Christian way to vote?

November 4, 2008

Yes on 8 signOur girls go to a Christian school which shares its campus with a church. Picking up Erin today, I had Trevor count the number of “Yes on 8” signs on the campus while I concentrated on driving. He reported twenty-two. 22!

The problem I have with this is that it communicates that there is a “Christian way to vote,” ignoring the fact that there are Christians on both sides of this or any other issue. And I don’t mean just conservative evangelicals vs. “those liberals who don’t believe the Bible.” Ignoring for the moment how unfair that characterization is, let’s stick to Bible-believing, Jesus-is-the-way Christians. You will find such people on both sides — and this is true of just about any political issue you can come up with.

This is similar to the idea that there is such a thing as “a single Christian worldview,” which missiologist Charles Kraft refutes. Sorry. No such thing. So please, don’t declare a particular worldview “biblical” and vilify opposing views as “unbiblical”. Can one take a stand an issue but maintain humility? I think so.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

4 responses to Christian way to vote?

  1. Amy voted no on 8. I voted yes on 8, not because of homosexuality but I would like to constrict the definition of marriage. We need marrying to be harder so that divorce is not so high. I am more libertarian on social issues, but believe any tax benefit for marriage should solely be for positive potentially child-bearing couples. I am more against awful straight parents / married people than I am against homosexual parents / married people.

  2. Thanks, Jason — your own household (and mine) demonstrates my point, that “Bible-believing” Christians can and do have different votes.

  3. Jon, thanks for supporting the idea that there is no such thing as a single Christian worldview. I think people look at God’s interactions with Israel and read Paul’s writings too restrictively: they conclude that God’s revelation of himself to Israel and Paul’s writings are exhaustively prescriptive.
    Everyone has a culture and societal framework through which they interpret their individual history. All that loads up how an individual understands Scripture and how they hear and respond to the guidance of God. All of this drives a unique set of values that affects how individuals perceive issues.
    This gets at, in part, why people who are disciples of Jesus Christ can come to divergent opinions and actions about how to respond to social and political issues. If we assume that each professed believer is doing the best they can do to sort out what it means to be a Christian and what it means for them to act on that belief, then we have to ask if the divergence and lack of unity in belief and practice points to bad doctrine or a God who has a whole lot of flex in what it means to love and follow him.
    I lean toward the latter.

  4. Dave, you bring up an important (and bigger) question: is Scripture prescriptive, or descriptive? I’m afraid that taking any person’s experiences of relating to God and codifying them gives people an excuse not to develop their own relationship with God.