Christians and the 2016 Elections


Dr. John Hoole – October 30, 2016




Perhaps you have been living under a rock, which has kept you out of the loop, there’s a presidential election happening in the United States in nine days.  Americans will go to the polls and cast a ballot for the person they want to be their next president.  And it is getting ugly out there – I mean, really ugly.


I know that in entering the arena of politics, perhaps I go where angels fear to tread.  And there is a part of me that wants to flee from any political conversation.  There is another part of me that wants to call out to those candidates who are blatantly acting contrary to what God desires of them and us.


Please take what I say this morning as being my personal opinion.  I do not portray it as the opinion of our church or of our pastors.  In some ways, it seems that the elections are forcing us to make a choice between Nero and Nebuchadnezzar.


Now I am not sure this should catch us by surprise.  All the candidates are flawed people – they are human.  Every candidate for office throughout the American history have been flawed people.  But this year the flaws of our two major candidates seem to be right in our face.  As the news from both presidential candidates goes from bad to worse, I find myself grieving for our country.  I am not grieving as one who has no hope, but I am grieving all the same.  No, we are not getting a perfect leader – Only Jesus can be that.


I do have strong political views – hopefully they are godly views.  But if the one I vote for does not get elected, I am not picking up and moving to another country.  I have been privileged to travel the world, and I still hold that America is the greatest country in the world.


I also believe it is a privilege to vote for our leaders.  Not all in the world have that available to them.  It is something I do not take for granted.  Ever since I reached the age to vote, I have in every election.  Though there are many things wrong with our country, to be able to vote for our leader is one of the better things.


I also need to say that whoever is elected will not catch God by surprise.  He has used leaders in the past who were evil to the core to carry out His will.  Among them Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, Cyrus the Persian and King Sennacherib of Assyria.


I am not here today to tell you who specifically to vote for, but give some ideas on how to process information.


I quote Tony Evans, the African-American pastor of megachurch Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas.


“The Bible is pregnant with the topic of politics.  You cannot read the Bible from Genesis through Revelation and go through too many chapters that are not involving politics.  So it is not a minor issue or a marginal issue.  It is a central issue.”


With that said, I do not see my Americanism as the most important thing in my life.  For me, being an American is a temporary condition.  My true status is that of an alien.  America is not my primary residence.


Philippians 3:20 NKJV


20     For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,


Like the Jewish patriarch, Abraham, I live here as though I am living in a foreign country.  And similar to my Old Testament brother, whom God called to live in a specific country, God has called me to live in America.  But I only live here is a tent, not as one with deep roots, and only temporarily.


Hebrews 11:9-10 NKJV


9       By faith he [Abraham] dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise;

10     for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.


I am waiting for entrance into the place where I have my permanent residence – the New Jerusalem.  I pray that all of you will be my neighbors there.  I have to admit that I seriously long for the Lord to set the Rapture into motion in the days ahead.  Election day would be just fine, though sooner would be better.  I am willing to teach the Word of God, and serve Him for as long as He tarries, so long as he grants the grace and strength to do His will.  And I ask for forgiveness when I inevitably fall short.


When the good LORD calls me to my permanent, eternal home, I will gladly kiss this place goodbye and follow Him to the place He promised to build for me.  It is this awareness that shapes my worldview regarding my temporary existence on earth, which is why my heart is not unduly troubled by our upcoming election.


         1.  I will cast my vote.


         2.  I will pray for God’s will to be done.


         3.  I will rest in my LORD.


I will rely on John 14:1-3 (NKJV) for peace.


1       Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

2       In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3       And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.


It is all foretold, of course.  The ancient prophecies are coming to pass – the falling away, the apostasy, the corruption, the persecution and darkness, that the Lord and the Apostles and Hebrew prophets foretold about the “last days.”  We are seeing it play out, just as the Word warned us ahead of time.


Consider just this passage and ask yourself it this doesn’t describe much of American culture and politics today?


2 Timothy 3:1-5 NKJV


1       But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:

2       For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

3       unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,

4       traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,

5       having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!


The worse it gets, I find myself saying, “Maranatha, come, Lord Jesus.”  All the rhetoric we have heard from countless candidates should show us once for all that secular government holds no answers.


There are four things I want us to remember during and after this election season.


1  Jesus remains King


Max Lucado, a Christian writer, in his column for The Christian Post, said,……


    ……“I have a prediction.  I know exactly what Nov. 9 will bring.  Another day of God’s perfect sovereignty.  He will still be in charge.  His throne will still be occupied.  He will still manage the affairs of the world.  Never before has His providence depended on a king, president, or ruler.  And it won’t on Nov. 9:2016.”



The message of the Bible forcefully declares the eternal Lord God is ruler over all the nations of the world.  The Lord Jesus, when he returns in glory, “hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORD.”  (Reveltion 19:16)In 1 Timothy 6:15, the apostle Paul calls him “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.”  Isaiah testifies of the Lord, “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance; behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing, … (He) bringeth the princes to nothing; he maketh the judges of the earth as vanity” (Isaiah 40:15, 23).


God has created the earth and intended for mankind to spread out and fully occupy it.  After the great flood, the Lord blessed Noah and his sons and told them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth … And you, be ye fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein” (Genesis 9:1, 7).


The apostles preached to pagan of their day that “He [God] giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on the face of the earth, and has determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;  That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us (Acts 17:25-27).


Yes, God the Creator has set individuals within nations and those nations within boundaries.  These nations are not human-drawn geo-political states as much as they are natural ethnic divisions of the human race.  The Lord’s higher purpose is that all might come to know Him, their Creator, Lord, and Savior (1 Timothy 2:3-4).


From the earliest days of people gathered into nations – 70 of which are mentioned in Genesis 10, the Lord intended to bless all peoples of the earth.  After the debacle of Babel, He determined to choose a single man of great faith, a man named Abram, through whom He would build a nation (Israel) to reveal Himself to the whole world and offer great blessings to all.


God promised Abraham and his descendants, “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing … and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Gen. 12:2-3).


Paul elaborates on these grand promises in Galatians 3 and Romans 4, explaining that the ultimate descendant of Abraham was Jesus the Messiah, who took the curse of sin and death so that men might find life and liberty.


Galatians 3:8 NKJV


8       And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, "In you all the nations shall be blessed."


Here’s the big deal.  No matter who wins, God is still sovereign regardless if my preferred candidate wins or not.  By that statement, I am not suggesting the elections are not important.  They are.  They always are.  There is much at stake.  Take a deep breath.  Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Jesus will still remain King.


2.  No political party or person has a monopoly on morality


No one, no matter what they say, has a monopoly on morality and spirituality.  No matter what the experts, leaders, the Pope, Billy Graham, Joyce Meyer, the Trinity Broadcasting or whoever are the final authority.  The Kingdom of God cannot be contained by our political parties or religious institutions.


At 76 years of age, I have lived long enough to learn that neither the Democrats nor the Republican can turn this country around.  The only hope for this country is Almighty God and His Son Jesus Christ.  And He desires to bring that hope through His body, the Church.


3.  Remain in friendship and fellowship with those having a different political view.


Don’t make judgmental statements to other believers, like, “How could you as a Christian vote for …”  Or, “If you were a true Christian, you would vote for…”  Christ died and extended grace for the Left, the Right and everyone in between.


There is neither Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, Republican or Democrat, but if we are believers, we are one in Christ Jesus.  As Christians, we need to agree the most significant aspects of our relationship are not our politics, our political views or our political affiliations, but that we are connected together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Politics has its role.  But Christ is the most significant aspect of our community of believers.


1 Corinthians 14:40 NKJV


40     Let all things be done decently and in order.


Philippians 2:14 NKJV


14     Do all things without complaining and disputing, [NIV: without grumbling or arguing].


4.  Pray for all candidates and our nation


Christians face the responsibility to vote, not only as citizens, but as Christians who seek to honor and follow Christ in all things.  But, beyond the vote, we also bear responsibility to pray for our nation.


No matter how grieved I am by both nominees, I am 100% committed to genuinely and faithfully praying for each candidate.  I will continue to pray that the Lord Jesus Christ shows them great mercy, that they will seek Him with all their heart, and that He will supernaturally change them and bear much good fruit through them.


The God of the Bible is a change agent.  All through the Scriptures we see God saving, changing and redeeming, and it is breathtaking to behold.  The Lord loves to change hearts and minds and mouths.  He alone has the power to change lives, and I truly pray He will show His great mercy and love on the Trumps and Clintons.  And prayer is one of our greatest weapons.


1 Timothy 2:1-3 NIV


1       I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—

2       for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

3       This is good, and pleases God our Savior,


When the Israelites were exiled in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah instructed them in this manner.


Jeremiah 29:4-7 NIV


4       This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:

5       "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.

6       Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease.

7       Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."


If that is true for God’s exiles in Babylon, it would seem to be even more true for Christian exiles in this very “Babylonian”  world today.  While they endured the hardship of exile in Babylon, the people of Israel needed to remember that God intended them to be a blessing to the nation in which they now lived.  He also requires the same from us who live in exile on this earth.  The people of our world may rage against God, turn away from His Law, cast doubts on His existence, and pursue lives deliberately calculate to offend Him.  Yet the love of God perseveres, even for such as these.


Our disagreements with our leaders’ political policies should not prevent us from praying for them.  Who was the leader at the time Paul wrote these words?  It was one of the most notorious political leaders of history – Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Oct. 54 to June 68).  He murdered his mother and both of his wives.


We should pray that God would accomplish His purposes through them regardless of their willingness to be used by Him.  Proverbs 21:1 tells us that “the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wills.”




How do we prioritize the various issues through the lens of Scripture and a Christian worldview?  Do some issues supersede others in order of importance.  As Christians, our primary allegiances are to the priorities clarified in the Bible.  At present these may or may not be the concerns that are the noisiest in out culture.


There are at least four filters I use to screen what the candidates say they will do if elected.


Sanctity of Human Life


Where a candidate stands on the beginning of life is important to me.  I believe life occurs from conception through death.


Religious Freedom


This has become more relevant to the believer in the last few years, because there has been an assault on the Christian worldview.  Religious liberty is essential because it is based on the idea that as humans, we answer to God before we answer to the state.


Sacredness of Marriage between one man and one woman


Marriage thus defined is not only the old-fashioned way, it is the right way.  Marriage is God’s way, for the Lord created the institution of marriage.  Just because a law is legal does not make it moral.


Psalms 94:20 CJB – Complete Jewish Bible


20     Can unjust judges be allied with you, those producing wrong in the name of law?


Support for the nation of Israel


I believe the promise given to Abraham of the land was an unconditional promise.  The right to the land is not dependent on the faithfulness of Israel.  Rather, it is dependent on the faithfulness of God.  I look to the president of the United States to give complete support for Israel  While some nations do not accept Israel’s right to exist, the United States should.  I also believe we should recognize that Jerusalem is the capital city of Israel.


So, life, marriage, religious freedom  and support of Israel are fundamental issues.


Other Issues


Other issues that are hotly debated – like jobs, gun control, terrorism, health care – are prudential issues.  For example, all candidates want to create jobs.  But they differ on how to do that.  All candidates are for public safety, but they differ on which approach will work best.  These issues matter greatly, and often they are shaped by how we understand the proper role of the state in relation to other institutions of society.


But life, marriage, religious freedom, and support of Israel  are truly essential.  No one can coherently argue that abortion promotes the dignity of human life.  Neither does the forcing of bakers to cater same sex “wedding” promote religious freedom.


I want to raise and answer four questions.


1.  We are citizens of Heaven.  Why be caught up with the concerns of temporal government when we have gospel work to do?


What is the gospel work?  The two greatest commandments are these: Love God with all your heat, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  And what is love of neighbor?  We cannot truly love our neighbor without sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Neither can we truly love our neighbor if we are indifferent to good governance.  Government, after all, was established by God to foster the sort of flourishing He wanted in His creation and among His image bearer.  Of course, after the Fall, it took on the additional task of restraining evil.  The way government is working these days, it’s easy to see in government sure signs of the fall.


When the apostle Paul was in Athens, he stated that God determines both when and where we each live.  It is no accident that we are Americans.  I have to be concerned about the rights and liberties of my fellow citizens.  After all, of all people, Christians have the theological grounding for what the Declaration of Independence proclaims: that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable right, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I believe Christians should be engaged in the political process as much as possible.


2.  What are some vital concerns believers must consider before going to the polls in this election?


First, consider that our nation’s deepest problems are not political, and so no politician or election is the solution for our greatest issues.  Every four years in the American election cycle, we are tempted by what French theologian Jacques Ellul called “The political illusion.”  We are not electing a Savior.


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn prophetically clarified in his brilliant Harvard commencement speech of 1978, one sign of a decaying culture is the lack of great statesmen.  Political calculations are often pragmatic by necessity, but Christians are called to read and understand the times.  We ought to ask God for mercy, and lead the way in repenting of our national sins.


3.  How should voters proceed in an election season in which neither major party presidential candidate would be considered a moral example?


The five scariest words in the Bible are: “And God gave them over… God sometimes lets a people reap the consequences of their choices.  Now, I am not as concerned about the candidates lack of Christian testimony.  Marin Luther was reputed to have said that he’d rather be governed by a competent Turk than an incompetent Christian.


That said, I respect those Christians who have settled on their vote out of a practical calculation for the good of the country.  And I respect those who are unsettled about supporting the lesser of two evils.  But if we are not willing to vote for the lesser of two evil, it means the greater evil will win.


4.  How do Christians gain (or regain) the ability to think critically and Biblically about important issues of the day?


First, we must be clear on our Christin convictions.  The legal status of something does not alter its moral status, nor does it change the responsibility we have to the truth.  Churches must disciple believers in the public application of Christian truth.


Eight plank that make up my response to the political process


1.  America is not my home.  I’m a stranger passing through this land.


2.  I will love my temporal country and will do my part to make it better, which means I will vote.


3.  Because America is not my permanent home, I will not get bent-out-of-shape when things don’t go my way.


4.  Though I will seek to fulfill my human responsibility, my vote is not where my faith rests.


5.  Regardless of who is in office, I will continue to seek to tell others about Jesus.


6.  I will pray for the person the LORD allows in office (Prov. 21:1)


7.  I trust my Sovereign LORD to take care of all things.


8.  I will be a gracious winner.