Ethics

Big Questions

Q Is it important for Christians to seek out and support candidates who are also Christians for political office?

A Underlying this question is a good desire to help further God’s kingdom ways in our countries. Let me suggest a few points to consider:

First, are the candidate’s values and actions consistent with biblical norms for integrity and leadership? This is more important than whether a candidate self-identifies as Christian. Character counts more than labels.

Second, in choosing candidates, we should not only seek those whose policies favor or benefit only Christians. Seeking the common good is a venerable Christian tradition. We are asked to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39). And by seeking everyone’s peace and welfare, we too will prosper (Jer. 29:7).

Finally, we need to apply biblical principles and themes in helping us discern which public policies can best help achieve God’s peace and welfare for the common good. For instance, the biblical principles of justice, truth, and shalom, among other principles, can guide us in discerning policies.

Shalom is a biblical Hebrew word that is usually translated as “peace” in English. But shalom means more than lack of conflict or violence. It means flourishing, prosperity, harmonious relationships—the way things are meant to be.

Biblical justice is always tied to shalom. It is not treating everyone the same but giving everyone their due in order to achieve God’s shalom. Policies based on lies and false information should not be supported by Christians who value God’s truth.

In short, we need to immerse ourselves into the biblical worldview and to research political promises or policies in order to discern how to vote. Of course, we will never find perfect candidates or perfect policies. We need prayerful wisdom to choose the better option. I recommend Steven Monsma's book, Healing for a Broken World: Christian Perspectives on Public Policy (Crossway 2008), as a helpful resource.

About the Author

Shiao Chong is editor-in-chief of The Banner. He attends Fellowship Christian Reformed Church in Toronto, Ont.

Shiao Chong es el redactor jefe de The Banner. El asiste a Iglesia Comunidad Cristiana Reformada en Toronto, Ont. 

시아오 총은 더 배너 (The Banner)의 편집장이다. 온타리오 주 토론토의 펠로우쉽 CRC에 출석한다.

See comments (1)

Comments

Thanks Shiao for a helpful answer.  I might add that it is also important to consider what party (in the U.S. - Republican, Democrat, or Libertarian) you support, and then asking which candidate will best promote the platform or core values of your preferred party.  Each party (Republican or Democrat) have very distinct and different core values from each other.  So consider that you are not only choosing an individual and that individual’s values but also a political party and its values.  It’s well worthwhile to look up the platform of each party to see where you might want to align yourself.

X