Politics and Religion by Gene Appel

October 6, 2012

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I received this blog entry from Gene Appel who is the Senior Pastor of Eastside Community Church in  Fullerton, California. You can follow Gene on Twitter @geneappel

Dear Eastside family:

I’m often asked, “How should followers of Jesus approach an election?” We’re in the home stretch of campaign 2012. In less than 4 and a half weeks the mud-slinging will be over and Americans will go to the polls with important issues weighing on their minds and pocketbooks; like economic challenges, unemployment, global terrorism, environmental concerns, immigration reform, gay marriage, poverty, education, and abortion.

I think it’s safe to say God’s not a Republican or Democrat and people who suggest otherwise tend to make me very nervous. Jesus will not return riding on the back of an elephant or donkey. I learned a long time ago that sincere Christians attempting to follow God’s Word can have equally sincere disagreements over how their faith convictions best get expressed at the ballot box and in public policy.

So how should people of faith approach elections? Three things come to mind:

  • First, I sincerely believe as followers of Jesus we should approach every election with enormous gratitude for the privilege that we have to express our vote, values, and voice at the polls.
  • Second, I think we should vote with a tremendous sense of responsibility. I’m startled by the number of Christians who choose not to express themselves at the ballot box, a gift millions around the globe have given their lives to achieve and protect. It’s a mystery to me how any American, especially people of faith, could be so nonchalant in expressing their voice and convictions on election day. Why wouldn’t every one of us want to be informed, thoughtful, and prayerful concerning this treasured opportunity and important responsibility?
  • Third, I think we should be very prayerful going into every election. The Bible instructs us to pray for our leaders. And of course the Bible says if God’s people will humbly pray, seek His face and turn from our evil ways, He will heal our land.

While I don’t want to under-estimate the importance of elections, I try not to over-estimate the power of elections either. Some people think the optimal way to change America is to get enough power, or people in office, or judges on the Supreme Court. But there’s another more effective style. It’s the way of Jesus who modeled for us that the greatest influence doesn’t come from the love of power, but the power of love. The heart of America will be transformed only when there is a transformation of the heart.

What are your Thoughts? Are you praying for our upcoming elections? Are you praying for revival in American? In the world?

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