ChurchETHOS

Election 2008 and Predestination

Posted in christian thought, politics by Nathan Creitz on November 3, 2008

Things to keep in mind as we approach the voting booth tomorrow.

The definition of predestination according to the Westminster Confession of Faith is that, “[God] freely and unchangeably ordained whatsoever comes to pass.” God is in control. God is sovereign. We can trust that no matter what happens tomorrow God is our ultimate source of hope. He is the true cause of life and liberty. No government grants that to us…we can’t vote that into office. God is the source of all life and He wants us to have it in abundance.

Having said that, we live in a nation where we get to choose. This choice doesn’t negate God’s sovereignty, this choice is a part of God’s sovereignty. Only God in His sovereignty can maintain complete control when idiots like us head to the voting booth. God has allowed us freedom to choose and we get to exercise that freedom in electing a new president tomorrow. The person we choose will not surprise God and cause him to have to do damage control. Instead, our next president will be precisely the person God has chosen for our country.

What we can’t know in our limited human understanding is what goes into God’s choice for president? We do know some things from Scripture that inform our thinking, but they give us no hard and fast answer on who God wants in the office.

Here are a few things God has promised us in the Bible that might inform how we vote:

God Bless America?
Psalm 33:12 “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.”

Will the candidate I vote for acknowledge God as the Lord? Will he try to govern justly? Will he adhere to Biblical principles and be concerned with deeming others as more important than himself? Will he look out for widows and orphans? Will life from conception to death be of importance to our new president? Will alleviating poverty be at the top of his agenda? Will he desire God’s blessings on all nations and not just the one we happen to have been born in, not allowing our “American Dream” to come at the expense of other struggling nations? The list could go on, but ultimately will he acknowledge God as the Lord and seek to align his policies with the will of God? These are the questions that will help us determine who we should vote for on election day.

Patriotism or Priesthood?
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

As we vote, we need to keep everything in perspective – that God demands a loyalty from His children that goes beyond party loyalty. We aren’t Democrats or Republicans, we are Christ followers. This world is not our home and therefore, we can’t be swept away by party loyalty or even extreme patriotism when there are millions of people suffering around the world due to our country’s greed and selfishness. I am patriotic but I am also part of the priesthood that has been called to “proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Casting a vote is patriotic and I believe it should be done carefully after much prayer by responsible Christians. But sharing hope and love and the story of God with your neighbor is something we should be doing no matter what. That is a higher and more important calling.

Presidential Predestination
Romans 11:33-36 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor? Or who has ever first given to Him, and has to be repaid? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” 

Can any of us determine who God has predestined to be our President? I know who I am voting for and I’m voting for him based on Biblical values. I’ve spent much time in prayer for our country, for our world, and for our current and future leaders. I pray for them by name. I have thought long and hard and consulted other wise men and women of God for their thoughts on the issue. But at the end of the day, we don’t know God’s plan. God can certainly intervene supernaturally and change the course of history. Do we deserve blessing? Do we deserve a curse? Will the next president lead us further down economically, militarily, and morally? If so, could it be that God allowed that to happen so that we can turn to him yet again to bring healing to our nation? On the other hand, might our next president lead us into economic prosperity? Which would be better for our country spiritually speaking? Who can know the mind of the Lord?

What About Abortion?
Deuteronomy 30:19 “I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live.”

Should Christians vote based on one issue? Should this verse be used to demand pro-life legislation? The answer to both questions is “No” but I don’t think the issue of abortion needs to be abandoned as a hopeless cause either. We should consider the entire panoply of issues that face the American public on election day, but there is no greater injustice in our society than the refusal to grant rights to the unborn. I personally don’t believe that all abortion should be outlawed. In cases when giving birth will cause harm to the mother (6% of abortions) abortion is one option that should not be totally disregarded. But how can we be a blessed nation by God when 93% of abortions in America are done for convenience? If we don’t get this issue right, how can we ask (and even demand) God’s blessings? There are about 4,000 abortions performed every day in America. We need to be concerned about poverty and crime and the environment but there are close to 4,000 children who are unborn every day who will never even get a chance to experience life. Why is it such a bad thing to value this issue higher than other issues? Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is helpful to think that people first need physiological needs met (food, clothing, shelter) and from there they move on to more sociological and emotional needs. However, we seem to forget that the Hierarchy of Needs is predicated on life. I want every man, woman, and child to have the basic essentials of food, clothing, and shelter, but even more important is that they are alive to enjoy them. 

As Christians we must evaluate each candidate and determine his stance on the issues that are important, not to our country, but to God. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority.” Our prayer should be that God would guide our country and would bring us back to Him. Not that we would become a Christian nation, but that we would desire to do His will and allow other nations to be blessed through us. We have a responsibility to cast a vote…it’s a choice between two men. Our choice will not hinder the sovereignty of God and He will maintain control over His universe. God is sovereign and sometimes we don’t fully know His will or His plan but in our freewill I hope we will choose a president based on our values and on Biblical principles.

What about you? What Biblical principles inform your decision to vote or not to vote?

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