How Christians Should NOT Vote (part 2)

This is part two of the three part series. To read part 1 click here. For part 3 click here

(A brief review for those following along at home)

There are certainly a lot of people out there telling Christians how they ought to vote

Christians Are NOT Required to Vote as a Unified Entity
In Texas, a large conglomerate of church leaders in a conservative denomination came

Christians Should NOT Vote as a Self-Interest Group
Too many Christians are only fighting for what they believe to be in the best interests

(Now Part 2)

Christians Should NOT Vote Based on Abortion Alone

I guess I should follow that statement quickly by saying that I don’t in any way approve of or support abortion. The federal government has legalized murder, but this is another example of where self-interests groups have overstepped their bounds. There are no federal laws concerning murder, therefore when we try to make the federal law outlawing abortion we also leave room for the counter to make a law legalizing abortion. Hence Roe v. Wade. The debate should never have even been in a federal forum.

The problems which led up to abortion being legal are the real root of the issue. There has been an undeniable moral decline in society: pornography, pre-marital sex, affairs, etc. All of these have created a sort of necessity for abortion within a depraved society to answer the natural outcome of a nation given to the lust of the flesh. This in no ways justifies their actions, but it shows how it is a natural frame of thinking when there is a lack of restraint on the sexual practices of depraved people.

All Christians should be opposed to abortion and should have a thoughtful plan of how to address the problem to see that this horrendous practice is abolished. However, well meaning Christians are going to have a wide range of methods on how to resolve the problem. I once interacted with a blogger who made the outlandish statement that you couldn’t be a mature Christian if you didn’t vote consistently Republican, even if the Republican candidate was pro-choice, because individuals don’t win legislation, parties do. While he may be right about the last statement, he is grievously narrow in his perspective and blatantly heretical to suggest that voting a particular party is a prerequisite or natural delineation for spirituality. There are several different responses. My particular view is two fold: evangelize and inform a culture that has wandered from God’s precepts and eliminate the role of the federal government to restrain the states to legalize abortion.

But there are some other things that Christians need to consider when they are strongly opposed to abortion.

1. Have we been effective at providing loving homes for all the unwanted children in our neighborhood, state, country, and world? If we haven’t shown that we care for the unwanted children that are born (James 1:27), it comes across as hollow when we support the unwanted children who are not born. I know a church in Syracuse, NY that is doing something to make a difference. They are partnering with other churches in the area to attempt to provide stable homes for all of the unwanted children. They consider it possible that the Christian community alone could solve the whole problem of the growing orphan population.

2. Are we going to extend our big brotherly control to go to war with countries like China and India which have the highest rates of abortion in society? How would we have influence over the morality of another country? As a church, maybe we could develop a model that is similar to reflect that we are a nation of priest influencing a nation of non-Christians.

Regardless, abortion is not the only issue for which Christians should be concerned.

This is part two of the three part series. To read part 1 click here. For part 3 click here


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25 Responses to How Christians Should NOT Vote (part 2)

  1. Mitchell says:

    Hi, what about Christians just staying out of the political process altogether? Kind of a distraction, don’t you agree?

    • Adam Miller says:

      Hi Mitchell. Thanks for adding to the discussion. To be brief, I think your position is rather immature. I don’t say that to be rude, but because no more than six months ago, that is exactly where I was. I was completely pessimistic about politics (I still am a bit) and I thought it was a waste of time. But really it was a mask for what I didn’t understand about politics. I said in the post above that every Christians should come to a concise conclusion on how they are going to deal with the issue of abortion. It took me a while to figure out what Romans 14 means when it says “Each one should become fully convinced in their own mind.” because “everyone will give an account of himself to God.” Shirking our responsibility is definitely not becoming fully convinced, but being fully convinced without authority (as I noted above) is only a hair better. Being wrongly convinced about something because we were led to believe it by bad hermeneutic, manipulative rhetoric, or rehashing someone else’s thoughts is pretty immature according to Romans 14.

  2. Mitchell says:

    Hi Adam, I don’t think you have to be uninformed, or immature to think that politics are a distraction. I think that if we focus on our real mission, which is preaching the gospel and bearing spiritual fruit, than the people around us will change. When their hearts change, their political views change.

    I have the political and ideaological views I have because I am a Christian and read the bible. I wouldn’t have these views if I weren’t filled with the Spirit.

    I think trying to influence government in order to advance the Kingdom is a waste of time and distracting.

    Check out a post I did on this subject so you can see why I believe this.

    Vote or don’t.

    Blessings.

    • Adam Miller says:

      Mitchell, Thanks for getting back with me and clarifying your position. I would agree to you that for many Christians, politics are a huge distraction. I even stated in Sunday’s Sermonette that I sometimes wonder if having an monarchy wouldn’t be better for Christians because it would demand genuine faith, instead of the lazy sort of faith that characterizes most Christians today.

      But I would offer this warning: Just because government involvement is a waste of time for a large majority of believers doesn’t mean that it is wrong. It just means that it is unbalanced. When we respond in a reactionary way to something that is wrong, we often view the Scriptures in life of our preconceptions, thus justifying an extremist response. Balancing is very difficult, but I think it is essential to spiritual life and exactly what Paul is talking about in Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8-10. Your argument to not get involved in politics is the same argument people use to say that Christians shouldn’t have televisions in their home, they shouldn’t read the newspaper, they shouldn’t waste money on jakuzzis, and they shouldn’t eat cake, play basketball, or collect stamps. All of these could be considered a ‘distraction’ or a ‘waste of time’.

      Another factor is that just because government involvement is a distraction for a large majority of believers, it doesn’t mean that it is a distraction to every believer. Those are the believers we should look to with admiration. They could teach us a lot of what it takes to be involved in politics without making it something that causes us to obsess over them or deter us from the work of evangelism and discipleship.

      While I would agree with you that government involvement is a guilty pleasure of many Christians today, and I would disagree with the majority of Christians on how they vote and campaign, I would not go as far as to say that it is a waste of time altogether, but that many Christians are unbalanced.

      To be honest, we are saying the same thing, but there is a subtle nuance that could make a dramatic difference of leading people to a balanced Christian life or an extremist point of view that will have to be addressed twenty years from now for new errors.

  3. Pingback: How Christians Should NOT Vote (part 3) | Worthy of the Gospel

  4. Pingback: How Christians Should NOT Vote (part 1) | Worthy of the Gospel

  5. Mitchell says:

    Hi Adam, I guess I just don’t see the point in trying to erect a Christian government. The government is the antichrist’s realm.

    If you read my blog you will know where I am coming from.

    Thanks.

    • Adam Miller says:

      Mitchell. As long as we are still discussing this, I want to offer my observations and hopefully encourage you to pursue a more balanced perspective in your spiritual walk and help you become a more definitive writer so that you can influence others to be balanced in their faith and worldview.

      First of all, I did read a few of your posts on politics and I still feel your view is dangerously unbalanced. We would have very similar frustrations, but you submit your views as an ‘all or not’ argument. I think there is a very subtle error when suggesting that the answers are only between ‘A or B’ when the necessity is about balance. I am not reactionary to problems but try to exercise discernment and insight to achieve balance.

      An extreme point of view that “politics are a distraction, therefore Christians should not be engaged in them” is rather narrow and no different than the same reasoning used by political extremist to suggest the opposite. Both are based on a limited view of Scripture. Your particular view neglects passages like Romans 13:1-7 and I Peter 2:13-17 to suggest a relationship between two kingdoms. Jesus taught us this principle in Mark 12:17 when He said, “Render unto Caesar…” Plus your teaching falls short of a balanced worldview of a government built upon biblical principles to support, “Liberty and justice for ALL.” I’m not promoting a Christian government (on the contrary, I oppose it), but I do think that our political system is built on biblical principles by Christian founders was designed a politic to provide liberty and justice, which ought to be defended according to the authority of the constitution.

      Your point that Christians should do nothing more than vote is complete illogical. What should they vote on? How should they vote? Your view should at least be consistent and you should tell your readers to not vote at all. You offer no hope for them because you lay down an unfounded principle and no council on how people should think about government. This is similar to what the pharisees did in Matthew 23 where they laid heavy burdens on people but didn’t lift a finger to help them. What hope does your worldview or structure have? “Win souls through evangelism in order to affect politics”, but then offer no council on how Christians should think critically and discern how to vote?

      Furthermore, nowhere in the Bible is there a definitive claim that Christians should not be engaged in politics, sports, etc. What you are postulating is grievously treading the line of legalism by suggesting that you have pulled a definitive out of the abstract, or thin air. There are, however, various principles that teach that Christians ought to engage and influence culture. So I would encourage you to be more thorough and discerning in your efforts to “help people be all they can be in Christ.”

      Your point that the government is the realm of the antichrist is absurd. You’re postulating a logical fallacy that has no definitive argument and would not be supported by any major theological system. The antichrist is a real person who will be a politician, but that does not condemn politics. The very notion is absurd. You’ve created a fallacious platform. One bad politician does not spoil the system.

      Your views do not create a culture of logical thinkers, but extremist who have to be told what to think. You’ll inevitably gain a following but they will be like those in II Timothy 4:3-5, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

      I encourage you to keep at it. To keep studying and struggling. To keep writing and work on developing a more balanced and definitive worldview that takes into consideration the whole account of Scripture. You come across as very matter-of-fact, when you should present your truths as a student of the Word. Don’t say things the Bible doesn’t say. Be sober-minded and keep at evangelism. I encourage you to stick around at WOTG and struggle through many of these concepts with us. If you see any areas where we have wondered from what can be shown definitively in Scripture, I want to encourage you to hold us accountable. Finally, I want to encourage you so that you can encourage your readers to seek the LORD, work out your salvation with fear and trembling, and earnestly contend for the faith. These are the themes we strive for at WOTG.

      • Mitchell says:

        Adam, i never told people to go and vote. In fact, i think voting is not really profitable. So i would not need to offer any advice on how to vote or for what or for whom.

        You say there needs to be a balance. That means you think we need to be involved in government and trying to influence the legislative process. So, to what end? What is the over all point of our influence?

        If government was so important than why didn’t Jesus try to change Rome? Why is it that the pharisees were the ones cozy with the politicians of their day and not the disciples?

        Jesus is not a president. He is a king. When He comes, ALL the world governments will be done away with. Soon, there WILL be a one world government. That government will be against those of the truth and seek to harm us. As foretold by the prophets.

        Our country, America, will join with the one world government and all the work we did to try to get our values into the law will be useless. The New World Order will be in charge and they will not follow biblical principles.

        I don’t think we will see eye to eye on this. I appreciate your thoughts and concerns. You pray for me to see the truth and I will do the same for you.

        I will look for your response but I think we will go back and forth on this.

        Thanks for taking the time to respond and offering your wisdom.

        Blessings brother,

        Mitchell

        • Adam Miller says:

          Mitchell, I’m guessing you’re right. We probably won’t be able to see eye to eye on this. But I still want to encourage you to work on developing a definitive argument. So far you have offered nothing more than your opinion. Our society is in a serious mess. Our churches are unsupervised and lead by those who shouldn’t be leading. Christians are not like the Bereans, searching the Scripture to find truth. In a day where those of us in Western Civilization consider our ways so much higher than the rest of the world, we have neglected the pursuit of wisdom, which requires a great deal of consideration and discernment. Even our secular education system is simply creating mindless drones who can recount information, but have never actually struggled with the conclusion.

          That is why I am so adamant about pursuing truth. Truth is an essential foundation for wisdom. Opinions and knowledge are not. As teachers, we should strive for credibility and accuracy. We have to be careful when we offer our opinions because those who follow us may not be as discerning and may end up extrapolating our arguments as we never intended.

          So as a fellow theologian, I want to offer some exhortation to your argument.

          While you never told people to go and vote, you did say, “My view is that Christians should avoid politics. Anything further than voting is a distraction.” Which implies that voting is not the distraction. So whether that was a mistake or not, you did give the impression that Christians could vote within your system.

          Your argument proceeds from the negative which suggests that since Jesus did not challenge the government, he does not care about politics. Proceeding from the negative is a very common logical fallacy among Christians. Alone, it is not definitive. Plus, it neglects to take into consideration what Jesus said about rendering to Caesar that which is Caesar’s and what Paul teaches about submitting to the Governing authority (which in a democracy includes involvement). The point is, you can’t make a definitive statement from silence. That is pulling an argument out of thin air.

          Furthermore, you suggest that any involvement is futile because this world is just going to be given over to the antichrist and pass away. This is another logical fallacy that many Christians are apt to accept because it is a blanket statement and only half true. Still proceeding from the negative you suggest that there is no reason to work toward a stable government. This is the same reasoning used to suggest that we should continue in sin that grace may abound. Why should we work at eliminating sin in our life if we’re just going to get a glorified body in the end? Why would we work at sanctifying our lives or culture? Why don’t we live like the Amish and completely separate ourselves from society?

          You asked to what end I would involve myself in legislation and I will do my best to explain a very complex argument in a brief way. 1) We are the governing authority in Romans 13. We have a democratic republic which places authority in the hands of the people. This is something completely foreign to the era of the New Testament Manuscripts, but it is still a very present reality. 2) Our government was established to provide freedom and justice for all citizens born under the constitution and sworn in. The government was established by Christians, not to be a theocracy or a government where the Church exercised authority over the politic, but one that emphasized the rights for Christians to exercise their faith without the government interfering. This is the legislation we should attempt to protect. Not just for ourselves, but for people of all walks of life. The democratic republic is not perfect, and sometimes I wonder if it is a hindrance, but it is the establishment of the American’s liberty and therefore worth upholding if nothing more than for the expression of love we can show to the world by providing freedom and justice for all. 3) God has called us to be both salt and light. Though I don’t mean to pull a definitive out of the abstract (another common logical fallacy among Christians) I think it is a consistent principle in Scripture that we are supposed to love our neighbors, stand up for truth, and rub shoulders with the world in culture. We cannot remove ourselves from the systems of this world. We need to navigate through life while interacting with unbelievers. This was modeled by Jesus clearly in the gospels. Jesus took time to go to weddings, heal the sick, have dinners with pharisees and tax collectors alike. He wasn’t always teaching about the kingdom.

          In many ways, I am on your side, pulling against the mainstream of Christians who have taken their political involvement too far. Similarly there are those who take their social justice work too far, they give water to the thirsty but they don’t give the gospel. Likewise there is the opposite extreme from the church at godhatesfags.com. These are areas where professing believers are unbalanced. But to find the proper balance we must remove ourselves from the inconsistencies, set aside our preconceived opinions, and establish a solid framework in which to navigate through life. We must sharpen our arguments to get to a point, not simply throw around uncontested opinions. In the pursuit of wisdom, we have to set our opinions aside.

          If this were an argument about anything else, I would probably have ignored it. But I see some similarities to what you’re saying with where I was years ago. I said the same thing that you are saying, that politics were a distraction and Christians shouldn’t get involved. I even opposed Christians voting. Though I knew the whole time that this was solely my opinion, I preached it with the same authority that I taught from the Scriptures. As I have matured, I have realized how foolish many of my arguments had been. I had built most of my positions on my opinions, not truth. I was functioning as a reckless fool who assumed I had learned everything I needed to learn and was ready to start making authoritative statements. But no one was taking me seriously. I would argue with people but they would always end with one of us saying, “Well, I guess we’re not going to agree.” I started wondering what gave us common ground to argue and yet draw such radically different conclusions. I studied Romans 14 and I realized that there is a definitive truth for all things, but there are areas where we can’t know for sure. I decided then that when I speak I wanted to speak with authority, not making claims on the doubtful things. I realized through my journey how many people I had mislead to follow my opinions as if they were true. I resolved that I would strive for accuracy, and earnestly contend for the faith, not opinions. So it is with that word of testimony that I address the issues I see in this argument. I have no doubt that some day you will understand. I think you are moving in the right direction.

          Thanks for continuing the discussion. If nothing else, it has helped me refine my argument and solidify the importance of having a definitive authority.

  6. Mitchell says:

    Hi Adam, I think that doing rallies and marches and picketing and getting involved in campaigns is time better spent elsewhere. If someone wants to research candidates and issues for the vote, fine. That does not take a bunch of time. But when Christians are spending millions of dollars on certain political issues and investing hours and hours of their time, I see it as a distraction.

    There are too many people hurting and hungry out there to use resources on politics. Our efforts should be involved in helping people know Jesus. Preach the gospel to them and meet their physical needs- go out and make disciples.

    Sure, render unto Caesar what is his but I was never suggesting we should not pay taxes. ?

    Also, I never said we should not be active in the community, nor refrain from attending weddings, etc. And just because you think you were ignorant and foolish, does not automatically make me that.

    Jesus nor His disciples tried to influence Rome. They preached the Word and change the hearts of the governed. That is our model too, in my opinion.

    Blessings.

    I

  7. Pingback: The Major Issues in Politics – Where Christians Disagree | Worthy of the Gospel

  8. Peter says:

    Mitchel and Adam,

    I would suggest that both of you read the book, “Blood Guilt: Christian Responses to America’s War on Terror” (New Covenant Press, 2011). Chapter 18 is most relevant to the discussion you are having here. Titled, “The Leaven of Herod,” that chapter addresses all of the issues that both of you raise.

    The one thing that is overlooked in this discussion about Christian involvement in politics is this: a Christian’s witness against war. Political involvement at the local and national levels can undermine a Christian’s witness against war. Here’s one example gleaned from the book:

    Not long ago, a conscientious objector was standing alongside a
    Tennessee highway holding a large sign. He was protesting against the
    wars in Afghanistan and Iraq when a woman driving by saw his sign.
    Displeased with his message, she decided to stop and confront him.
    “Who did you vote for in the last presidential election?” she asked, hoping
    to poke a hole in his armor. His response was, “I didn’t vote and I
    still don’t.” To which the woman replied, “I guess I can’t tell you off as I
    had planned. If you said, ‘I voted for [George W.] Bush,’ I was going to
    let you have it!” Both the woman and the protestor could see the connection
    between war and the ballot box, and the way in which, in a democratic
    form of government, anyone who votes for a government which
    eventually causes war is partly responsible for that war. (page 255)

    Elsewhere in the chapter, it is summarized thusly:

    Therefore, the primary reason why a Christian should not exercise
    their right to vote is this: their witness against Christian participation in
    war. The logic is simple. Abstaining from the political process is the only
    consistent position for a conscientious objector to war. Conscientious
    objection to war is the only consistent position for a disciple of Jesus.
    Ergo, the only consistent position for a Christian is to abstain from the
    political process.

    Again, I’d highly recommend that both of you check out the book (see http://covenant.nu or Amazon). It is the most comprehensive book on the subject of Christian involvement in state affairs that one will find in print.

    Peter

    • Adam Miller says:

      Peter, Thanks for stopping by and joining the discussion.

      I would, however, have to disagree with you completely. I am far more sensitive to Mitchell’s position because I can understand his frustration with government, but this position is completely in error. I don’t agree that government shouldn’t be involved in a just war any more than I don’t think that local governments have the right to police their states. The federal government has overstepped their boundaries and many Christians are warmongerers, but that does not mean that Christians shouldn’t be involved in politics. Your view is far too extreme and completely unbalanced. It’s a VERY narrow view to look at the Scriptures and conclude what you’re saying. Perhaps at some point on WOTG I’ll address this common Christian fallacy.

      Your ‘Simple Logic’ is actually ‘Simply illogical.’ You can’t say that abstaining from politics is the ONLY consistent position… and objection to war is synonymous with being a Christian. That is blasphemous. You can’t make claims that God and His Word don’t make without severely tarnishing His character. Plus, you may remove yourself from the voting process, but you haven’t removed yourself from the political process. Standing on street corners to promote ‘anti-war’ sentiments is no different than a political speech. You’re just as involved in the public forum, but you’re accomplishing very little because you’re not voting for anything.

      As for a contemporary example in contrast to your own, I would not vote for Obama, Santorum, Gingrich, or Romney because they are quick to go to war and I am opposed to unjust wars. I don’t think that the Civil War was necessary to eliminate slavery, nor do I think that we needed to get involved in the War in Europe (WWI or WWII). However, if we didn’t defend ourselves from Japan we would either not be here or be speaking Japanese. I think Ron Paul is a viable candidate that understands the foolishness of rushing to war and the importance of having a strong national defense. So, using your own logic, I would suggest that not voting does nothing, but voting for a candidate that is against war speaks volumes. However, I would not conclude that anyone who voted for any of the other candidates, with a very thorough understanding of the positions they were voting on, was a bad Christian. That’s Gnosticism and the very foolishness Paul was addressing in Romans 14 and I Corinthians 8-10.

      I’m sorry for being so straight forward on this, but I truly believe your premise is in grievous error and I don’t have the time to fully expound on every issue and ramification your statements touches on.

  9. Another opinion says:

    >> government shouldn’t be involved in a just war

    Please name one war conducted in the last 2000 years that can truly meet all of the criteria of the Just War Theory.

    >> The federal government has overstepped their
    >> boundaries and many Christians are warmongerers,
    >> but that does not mean that Christians shouldn’t
    >> be involved in politics

    Imitating Jesus is one of the quickest ways to be booted out of political
    office or to lose an election. No Christian can get elected if they imitate their master, Jesus Christ.

    As Napoleon Bonaparte once commented:

    Christianity declares that its kingdom is not of this world; how then can it stimulate affection for one’s native land, how can it inspire any feelings but skepticism, indifference and coldness for human affairs and government?

    One of the characteristics of early Christianity was its abstention from politics. The early Christian apologist, Tertullian, circa 195 AD, wrote:

    In us [Christians], all ardor in the pursuit of glory and honor is dead. So we have no pressing inducement to take part in your public meetings. Nor is there anything more entirely foreign to us than affairs of state.

    As the historian Gibbon noted:

    Their [the Christians’] simplicity was offended by the use of oaths, by the pomp of magistracy, and by the active contention of public life, nor could their humane governance be convinced, that it was lawful on any occasion to shed the blood of our fellow-creatures, either by the sword of justice, or by that of war; even though their
    criminal or hostile attempts should threaten the peace and safety of the whole community.

    This attitude towards politics—an aloofness towards public office—was one of the primary objections raised against the Christians by their early critics.

    >> Your view is far too extreme and completely unbalanced.
    >> It’s a VERY narrow view to look at the Scriptures and
    >> conclude what you’re saying.

    If you are correct, then the first, second and third century Christians were likewise “too extreme and completely unbalanced.” Our Christian ancestors 1800 years ago surely could have used your enlightenment.

    >> You can’t say that abstaining from politics is the ONLY
    >> consistent position… and objection to war is synonymous
    >> with being a Christian. That is blasphemous.

    All preparations for war, in this nation, are begun at the ballot-box. Voting is the first step; and every course of action begun there…

    During World War I, the Canadian government saw the obvious connection between voting and military service, and insisted that those who had exercised the right to vote were obligated to support the military, and were hence subject to conscription. The same was true during the American Civil War.

    So evidently you believe that killing international and national enemies at the direction of Caesar is in keeping with imitating Jesus Christ?

    >> You can’t make claims that God and His Word don’t
    >> make without severely tarnishing His character.

    God’s Word:

    Whoever sheds man’s blood,
    By man his blood shall be shed;
    For in the image of God He made man.

    So explain to me how a Christian who is serving in Caesar’s legion and takes another man’s blood in battle brings honor to God’s word as revealed in Genesis 9:6?

    >> Standing on street corners to promote ‘anti-war’ sentiments
    >> is no different than a political speech.

    Actually, the protest story that I shared in my previous posting was not an example of political speech. The protester was actually standing and protesting in front of a Christian church. The protester was not anti-war. He was protesting Christian complicity in the wars of Caesar.

    >> if we didn’t defend ourselves from Japan we would
    >> either not be here or be speaking Japanese.

    That’s pure speculation on your part, and is against the historical record as to why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. The Japanese were trying to prevent the US from interfering with Japanese expansionism in the Orient. The Japanese had no plan or desire to take over the North American continent.

    >> voting for a candidate that is against war speaks volumes.

    Your error is in assuming that a follower of Jesus is “anti-war.” Christians are not called to be anti-war pacifists. Christians are called to be as innocent as doves. Christians are called to be separate, holy, undefiled. They are not to interfere in how Caesar conducts his business or his armies. If non-Christians wish to kill and start wars, then Christians should keep their hands unstained from the bloodshed. God has used war in the past to judge the nations, therefore, being “anti-war” may in fact put a Christian in opposition to God. Christians are not to fight until the captain of their salvation tells them to. Until that day comes, they are to “come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing.”

    So, did you vote for George W. Bush for president? Yes, or no?

    • Adam Miller says:

      Peter, thanks for making this easy for me.

      Before I address your statements I want to lay my cards out on the table, so to speak. I hold to the Two-Kingdom theology view that God has placed us in this world to work toward a future Kingdom and he has also established governments to address the present kingdoms. Romans 13:1-7 clearly states the reasoning behind what God is doing with governments is to punish evil. I do not believe that we should exercise our political rights to hasten judgement or to exercise our own judgement, but it is evident from Scripture that this is how God uses government.

      Furthermore, I hold to a biblical understanding the if the Bible does not make itself clear on a particular subject, then I am not free to make claims based on assumptions, convictions, and abstractions which affect others. Romans 14 clearly points out that there are complex issues with doubtful conclusions, but each Christian is responsible for working out their own conclusions as they will be held accountable on a perfect scale when they stand face to face with God.

      Now to respond to your statements.

      You stated…
      “Please name one war conducted in the last 2000 years that can truly meet all of the criteria of the Just War Theory.”

      This is a loaded question and unfair to ask. No war is ever clean, pure, and void of sin, but no institution ever was either. What you should ask is if war is ever justifiable. That is easy to answer. France, England, and Russia going to war against Nazi Germany is justifiable. Israel defending itself from Islamic radicalists is justifiable. The question is really if war can bring about good. But you’re not asking that question, which shows your true nature to avoid the actual issues by weighing your questions so you can have a ready made response. I hold to a Non-aggression principle. I am a Non-Interventionalist. But I don’t go around suggesting that those who think differently are sinning. The question of a preemptive strike is much more complex and though I would not agree with it in most cases, I do not consider someone sinful who disagrees with me. I think Israel might want to consider making a preemptive strike.

      But you have not answered my question. Is policing a state any different than a just war? Should murderers and rapist be free to roam the streets without any fear of legal action? Is government going into a just war any different than a man defending himself from a robber? His wife from a rappist? Does the robber have to shoot first? Oh, but you say, “What would Jesus do?” Well, Jesus never had a wife and he actually came to die. He also walked on water and multiplied bread. You can’t use the WWJD phrase to justify not voting. You can’t supply the imperative from thin air.

      You stated…
      “Imitating Jesus is one of the quickest ways to be booted out of political office or to lose an election. No Christian can get elected if they imitate their master, Jesus Christ.”

      So what. It hasn’t stopped Ron Paul, who is a born-again, God fearing Christian, from standing up for what is right. He is for non-interventionalist. Your vote is your opportunity to speak. If there is no viable candidate, write one in.

      I’ll go ahead and answer your last question here. No, I did not vote for George W. Bush. To answer your follow up question I did not vote for Al Gore, John McCain, or Obama. nor would I vote for Santorum, Gingrich, or Romeny – even if they become the nominee. However, I do not consider it a sin for anyone who did vote for (or will vote for) either of these politicians. Nor can it be suggested that someone who voted for Bush was in agreement with his decision to take us to an unjust war.

      You stated…
      “This attitude towards politics—an aloofness towards public office—was one of the primary objections raised against the Christians by their early critics.”

      And your point is…? There are a lot of things the early church was known for which I don’t follow. How is that a solid point in an argument like this?

      You stated…
      “If you are correct, then the first, second and third century Christians were likewise “too extreme and completely unbalanced.” Our Christian ancestors 1800 years ago surely could have used your enlightenment.”

      No, I didn’t say that the early church’s view was narrow, just yours. You humbly compared your views with the early church, not me. Furthermore, the early church did not have a democratic-republic built on the rights to provide freedom for all it’s citizens. So you are comparing apples and oranges. Paul appealed to his political rights. Your right to vote is a right to be heard. Telling people to give up that right because it is a sin is wrong and inconsistent with Scripture, therefore a narrow view.

      You stated…
      “All preparations for war, in this nation, are begun at the ballot-box. Voting is the first step; and every course of action begun there…”

      Wow. I don’t even know where to begin with that one. I’m assuming you’re saying, “Voting is the first step to evil.” That’s crazy. I think I have already addressed this, but voting for a candidate does not equate agreement in every issue. I don’t even know what else to say about it because it is so outlandish.

      You stated…
      “So evidently you believe that killing international and national enemies at the direction of Caesar is in keeping with imitating Jesus Christ?”

      Ummm… No! Are you serious? Oh, wait, maybe you are. First of all, Jesus is God, and as God He has killed more people by his decree than any war. Just because He didn’t kill anyone during His earthly ministry doesn’t mean He is a pacifist. Secondly, a government formed by Christians was not seeking to imitate Jesus’ time on earth. It was designed to punish evil and yet provide religious freedom. Furthermore, your quoting of the Old Testament is not a condemnation of war when God clearly made provision for war and executions. The greatest men of God were warriors. I don’t know how to take you seriously when your are missing some of the most elementary, black and white, principles in Scripture.

      You stated…
      “Christians are called to be as innocent as doves. Christians are called to be separate, holy, undefiled.” (YES THE BIBLE TEACHES THESE THINGS, BUT IT DOES NOT EXPLICITLY SUGGEST WHAT YOU SAY NEXT) “They are not to interfere in how Caesar conducts his business or his armies. If non-Christians wish to kill and start wars, then Christians should keep their hands unstained from the bloodshed.”

      I don’t know where you draw your latter conclusions. It seems you made an illogical lead from ‘holy and undefiled’ to ‘Christians can’t honor a government’s decision to go to war.’ You lost me when you jumped and I’m not following you.

      You stated…
      “God has used war in the past to judge the nations, therefore, being “anti-war” may in fact put a Christian in opposition to God. Christians are not to fight until the captain of their salvation tells them to. Until that day comes, they are to “come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing.””

      Ok. Now I see where you went off track. Your assuming that war is an ‘unclean thing’ without any precidence. Now I’ve got it. You can’t make the conclusion you are trying to make from that abstraction. But stick around at WOTG because that is the exact problem we are trying to help Christians recognize with this blog.

      As a final thought, if you are suggesting that Christians should not vote or involve themselves in politics, you must also conclude that Christians should not hold public offices, work in public schools, or appeal to constitutional rights. I think this is in grievous error for two reasons. 1) I believe the main reason America has spiraled out of control morally and ethically is because Christians have removed their influence from the public sector. Now we are seeing a negative response as Christians are trying to ‘take back’ government in an unsavory manner. 2) The constitution was established by Christians to give everyone equal rights, but now it is being used to limit the rights of Christians. As a Christian I think it is important that we defend the constitution, not by visciously attacking liberals, but by showing them that the constitution was established out of an unselfish love to provide equal rights for everyone, including non-believers.

      There were several Christians in the Roman army. Peter and Paul led them to the Lord and they remained in the army. They had to function like every other Christian today – obey government unless it conflicts with the Word of God, in which case the Word is higher than governing authorities. Furthermore, nothing is said that Zacheus gave up his job as a tax collector, it’s very likely he continued to do his job honestly.

      So, is it your opinion that Christians should not vote? Or are you suggesting that it is a sin for Chrisitans to vote. Good luck proving the latter. I can’t think of a single biblical theologian who would draw that conclusion. Your argument against war may have a platform in some way, but not to the extent you seem to be taking it. If this is all a miscommunication and this is in fact just your opinion, then we can agree to disregard each other amicably. But if you are suggesting that it is a sin for a Christian to be involved in politics, go to war, kill an attacker in self defense, or vote, then I’ll have to label you a fool, blasphemer, and legalist.

  10. Another opinion says:

    >> It hasn’t stopped Ron Paul, who is a born-again, God fearing Christian,
    >> from standing up for what is right.

    Adam,

    What is “right” in the eyes of men is not necessarily “right” in the eyes of God. George W. Bush was supposedly a “born-again, God fearing Christian,” yet we can see how “right” he was in his term as president.

    >> Is policing a state any different than a just war? Should murderers and
    >> rapist be free to roam the streets without any fear of legal action?

    Caesar can police his kingdom any way he wants. Is it not the duty or calling of Christians to tell Caesar how he should start or end wars, or how or whom to punish as a criminal.

    >> But if you are suggesting that it is a sin for a Christian to be involved
    >> in politics, go to war, kill an attacker in self defense, or vote, then I’ll
    >> have to label you a fool, blasphemer, and legalist.

    I thought I made it pretty clear that Christians are not imitating Christ when they bow the knee to Caesar when he calls them to kill national and international enemies. I thought I made it clear that the secular political system has a tendency to corrupt all that it comes in contact with, much like leaven. I would have hoped that you would have remembered Jesus’ warning to beware of the leaven of Herod, rather than do what you did, i.e., encourage Christians to touch the unclean thing.

    My position is not blasphemy, nor is it legalism. It is called “imitating Christ.”

    Military service and Christian discipleship can never be reconciled. If non-Christians wish to join the military and kill whomever their democratically elected officials tell them to kill, then so be it. Let the potsherds of the earth strive with the potsherds of the earth. But Christians are called to be the salt and light. Christians who involve themselves in Caesar’s wars is one sure way for the salt to lose its saltiness and be trampled under foot.

    >> There were several Christians in the Roman army.

    Yes, and there were several Christians in the 1st century who were also harlots, adulterers and prostitutes. And as Jesus said to them, “Go and sin no more.” The same would apply to Roman soldier converts.

    >> Peter and Paul led them to the Lord and they remained in the army.

    You have no way of proving that these Christian converts remained in the army. I’d suggest that you study what would have been required of Roman soldiers in the first century. You would quickly see how incompatible Roman army life would have been to the Christian faith. You can find 9 points of conflict between military service as a Roman soldier and service to Christ on pages 144-146 of “Blood Guilt” (New Covenant Press, 2011).

    >> So, is it your opinion that Christians should not vote?

    Christians should imitate Christ. Christ would not have fought in Caesar’s wars. Governments have historically denied conscientious objector status to applicants who have voted or participated in the political process. Try connecting the dots and you will see what I was trying to say.

    >> You can’t use the WWJD phrase to justify not voting. You can’t
    >> supply the imperative from thin air.

    I never used the WWJD phrase with regards to voting.

    >> Is government going into a just war any different than a man defending
    >> himself from a robber?

    First, you’ve never provided a single example of a war that meets all of the Just War criteria. Second, Jesus said to give to those who ask. If a robber asks me for my wallet, why should I attempt to end his life, or harm him, over defending the unrighteous mammon in my wallet? Give the robber your wallet and get on with life. Now, remind again how this robber incident is equivalent to the US military, armed to the gills with rifles, grenade launchers, bunker busting bombs, Predator drones, depleted uranium tipped tank shells, Patriot missiles, shock and awe campaigns into foreign countries that have never attacked us…please explain again the logical link between all of this and a robber who asks me for my wallet?

    >> I believe the main reason America has spiraled out of control morally
    >> and ethically is because Christians have removed their influence from
    >> the public sector.

    You cannot mandate or legislate Christian morality. Moreover, Christians do not have a monopoly on morality. If you want to change society, start by teaching the gospel to your neighbor rather than using the political and legal systems to reform the hearts of citizens. Whatever happened to Jesus’ exhortation?:

    Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

    >> As a Christian I think it is important that we defend the constitution

    Yes, and I can see Jesus, Peter and Paul likewise defending the U.S. Constitution if they were alive today. Not!

    >> I hold to the Two-Kingdom theology view that God has placed us
    >> in this world to work toward a future Kingdom and he has also
    >> established governments to address the present kingdoms.

    It sounds more like you hold to a muddled-kingdom theology, where Christians and unbelievers are mixed and are yoked together, fighting and killing side by side, for the Red, White and Blue, apple pie, freedom and Caesar’s kingdom. One would never guess from your writings that you believe Christians should “come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing.”

    >> First of all, Jesus is God, and as God He has killed more people
    >> by his decree than any war. Just because He didn’t kill anyone
    >> during His earthly ministry doesn’t mean He is a pacifist.

    Regardless of who Jesus is, you are neither Jesus or God. You have not, nor has any other follower and imitator of Christ, been instructed to kill people. What unbelievers do is irrelevant to someone who has been called by Christ to “follow me.” If God wishes to take life, then as the author life, he has that right. But Christians have never been authorized by God or Jesus to take the life of another person.

    >> I’m assuming you’re saying, “Voting is the first step to evil.” That’s crazy.

    I did not state that. I quoted words from the past, which explain how voting is the first step to war. Congressmen and presidents have the power to declare war. Their positions give them that power. Voting men and women into these positions is saying that you support candidate “X” to perform these functions. There is a connection between the vote and war. This is all that I was trying to get across in my statement about the bullet and the ballot-box.

    >> Furthermore, the early church did not have a democratic-republic built
    >> on the rights to provide freedom for all it’s citizens. So you are comparing
    >> apples and oranges. Paul appealed to his political rights.

    You’re missing my point. Paul appealed to his political rights, sure. But the point I was making was not a matter of exercising political rights. I was referring to participation in the execution/legislation and enforcement of political laws. The early Christians abstained from such positions of political power. That was the point when I wrote: “This attitude towards politics—an aloofness towards public office—was one of the primary objections raised against the Christians by their early critics.” You must have missed the words “public office.” Paul’s exercise of his Roman citizenship is totally irrelevant to this topic, therefore, since Paul did not seek to become a Roman politician or hold a public office.

    The early anti-Christian critic Celsus argued that Christians ought to “accept public office in our country…for the sake of the preservation of the laws.” Celsus was faulting Christians for their refusal to participate in any way in public and civil life within the Roman Empire. Another early critic put it, Christians “do not understand their civic duty.” You can read Origen’s reply to these critics on page 249 of “Blood Guilt” (it’s too lengthy to insert here).

    I think you’d do well to read the entire book. You can find copies at Amazon.

    • Adam Miller says:

      I’m sorry. I realize I was rather harsh with my responses to your statements before. I was brash and short. That is not my intention, nor the character we promote at WOTG. I will only say that I firmly believe your position to be wrong. It is a very complex issue that you have oversimplified by a great deal. However, I can’t continue to address the concerns in this thread. (Titus 3:10)

      I am assuming that by your cryptic nature, you are in fact the author of the book. I’ve skimmed through your 50+ page sample and I will be sure to write a review for WOTG and Amazon.

  11. Mitchell says:

    Adam,

    Can you address Peter’s concern publicly? Did you write a book review without reading his book, as he seems to keep claiming? Since I’m receiving the auto follow-ups for this thread I can see that you are indeed deleting his messages without addressing his concern.

    • Adam Miller says:

      Mitchell,

      I don’t feel the need to address Peter’s concerns because I believe I have made my intentions and actions clear. The reason for marking Peter’s comments as ‘spam’ (hoping the sensors would lock him out entirely) was in the hope that he would give up his antagonistic attacks as I hove no desire to continue the discussion with him. I have made my point, and of yet, he has not made any significant objections to the argument worth responding. But seeing as he has a multitude of pseudonyms, I doubt that he is going to just go away. However, I don’t see any reason why I should address his concerns.

      If I did have a copy of the book, I probably wouldn’t have read any more than I did. Actually, it was quite nice that the book was condensed into 50+ pages. It was more than enough to draw the conclusions that I did. You don’t need to watch more than five minutes of a Michael Moore movie to find out he’s full of hot air. This book is clearly propaganda. I could have written my whole review from the first chapter alone. His heavy slanted argument is built on a multitude of logical fallacies and his conclusions are deceptive and erroneous.

      There is presently a serious discussion taking place in theological cirlcles concerning one and two kingdom theology. Kapusta’s book is purely propaganda from a guy with no clear perspective on theology or politics. It has nothing worth noting to add to the serious discussion.

      I too share a great concern for the wars that American’s get involved in and the fact that many Christians undauntedly support them and see them as a spiritual pursuit. But the intentions are not as clear cut as Kapusta would have you think. He is dealing with a complex issue, and based on his blatant use of logical fallacies and poor biblical exposition, it’s clear that he doesn’t understand the complexities and is writing solely from a prejudicial bias.

      I understand that it’s not conventional to write a review without fully analyzing the text, but I did make it clear that this was a brief skimming (in fact I read a lot more than I would if I had the complete book and was far more generous with my review than my initial draft). The purpose of writing the review, as stated in the article, was not only to review the book, but to point out a balanced perspective on the issue. Much of my review is not even related to the text but is in fact dealing the the real issues. I also wrote a review of “Heaven is For Real” where I stated that I never even opened the book. The nature of my work allows me to receive several books a week from the publishers. Most of them are not worth reading. I’ll read the slip cover and toss it aside. This book would have caught my eye, but I wouldn’t have read any more than I actually did with the sampler. I certainly wouldn’t have reviewed it had Peter not pressed the issue.

      You may disagree with the process in which I wrote the review, but I’d encourage you to read it yourself and address where I misrepresented it. Peter’s comments are just a nuisance. I don’t fear them and I don’t delete them to silence his objections. I simply don’t wish to address the issue any further with him when he has nothing new to bring to the table.

      • Mitchell says:

        Adam, i haven’t read the second chapter yet, but i’m not finding the things that you accuse the author of in the first chapter so far. It’s mostly an account of a military battle. The closest thing to an opinion put forward in chapter one is an observation that the deaths of Christian soldiers is a result of not “putting away the sword”.

        I’m taken aback a bit regarding the imitating Jesus criticism. You criticize the author because he seems to hint that Christians should consider imitating Jesus when it comes to their relationship to the state. Jesus was killed because he was deemed a threat to the state. Caesar would not stand for any rival, after all. No? I guess that’s why John was exiled on Patmos too – he taught that there was another king to whom Christians were to pledge allegiance to, rather than Caesar? Weren’t the early Christians martyred because they refused to conform to the demands of the state? The early Christians were non-conformists in a sense. From what little i know of history, they were carried to their deaths without putting up a fight or resisting the Roman officials/soldiers who arrested them. As much as a nation needs a military, it’s hard to reconcile military service with imitating Christ and discipleship. Any vet who has served our country and made it through basic training can tell you how anti-gospel and anti-Jesus the process is. “Kill, kill, kill” is what you’d hear the the drill instructors yell all day long.

        M

        • Adam Miller says:

          Mitchell,

          Thanks for taking the time to do your own research and to respond by addressing actual content. I understand that there is going to be a difference in opinion on this issue, we certainly are coming at this from differing perspectives.

          I really don’t have any interest continually going back to this subject. It’s really irrelevant to what is actually happening. Regardless, I will make three points which will hopefully offer support to my review.

          1. Jesus told the disciples to grab swords before going to Gethsemane. I’m as in the dark on the reason He would say that as anyone, but it can’t be denied that Jesus said what He said. Furthermore, his command to the disciples in the garden was not a command to everyone after that nor is it a valid warning to not raise an army for self defense. History has a lot to say about how the early Church dealt with government, and I’m inclined to follow their example, but when we misconstrue commands of Jesus and approach the gospel with a tunnel vision of what it means to follow after Christ, I can’t remain quiet. Furthermore, the early Church did not have democracy and a well drafted constitution which provided rights for Christians and all walks of life. I don’t believe that we as Christians should take part in killing. I am against the wars, including America’s involvement in the two Word Wars and the Civil war. I am against the death penalty. My reasoning is that, as a Christian, my purpose is to make disciples, not kill enemies. However, I do not read that mandate back into other passages of Scripture and apply them to every scenario with a broad, blind stroke. Nor do I think that the protection of our rights as citizens should be outsourced to mercenaries and unbelievers. We ought to stand up for our governmental rights to defend our freedom and liberty. However, I would consider preemptive strikes unethical and in opposition to Judeo-Christian ethics.

          2. Logical fallacies can take many forms. Clearly Kapusta’s recounting of events are disgusting and disheartening, but they are unbalanced. I agree that they depict a horrible aspect of the religious right’s emphasis on warmongering and justifying the war against terror as holy. They do not, however, take the full scope of every Christian in the military, they only sight bad examples. I could use the same tactics, citing Westborro Baptist, to paint an equally disgusting view of the Church, but that wouldn’t depict the Church as a whole. Secondly, loaded questions are a good way to make a point without actually suggesting a solution. Kapusta may only be asking questions to later answer in the book, but they are so loaded, the answers he is suggesting are easily determined. Finally, the whole argument is built on a negative premise and the conclusion is thrown in as the only alternative. This is a good way to manipulate people. I could tell that the book smelled bad because it follows the same model of Michael Moore, Rick Santorum, and other poor orators who only have fear-mongering to promote their message. The book is not a scholarly approach to the problem, it’s not written from an expositional view of Scripture, or with objective journalism. The author is clearly a disgruntled person who has settled into an unhealthy perspective and is writing essays out of prejudice and propaganda.

          3. If I were to debate with Kapusta, I am 100% sure that he would have to admit each of the accusations that I made concerning the book. That is why I wrote my review. I’m currently reading Wayne Grudem’s book “Politics: According to the Bible” and although I don’t agree with many of the conclusions he draws, I cannot deny that his work is scholarly, expositional, and sound. Where we would differ is strongly in theological perspectives and philosophical beliefs. I will be reviewing that book by the end of the month (and Yes I’m reading every word; 600+ pages). You might want to pick that book up as a resource for having a scholarly understanding of Christians in politics, even if it is in contrast with your own beliefs.

          Again, I wanted to thank you for taking the time to address the issue based on content. I hope I was not too heavy handed with my response. Obviously, we will differ in opinions and ultimately feel rather passionately about where we disagree. With that said, I would recommend that you appeal to scholarly works in developing your thoughts further instead of appealing to propaganda laden essays written with a particular slant.

  12. Petro says:

    Here’s why I believe Adam Miller could not have possibly read this book “Blood Guilt”…

    1) Adam did not know that the book existed until I brought the book to his attention on February 7, 2012 (you can see this from the thread above).

    2) It wasn’t until February 18, 2012 at 8:05 pm (a Saturday) that he took notice of the book by downloading a PDF sampler from the publisher’s web site. It was on this same day that he said that he had SKIMMED the sampler and that he would “write a review for WOTG and Amazon.”

    3) On March 22 Adam posted his “review”. See https://worthyofthegospel.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/book-review-blood-guilt-by-philip-p-kapusta/ So if you follow the dates of Adam’s postings, what we find is that less than 4 days elapsed from the time that Adam posted his “book review” and the time that he downloaded the free sampler of the book (which by the time you strip out all of the pictures, footnotes, table of contents, index, dedication, copyright and front and back cover, leaves you with 30 pages from this 544 page book…half of these pages are nothing more than the opening paragraphs to 15 of the 37 chapters). It seems unlikely that Adam could have ordered a copy of the book from Amazon, received it, read it and written a review in less than 4 days.

    4) The fact that Adam keeps deleting my messages asking him to confirm whether he in fact has read either the softcover or hardcover editions of the book in its entirety seems to lead one to believe that he is not being forthright and is trying to evade my question.

    I would ask those who are following this thread to press Adam on this matter and get him to answer this question: Did Adam Miller obtain a complete copy of “Blood Guilt” and did he read the entire book before he wrote his “book review”?

  13. Petro says:

    Correction on my last posting: I wrote “On March 22 Adam posted his ‘review’ “… I should have typed “February 22” not “March 22”. You can check this out yourself by visiting the review at:

    https://worthyofthegospel.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/book-review-blood-guilt-by-philip-p-kapusta/

    Again, the point is, less than 4 days elapsed from the first time Adam obtained the free brief sampler at the publisher’s web site and the time that he posted his “book review” on this 544+ page book.

  14. Petr says:

    Adam: The reason for marking Peter’s comments as ‘spam’ (hoping the sensors would lock him out entirely) was in the hope that he would give up his antagonistic attacks…

    Peter: How is asking the question as to whether you’ve obtained a copy of the book that you “reviewed” and asking whether you’ve read the book in its entirety, and then pressing you to answer this question publicly – how can this be considered “an attack”? These are fair questions. I’ve not come across a book reviewer who writes a review based upon reading two chapters of a thirty-seven chapter book. Nothing that you wrote in your review can be found in the first chapter. I challenge your audience to download the free PDF at the publisher’s web site and confirm that chapter one does not find a “multitude of logical fallacies/conclusions” since there were no conclusions made in chapter one. Chapter one is little more than retelling the events leading up and during the battle of Fallujah in November 2004, and then asking questions at the end…questions that were to be addressed later in the book…parts that Adam never read.

    Adam: I could have written my whole review from the first chapter alone.

    Peter: Again, I ask your audience to do just that. Download chapter one from http://covenant.nu and see if Adam’s boast makes sense.

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