Last week I sat and watched eagerly as the Iowans caucused around GOP candidates. It quickly became apparent that three types of voters were going to be represented in those meetings. While results from the New Hampshire primary have not as of my writing this come in, I am certain that those results will not have a major effect on what needs to be shared here. You see in this time of year perhaps better than at any other time we see the call for us to unite around a candidate who can win. The conventional wisdom makes the case that unless people do coalesce around a candidate early, there is no hope for the cause in the upcoming election. Further the candidates take these votes as indications of the popular support for their platforms even though the majority of the time the primary elections are more indicative of financial support or the all elusive commodity, electability.
How should a believer understand this process? Further, should a Christian succumb to the pressure to coalesce around a candidate whom they may not ideally support but are convinced he is electable? Though my expertise is not in elections nor is it in politics, allow me to offer a spiritual eye to this process and to what should follow. First, elections are not so much about voting our convictions as they are about selecting the candidate who most closely shares those convictions. Therefore, elections require that we first know our beliefs and convictions. Second, primary elections are not at all about electability. Primary elections are more about setting the agenda for the debate ahead by supporting those candidates who share our convictions and vocally argue them before the people. Thirdly, coalescing around an electable front runner is the responsibility of the nominating conventions not the primaries. Therefore we should not begin to coalesce until the nominating conventions arrive.
Let me give you a biblical example of an ancient campaign rally that led to ultimate folly. In Genesis 11:3 we hear the speech of men one to another “Come, let us make bricks…” for a public works program. Not only were the jobs to be plentiful, for brick construction and mineral resource mining, but the speech continues in verse 11:4 “let us build ourselves a city and a tower.” These people were building a whole city with public housing, hospitals, schools, and best of all an iconic symbol that no one would forget. ” Finally the speech concludes “let us make a name for ourselves lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” These candidates wanted everyone to get along and live in one accord in such a way that the whole world would notice.
One problem! While this was a popular, electable platform for any candidate to draw a crowd in order to win public support, this platform was totally against God’s revealed Word which commanded the people to subdue, have dominion over, and fill the earth. The vote of the only one who mattered was that these candidates and this platform could not continue because it was a direct violation of His Word and will. Further the Lord God knew if He voted to affirm and allow this construction it would result in the hardened hearts the world over to gospel call. Therefore the Lord confused their language so the could not coalesce around any one leader to complete the work.
Thus let me encourage you to do three things as our South Carolina Primary approaches. If you plan to vote, know your own convictions, particularly allow the Word of God to lead you. Second, support the candidate who shares your convictions and will shout those convictions in front of every crowd he gathers. As believers our we should always want debates to include good theology. Third, prepare yourself to decide as to whether or not to coalesce around the electable front runner depending upon how that person’s platform is led by the revealed Word of God.