Some thoughts to ponder for Christians in America as polling shows evangelicals are increasingly the most likely group in America to excuse bad behavior.
I dissent. EE makes some good points and I can agree with him on some of those points. As a Christian brother, and as a human being made in the image of God, I want to listen and truly hear him. It would be enjoyable to sit with him and go through this and do some "iron sharpening."
Should we vote at all? Ted's observation is spot on. The argument EE is using is very easy to manipulate. You can extend it in the direction of never voting at all! Why vote brother? Don't you trust God? And you could extend it the other way... cast a vote in every race! Even if you think it's nothing but evil choices, God will sort it out, God will use the wicked to his end. Now, I know EE is not arguing that, just pointing it out.
So, he doesn't mean "don't vote" and he doesn't mean "vote for everything." He says don't vote to send sinners to government. Okay. Then he comes around later to the obvious point that everyone is a sinner. So, where is his line? He is making the argument that there is a line we shouldn't cross, but he gives no indication of where that line is or how we should know it. It's part of, if not entirely, his main point: "don't send sinners to gov." Okay. Who are they? Where is this line? If everyone has to judge that line individually, I think I'd probably agree, but he's not saying. He is jumping the whole chasm of how to discern who is a worthy sinner and who is not.
It's really bugging me that people are trying to psychologically manipulate me. I do not believe that EE intends this, at all, but it's right there. He is making a very emotional appeal. There is a clear bit of manipulation...
YOU ARE FALLING SHORT, YOU ARE GOING TO BE JUDGED, YOU ARE HURTING YOUR WITNESS, YOU ARE HURTING THE FUTURE... unless you agree and follow what I say.
I love you EE, agree with you often, but I'm not going to be manipulated. My government is not my God. My vote does not measure my witness for Christ. My vote is part of a civil process that we engage in. It's horribly messy and imperfect. It is a battle, but not a war. It is not my religion and it is not an idol. I will evaluate ALL the factors and cast the best vote that I can, or abstain if I think that is best.
I believe that proper discernment is what you are calling for. I am for that. I am not for being guilt-tripped into bypassing a faithful review of all the options and all the consequences. I can condemn bad acts, and bad people, and still cast the votes of my choosing. I think we agree that we should vote in a manner that honors our maker. My action, my vote is what I am responsible for. I am not responsible for the persons I vote for. In many cases, if not all, I have limited information to act upon. I will still make the best choice I can. Without knowing a candidate personally, I can't really be sure where this "line" is, but again I will take all factors into consideration.
There probably are people that are making politics into an idol. I would hope to walk them back from that cliff by sharing and/or reminded them from where our hope comes.
Good stuff. Though I do tend to believe that we sometimes overstate the impact of high-profile Christian witness, both for good and for ill. The people I know coming to the faith today do so 'locally.' By which I mean, the witness that counts for them is seeing the people of Christ doing that one thing by which, Jesus said, all men would know that they are his disciples - loving one another. And I see people rejecting the faith for the same 'local' reason: they see the self-proclaimed people of God not loving one another.
Ah yes.... Pragmatism. Sorry, I don't claim to be holy nor am I siding with sin. Just trying to discern truth based on biblical principles. The concept is really pretty simple..."Do not be wise in your own eyes." It may not be easy, but it is simple. So no, there's no pride in myself because I have no holiness apart from what I have received from the Holy Spirit thru grace.
We cannot make the world love us as Christians, and we are not supposed to. The righteous man is an abomination to the wicked, and to those who are perishing, we are the fragrance of death. There is truth in the idea that we should not harm our witness, but are we really supposed to embrace and vindicate the misconceptions of the lost to preserve our witness? No. That would ultimately do more harm than good. And are we supposed sit back and test God through our "lazy reason" theology? No. And last, but most importantly, is it impossible for God to use flawed an sinful individuals to fulfill his Divine Purpose or give His sheep some relief? Of course not. The Old Testament is story after story of God taking sinful individuals and using them for good. It is no sin to hope for Trump to better than the equally, if not more, sinful establishment just because people believe ridiculous allegations about him being a racist. It is no sin to vote for an imperfect individual; a vote is an earthly creation that can be "rendered" without it amounting to a spiritual endorsement. But what is a sin, is to side with willful agents of the unseen principalities and pagans. And what is a sin, is to let your pride in your own holiness prevent from doing what is right.
I wholeheartedly agree. The only thing I would add or clarity is your statement that Christians who only show up occasionally are giving us these morally bankrupt politicians. I disagree that's it's ONLY them. I know plenty of born again Christians who attend church every Sunday, who are deeply involved and yet they vote for morally bankrupt politicians. They are too afraid of losing their religious liberties so they vote for whoever promises to protect them. I take a different view. American Christians are an anomaly. Throughout history and even now, most Christians did not and do not have religious liberties and yet they thrived/thrive because they rested in the Lord, not on man. Therefore, I don't see losing Christian liberties as a thing to be avoided at all costs, certainly not at a loss of my witness. Persecution does provide a useful purpose - it strengthens the Church rather than destroys it. So if Christians could stop fearing the loss of their liberties so much, they might not be so willing to excuse sin in their politicians.