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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Should I, as a Christian, vote for a Mormon?

A message to Christians who may be wondering if a Christian should vote for a Mormon for President:
(This post was partially developed from notes I took from a Bible teacher's lecture)

First, let me be clear about this. I am not going to tell you who you should vote for in this 2012 presidential election.  I will tell you that many of my fellow believers in Christ are considering voting for the Mormon candidate but struggle with his Mormon faith. Therefore, what I am going to do is provide some scriptural basis as you consider this important decision.

And yes, it is an important decision. By this I mean that we, as followers of Christ, must realize our authority does not lie within the principles of this world, but upon Christ and His Word. As American citizens, we are given the privilege of participating in the choice of leadership in our country. As such, we are then given a voice, although somewhat limited, in what kind of laws govern our land and our individual lives. So, yes, our vote matters, and it is important that we have scriptural basis to back up the choices we make.

We must first examine what scripture tells us about the purpose of government. Paul, in his letter to the Roman addressed this issue. (It is probably best to quote the entire first six verses in order to gain a thorough over-view).

“Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. Wherefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them; tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”   (Romans 13:1-6)

Peter, in his first epistle, wrote this:

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right.” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

There is a two-fold purpose of government:

1) To uphold what is morally good and right and to praise those who practice righteous behavior.

2) To denounce and restrain what is morally evil and wicked, to act as God’s civil avenger to punish and bring wrath upon wrongdoers, and to protect citizens from them.

Take note in the verses from Romans that God is the One who establishes the authority of government. And it (government) is a minister and servant of God. Yes, you read that correctly. Government is God’s minister. These ministers are given the purposes stated above.

But there is something strangely missing from these verses.

As God’s minister, government does not have to be overtly “Christian” in order to function in a manner consistent with the biblical purposes of government. Paul wrote his words during the rule of Rome which was far from being “Christian” in its governing principles. Then Peter, most likely, wrote his words under the ruler-ship of Nero. Need I expound on Nero’s leadership? Many believers in Christ were martyred under his rule. So Paul and Peter both are not emphasizing or making a case for “Christian” government. They realize this will never be the case. There never has been nor ever will be a “Christian” rule of government (this side of Christ’s return). Various Emperors and Kings tried, but failed, to do this.  Their efforts were erroneous because Christianity is a matter of the individual heart.  The above scriptures do, however, state the necessity for government to be the servant of morality.

Here is my point. God’s primary criteria in government and its officials is the issue of morality. Believers should seek to honor God in their civic duties by upholding the biblical moral principles of government. Our job, as followers of Christ, and those who uphold the authority of scripture, and not the basic principles of this world, is to do what we can to insure our governing authorities uphold these Biblical principles of morality. As Christians, we do not decide for ourselves what is right and wrong. We examine the authority of scripture for the basis of moral issues. Therefore, it is imperative that we examine closely the platform of those wishing to lead our country and compare that platform to the moral principles of scripture.  Many of these biblical principles of morality are being challenged by those who do not hold to scriptural authority. The biblical definition of marriage is one such issue. There are many others.

Regardless of what a candidate says about his religious preference, my basic position is that we, as Christians must vote for those individuals who uphold the basic biblical principles of morality. One might claim that he is a Christian and not uphold biblical principles of morality, while another may identify himself in another way but uphold these biblical principles. We must do all we can to insure these principles become the law of the land because we then become subject to these laws.
This being said, I realize some may not be able to vote for a non-Christian in good conscience because they cannot do so from faith. Paul says this in Romans 14:22: “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.” In other words, do not go against your conscience when deciding various matters. Regardless of our freedom in Christ, we can be self-condemning by going against our God-given conscience.

If you are a Christian, please share this.

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