When a Christian votes on issues, laws to regulate activity or impose a burden for some perceived good, he should first reflect on if Christ has called him to impose this on others outside of the faith. The reality of voting is that you are making a decision to impose on others a limitation on certain activity, such as recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and gambling, or be burdened by taxes or fees for projects and services such as highways, stadiums, welfare, and war.
Let’s examine in detail the single issue of abortion. This issue did not originate in 1973 with the Roe v. Wade decision, but has been contended for several thousand years. Many in the Christian community have been active serving both in ministry and politically. When it comes to the ministry aspect, that is directly serving those who have sinned in this area and offering mercy, this is an act of love, “against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:23).
When it comes to acting politically, that is imposing regulation and limitation on the act, we must first examine if this is our place.
This is applicable to many issues but the abortion example allows me to follow Paul’s example in Philippians 3:4 “though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.” I can argue this as someone who has spent over decade as a director of a pro-life ministry, spoken in churches, on the radio, and on television as a pro-life advocate, practiced what I preach in that I have nine children walking the earth and three standing before the Lord, was in leadership or lead numerous political pro-life groups, and was a pro-life candidate for the US Congress. I have exemplary pro-life credentials, but also like Paul “I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3.8). What a privilege and remarkable gift from the Lord that I was able to be a part of ministries. When it comes to my political activity, my attempt to impose on others, I was wrong, and I repent.
It must be clear that my embrace of the sanctity of life is not lessened. I still wholeheartedly embrace the wonderful gift of life from the Lord. However, the Lord does not command us to impose His commands on the world, but to “reason frankly with your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:17), which is the foundation of “loving your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). On the contrary we can even go to the last chapter in the Bible and find “Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy” (Revelation 22:1). It does not say to stop the evildoer. We should examine why we want to take on that role.
I was well received by numerous churches when I came and spoke of the horrors of surgical abortion. To describe late-term abortion would bring disgust to people and they would rally in favor of regulating the practice. However, as I matured in my understanding I started to point out things like those of us in the church who use the pill, IUDs, and other similar abortifacients are practicing the same act in the quietness of our own home. When we seek to regulate the size of our families we violate the Lord’s first commandment, to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), which was repeated but never repealed.
The latter arguments were soundly rejected by many and I became less welcome. However, the appeal remains to this day that the church must practice the full counsel of God. This idea is expressed in Jude 3 “I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.” Our faith means we trust in the Lord and His ways. If we compromise, such as done with the many excuses for family planning, we are trusting in worldly ways and not the Lord. This appeal is to be made to the church, and not the world. Paul states “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
But what about protecting “innocent life”? How do we practice Genesis 9:6 (“Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.”)? When a person is guilty of a capital crime in Scripture it is not the state that is to execute him, but the congregation as seen in Numbers 15:35, Deuteronomy 13:10, 17:4, and the list goes on. Do you have the courage of your conviction to take part in this? If not, what right do you have to vote for the state to do this for you, even if it is only a lesser degree of taxation, regulation or prison?
It may feel good to impose what is right on others, especially if it allows us to feel that we did some good and takes the focus off our own violations. However, finding a call from the Lord for us to do so outside of the church is more than difficult. We are to contend in the world for what is right, but not impose. We are to contend in the church for what is right and back it with our practice. We are then to give and receive grace.
If you claim Christ and received His mercy in your life, yet in your past or even this day violate the Lord’s command to be fruitful and multiply, or quietly use abortifacients in your own life, what right do you have to impose on others who do the same in different ways? Do you think the Lord smiles on you for this imposition while you violate it in your own life? Do you not think that the Lord’s promise in 2nd Chronicles 7:14 to “heal their land” if we “turn from their wicked ways” is no longer in effect?
Jesus said in Mark 7:6-8 “And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ 8You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”” The commandment of God is to be fruitful and multiply. Do you vote to make a commandment of men?
To my Christian brothers and sisters who are politically active in this area or others, you have my respect, I was with you in the past. However, I hope you see my contention that our focus should be on contending in the church. Our attempt to impose the Lord’s commands politically on others must give way to our contending with each other and spurring each other toward the righteousness of Christ.
Voting on imposing regulation on others is not called for in the Scripture. Contending in the church is. Voting for others to pay for something you want is covertness and theft. Before we cast our ballot on an issue, we need to examine our own house.