“Elections have consequences,” said former POTUS, Barak Obama, shortly after his victory in the 2008 election. Indeed he was right. Elections do have consequences. And the more divided our nation becomes; the greater those consequences prove to be. God ultimately rules over all things, not the least of which is the affairs of nations (Daniel 2:20-21). But He has wisely chosen to use the choices of His moral agents to accomplish His foreordained purposes. Here in the United States, we have the awesome privilege and responsibility of choosing our leaders, and therefore, as we argued in our last post, it is not a question of whether or not a Christian should vote; it is a moral obligation. We must vote. But having established this fact is not enough. Not just any vote will do; we must cast the right vote.
Deciding how to vote can feel overwhelming; especially in this media-saturated age that offers a constant bombardment of advertisement, political spin, and even fake news. If you were hoping this article would tell you which candidates to choose or which propositions to support, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. The beauty of our republican democracy is that your vote is just that–yours. It’s your choice to make and your voice that is to be heard. Even if I were inclined to tell you specifically how you should cast your vote, in the end it would be unhelpful. As some sage once noted, you can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or you can teach him how to fish and feed him for a lifetime.
My goal in this article is not to spoon-feed, but to help you think through the process of making the right choice when you step into the ballot box. Toward that end, allow me to offer two basic principles concerning how a Christian should vote.
“The goal in this article is not to spoon-feed, but to help us think through the process of making the right choice when we step into the ballot box.
In this relativistic culture, the motivations behind a person’s vote are varied. Many cast their vote for the candidate or proposition that promises to do things that will benefit them personally. Some vote for the candidate they simply like best. Still others vote strictly along party lines.
It would be interesting to know just how many Americans vote according to conviction.
Al Mohler says that “convictions are not merely beliefs we hold; they are those beliefs that hold us in their grip.” As Christians, we need to know what our convictions are, and we need to be constantly deepening them and thinking critically about how they come to bear upon the issues we face in our culture. The most important convictional issue on the ballot in every election since 1973, and especially in the current election, is abortion. Christians rightly understand life to begin at conception (Psalm 139:13-16), and therefore we must oppose any candidate or legislation that would seek to uphold or further the pro-abortion (“pro-choice”) agenda, and cast our vote for the candidate who holds the firmest pro-life position.
While abortion is the most obvious example of a convictional issue, there are few matters on any ballot that are not moral in nature, and therefore demand critical application of our convictions. The LGBTQ agenda, social justice, and even economic and environmental issues all have moral import that must be carefully weighed against biblically-based conviction.
It almost goes without saying that, in order to vote according to conviction, the Christian must be informed.
First and foremost, we must crystalize our convictions. In other words, we must know what our convictions are. Some convictions are self-evident to us; these are the beliefs that have an obvious grip on us. They are part of the fabric of who we are. But there are some convictions that need to be developed. Just as heresy forced the early church to carefully consider and clarify certain doctrines, so the ideas that are propagated in our culture must drive us to formulate our convictions about the issues impacted by our vote. It is beyond the scope of this article to evaluate every issue, but it is not beyond the responsibility of each individual Christian to do so.
One thing is for certain: whatever our convictions, they must be biblical. We must search the Scriptures, saturate the issues in prayer, and seek wise counsel from those who are further along than us in these areas.
Once we have formulated our convictions, we must inform ourselves about the positions of the candidates running for office, as well as the propositions on the ballot. We must listen to the candidates, watch the debates, and visit the official websites of their campaigns, as well as those of the various propositions that must be decided.
It is also very helpful to consult a voter guide which presents the positions of candidates and propositions clearly. As you research candidates and propositions, note carefully who endorses them. Oftentimes when the candidates’ positions seem similar or the proposition is confusing, these endorsements will be an indicator of which choice is the right one. This process takes time, but it is not only helpful, it is imperative. To put it bluntly, it is irresponsible and even dangerous to go into the ballot box uninformed.
If you know what your convictions are, you know that they are firmly rooted in the word of God, you know what issues are on the ballot, and you know where the candidates stand; you will ready to enter the ballot box with certainty.
May God give you zeal, wisdom, and confidence as you cast your vote.
“Just as heresy forced the early church to carefully consider and clarify certain doctrines, so the ideas that are propagated in our culture must drive us to formulate biblical convictions about the issues impacted by our vote.