“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that [were] on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD,” (Joshua 24:14-15, KJV).
Ronald Reagan gave a speech in support of Barry Goldwater’s campaign for president in 1964. It was called “A Time for Choosing.” On Tuesday, people will be going to the polls to vote for president and many other offices across the land. It will be our quadrennial time for choosing. Lots of cyber-ink has been transmitted about our choices this time, especially concerning the office of president. We are told, as we are every four years, that this election is the most important election of our lifetimes. Maybe it is that important this time, but perhaps those who told us this four years ago have finally cried Wolf one too many times.
The range of opinions on the presidential election among Christians is rather astounding. Though some people seem to be indifferent about voting, the idea that those who refuse to vote for either candidate is born of ambivalence misses the mark. I am not torn between voting for Romney or not voting for him. My mind was already made up even before he had the nomination sewn up that I would not vote for him. I have summarized those reasons many times here and other places online.
First and foremost it is because Romney’s profession is not Christian. I believe that the Scriptures teach that civil magistrates must be Christians. I am weary of those who try to persuade me that Romney won’t be our pastor and that choosing an unbeliever as president is no different than choosing a barber to cut my hair, or to cut me open and do heart surgery. However, the Bible spells out specific qualifications for government officials in many places in the Bible, but not for most other callings. The governor must Fear God, Kiss the Son, and uphold the Commandments (see Psalm 2, just for starters.)
Second, I will not vote for a man whose official position is that he will not protect all innocent life. I could expand on this for many pages, but suffice it to say that Romney and his family and surrogates all assure us that he will not pursue protection for the unborn. He has held as many positions on this issue in the last five years that I am astounded that so many Christians naively believe he will protect life.
Third, his association with Mormonism and willingness to promote it from a national stage is an invitation to help false doctrine prevail. If you watched the final day of the GOP convention it was full of people testifying of the benefits of Romney’s religion. That many Christian leaders downplay the potential for mischief on this point I also find disheartening.
The first reason above is enough for me. It is not just my opinion; it is what I believe the Scriptures teach. The other two are gravy. I could go on to talk about his promise to keep the pre-existing condition mandate for insurance companies which will bankrupt them more quickly than Obamacare would. I could talk about his cozying up to the Log Cabin Republicans.
The debates on this electioon seem to have generated more heat than light. Though I believe it may be a sin to vote for Romney, I have not emphasized this in my arguments because I will grant in the judgment of charity that I could be wrong. What is more disturbing than Christians voting for him is the range of reasons given by ministers to justify it. I wish they would just vote for Romney and keep quiet about it. Here’s why: It has caused many of them to twist Scripture to fit their demands that I vote for Romney, or caused them to put in spiritual bondage those under their care.
Case in point: Dr. Joel Beeke, who is a reformed pastor and seminary president. Beeke believes we are obligated to vote for Romney though he cites no Scriptural basis for doing so. But he goes further than that:
“You have an opportunity to speak up for the unborn children, who cannot speak for themselves. God will hold you accountable one day for how you used this power to vote. Proverbs 24:11–12 says, “If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? And he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? And shall not he render to every man according to his works?” To avoid the ballot box is to remain silent while a million lives are snuffed out each year. What would you say to the Lord on Judgment Day if He asks you, “Why didn’t you use your vote to stand for the millions of unborn boys and girls of America?” (emphasis mine)
The American Patriot mentality has pushed out sound Biblical theology, and sound reasoning. This leads me to comment on the opening passage of Scripture. We often hear the verse quoted as “Choose ye this day whom you will serve” as if Joshua was offering them the choice between God and idols. He was not. That is not a permissible choice. God does not give you the choice to serve him or not. Joshua first recognizes that they have no intention of following God. He then offers the “choice” between idols they will worship, either the gods of the past (tradition) or the gods of the future (innovation). But he finishes with a flourish – his family will serve neither; they will serve God.
Perhaps there is a lesson in there for us when we make our choice on Tuesday. Do we want to serve the old sinner Obama, or the new sinner Romney, or do we want to serve God? I only say this because of the scores of articles written by Christian leaders, none of whom has dealt with the Scriptures concerning the Biblical qualifications for civil leaders, and the implication that we must choose such leaders when given opportunity in a day of choosing.
I will freely admit that my own rhetoric during Facebook and other debates may have been a bit too strong. But I never threatened Romney voters with the judgment of God or blamed them for all of the ills that might come about should Romney be elected.
1). In case you don’t get it – I am not voting for Barack Obama, either. So to be consistent, you should count that as a vote for Romney
2). On Saturday, I had someone try to cast a demon out of me for not voting for Romney, and about 20 minutes later, the same person was placing a curse on me. I think Jesus addressed this: A house divided against itself cannot stand.
David is currently an adjunct instructor of Composition and Speech at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. His wife and he have also owned a business selling antique and collectible postcards on eBay since 1999. David was an activist with Operation Rescue in the early 1990s. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Johnston, Iowa.