians when they go to church, when they meet with family for times of devotion, or when they read the Scriptures in private. But when they involve themselves in business activities, when they are having fun or when they go to the polls to vote for a candidate, they do so as any other unbeliever would do. These people suffer from a very common illness: lack of integrity.

The word “integrity” comes from the Latin “integritas” which means “quality of the whole, entire, soundness, to be complete”. A person with integrity does not divide their life into compartments: “I act like a saint, as a Christian, in this area over here and in that other area over there, but everywhere else I act like a pagan.” No. The man of integrity is the same wherever he goes, he is not double-minded. The very principle that guides his relationship with God and his spiritual life is the very same principle that guides him when it is time to choose a candidate.

In the next article, I would like to focus on the profile the Lord gives us in His Word for a good governor. However I do want to say beforehand that I do not intend to tell you which of the current presidential candidates you should vote for. If you begin to read between the lines you might seem to find indications here and there that reveal the “hidden message” that we supposedly would like to get across in this article; but there really is no hidden message to unveil. What we want to say is what we are going to say and no more.

We are expounding this theme because we have the scriptural conviction that we should teach the church the whole counsel of God, in such a way that Christians learn to act as Christians in every area of life. God has left us an abundance of information in His Word about governors and governments. Our duty as pastors is to pass on to you that information so that each one of you can exercise your right to vote in this next election with an informed conscience.

© by Sugel Michelén. Originally published in the author’s blog Todo Pensamiento Cautivo, as El Cristiano frente a las próximas elecciones. Translated into English with permission by Penn Tomassetti. You can reproduce and distribute this material, as long as it is without charge, without altering its content, and with recognition of its author and origin.

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