(Can a Christian vote for Mitt Romney? Pastor Don Green explains why he is withholding his vote so that he can elevate Christ in this presidential election.)
This is a summary of why I, as a Christian pastor committed to expository preaching, have chosen not to vote in [this year’s] Presidential election. I did a series on my public Facebook page “Pastor Don Green” which explains my reasoning. For those who aren’t able to wade through that material, I’m happy to give this overview.
The Sobering Reality about this Election
I realize that Christians are upset with the Obama administration. I share their revulsion at his open embrace of abortion and the homosexual agenda. In light of that, the controlling question seems to be, “How can we beat Obama?”
I understand the impulse to embrace any candidate who presents a more conservative platform. But I think that’s a wrong way for a Christian to frame his thinking. There are inevitable consequences for the true church of Christ if Christians unite and openly support Mitt Romney.
Even though most Christians are downplaying this issue because it is politically inconvenient, Mormonism is a polytheistic cult that teaches a false Christ and leads souls to eternal damnation. Its influence used to be isolated to certain geographic regions. What could more ratify the legitimacy of a false religion than to see one of its own elected as the leader of the free world with the outspoken support of evangelical Christians?
Further, if Romney is elected, how will Christians who cheered him forward have any credibility after the election when they warn others about the spiritual dangers of Mormonism? People will see the hypocrisy. “Mormonism is a threat to my soul? Aren’t you the same guy who was telling me to vote for the Mormon a few weeks ago?”
It can only harm the gospel. Did Christ redeem us to do that?
Christians need to understand the times in which they live. The sobering reality is that, no matter who wins this election, America is heading toward deeper spiritual darkness. Democrats have embraced open sin. Republicans have enabled false religion. I cannot in good conscience support either alternative. Both are opportunities for evil.
So, in this time of temptation, what is the way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13)? How can I keep myself unstained by the world?
The Gospel Alternative for this Election
We combat darkness with Light (cf. John 8:12). I’m convinced that, instead of asking “For whom should I vote?” we should ask, “How can I best call attention to Jesus Christ?” The only way I see is to take the exceptional step of withholding my vote and explaining my rationale to anyone who will listen. It is a means to make my voice distinct enough to be heard.
As you will see, this is not a defeated withdrawal from society because I don’t like the choices. It is a positive call to Christians and non-Christians to Jesus Christ. How does withholding my vote call people to Christ? I’ll give you five ways.
1. It elevates Christ over Mormonism
Christians are called to defend the truth once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). The Christian church today is already appallingly undiscerning and uninterested in defending truth. Now, it is showing that it will even gloss over Mormonism to achieve political ambitions. How far we have fallen.
By withholding my vote, I am saying, “Christianity is true. Mormonism is false. Truth is more important than politics. Look beyond this election to the true Christ of the Bible.”
2. It elevates Christ to Christians and calls them to trust
Christians should look to the future with confidence because they know God appoints world leaders (Daniel 2:21) and always works everything together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). I am alarmed by the attitudes I see in many Christians. They fear a second term of Obama so much that they desperately say, “We must elect Romney!” When they put their hope in a political leader like that, they are forgetting their first love (cf. Revelation 2:4). Further, their fear is driving them toward a hatred of anyone who disagrees with them politically.
By withholding my vote, I am saying to Christians, “Where is your faith (cf. Luke 8:25)? Your political passions have driven out your rest in Christ. Come away from the worries of this world and put your trust back in the Shepherd of your souls” (Matthew 6:25-34).
3. It elevates Christ to Christians and calls them to hope.
Christians agitated about politics have lost sight of their calling. We are strangers and exiles on this earth (Hebrews 11:13), and what happens to us in this life is secondary. Our citizenship is in heaven, not on earth (Philippians 3:20). Our joy is not tied to political results in this world.
Christian, you are under the loving care of a sovereign God who knows what you need before you ask him (Matthew 6:7-8). He knows the hairs on your head (Matthew 10:30). You will one day see Christ face-to-face (1 John 3:2).
By refusing to vote for the Mormon, I am calling Christians to stop looking at politics and focus on our certain hope of heaven in Christ.
4. It elevates Christ to non-Christians
By withholding my vote, I am saying to non-Christians, “There is something more urgent to you than politics. Think on the eternal destiny of your soul. You are still in your sins and will soon give an account to a holy God. Repent, come to Christ, and be saved from hell and this wicked generation” (cf. Acts 2:40).
(Incidentally, that position lets me transcend politics to Republican and Democrat alike for the sake of their souls—a point that calls for much longer treatment than I can give it here.)
5. It elevates Christ in my own heart
The Bible teaches that God will hold us accountable for everything we do (Ecclesiastes 12:14). I will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and be recompensed for what I do in this life (2 Corinthians 5:10). I take that seriously. In fact, it provokes reverential fear that forbids me from taking this world lightly (2 Corinthians 5:11).
In God’s providence, I have one vote in the 2012 American presidential election. In effect, it is one of the “minas” that He has given to me to use for His glory (cf. Luke 19:11-27). He will hold me accountable for how I use it.
One day, I want to say to Christ: “Lord, your unworthy slave used that vote as a platform to elevate You. I testified that (1) You are true and Mormonism is false; (2) You are faithful and Christians should trust you; (3) You called Christians to a heavenly hope and we should look to that; and (4) Non-Christians should look beyond this world and come to You for salvation.” I know Christ well enough to know that He will honor me for that. By comparison, the earthly criticism I have received for my position is of no account.
Can’t You Vote for Romney and Say Those Same Things?
Good question. Short answer: No, I cannot.
The times call for clarity. If I say these things then vote for Romney anyway, I blunt the urgency of the message. My lips would shout that these spiritual matters are important, but my life would testify that, in the end, they didn’t change anything that I actually, you know, “did”. Withholding my vote is thus a seal of authenticity. It’s not that complicated. We show our faith by our deeds (James 2:18).
What America Really Needs
Ultimately, politics cannot cure what ails America. Focusing on politics in this hour is like shooting a pop gun at a charging bull. The darkness is so great! We need nothing less than a sweeping movement of the Holy Spirit, sovereignly bringing countless men and women to Christ through the proclamation of the gospel.
Pointing to a Mormon will not advance the gospel. Pointing to Christ will. May God honor the name of His beloved Son. .
Previously posted on September 28, 2012 on the Hallowed Path (Reposted with permission)
Don Green is the founding pastor of Truth Community Fellowship in Petersburg, Kentucky. He holds Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees with highest honors from The Master’s Seminary. He had previously served as an elder at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California. He pastored Grace Life, a group of more than 600 adults, for eight years and simultaneously served as the Managing Director of Grace to You, where he oversaw the daily operations of John MacArthur’s international media ministry. Don and his wife, Nancy, have six children.