Elections and Government

Posted on October 31, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Rankin Connecting

It is inconceivable to me that so many would be indifferent and negligent about voting. I can understand the perception that one vote will not make a difference or choosing not to participate because of the lack of desirable options. But to fail to exercise responsible citizenship in voting is to ignore the incredible empowerment we have as a free electorate to choose the leaders of our government, when most of the people of the world do not have that privilege. Even many “democratic” countries have a convoluted process in which the results have already been determined.

However, we need to be realistic in understanding that electing the candidate of our choice is not a panacea that is going to bring immediate prosperity and solutions to all our problems. Governing is a bureaucratic process that entails a complexity of power structures at the local to national level. Many elements of society converge to create an ethos of values that are not necessarily conducive to our well-being. Candidates can make promises and articulate a passionate vision of the future, but any leader, no matter the position, essentially has his hands tied by economic realities and a polarized constituency.

The point is that no matter which candidate wins the election his supporters are likely to be disappointed. I believe the issues are clearly contested. I shutter to think of the consequences should Americans choose a socialistic system of self-serving entitlements that assure bondage to indebtedness for future generations and thrust our economy into further crisis. I grieve at the blatant rejection of biblical values of marriage and denying the sanctity of human life. I am shaken by the erosion of religious freedoms and casual regard for maintaining a strong national defense.

We should not be unrealistic in anticipating change as the critical issues and changes we would like to see are bigger than what politicians can deliver. The arrogance and egotism of humanistic thinking is shaking the very foundations of family, education, religion, business and government that we have always presumed to be secure in the past. It will take more than legislation and an unbiased media to bring us back to where we need to be. It will take a grassroots return to the moral principles upon which our nation was founded.

I struggle with the biblical admonition to be submissive to government and those in authority when God is not honored by their policies and positions. Yes, I realize this injunction was given in the context of a pagan government which persecuted Christian believers, but at what point do we follow the example of the apostles that we must obey God rather than man? Certainly, we do not want anarchy and mob rule. We recognize the value of a legal system, law enforcement and government authority to serve and protect the needs and rights of citizens, even if we do not personally agree with its policies and court decisions.

We need to realize there is a higher government power that supersedes that which we elect. The sovereignty of almighty God who reigns over the nations has the final word. No matter the election results or how far American strays, He has not relinquished His throne, and His kingdom will come! We tend to live in the urgency of the moment; we want change to be immediate. It is hard to appreciate the stewardship of time and history from the perspective of the One who is eternal.

God’s people, Israel, often made bad choices. They chose evil rulers and were guilty of apostasy and forsaking allegiance to Him. Yet, God was not deterred in His purpose, and His promises were sure. It might have taken hundreds of years or longer, but His providential hand was manipulating history and using even the waywardness of His people for intended results.

The greatest growth and spiritual vitality of the church which I have seen in all the world is occurring in China and Cuba. These are places where official powers deny God and impose restrictions on religion, even harassing and persecuting the church. Talk about economic concerns, the average wage in Cuba is $27 a month. Yet the church is experiencing explosive growth and influence in society. The deterioration of our economy, erosion of moral values and incursion on religious freedoms may get worse before they get better. The turn-around may take generations. But, just maybe, God is creating an environment in which Americans discover it is not elected leaders but a return to Him that is our only hope.

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