In one week, the votes will be cast and a new President of the United States of America will have been chosen. The next four years will then begin to be shaped by a new political constellation of competing forces. Some will seek power and influence for good, and some will seek it for its own sake. Some will truly seek the wellbeing of the whole nation, some will seek their own wellbeing. Some will desire to honor God, and some will not. How should a Christian understand these things and what is his or her role as a citizen?
This election cycle has reminded me a great deal of the era through which the great Augustine of Hippo lived in the beginning of the fifth century. He witnessed the fall of Rome, and his grief and sorrow produced one of the greatest of all Christian writings, The City of God. Augustine saw in retrospect that he had wrongly placed the culture of the empire above the kingdom of God. One was eternal and one was of this earth. Something similar is occurring for many Christian people in my country today. We have had a tendency to deify our political and governmental system, and we have been in error to do so. It is a structure made by men, and it is vulnerable to all the sins of men. What then must a Christian, a citizen of God’s kingdom, do?
First, we must render to Caesar what is Caesars, as our Lord Jesus taught. There are duties that we owe the state, and we have an obligation to perform them. We are to obey the law. We are to pay our taxes.
Second, I believe, we are to seek to have an influence for that which is true and just, that which is honorable and good. Living as I do in a country where I am free to take my part in the governance of the nation, I believe I must prayerfully do my part. To abstain is to forfeit my freedom. It was once said: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” Too many good and Christian men have not done their civic duty. We have lived in an insular Christian world, and the forces that would destroy our freedom have ascended to power.
Next week it is our civic duty to vote. It will not be a happy day for most of us. But we must seek to influence the outcome of this election to the best of our ability. The bigger challenge will come in the days and weeks after. What shall we do?
Of all the things that I pray, uppermost for my nation is that we will begin to work for the unity of the body of Christ in the Truth.
According to current demographics, over 70% of the people of my nation claim to be Christians. This is more than enough to influence, under the laws of our land, the entire nation. This could be an overwhelming governing majority, if we were united. Praying and working together, with the help of God, we could change the trajectory of this land. If we were united.
My civic duty next week is to vote. After that, as a Christian citizen, I must be willing to pray and work for the common good. I cannot sit on the sidelines.
— Jon Shuler
1 Nov 2016