This is a paper from my Theology class with Liberty University. To my advantage election season made for a great subject to talk about. I hope you enjoy. (Side note I scored a 98% grade on the paper. Only points taken off was from a few grammar details. This was my first semester back to college in a while and I very pleased to score a 98%).
Reflection Paper 2
Election season in the United States of America brings up many theological standpoints from a variety of Christians. Two of those subject matters are the questions of if God chooses our President and who is the Godly candidate? The battle between predestination and free will has plagued the church with the argument if our paths are chosen or if we choose our own destination. Our country is split between a broken two party system and leaves many Christians in a dilemma of “choosing the lesser evil” or go against the grain and vote for a third party candidate, but ignore the feeling that the vote is wasted.
II. Part One: Does God Choose Our President?
a. Theological Definition.
God does choose authority and He doesn’t at the same time. To understand this line of thought we have to define authority and the sovereignty of God. Authority can be a number of things, which include government, parents, pastors, teachers and laws. There is the system of authority and the people of authority. In the United States of America the system of authority is democracy. The people choose the laws for which the citizens are to obey. Once the system of authority is in place there are people who are in charge of keeping the citizens accountable to the system. Presidents, governors, mayors and law enforcement keep the people accountable and the people vote the respected positions into office.
b. Biblical Foundation.
The sovereignty of God is among the first pieces of the argument of if God chooses our President. Romans 13:1-2 “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Clearly the Bible says that God chooses the authorities in place. But if that is the case, what is the point of voting? In the Old Testament God provided the Law, which was part of His plan to help the possibility to have relationship with Him. Man was created in the image of God. We have a built in desire to seek after Him (whether we know it or not). God knows what is best for man and sets authority to give the opportunity to know Him more. God’s will is for us to have relationship with Him and a way He has chosen for us to draw closer to Him is by the authorities He has placed in our lives.
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” – Ephesians 1:11. “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” – Philippians 2:13. God set up a plan which was to design authority so we could have the choice to have a relationship with Him or go about our evil fleshly desire only to suffer the consequences of our actions. If we follow His plan we will have a fruitful life. God designed the earth and knows the best way for the world to function. That is what is predestined. God does not control our actions. Therefore God does not cast our vote. We choose our President. It is our responsibility to choose the President that fits into His plan.
b. Practical Application.
Lets say that we are on a cruise ship and the destination is the Caribbean. We partake of the activities, dance, eat the food and play games. While we are choosing the activities the destination never changes. The destination is the reunion in Heaven with our Maker. The choices we make in life such as electing our President will make a rough ride at sea or smooth sailing. Bad decisions can lead a hard life, but wise choices can lead to the destination safer and fulfilled life. God has hardwired our decision making process into us. We have to obey His voice of guidance.
III. Part Two: Who is the Godly Candidate?
a. Theological Definition.
The United States of America is set up as a democracy and elects it’s officials. For quite some time now the nation has been split into two major parties, which are the republican and democrat parties. Christians like to say that their vote is the Biblical way to vote. Then how is it that for the most part the nation is evenly divided? How can both candidates be equally as biblical? The answer lies a bit deeper. The answer is whoever matches up with the characteristics of God’s Son. Jesus lived among government and was challenged of how to handle political issues. Jesus encouraged obeying the authorities. Jesus is the model of which we should line up values next to the respective candidate. Jesus was God in the flesh and Jesus did only what the Father wanted Him to do. So if we are to vote for Godly values, we need to look at the person of Jesus.
b. Biblical Foundation.
Jesus was challenged by the people of His day on a number of occasions and one of the events was when Jesus was asked about taxes. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. And they were amazed at him.” – Mark 2:17. Jesus knew of how to submit to authority despite who was in charge. Matthew chapter five lists many Godly attributes that would reflect the heart of God. The 2012 Election had President Obama and Governor Romney running for President. Many evangelicals aligned Romney with the biblical vote. To my assumption many people align biblical traits with the Republican Party. The danger with that mindset is the focus is filtered through the lens of politics and not the lens of our faith.
c. Practical Application.
Casting votes through the filter of the lens of our politics is not the biblical way to vote. Just because a Christian politician claims the Republican Party or the Democrat Party does not mean that it is the biblical vote. First step is to pray and seek God’s voice for Him to reveal to you the candidate that is the biblical vote. One might be surprised that a third party candidate might be the biblical vote. Seek out your own heart of the motive behind your vote. Is it because you hate the current President, so you want to vote him out? Is your candidate making decisions based from love or hate? Other factors to consider would be is if the candidate’s track record matches biblical values? Research what biblical values are. Andy Stanley once said, “If Christians want to have biblical values in our politics, we have to look at politics through the lens of our faith.” He also said, “We need to raise up more Nehemiah’s.” Nehemiah is a great example of a Godly leader to whom we can model a bible character.
Election season sparks up many discussions about our theology, beliefs and doctrines in the Christian community. Opinions knock heads and people get deleted from Facebook over our differences. God placed authority to be of help and not to destroy. Authority is a method God uses to draw Himself to His creation. The United States of America has chosen to be a democracy and claim to be a Christian nation. Andy Stanley said, “Whether we are a Christian nation or not, there are a lot of Christians in this nation. If just the Christians would take care of their part, we would see a difference in the nation.”