The content of this post is copyrighted © by Sugel Michelén. Originally published on the author’s blog Todo Pensamiento Cautivo, as El Cristiano frente a las próximas elecciones. Translated into English with permission by Penn Tomassetti, May 18, 2012. This material may be reproduced and distributed as long as it is without charge, without altering its content, and its author and origin are acknowledged.
Facing the Next Election as a Christian
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, a Russian writer who won the Nobel prize of literature in 1970, said on one occasion:
“Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: ‘Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened.’ ” (J. S. Feinberg & P. D. Feinberg, Ethics for a Brave New World, chapt. 14)
Solzhenitsyn saw a direct link between the policy in place in the Soviet Union after the revolution’s Bolshevik triumph, with all the consequences that came with that revolution, and the atheism that sustained the ideology of its protagonists.
Ideas have consequences. How you think will determine how you live, the decisions you take, the things you value. Your manner of thinking will determine the course of your life. That is why Solomon said in Proverbs 23:7 that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Each of us has accumulated with the passing of years, whether consciously or not, a set of ideas that we assume to be valid and good. It is this set of presuppositions which forms our “worldview,” the view of the world we hold to and our reference point that we use to interpret data from the world around us. Although not everyone is critically aware of it, everyone has a reference point formed by their most basic beliefs, which influences every area of their lives, including their political views.
That is why we assert that Christianity is much more than a message about the salvation of sinners through the person and redemptive work of Christ. Christianity provides an adequate reference point for interpreting things as they are, and thus for interacting with them.
Christians act in a way that is distinct from those who are not Christian because they have a different worldview, another perspective on things. It is that distinct Christian perspective that should govern us during the next election day when we go out to exercise our right to vote.
It is sad that many Christians only relate their Christianity to that which fits into their “spiritual life” compartment. They behave like Christians when they go to church, when they meet with family for times of devotion, or when they read the Scriptures in private. But when they are involved in business activities, or when they are having fun, or they go to the polls to vote for a candidate, they do so in ways that are not much different from what any unbeliever would do. These people suffer from a common problem: lack of integrity.
The word “integrity” comes from the Latin “integritas” which means “quality of the whole, entire, soundness, to be complete”. A person with integrity does not divide their life into compartments: “I act like a saint, a Christian, in this area over here and in that over there, but I act like a pagan in every other area of life.” No. The man of integrity is the same wherever he goes, he is not double-minded. The very principle that guides his relationship with God and his spiritual life is the very same principle that guides him when it is time to choose a candidate.
In the next article, I would like to focus on the picture of a good governor that the Lord gives us in His Word. However, I do want to say beforehand that I do not intend to tell you which of the current presidential candidates you should vote for. If you should begin to read between the lines, you might seem to find indications here and there that reveal the “hidden message” that we supposedly would like to communicate in this article. But there are really no hidden messages to unveil. What we wish to say is what we are going to say, and nothing more.
We are discussing this theme because we have the scriptural conviction that we should teach the church the whole counsel of God in such a way that Christians learn to act as Christians in every area of their lives. God has left us with an abundance of information in His Word about governors and governments. Our duty as pastors is to pass that information on to you so that each one of you can exercise your right to vote in this next election with an informed conscience.