Why? Because Jesus called us to be salt and light. That is how He expects us to function in this world.
In Matthew 5:13-14, Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. . . . you are the light of the world.” Salt preserves, and light shows the way. We must be the preservative of this rotting society, and we must show people the right way; not just the right way to Jesus, but the right way to live morally.
And it’s especially important in this critical election - an election between, not just two men, but between two world views, two directions for this country.
But who thinks this election is so critical? How about Billy Graham? Billy Graham has been perhaps the biggest name in Christianity for sixty, seventy years, or more worldwide? Yet, all through the eras of the “Religious Right” and the “Moral Majority,” Billy sat it out, never talking about politics. His priority was clear – Jesus first. Like Paul, he “preached Christ crucified.” That was his sole focus.
Paul made this claim in 1st Corinthians 2:2, where he said: “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That’s what Billy Graham did. Billy just preached Christ. That was the foremost priority.
According to Billy,
“Over the years, I have tried to avoid getting involved in partisan politics. . . As an evangelist, my calling has been to preach the Gospel to as many people as possible, and I have always wanted to avoid putting up any unnecessary barriers.”But this year is different. Recently, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association took out ads in the Wall Street Journal featuring Billy’s pronouncement on this year’s election. We’ve included those in the bulletin at our church over the past two weeks.
Let me quote one of them:
“On November 6th, the day before my 94th birthday, our nation will hold one of the most critical elections in my lifetime. We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake. I strongly urge you to vote for candidates who support the Biblical definition of marriage between a man and woman, protect the sanctity of life, and defend our religious freedom. The Bible speaks clearly on these critical issues. Please join me in praying for America, that we will turn our hearts back toward God.”Signed: Billy Graham.
Well said, Billy – “We are at a crossroads and there are profound moral issues at stake.”
Now, certainly, there are those who will claim Billy Graham has hurt his witness for the Gospel by making a blatant political statement in the weeks prior to a presidential election, but they are wrong. And this is why they are wrong: The pulpit is exactly the right place to proclaim Biblical truth, and truth does have political ramifications so the Bible does have something to say about political decisions. Billy Graham has rightly added his influential voice reminding us what is really at stake in this election.
A second ad by Billy stated this:
“The legacy we leave behind for our children, grandchildren, and this great nation is crucial. As I approach my 94th birthday, I realize this election could be my last. I believe it is vitally important that we cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on Biblical principles and support the nation of Israel. I urge you to vote for those who support the sanctity of life and support the Biblical definition of marriage between a man and a woman. Vote for Biblical values this November 6th, and pray with me that America will remain one nation under God.”Now, here’s a question: Why is Billy Graham getting political on us? I believe the real answer is, he isn’t. I believe he’s staying Biblical. Every one of the issues he brought up is a moral issue addressed by the Bible. These issues have been there in the Bible long before America was founded. And pastors, in their prophetic role, have always addressed these issues. It’s the pastor’s job.
It’s not that Billy has invaded the realm of politics, but politics has expanded into the realm of morality, and that is the realm we are to preach about. They are the ones who, in 1973, found an unwritten, hidden right to choice in our constitution at the expense of the clearly stated right to life. And they imposed abortion rights judicially. They are the ones who have been pushing and pushing to redefine marriage any way they can. And they are the ones who refuse to defend DOMA in court and teach “Suzie has Two Mommies” in schools to our kids. Now they want to force us to pay for abortions, and even their contraceptives through our tax dollars.
It’s not us on the offense, we’re on the defense.
As Heidi Harris wrote, “Let me get this straight: You want me ‘out of your bedroom,’ but you want me to stock you nightstand?” Do you see? We’re just trying to hold ground, trying to keep our country from sliding into that moral abyss.
Billy Graham has always stood for right and truth. His beliefs catapulted him into the midst of the civil rights issue in years past. When he noticed that his crusades were segregated, he took steps to rectify it. In 1953, he tore rope barriers down that the organizers had erected to keep the races apart in the audience. In 1957, he invited the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., to join him at the pulpit in New York City. When King was arrested in Birmingham in 1963, Billy Graham posted bail for him.
Billy Graham hasn’t changed, politics has. Politics has invaded the realm or morality, and the church can’t remain silent. The church must not remain silent
Who else is talking politics this year? John MacArthur is. John is one of my heroes and role models as an expository preacher. He is notorious for his opinion that politics should take a distant back seat to the Gospel message. It’s not our role to get involved, he’s said. But this year, he has come out forcefully from his pulpit in Biblical condemnation. I’d like to read to you some of what he had to say, with a bit of commentary on it:
“This is a new day in our country. Parties which used to differ on economics now differ dramatically on issues that invade the realm of God’s law and morality.”Amen, John. Just what we said: addressing issues of moral law is the job of the pastor.
Continuing to quote from MacArthur:
“[One party platform] advocates a homosexual marriage which is an oxymoron, an utter impossibility and a gross violation of the law of God. And then, to add to that, the murder of abortion, and then a platform originally leaving God out. All of that is Romans 1 [which] says God will judge, God has judged throughout human history, nations that have experienced sexual freedom. Romans chapter 1 lays out clearly the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those who advocate sexual freedom, sexual conduct outside of marriage. And that’s an indication of the demise of a nation.”Let me read you the passage from which he’s quoting: Romans 1:24 says,
“Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves”Then Romans 1:26-27 says,
“For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”One last verse:
Romans 1:32 –
“Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.”That doesn’t sound like God would be in favor of a party whose platform includes same-sex marriage, does it?
“Romans 1 says that God will also judge nations. . . nations that advocate homosexual behavior, men with men, women with women, doing what is unnatural. They are also haters of God – leaving God out, advocating abortion, advocating homosexuality, advocating free sexual conduct and governmental provided condemns so that everybody can do what they want. This is literally creating a platform out of what God hates.”MacArthur also addressed the role of government:
“Since the Bible says that the role of government is to punish evil doers and protect the good, you better have somebody in power who understands what is good and what is evil. And if you think homosexuality, abortion, sexual freedom, hating God are not evil, then you better go back and check your Bible again.”This is what Romans 13:3-4 says:
“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”Government should promote and protect the good while prosecuting the evil, not the other way around.
“It’s about whether this society exists in the future at all, as we know it. The land is so defiled, God will spew it out. First He abandons it, and then he destroys it.”Do you see? This is how critical this election is. Will our state and nation embrace what God hates, or will we stand with God?
But, how should we think about politics? As Christians, we can debate a lot of different issues. There’s no such thing as the “Christian” position on tax policy and the economy, or the place of unions, or the size of a welfare check – how safe our safety net should be, or how big should our military be. You can’t go to Bible chapter and verse to make your case, so there will always be solid Christians on both sides of the issues.
The Christian voting block has never been monolithic.
But there are three issues that should be non-negotiable for any Christian - life, sex, and marriage. Where the Bible speaks clearly, we must stand firmly. We must not budge on the need to protect the unborn, or on the sanctity of sex within marriage - and that means protecting traditional, Biblical marriage from this current onslaught. Of course, vote NO on Question 1 if you are a Maine resident.
Rick Warren, of Purpose Driven Life fame stated it this way,
“If you call yourself a Christian, you need to line up with what God says is the original intent of all three things.”When you go to the polls to vote (and there is no excuse for neglecting that privilege and duty), you need to make your decisions based on the Bible. Why? Because it is the source of truth. So many people vote based entirely on what they see in 60 second ads that interrupt their favorite TV shows. “Hey, that guy sounds good. I saw his ad.” Now, that’s a dumb way to vote.
Haven’t you heard the old joke? How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving. Now, that’s an exaggeration, of course, and there are lots of honest politicians. But you can’t believe everything you hear, especially in a 60 second ad. So check it out from a variety of sources. If you haven’t researched that candidate’s world view, haven’t read their party’s platform, you are simply ignorant of where they stand. You aren’t voting from knowledge, you are voting from ignorance. Ignorant people really ought to stay away from the polls. They are doing the country a disservice. They need to get informed. Not everybody should vote.
But how do you decide how to vote? Tony Evans, the famous black pastor from Dallas, Texas, says to do this: It’s really quite simple, take a piece of paper and make four columns, then place the issue on the first column that concerns you. Place the positions of each of the two respective candidates on the next two columns. Finally place the Biblical position on the third. He says you then vote for the candidate that best lines up with Scripture. That makes sense.
Here are some more thoughts on that subject: Michal Farris, constitutional lawyer and founder of Patrick Henry College, says this: “
First, and most importantly, I am a Christian. I need to do my best to understand God’s standards from the Word of God, I reject the idea that God’s Word has nothing to say about voting. Proverbs 3:6 says, ‘In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.’”God’s Word and His Spirit will give you guidance if you pray and ask for wisdom.
But, what about when we don’t like either candidate? Or if, as Christians, we find neither candidate to be lined up with our beliefs? How can we choose the “lesser of two evils?” I mean, in this election we have a choice between a Mormon and a who-knows-what.
Mitt Romney is a member of a cult truly out of Christianity’s mainstream that follows Joseph Smith who claimed to have received an appendix to the Bible from the angel Moroni that reinterprets the understanding of God and Jesus. Even their former president, Gordon B. Hinckley, stated, “The traditional Christ” of other churches “is not the Christ of whom I speak.” Yet, they do stress hard work, family values, and moral living. and they put out some nice looking commercials.
That choice is contrasted with a President who, although he claims to be a Christian, advocates decidedly non Christian values, and sides more frequently with Islam. He seems to be a combination of Black Liberation Theology, espoused by his American hating pastor, Jeremiah Wright; and Christian syncretism, that picks and chooses what they want from all the various religions. As part of the Trinity United Church of Christ, he was part of the most liberal denomination in America - the first to ordain open homosexuals as pastors, and in 2005, they came out in support of same-sex marriage.
In his book, The Audacity of Hope, our president wrote, “When I read the Bible, I do so with the belief that it is not a static text but the Living Word and that I must continually be open to new revelations.” This explains his evolution on the issue of same-sex marriage. So, his beliefs aren’t anything like ours either. And on the issues that matter to us, he is not only in opposition, but working hard to counteract our positions.
But unorthodox religious views aren’t new. Presidents John Quincy Adams, Millard Fillmore, and William Howard Taft were Unitarians. Herbert Hoover and Richard Nixon were Quakers. And John Fitzgerald Kennedy created a terrific stir by being the first Roman Catholic.
How do we reconcile either candidate? First, since we are all fallen human beings, there will never be a perfect candidate - Jesus isn’t running. And the rest are just like us, flawed human beings. But we aren’t choosing a pastor, we’re choosing a president. They don’t have to line up perfectly with our doctrine to be the better candidate, but they shouldn’t be alien to our deeply held positions.
And, remember, since we are in the decided minority as Christians, we have to take the best we can get. Which one best exemplifies character, competence, and truthfulness? As the old saying goes, “It’s better to be ruled by an honest Turk than a corrupt Christian.”
Also, ask yourself which candidate is least antagonistic to our core beliefs, and which candidate seems more likely to listen to our concerns? He is the one who should have our support.
Quoting Mike Farris again:
“If one is clearly an enemy of our deeply cherished values, and the other is, (on average) open to listening to us and working with us – this is not merely the lesser of two people in the same category.”In other words, someone who is not an enemy to our values is better than one who most assuredly is.
But what issues are most important? When asked that, Tony Evans said this:
“I will always start with the right to life, because all other rights start with your ability to live. Secondly, I will always go to the importance of the family, and that civil government should support family government. Then I will go to the church, because as many historians have concluded, a democratic republic can only work in a moral atmosphere. And if people cannot self govern, you have to engage civil government to do the governance for them. That’s why the church becomes the dominant influence in the culture, and that includes government.”Some people think that we, as Christians, ought to stay out of the political discourse, but why? We have the truth. Everyone else feels free to spout out their worldview. Why should we cower silently in our churches like a bunch of cowards when the righteous are bold as a lion. We ought to be more afraid of God’s disfavor than people’s disfavor.
Rick Warren stated: “Most Christians clam up and shut up because they are afraid to even stand up.” Don’t let that be said about you
Remember, what does Paul call us? 2nd Corinthians 5:20 says,
“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.”We are to represent Christ before the world. That is our mandate. It’s not primarily the pastor’s job, but yours. You are Christ’s ambassador and you represent heaven before the courts of men. You present God’s position in the forums of men.
Marvin Olasky of World Magazine wrote this:
“Just as liberals think that if government doesn’t do something, it won’t get done, so some Christians think if the pastors don’t head the parade, Christian values will be ignored – but that’s a lazy layman’s excuse. Pastors function well as reporters, spotlighting problems and teaching us their solution through Christ. God calls others to politics. A century ago, Abraham Kuyper famously declared that every inch of this world is Christ’s. So is every minute, and if we don’t from Monday through Saturday form groups with our neighbors to apply what we learn on Sunday, we have no one to blame but ourselves.”Absolutely, it is up to each of you. Who should we blame for the demise of the culture? If we are the salt and light, but haven’t preserved and guided the culture with the Word of God, the fault is ours.
We, as a nation vote in a couple of days. Make sure you aren’t one of those who stay home from the polls. True, there are 50 million Americans who won’t be able to vote this election, and I’m not talking about illegal immigrants. They are the fifty million unborn babies slaughtered in the womb since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. But had Christians played a larger part in the decades leading up to that decision, maybe a different Supreme Court would have been in place - one less inclined to make up new rights, and ignore the clear language about the Right to Life enshrined in both our Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution, but most of all, in Scripture. Because of the negligence of a generation of voters, fifty million babies lost their right to life, and consequently, their right to vote. Don’t you be part of the continued destruction of this country.
This election is critical VOTE!