Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Sufficiency of Scripture in Choosing Leaders

Well, we are only a little under a year and a half away from another presidential election and the rhetoric has already started, as have the pragmatic calls from professing Christians to vote for just about anyone but the current president.  Far too many professing believers do not take their Bibles to the ballot box and if they do I think it is only used to stand on so they can reach the ballot.  But if we do not seek God’s word for who we are to vote for then our only other alternative is to turn to ourselves and that seldom, if ever, turns out well.  It is when we seek to find candidates that are biblically qualified as God’s word lays out that God is glorified and that is to be our goal.  While we desire to see the tyrannical leadership that is in office removed, our first goal as a child of God is to seek to glorify HIm in our voting.  This does not just happen via the results of an election but in the manner those results are reached.

God is not glorified when we seek to find the “most” qualified candidate.  He is not qualified when we simply seek to find the “least” evil candidate.  However, He is glorified when we vote using His word, all of it, as our standard.  How often does one vote for a candidate that would never be qualified to be an elder or deacon in ones church? But is that not the issue, as even in the church the standards for those God has called to lead us have been so minimized that anyone can fill the position as long as they appear to provide us some benefit.  This is all endemic of an even greater issue and that is the issue of not seeing God’s word as all sufficient.  I say “all” sufficient as many claim God’s word as being sufficient but they only mean, at best, as it relates to “spiritual” matters.  This, however, misses the point that all things are spiritual.  I wrote on the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture some months ago, The Sufficiency of Scripture, ALL of Scripture, and it is still relevant today. 2 Tim 3:16-17 does not just speak to the inspiration of Scripture but also speaks to the sufficiency of it as it is God’s word that equips us for every good work and choosing leaders is a good work that God has called us to take part in.

I write all of this to encourage Gods people to seek God for direction in voting and not to wait till November of 2012, start now.  I hesitated here when speaking of God’s direction to use the word guidance as often the word guidance is seen more about seeking God for suggestions, when in truth God’s word is much more directive.  It does more than simply making suggestions for such things as who we seek to be our leaders.  God sets out qualifications for those He desires us to seek as leaders and not just in the church but also in the nation.  One resource that I found very helpful was a talk given given by Doug Phillips called: Biblical Principles of the Ballot Box (you can also go get the MP3 here).  While some may not agree with the  conclusions Mr. Philips arrives at it will drive one to find biblical rebuttals rather than seeking the pragmatic conclusions which we so often find ourselves doing.  The world may not understand any of this but we are not called to make account to the world for our actions but to God.  Let us be able to stand before God and say we chose candidates that His word directed us to chose and not that we chose candidates that met most or some of His qualification but were the best of the bunch.

Elections are just another test of who we trust, God our something else.  Let us stand with Joshua and be able to say that  “as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15). It is when we stand according to God’s word in light of all that may look pleasing or best that we most glorify God.  Let us choose all of our leaders by God’s standards and not ours.  Let us seek to support the most qualified men of God that God has placed among us, and they do exist.

Start now to scour scripture for God’s qualifications for the men He desires to lead us and be ready to make decisions based on those very same words.  Do not let the world lead you to think that God’s word is not sufficient to make choices for choosing leaders.  At the end of the day no matter who wins an election God is in control and it is God we will have to answer to and until we begin to reveal to God our reliance on HIm and His word we will get the leadership we deserve.

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams


The Tool said...

Excellent article Tony. This needs to be read by all professing Christians. This concept of "The whole Counsel of scripture" is a foreign concept in the church. God does direct us on how to choose & elect our leaders.

I am going to re-post on Facebook.


Tony said...

Thanks Tom, we just have to pray and teach this over and over so that people come to realize that scripture is truly sufficient.

Kaitiaki said...

Ok, Tony, I hear what you say. Now - being practical - what do you suggest we do when NONE of the candidates meets the criteria of God's Word?

That's really the crunch point, isn't it? I have heard the same sort of thing said time and again from pulpits and from Christians in discussion; but where ARE the godly men and women standing for election?

One of the few I have met who seemed to fill the bill explained to me that, of course, he didn't believe it was necessary to attend Church every Sunday - Christianity is of the heart not ritual and Church things! Another believed it was important personally to be a Christian but (of course) the Bible doesn't talk about how a prison should be run ... and so we could go on.

Tony said...


While I understand the seeming dilemma I think it comes from the false premise that we are commanded by God to vote for any viable candidates, let alone commanded to vote at all if there are not candidates that meet God’s standards. Instead we are to seek after qualified candidates and thus that is whom we need to vote for. Is it possible that a vote for a candidate that is qualified may lead to a win for another candidate who is not qualified? Well, from our perspective it may appear that way but since all leaders are placed there by God (Rom 13:1) then the leaders we have are there by God’s hand. He can place them by our disobedience and by our obedience. This does not mean we take the choosing of leaders lightly. Actually we need to take our decisions very seriously and do so by the only standard that is infallible, God’s word

We are accountable to God for our decisions on leaders and not to any other. Thus if we hold to God’s standards we can then stand before God confident we have done as His word leads us to do. If one finds no qualified candidates I feel one should write in one and if that does not seem possible you could even write in that there were no biblically qualified candidates. This may seem unproductive to some but since it reflects a reliance on God’s standards I do not believe it is so.

I should also add that there are qualified men, I do not see the allowance in God’s word for our choosing of female civil magistrates, it is just that far too many take a pragmatic approach and do not support such men because they feel they cannot win. If we do not start now to take a stand for the sufficiency of Gods word in all areas of life, including politics, things will not change. Will this take time, well it will take as much time as God allows for us to show our obedience to His word.

While I know many professing believers do not hold to this view of voting I have not been able to align the current, often pragmatic, approach to scripture, as it relates to such things as voting, and thus am constrained By God’s word.