As we enter an election season, the following principles are humbly offered by your pastoral staff to help shape our faithfulness as we undertake the high privilege of the election process.
United with you for God’s glory in our public lives,
Joe Novenson, on behalf of the pastors of Lookout Mountain Presbyterian Church
- As Kingdom citizens we belong to two kingdoms: the Kingdom of God, and the country in which we reside. Jesus commands us to be faithful to our dual citizenship by giving in both realms. “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” -Luke 20:25
Application: Non-participation in the voting process fails our commanded responsibility in both realms. Our government offers us opportunity to be formative in its character, thereby inviting the “salt and light” of our influence. We should vote.
- We should be committed to daily prayer about the elections, our leaders, the country, and to the actual vote we will register.
Application: All Americans of voting age are given the privilege to vote. Only members of God’s Kingdom have the attentive ear of our King in prayer. To neglect prayer for this process is to withhold the most important influence that can be brought to bear on the political process.
- As Christians, among our highest aspirations and deepest longings must be the well-being of our country, for God’s glory.
Application: We should vote for the candidate who endorses the policies that most promote and protect the practices that glorify God and advance his prescribed just treatment of creation.
- As Christians we should not naively withhold our vote from any particular election simply because we do not agree substantively enough with either candidate. Abraham Kuyper, politician, pastor and theologian, suggested that Kingdom citizens be guided by at least three levels of agreement as they consider action in any public forum:
- highest level of agreement: being like-hearted (reborn/new heart) and like-minded (agreed on issues)
- lower level of agreement: being like-hearted (reborn/new heart) but not like-minded (disagree on issues)
- lowest level of agreement: Not being like-hearted nor like-minded but agreed that there are dangers of such magnitude that one can legitimately unite to oppose the threat of those dangers influencing any people.
Application: When voting, God’s Kingdom citizens need to embrace this lowest level of agreement as a form of co-belligerency which opposes policies and practices that most resist God’s glory and his prescribed just treatment of creation.
- We should be well informed, astute and regularly inquiring about the issues before us and our country.
Application: We should be among the most well-read and thoughtfully attentive to issues regarding the country within which we are called to live. We should be students of the Bible and the times within which we live. We should insightfully add to the public discourse, having considered the implications of the candidates’ policies and behaviors.
- We must vigorously oppose dismissive or demonizing rhetoric of the American political culture that demeans those with whom one disagrees due to their political convictions. Civility and respect must mark all verbal descriptions of those whose views we oppose.
Application: We must neither participate in sound bite bitterness nor leave it uncorrected. We must challenge this spreading virus in the heart of the American political process.