We face a historic US election event this fall. The VOH pastoral team created the following guide with input from various VOH members. The guide identifies most of the important issues in this election. The guide does not tell you who to vote for or how to vote. This guide does not support a particular political party. Biblical principles are provided for each issue so that we can see the issue from God’s perspective. The guide raises questions for us to consider as we attempt to see our political issues from God’s perspective. The guide does not remove the hard work of discernment through research and prayer.
The best way to use this guide is as a checklist to compare each candidate’s position on these issues or to compare how a ballot measure will further biblical principles or not. Most will find that no candidate fully follows biblical principles for the positions they hold. Some will be surprised to discover that some popular political positions and talking points—whether Republican or Democrat—are not biblical. Some will also be surprised that some political positions their favorite party is against are quite biblical. Much wisdom, prayer, and courage is needed so that we don’t simply vote according to how a political party tells us to vote, but that we carefully apply biblical principles to the issues.
Politics is important for Christians because politics is about helping people by creating a peaceable and secure society in which they can thrive. God is clear that government—even oppressive government like Rome—is established by Him (Rom 13:1) and He expects politicians to rule justly and blesses them when they do (Prov 29:14). God expects politicians to care for the marginalized (Ps 72:12–14) and judges them when they do not (Isa 1:23; 3:14–15; Ezek 22:27; Mic. 7:3). The greatest commandment is to love God with our entire being. Intertwined with that command is a second– to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt 22:36–40). These are the overarching principles that guide our political decisions. Biblical righteousness and justice are based on the principle of radical neighbor love. As a result, the Mosaic law and the Old Testament prophets placed a strong emphasis on social policies that promoted the well-being of the marginalized in society: the poor, the widow, the orphan, and the immigrant (Exod 22:22; Lev 19:34; Deut 24:14). These are areas in which Christians can partner with non-Christians and bring to them the presence of God flowing through us.
One of the unique characteristics of a democracy is that each individual is the foundational layer of government. In a democracy we have a God-given responsibility—as the foundational layer of government—to elect our leaders and to influence them through communication and relationship. While we do not place ultimate hope in politics for righting the wrongs of the world, being the salt of the earth and a city set on a hill includes influencing politics and politicians. We change the world most profoundly through the spiritual transformation of individuals and communities, and this includes influencing our politicians. When Jesus returns, He will set up the government of His kingdom which will be perfect and last forever. Until that time, we participate with the Holy Spirit primarily in a prophetic role, encouraging politicians when they champion policies that accord with biblical values, and challenging them when they champion unbiblical policies that hurt people.
It is important to understand that at VOH, there is a wide range of political opinions—conservative, moderate, and liberal—and those opinions are based on Scripture to the best of our abilities. A culture of honor is critical in this context. How we behave and how we talk to those in the church (and outside of the church) with a different political opinion from ours is more important than anything else. We practice a politics of radical love, honor, and respect toward those whose opinions differ from ours. We create a safe space for them. This is how we love our neighbors. By this all will know that we are Jesus’ disciples, if we have love for one another (John 13:34–35), especially in political discussions.