Elections Have Consequences

The phrase “elections have consequences” has been bandied about on the media and in political dialogues more robustly over the past couple of years or so. It typically means whatever the person dropping it wants it to mean. For the conservatives its means that Trump is out, and the progressive left agenda now pervades. For the left, it means women will be forced to back-alley abortions and black people will be forced into Jim Crowe all over again by the racist-misogynistic Republicans. The term has become a political football launched by whoever controls the narrative. For the Christian, it means something so much more.

True Christianity accepts the total and universal sovereignty of God: “this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most-High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will” (Daniel 4:24-25).[1] For many, this is difficult to comprehend, especially in light of theodicy, but that is a topic for another article. The Bible is very clear that God, not man, is truly sovereign over creation (Exodus 3:14), election (Roman 9:6-13), and destruction (Psalm 39:4). Therefore, our liberty, freedom, and sovereignty in national elections are never far from, and overriding of, God’s divine will and purpose. Where elections go – God ordains. Therefore, the consequence of each election process is the working of the Almighty in the hands of His creation: the people and leadership of the nations.

Today the United States of America is infected with a political theology:

A theological method of contextualization* that relates religion to the political situation of the society in which it exists. While it may recognize the importance of a personal reception of grace and a personal relationship with God, it refuses to see the great themes of the gospel solely or chiefly in terms of individual salvation. It holds that those themes—peace, justice, reconciliation, freedom, etc.—must be seen in a social setting.[2]

It permeates the halls of congress, saturates our discussions, and points to the glorification of humanity in its pursuit of perfection. This is a perfection that God-fearing Christians know humanity is incapable of. This ideology birthed the belief of “civil religion” in the mid-eighteen century:

French Enlightenment philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau first coined the term “civil religion” in his Social Contract (1762). Rousseau criticized traditional religion for advancing dogmas that he believed led to ignorance, intolerance, and arbitrary limits on personal liberty. He did not advocate abandoning religion, though. Instead, Rousseau proposed that a civil religion—grounded in a minimal set of “positive dogmas,” such as freedom and liberty—could unify society and provide it with a moral grounding.[3]

Civil religion took root in Europe and fueled multiple revolutions that resulted in the needless deaths of thousands. It was under the guise of civil religion that many in American evangelicalism took on this cloak of morality to establish theocratic rule in the early settlements of New England.

America’s civil religion originated from both Puritan and Enlightenment sources. In “A Model of Christian Charity” (1630), John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, imagined that Puritans shared a special covenant with God. He pledged to protect this covenant by enforcing biblical codes of belief and behavior, making the community a “city upon a hill” for the entire world to emulate. In coming generations, American civil religion would absorb Winthrop’s sentiments of national destiny and divine purpose. Winthrop’s words themselves have often been recited. In 1989, President Ronald Reagan referenced the “shining city upon a hill” during his farewell address to the nation.[4]

Although some good has been accomplished under the banner of civil religion, it has now been hijacked by the progressive left and political theologians of liberalism now use it to establish a secular theocracy in the White House and Congress, all backed by the secular dogmas of Supreme Court edicts. There can be no promising end to this without the hand of God. That hand is in our sovereign duty to vote when the time arises. Today happens to be one of those days.

The beginning of the twenty-first century has spawned some of the greatest attacks of the Christian community this country has ever seen. The Obama administration was hostile toward communities of faith and Biden seems to agree. We, as members of the Christian politic, owe it to our families, communities, and loved ones to avail ourselves of the voting process and cast our ballots where good theology permits. Christians vote their conscience, based on sound biblical doctrine, not popularity contests. We do not cast votes for who has the highest probability to win but who is the best candidate to protect religious freedom. That freedom affords us the ability to spread the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations.

Elections do have consequences, but those consequences are not outside of the reach of God’s sovereignty. All Christians living in America should be grateful and honored to live in such a free country as this. In due course of this appreciation is the responsibility and duty to vote in as many elections as one can. Today is a primary election, and these elections matter. Take the time today to give thanks to God for your ability to vote and do so!

For an Election:

Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide and direct, we humbly pray, the minds of all those who are called to elect fit persons to serve in political leadership. Grant that in the exercise of our choice we may promote your glory, and the welfare of this nation. This we ask for the sake of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Footnotes:

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Da 4:24–25.

[2] Alan Cairns, Dictionary of Theological Terms (Belfast; Greenville, SC: Ambassador Emerald International, 2002), 332.

[3] Arthur Remillard, “Civil Religion: History, Beliefs, Practices,” in Handbook of Religion: A Christian Engagement with Traditions, Teachings, and Practices, ed. Terry C. Muck, Harold A. Netland, and Gerald R. McDermott (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 643.

[4] Arthur Remillard, “Civil Religion: History, Beliefs, Practices,” in Handbook of Religion: A Christian Engagement with Traditions, Teachings, and Practices, ed. Terry C. Muck, Harold A. Netland, and Gerald R. McDermott (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 643–644.

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