In this Journal I would like to address the upcoming election in the United States taking place on November 3, 2020. The question of primary importance is, To whom or what does my utmost allegiance belong? For the Christian, the answer is simple. Our heavenly citizenship came before our earthly citizenship; God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4). Therefore we are first and foremost accountable to our heavenly King! Yet as a citizen of heavenly and earthly kingdoms, my heart is in pain as I reflect on the present situation in our country. I ask, What would our Lord do?
America… the land of the free and home of the brave, whose founding fathers were Christian leaders, where the Bible was its founding document and its establishment was covered with prayer. From 1800 to 1868 the Capitol building was used as a church sanctuary, at one time hosting the largest “megachurch” in America with 2,000 worshippers. (Thomas Jefferson, when president, even asked the Marine Corps band to accompany the congregation!) This country’s foundational building blocks were God and the Bible—truly one nation under God. It is no coincidence that 29 of the 56 signers of our Constitution had seminary or Bible degrees. The first English Bible printed in this country was commissioned by Congress for use in public schools and was recommended to the Cabinet. There is no doubt we were founded as a Christian nation.1
Americans believe so strongly in their founding ideals that many thousands of our service men and women have given their lives for the preservation of our liberty and freedom and for the liberation and freedom of others in faraway lands.2 Our nation has sent out innumerable missionaries around the world and supported them with probably billions of dollars, along with much prayer.3 Americans have founded more Christian ministries, and sent more relief monies and helps in times of calamity, than any other nation. The United States is a pioneer and model of the democratic governmental system, having a constitution based on a fixed standard of law and justice where the will of its citizens is supreme.4
We face an upcoming election that will be pivotal in determining the future moral direction of our nation. Primarily, we are citizens of a heavenly kingdom. Secondarily, as citizens of the United States, we cannot be silent! We must represent Christ as Lord and advocate for biblical truth by getting involved in our communities (in whatever way we choose), by voting, and by praying. Throughout history God has supernaturally intervened in the affairs of human governments—Pharaoh in Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar in Babylon, Herod in Judea, and many others.5 While it is true that He “removes kings and raises up kings” (Dan. 2:21), in the United States this is achieved through the democratic process. Yet in the 2016 election 39% of evangelicals did not vote!6
So what would Jesus do in twenty-first century America? He taught His disciples that they were in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-18), but Scripture also commands Christians to be subject to the governing authorities (Rom. 13:1-5), to pray for all those in authority (1 Tim. 2:1-2), and to follow the law where it does not conflict with expressed biblical standards (1 Pet. 2:13-17). In doing so, we should never compromise our heavenly citizenship for our earthly citizenship. Down through the centuries, thousands of martyrs have refused to compromise their heavenly citizenship and paid the price with their lives. We in America are not at that stage (yet), but the principle of fidelity to God over Caesar remains as true today as ever.
If Jesus paid taxes (Matt. 17:25-27, 22:17-22), would He not vote? He did not show partiality toward any political party of His day—whether Zealots, Pharisees, Sadducees, or Herodians—for the sake of acceptance; he dealt with each on the basis of truth and righteousness. Would He privilege any minority group over biblical truth? Would He endorse homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle in order to be viewed as non-judgmental and inclusive? Would He vote for any politician who approved of legalized abortion—which has killed 60 million babies in the United States alone—to curry favor with those who demand absolute personal autonomy?7 Would He dismiss or ignore the just (though imperfect) system of laws embodied in our Constitution, which is predicated on a biblical worldview, for the sake of expediency?
Would He compromise truth to be accepted by the multitudes and by religious or political leaders? Would He who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), seek the accolades of those who are diametrically opposed to His standard of righteousness? Would He not vote for those who uphold godly values rather than simply voting along party lines? Would He make any class distinctions in His decision-making? Would He cheapen the rights of those who are legal citizens by giving those rights to those who have broken the law and are here illegally? Would He spurn any socioeconomic class—rich or poor—that might be an object of contempt by the masses? Even His enemies proclaimed that He was truthful and taught the way of God (Matt. 22:16).
Some issues allow for differing opinions among Christians. In the above remarks we are not suggesting Christians should hold out for the “perfect” candidate who has all the “right” positions on issues we care about. However, on moral issues we must take our stand, especially the ones addressed in Scripture. To reject clear biblical teaching on these issues is to invite God’s judgment.
God is calling His Church to be salt, to preserve. If salt has lost its saltiness, its potency, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out (Matt. 5:13). We are to be light in our world—not hidden under a basket, but put on a lampstand that the world “may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16; cf. Phil. 2:15-16a). We are to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). We will be held accountable to God for our witness—whether we are giving preeminent honor to God, to a political party, or to some other entity.
Jesus came to fulfill the will of His Father, to speak the words of His Father, and to do the works of His Father (John 14:10,24, 6:57). Did He refuse to represent His Father without compromise, for fear of being unpopular? The Gospels give us a clear answer: NO! Despite the repercussions, He maintained as primary His intimate relationship with His Father and upheld God’s standard of truth. The Cross is the ultimate example of this! As followers of Christ, we are to do the same.
We will not Christianize a nation through human governance. But until Christ’s return we are to represent Him as citizens of the kingdom of God. We are foreigners and strangers in this world, looking for a better country (Heb. 11:13-16). At the same time, as citizens of this country, we cannot sit idly by while our nation descends further into lawlessness and immorality, a trend which is demonically inspired. Jesus did not ask His Father to take His disciples out of the world, but to keep (protect) them from the evil one (John 17:15).
As those who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9), we owe our allegiance first to Christ as Lord whose kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). Christians engaged in politics at any level need to represent biblical standards and debate issues within the boundaries of those standards. Christ calls us to love those of a differing political party or ideology without compromising truth (Matt. 5:44).
We are pilgrims and resident aliens in this world (John 17:14,16; 1 Pet. 2:11). Jesus promised that the world would hate His own (John 15:19), so we should not be surprised at opposition, including imprisonment and even death (Mark 13:9-13). Indeed, we are blessed when others revile and persecute us for Christ’s sake (Luke 6:22). This is a daily reality for our brothers and sisters around the world,8 but hostility toward Christians is increasing in our own country as well.9
Until our transfer to our heavenly home, let us not compromise truth for the sake of expediency. Let us be truth-tellers and uphold the biblical standard of righteousness that is pleasing to Christ. Let us humble ourselves and pray earnestly for God’s will to be accomplished in this election. As a nation, we have wandered far from our Christian roots. May each of us engage in much prayer for the spiritual and political leaders of our nation. Let us sincerely fast and pray that we would return to God.
Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
Lord, you are the Lord of all nations. You set up rulers and you take them down. We thank you for the innumerable blessings you have given us. We ask you to intervene in our country. We are at a crossroads with potentially catastrophic consequences. Cast down the wicked and raise up the righteous! Forgive us for our sinful ways, for our rejection and compromise of truth, for our failure to protect the moral and spiritual foundations you have given us as a nation, and for adding the worship of Baal with its sinful practices into our religious exercises (Judges 3:7; 1 Kings 16:31-33). We ask you to stir up the righteous to not neglect their primary responsibility to You to be salt and light in our nation. Raise up truth and righteousness without compromise by the power of the Holy Spirit. Protect the ballots, that each one will be the honest ballot of one person. Lord, hear our prayer and guide us as we vote in the 2020 election!
Soli Deo Gloria,
Reuben & Carmen Sequeira