Mt Soledad
Welcome to the
Christian Citizenship Council
of San Diego
San Diego
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov 29:2)

Equipping the Church to Vote

Chapter 1: A Letter to Pastors

I know exactly what you’re thinking.  You’re already overburdened with ministry demands and don’t need another major complication added to your pastoral duties.  I understand your concern, and my intention is not to “pile on the pastor”.  My intention with this pamphlet is to present a short treatment of Christian Citizenship, and provide practical steps to help you and your flock fulfill their calling in this ministry area.

Most of us would agree the purpose of the church gathered is to bring glory to God by worshipping Him, praying His will to be manifest, and exercising the spiritual gifts He gives for works of service.  The church scattered, however, is to bring glory to God by proclaiming the gospel, living exemplary lives, and applying Biblical principles and a Christian worldview to all spheres of life.  A difficulty with the last statement is when Christians are not equipped to apply a Biblical worldview directly to our culture and society.  When we fail in this arena, when we stop being “salt” in this nation, I believe we inadvertently encourage moral decay to go unchecked, contribute to the commonly held view Biblical truths are irrelevant to cultural problems, and give the impression that Christians are ignorant of matters important to the nation.  Is it any wonder we see such an abominable state of affairs all around us.

Although true and lasting change in society will only occur through the gospel and redeemed lives, I believe the Bible holds the basic truths and principles this nation and society desperately need for their, and our own good.  God’s word is clear; it provides all we need to address issues of faith and practice.  God has also provided for mankind’s good by giving us Biblical truths and principles of life and justice that reap rich blessings when thoughtfully applied, and dire consequences when ignored.  This includes the proper role of government, who should rule over us, what constitutes just laws, and even what justice is.  As a matter of fact, the liberties we still enjoy are a result of Biblical principles being applied in the very founding of our nation and the creation of its form of government.

Unfortunately, over the last generation or two, many Christians have withdrawn from their high calling to be leaders in our culture, and to some extent have abdicated their many-faceted opportunity to be “salt and light” in the world.  A comfortable church environment has become a “holy huddle”, removed from the difficult complexities we face in everyday discussions and decisions relating to any number of societal or national issues.  On the leadership side, many churches have stopped preaching and teaching on “sensitive” topics to ensure a seeker friendly atmosphere that doesn’t unsettle the flock.  This gradual slide has resulted in the virtual disappearance of the concept of a Christian Citizen equipped to actively engage his environment, not just with the gospel, but with facts, figures, reasoning and the under-girding that comes from a solid Biblical foundation.  This withdrawal (or abdication) is now to the point where a person can be openly condemned as unqualified for public office solely if they espouse any sincere Christian convictions at all.  Contrast this with what John Jay, our nation’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice said:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers,
and it is the duty…of our Christian nation to select and prefer
Christians for their rulers.”

Given this environment, what is our duty?  I am convinced we as believing citizens are to help ensure godly, just governance through promoting righteous laws and the election of honorable leaders.  Both of these are within our potential to provide and dramatically impact.  Our nation is built upon the fundamental principle of people choosing who is to rule over them.  This choice, as well as voting on ballot measures directly, helps define what constitutes justice, what is wise or unwise, and ultimately what standard will be used to articulate what is good or evil.  Though not the overriding purpose of a church, I believe the equipping of believers to responsibly cast their vote during elections is one component of a pastor’s responsibility to the flock.  Is this mixing politics with religion – you bet!  But it must be done in an orderly, Christ-honoring way.  As Charles H. Spurgeon said,

“I often hear it said, ‘Do not bring religion into politics.’  This is
precisely where it ought to be brought!  We have had enough clever
men without conscience.  Now let us see what honest,
God-fearing men will do.”

This booklet is intended to provide practical means to assist a pastor and his church members to become better trained in applying their Christian testimony to election issues.  Specifically, very simple, practical ideas on how to conduct what I call an Election Pre-View Evening are outlined. Don’t worry, it’s not a call to form a Political Action Committee, it doesn’t advocate a church taking a formal stance on a particular candidate for office, it doesn’t put a church at risk relative to their 501(c)3 status, and it doesn’t give all the answers that need to be worked out for each and every election.

What it does do, however, is assist Pastors specifically, and their flocks generally, to answer their call to their rightful place as counselors to the nation.  Voting, in my mind, is the absolute minimum that a Christian can do to be this counselor.  If nothing else, I believe a pastor must at least strongly encourage his flock to exercise this duty for the good of all – but to do it in a knowledgeable, informed and persuasive manner.  I can guarantee if you implement what this pamphlet outlines, your comfort zone will be disrupted.  I can guarantee you’ll wrestle with issues you have consciously or unconsciously overlooked in the past.  I can also guarantee your maturity, leadership, and knowledge will be a key component to whatever is ultimately accomplished.  Finally, whether the outcome is what you expected or not, you’ll demonstrate that even elections fall under the Lordship of Jesus Christ just as all the rest of life does.

My prayer is that believers, and particularly pastors, will stop “cursing the darkness” and begin to engage the obvious darkness settling around us.  I know from experience that virtually all pastors are overburdened with existing ministry concerns.  But I can almost guarantee every church has members that are gifted and willing to take up the task of following through on the suggestions contained in this pamphlet.  Look for them, you’ll find them.  I believe one of your responsibilities as a shepherd to the flock is to encourage them to exercise their spiritual gifts and become involved, and then to provide oversight so that all will be done in a manner pleasing to Almighty God.

May your shepherding efforts result in great works being accomplished for the honor of Christ, and may all be done in an orderly manner with godly balance.

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