To My Fellow Believers on This Election Eve


If we know whom we are for, the right person will live hereMost of you know that I don’t write much on politics. This last month has been an exception as I have tried to wade through the hysteria plaguing this election to find an island of sanity. I fear that no sanity is forthcoming, at least not from this year’s angry electorate.

But I wish to write to you, my fellow believers, about a truth that few discuss much anymore. It’s about knowing what (and whom) we are for.

Let’s examine a verse that most Christians believe strongly but you won’t find in your Bible no matter how hard you look:

Finally brothers, whatever is not false, whatever is not unjust, whatever is not corrupt, whatever is not ugly, what is not lamentable, whatever is not dishonorable, if there is no mediocrity, if there is anything not deplorable, think about these things.

Many of you will recognize that as NOT being Philippians 4:8. Yet that is how most Christian think today. We have little concept of what we are for, yet we write what we are against on the lintels of our doors. Everyone and his brother knows what we Christians are against, yet very few know what we are for.

The problem of only knowing what we are against leads to dissipation and confusion. Imagine if the Lord had requested of the Hebrews that they choose this day whom they would NOT serve. Isn’t it much easier to know whom we are for? Doesn’t that exclude all others by definition? Otherwise, the Hebrews could have spent 40 years naming all the people(s) they were not for. Being for something or someone automatically means that we have excluded other options.

Christians are not to operate from the negative. We don’t find truth by exclusion, but by recognizing it straightaway. It is not enough for us to say that we know what is not of Jesus. Instead, we must know Him alone. When they train Secret Service officers to recognize counterfeit currency, they first familiarize them with the real thing. It makes finding the bogus bills so much easier. So it should be with us when we look for truth.

But as I noted, very few Christians know whom or what they are for.

A pertinent case in point…

I’m sure that a few of you, myself included, attended church this last Sunday and witnessed others sporting some sort of sticker, button, or label declaring allegiance to the GOP presidential candidate. Many are saying this candidate is the last hope for America. They cite him for his strong moral convictions. Some even claim he is God’s own candidate.

I find this curious because of the hypocrisy behind it. How so? Well, if we remember back to 2000 (and I would hope most of us might remember back that far!), that same GOP candidate was vilified by Evangelicals as some sort of hellspawn compared to the eventual GOP winner and future president. When I ask evangelicals today why they now support this once loathed man so vigorously, inquiring when this man experienced the born again conversion that has resulted in this wave of sudden support, I get blank looks.

Truth is, most of the people supporting this GOP candidate are doing so not because they are for him (though they pretend they are), but because they are so vehemently against the Democratic challenger.

Folks, positive outcomes never come out of siding against. They come out of demonstrating what we are for.

Well, conservative Christians are most definitely prolife, right? Not really. What we are is antiabortion. We are by no means prolife. If we were truly prolife then orphanages would be relegated solely to Dickens’s Oliver Twist, and nursing homes would be empty, instead of filled with our elderly parents. Again, what we are against and what we are for are not the same thing. We have to stop pretending they are.

If we were to stop pretending, I think things would improve. For instance, we would start electing politicians who state what they are for, not what they are against. And we would vote accordingly and stop lying to ourselves.

They say the definition of insanity is to keep repeating the same action while expecting different outcomes. By that measure, much of the American electorate is insane because we keep voting in the same two parties who are running our country into the ground, each time expecting a different outcome from voting the status quo.

This is because we have forgotten what we are for.

George Barna has repeatedly shown that Christians no longer know the basic truths of the Bible. And any history teacher will tell you that Americans are woefully ignorant of the founding documents of our country. Again, we have no idea what we are for. It is why our country is in the woeful state it is.

If Christians understand what we are for, then we will vote for born again candidates who are led by the Spirit of God and the Scriptures. If we understand what our country is for, then we will also vote for representatives who are for the preservation of the principles found in our Constitution.

Now, ask yourself this: Which of the two major party candidates is a born-again believer who is also a strict constitutionalist?

Again, this is a question of what we are for, not what we are against. If you answered that neither candidate meets the criteria, then you are on the way to understanding what you are for.

There are candidates running who are strict constitutionalists and born-again believers. If Christians knew who and what we were for, we would be throwing all our support to those candidates.

Many Christians will claim this election is about morality. But morality is little more than God’s rules with God excised from the picture. This is not what our nation can be for. We are either on God’s side or we are not. This is not about morality but staying true to Christ.

President John Quincy Adams said it well:

Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.

When we know what we are for, then we will know how to vote, even if in doing so we choose the less traveled road. We are not responsible to men but to God alone for the choices we make in this life.

Remember this: When we do not know what we are for, God fills in the blank. Oftentimes, what fills that blank is judgment.

In the end, come Wednesday morning, no matter who the next denizen of the White House will be, Christians are charged to pray for our elected leaders. That is something each us us should always be for.

29 thoughts on “To My Fellow Believers on This Election Eve

  1. Great reminder to keep our focus on Jesus, not our surroundings. Thanks Dan.
    Just yesterday morning I began a study on the life of Saul in my SS class. In 1 Samuel 8 the Israelites decide that they are smarter than God and want a king, instead of God to lead them. The transition from living in a theocracy to a monarchy is really a tragic one. Add to it that Saul would even be the ideal candidate today; tall, handsome, from good family stock, and even a humble guy. Although it wasn’t too many years until he was chucking spears at young David’s noggin’.
    When we look to a man to be our leader we will always fall short. Psalm 20:7 has called out to me recently, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”. Come Wednesday, He will still be on the throne and my Commission will not have changed no matter which candidate is elected.

  2. Here’s an example of how crazy it is out there:

    Within some charismatic circles there is talk that the GOP candidate will make it in. And though he is not a born-again believer, the “word” going around is that he will become one in the White House due to the influence of his #2. And become a Spirit-filled tongues-talker. This is why we should vote for him.

    Now, I ask you, how many of the people who believe that would welcome their son or daughter saying, “Hey, Mom and Dad, I decided I’m only going to date unbelievers”? Bloody well none, as the British would say. So if they blanch at “missionary dating” how in the heck can they support “missionary voting”?

  3. Jeff H


    I agree that it is far better to vote on principle (which is why I have always voted for a 3rd party/independent candidate for president). However, I don’t think that we necessarily should vote for a professed believer. Unless we know a candidate personally, how do we know if they have a real relationship with Christ or if they are simply a cultural christian? Also, a professed believer may not have the qualifications necessary to run a country.

    Take our current president as exhibit A on why voting for a professed president believer can be a major mistake. Not only has he been a poor president, but he also hurt the witness of believers here and abroad.

    • Jeff H,

      Our current president fails the test because, while he may be born again, he is not a strict constitutionalist by any means. It’s why I did not vote for him in 2000, choosing instead to write in a candidate who satisfies both requirements.

      • Jeff H

        But why should a candidate being a believer be a requirement for voting for him? Can a believer vote for someone who may not be a christian but holds to certain principles (prolife, constitutionalist, etc.), and has demonstrated public integrity?

    • Jeff,

      The stereotypes of the parties are indeed true. The Republicans do seem to be about little more than money and keeping powerful friends in powerful positions, while the Democratic Party platform reads like the welcome sign outside Sodom. A pox on both their houses. This is not what our founders envisioned.

      On the federal level, if we don’t start showing these bums their walking papers, it’s only going to get worse. Our government works when its founding documents are adhered to strictly. But when it all becomes about money and satisfying special interests, all the while trampling on the Constitution and the Scriptures, then woe to anyone in government.

      We need to clean house and start voting in independent candidates until the two major parties get the message and clean up their filth.

  4. Deborah Jacobs

    is NOT the LORD GOD “against” many things?? is that not made CLEAR in HIS Word?? does the LORD not come “against” those repeatedly that “shed innocent blood”??

    i do NOT think it is a “fair” example to compare the brutal murder of unborn babies to people, lonely and sad as they may be, sitting in nursing homes. i’m sorry, but that is NOT an accurate comparison, by any means and i am familiar with both, believe me. i AM pro-life, but i am ALSO, anti-abortion.

    it saddens me that people treat the “abortion issue” like any other political platform. it truly breaks my heart that we as Christians can be so unfeeling and unmoved. is voting for those that seem the most likely to save the lives of the helpless wrong?? witness, minister, feed, clothe, care for, and vote. i have four children, born to me, and two that i adopted – one that should have been aborted. i think we forget WHO we are called to represent in the earth – do ALL – we are called to do ALL that is within our ability to do and “having done all – to stand”.

    sometimes i believe we like the idea of “standing on our principles” more than the idea of “standing up for the helpless”. who have we become???

    as for the comments concerning “voting your principles” – i hope all that do feel very justified – when your vote MIGHT – just MIGHT – have been instrumental in preventing the horrific death of helpless babies in the future – but, go ahead, vote your “principles” – after all, what are “the least of these” to you?? believe me, it all changes when it becomes “personal” and suddenly, your “principles” don’t matter as much as those helpless ones.

    deborah jacobs

    • Deborah,

      No doubt, God is against many things. However, He is against those things only because of what He is for.

      Once we know what we are for, what we are against becomes clear. The problem is we try to discern what we are against first and by it try to prove what we are for. That is backward, as you can see from my contrarian version of Phil. 4:8. We must know what we are for to call ourselves Christians.

      As for abortion, I will stack my anti-abortion credentials up against anyone on the Web. I’ve done a lot in the anti-abortion movement. No one can impeach me in that regard.

      But as I said, this is not about being anti-abortion but prolife. We Christians have few excuses when it comes to cleaning out orphanages or taking care of our parents in our homes until they die. Instead, the orphanages continue and our elderly parents are shunted off to die in another’s care because we are too busy building our own little kingdoms to tend to them. (I realize that is not always the case with the aged, but it is the case often enough that we should be ashamed as a nation. Honor thy father and mother, indeed.) How can we say that we are prolife when children are left without a loving family to care for them or we abandon our parents? How?

      No, the vast majority of us are not prolife. We are anti-abortion.

      That’s fine as far as it goes. The problem is that it doesn’t go far enough. And that most definitely is entirely our fault and no one else’s.

  5. trevor

    What we are is antiabortion. We are by no means prolife. If we were truly prolife then orphanages would be relegated solely to Dicken’s Oliver Twist, and nursing homes would be empty, instead of filled with our elderly parents. Again, what we are against and what we are for are not the same thing. We have to stop pretending they are.

    Well said.

  6. Jennifer

    I understand the point of what you are saying. But –

    I have to add – it’s not reasonable to compare having your parents (or grandparents) in a nursing home with abortion, and I think that’s terribly upsetting for those of us caring for someone who needs that level of care. (I agree it’s a shame if someone is abandoned in a nursing home – but that is NOT always the case.) If a person is totally unable to care for themselves, and the family is not unbelievably wealthy to pay for 24 hour home care, it may not be possible to have them at home. In my family, my mother isn’t well enough to care for my grandmother – she can hardly walk herself. My grandmother couldn’t even get into the house, as she basically can’t move, nor could they safely get her out of the house in an emergency. Our funds are limited, and our rental house is full of steps, and otherwise totally unsuitable – and with high risk pregnancies, I can’t risk the hard physical work of picking her up, and she won’t let me. There is only one child, and two grandchildren – the other is still in college. She has a MUCH MUCH better lifestyle in the nursing home, with good hot food, friends, and excellent care. We visit her every day. When we asked her if she wanted us to try to figure out how to move her into my parents house, she said she wanted to stay in the nursing home. Nothing is perfect, but she can see it is better. Thankfully, medicaid and veterans benefits makes this safe environment an option for her.

    I suspect you don’t have experience with this and are just generalizing. But please be careful. There is a world of difference between finding the best possible care situation for an elderly relative and killing an innocent child.

    • Jennifer,

      I respect that for some people in extraordinary situations, it may, under some crushing circumstances, be necessary, on rare occasions, to put a parent in a nursing home.

      However, I think those situations are so few and far between as to vanish to nearly zero.

      I DO have experience in this. When my father’s mental health deteriorated after my mother was diagnosed with brain cancer, I moved my very pregnant wife cross-country so that we could care for my mother in our own home. We put aside our dreams. As did my brothers. My youngest brother also moved his family from the East Coast back to live in my parent’s town. My middle brother was already in the area. He stayed with my father to care for him. Between the three of us, we cared for our elderly parents until they both passed away. We made it possible for my mother to eventually move back into the house she’d known for years as I and my two brothers and their families took care of her till the day she died.

      Seeing our parents through their final days exacted a huge toll on all of us. It would not be a stretch to say that it forever altered our lives and in many ways made life afterwards more difficult. Careers were altered. Some dreams had to die. My wife an I not only had our first child to care for, but mother who was like an Alzheimer’s patient. It was an actuarial stress level nightmare the number of stress-inducing life changes we endured. In fact, my wife and I joked that the only Top Ten life stressor we didn’t have during this time was divorce.

      We could have easily put our parents in a home and gone on with our lives. But we wanted to honor them with our love by caring for them ourselves, honoring them as God requires, even as they had cared for us all those years.

      In most countries, this is how it is done. In our consumeristic, “nothing can impeded my rise to the top” culture, though, we see no reason why we can’t dump the elderly off on someone else. That’s despicable and in no way prolife.

      I’ve heard all the excuses. My wife and I had far more potential excuses than anyone else for our situation, but we chose the hard path. And I would not have had it any other way, even in retrospect. We may have suffered for our decision, but I will go to my grave knowing I chose the path of God on this. And ultimately, what He thinks is all that matters.

  7. I agree with Jennifer. There are cases where a loved one receives a needed level of care in a facility that they could not receive at home. My mother-in-law is in an assisted living facility. We visit her every day and are very involved in her life. To say people in such a situation are not prolife is absurd and takes away from everything else good you are trying to say. Don’t let your good work in caring for your parents devolve in self-righteousness and condescension towards others whose care may have to work out differently.

    • Barbara,

      The vast majority of people in these cases are only interested in maintaining their jobs and lifestyles free of stress. The vast majority.

      This is not a case of self-righteousness and entirely a case of countercultural obedience to the Lord. If anything, the self-righteousness comes from people who scream about being prolife, yet who shun adoption (especially of the less “desirable” children) and who so easily pack their parents off to nursing homes.

      It wasn’t until the industrial revolution swept this country and consumerism set in that you started to hear the elderly say, “I don’t want to be a burden on my family.” Where did that thinking come from unless we expressed it through the way we live?

      I see no difference between ending the “burden” of an “unwanted” pregnancy and ending the “burden” of an elderly parent. That’s why this is a prolife issue.

  8. Jennifer


    Your story indeed sounds very difficult. Having been through what you have, I understand feeling strongly about this issue. I think it’s great that you were able to care for your parents in that way. It must be great to have several siblings able to do this, and that you are all healthy enough to help in this way.

    I believe the path of God is to provide the BEST care possible for our parents. That is not the same thing as insisting they live with you if that is not the best thing for their health and not even what they want. God sees us as we work hard to do the best for my grandmother, and I don’t believe He thinks we’re doing anything less than if we struggled to keep her at home. We are giving her the best in every way we can.

    We’re not going to agree on this, and that’s ok. I appreciate the rest of your post.


  9. deborah jacobs

    i was not implying that you did not understand nor care about the abortion issue. i said that i did not think it was an “equal” comparison between abortion and not caring personally for our parents and relatives in their old age. i stand by that.

    i did foster care for many years – that is how i ended up adopting two damaged children and cared for many others. you are right – there are many that may not understand about being “for” life and not just “against” things…but, dan, i’ll receive every single person whether they are standing FOR life or AGAINST abortion – i’m not splitting hairs here as to “why”. the whys are God’s department – HE will deal with the motives and thoughts of men’s hearts – but IF they will stand against the onslaught of evil – they are my friend.
    Matthew 12
    30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.

    whatever the “imperfect” reasons or perspectives of believers, i believe that if they are seeking to stand for righteousness – they are “gathering” and they are standing WITH the LORD.

    deborah jacobs

    • Deborah,

      We will have to disagree. I see little difference between avoiding the “incovenience” of a pregnancy and the “incovenience” of elderly parents and relatives. Abandonment and death await both.

      This doesn’t make me less anti-abortion, only more concerned that Christians gets our rhetoric right before we start beating people with our words. Being prolife demands more of us than simply being anti-abortion, and it is a demand that few of us are willing to pay. Yet it is what Christ asks of us.

      • Deborah Jacobs

        dear dan,
        ok, we’ll have to disagree. i want you to know that i really really am blessed by so much of what you have shared on this blog – you put into words CLEARLY so many things that i felt and struggled to convey. thank you.

        but, on this. i do not know how you could truly compare the murder of totally defenseless infants with being “negligent” in your one on one care for your aged parents. treating our parents that way may be wrong…..but in most cases they aren’t being abused and murdered. the babies are brutally murdered. dan, there is a very real difference here, IMO.


  10. Sandy

    I’m not sure I agree with everything here, I’ll need some time to pray about it, but I have been tellling my children (teens) throughout this election that America is having an identity crisis. We don’t know who we are. I encourage parents to teach the Constitution to their kids themselves, because I don’t know that they’re going to get it anywhere else. We will have to go back to teaching our kids the Constitution and sound Biblical doctrine if we want to turn this around.

    I think the fear you spoke of in another post is stemming from two things. We think it may be too late to turn it around, and even if it’s not, we think it may cost us. Intercession seems to be the best option at this point.

  11. Liesl

    I echo Jennfier and Deborah’s comments. While I appreciate I think the general point you are trying to make that as a whole Christians should be doing so much more, I think your splitting hairs as well. You make wide assumptions that majority of “anti-abortion” Christians let their elderly relatives rot in nursing homes. I’m so tired of hearing from the far left and the far right how evangelical Christians (I guess I’m lumped into that category) are not actually pro-life because their are other life issues in this world. Both extremes are so wrong in that thinking. I do wish Christians gave more to charity. I heard once that if Christians tithed as they ought to alot if not most of society’s issues regarding the care of the poor and needy would be addressed. I think the average tithe is like 5% instead of 10%, but I guess that’s alot better than Obama’s 1%.

    In my opinion, I don’t see any principle in voting 3rd party. McCain is not perfect but he stands and defends issues that I believe in based on God’s word. There is nothing wrong in voting against a man who doesn’t stand for issues from the Bible. I hope that you are ok voting on your “principles” if Obama wins and there is more abortion and homosexuality is given special favor and money is taken from people that they could be using to give to Christian charities or take care of their own elderly but given instead to government programs of unGodly nature. Voting 3rd party is not principle it’s pride. The reality is we had a choice to allow unGodly rulers or men who are closer to Godly values.

    In an ideal election we’d have a strong Godly man in one of the 2 main parties. But we’re only gonna get there by Christians spreading God’s love and work. With Obama in office the ability to do so might be hampered.

    • Liesl,

      As I mentioned in my post, insanity is to keep going with the status quo while expecting a different outcome. If we have learned anything in the last twenty years it is that both major parties are so riddled with corruption that they can no longer be trusted to run our country.

      I have lived most of my life under Republican leadership and our country has never been worse off by every possible measure. While the GOP is merely reckless, the Democrats support a genuinely wicked platform—end of story. Both parties should be ousted on every federal level. Only when they have had a chance to consider their loss of power will they reform.

      Our founders understood this. They knew what they were for.

      We have forgotten.

      I am NOT saying that the majority of anti-abortion Christians are letting relatives rot in nursing homes. I am saying we must be very careful of our rhetoric or else it will come back to bite us hugely. And it IS coming back to bite us hugely. It is why so many people are angry in this country. We must know what we are for and defend that. The current sitting administration gave away much of what genuine Americans believe in. Those Christians who blindly supported that administration knew only enough to be dangerous, and they elected a reckless administration with little regard for the founding documents of this country.

      We have got to start rejecting candidates who believe only in their own skins and the skins of their cronies. Almost every problem we face in this country on a political level can be traced to self-interest and not enough interest in the truths embodied in the Scriptures and in our Constitution. Christians must wake up from their slumber and stop supporting parties and start supporting individuals who are true to the Bible and the governmental truths espoused in America’s founding documents.

      The GOP candidate in this election was universally reviled by Evangelicals when he ran for President in 2000, yet he’s God’s own choice now. No one can sufficiently explain to me this stunning reversal of opinion on the part of Evangelicals. Some conversion occurred here, and I can guarantee you it wasn’t in the life of the candidate.

      We’ve been drinking the poisoned Kool-Aid for far too long and we may die as a nation because of our folly.

      My prayer is that God uses whatever happens to shake the American Church from its stupor. It may take us losing everything we have to recognize that God is no respecter of persons and will not give the United States and our folly a pass on His judgment.

  12. I appreciate your thoughts here and completely agree with you on the antiabortion vs. prolife position. I will add to the orphanage and nursing home scenario the fact that so many Christians I know personally, and millions more I don’t, were fully supportive of the war in Iraq, which was illegal and unjust, and led to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, most of them children. Christians in other nations, including American ambassadors and missionaries, loudly decried it as a travesty and unChristian, many of them even before the war began, begging the White House to reconsider and not commit such horror against innocent lives.

    I have just completed reading the book Wayward Christian Soldiers by Charles Marsh. While I disagree with some of his points, and am not completely sure where he lands theologically (but then that is not the point of the book), I feel more strongly than ever that Christians must abandon the two-party system, and stop trying to achieve righteous ends through political means.

    Thank you again for your thoughts here.

  13. Hans

    Whats being left out of this pro life vs abortion debate is jurisdiction, scripturally the state or government doesn’t have any business in whats really a family matter,
    Having laws against abortion is no more ” righteous” than having laws that condone it
    I don’t wish to imply in any way that I approve of abortions, heaven forbid, They are an abomination, but then so is operating outside your area of authority
    Tamara hit the nail on the head, you can’t achieve righteousness through political means.

    • David Riggins

      I’ve never understood how outlawing murder is OK, but outlawing abortion is legislating morality. Is killing a family member something the State has no jurisdiction over because it’s a “family matter?”

  14. Lucy

    You didn’t mention the dichotomy of a pro life and pro war stances in you excellent article, but it is surely another mark against “pro-life” conservatism.

  15. David Riggins

    From a purely political standpoint, Bush’e failure was his attempt to protect and defecd the United States of American, when his oath was to protect the Constitution of the United States of America. Without one, the other is not worth defending.

    From a Christian viewpoint, Bush’s failures were legion, and mostly focused on the greatest commandment: Love others. War, from the Christian perspective, is never justifiable. Strangers in our land are to be treated well, but the government has created a climate in which immigrants, legal or not, are underpaid, overworked and often treated as slaves. By focusing on business over the citizen, our goverment has created a system of near feudal drudgery for millions. By officially focusing on consumerism, we have a materialistic society that is narcissistic in the extreme, unable to think of anything but it’s own wants and desires.

    Should Christians attempt to force a biblical world view on America? No. Backing a particular candidate simply because they appear to agree to a series of “talking points” that Christians put forth leads to a burning Bush. Moses tried that and failed. The fate of the nations is in God’s hands, not ours. Our task is to live lives of grace, humility and peace with all men. “Grieving” because our choice was not elected is self-centered and childish.

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