“Why I’m Not Voting This Election”

George Yancey recently posted an article on Patheos explaining why he won’t be voting in the midterm elections. He ends his post with “No waiting in long lines for me to vote this year. I have better things to do with my time. I am staying home.”

Unfortunately, no, staying home to boycott the American system we currently have in place is not a better way to spend your time. Even voting third party or write-in is a better option than simply staying home.

As I’ve argued before, boycotting the voting process is, for various reasons (both practical and philosophical), simply not an option in my mind. Although it’s about the 2016 presidential election, I would urge you to read this article, as I think there are a lot of basic principles there that apply to the midterm elections as well. In that article, I explain the Christian’s basic responsibility to live as good citizens in the country in which we reside and to seek the welfare of that country, how that relates to our duty to be involved in the voting process, what “voting your conscience” does and does not mean, and why being consistent carries implications for even where we shop! I encourage you to take the time to read the whole post with an open mind. But, for the bottom liners, here’s my conclusion:

We must, both as faithful Christians and good citizens, vote for the candidate whose policies will most effectively preserve the welfare of the nation, protect innocent life, punish evil, and provide for a tranquil and quiet life for us and our neighbor. — “On Citizenship, Voting, and Starbucks”


Postscript: It’s tempting—especially for Christians—to have the mindset that says “I don’t really care who wins this election; it ultimately doesn’t matter.” I think this is misguided, as it fails to sufficiently take into account our duty to love our neighbor, and falls prey to the error of being “so heavenly-minded that we’re of no earthly good.” But that’s a point for another post.

PPS: In my opinion, state and local elections are actually, in many ways, more significant than national elections, and it’s becoming quite perturbing to hear so many folks preoccupied with the national stage who have no idea who their own governor, mayor, or sheriff is. I imagine as the social justice mayhem swells, we will see a shift in that regard.

 

 

 


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What is the Church’s Social Responsibility?

I believe the primary mission of the local church to the lost is to provide not material, but spiritual relief by proclaiming the good news of eternal life by grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In times of crisis, our primary mission as the local church is to offer comfort, hope, and biblical counsel to help people respond to trials and suffering in a way that glorifies God and helps them grow to better know, love, and follow Christ.

This position is rather unpopular in our current climate, especially in light of the recent conversations surrounding social justice and the gospel. One of the issues that I’ve seen rise to the surface in the midst of the vitriolic attack, debate, and defense of the SJ&G Statement, is a failure to distinguish between an individual Christian’s responsibility and interaction with the world, and the local church as a corporate body holding the keys of the kingdom. That distinction is crucial in understanding our role in the community, culture, political sphere, and world.

It’s challenging to sort through the various factors at play in seeking to understand the church’s social responsibility, and especially difficult to articulate this position, for a number of reasons. I encourage you to prayerfully consider this list of resources as you seek to understand the church’s responsibility, our responsibility as individual Christian citizens, and the relationship between evangelism and material aid.

The Social Responsibility of the Local Church and the Mission of Missions

Series on Christians, the Church, and Culture

Are All Biblical Commands Corporate?

My Church Loves the Poor, So I Don’t Have To

Discontinuity, Israel, and the Church

Mercy Ministry is not Kingdom Work

Responding to Tragedy by Giving Money (practical steps)

The Call to Minister to the Poor

Dispensationalism, Keller, and the Poor

Biblical Pillars of Mercy Ministry

Examples of Mercy Ministry

What’s Wrong With the Recent Evangelical “Social Justice” Movements?

“Churches” or “Christians” and Culture?

How Christians and Churches Prioritize Going About the Doing of Good

Transforming Culture with a Messiah Complex

The Social Responsibility of the Church (PDF by Benware)

Problems with Social Action in Missions (Cripplegate Series):

Missions: Ecclesiology with a Passport

2 Problems with Social Action in Missions

8 Problems with the Theory of “Social Action” Missions

8 Problems [part 2]

So, What is the Mission of Missions?

Proximity and Sprawl: redux

In his book Church Membership: How the World Knows Who Represents Jesus, Jonathan Leeman describes eight ways Christians ought to submit to their local churches. The second of those is completely in line with the articles I discussed in my post on proximity, sprawl, and the importance of living close to your community. Leeman says,

If you can, ‘consider others better than yourselves’ and ‘look to the interests of others’ by living geographically close to the church. When a person lives within walking distance of a church or clumps of members, it’s easier to invite people to one’s house for dinner, to watch one another’s children while running errands, to pick up bread or milk at the store for one another. In other words, it’s just plain easier to integrate daily life when there is relative—even walkable—geographic proximity.

When considering what home to buy or apartment to rent, Christians do well to ask some of the same questions that non-Christians ask (How much does it cost? Are there good schools nearby?). But Christians also do well to ask additional questions like these:

  • Will the mortgage or rent payment allow for generosity to others?
  • Will it give other church members quick access to me for discipleship and hospitality?

Must a Christian move close to other members of his or her church? No, the Bible doesn’t command this. But it’s one concrete way to love your church.

 

 

 

 

 

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