There is no denying that in Canada, public policy today is going to affect our lives tomorrow. Even this week in the debates between the various leaders of the political parties, we heard how every vote for them is going to change the way we live and do business. I am sure that you, like most Canadians, are wrestling with the decision of who we want to lead our country for the next 4 years. I thought I would take the time to help us think biblically about what is going to happen in the next few weeks.
But first, let me make it abundantly clear that I or anyone else in church leadership should ever assert for one party over another publicly in the church. Who you vote for is between you and God, and the role of a pastor or ministry leader is not to endorse one candidate over the other in a public church life forum. This is seen as an abuse of power and I have tried to be careful as I possibly can. I’ve even gone so far as to not have a political party sign on my lawn in case it puts pressure on people to vote for the candidate of my choosing. Even though I know I could put up a sign, I don’t want to ever be criticized for being overtly “one-sided” in my relationships with neighbours. Politics can divide and if I am trying to build bridges with my neighbours, why would I let a sign get in the way? That’s my personal conviction, not that of Calvary.
But what I can do is this – I can call the church (you and I) to respond to the issues and candidates from the framework of what the Bible teaches about society, government, freedoms and conscious. The Bible speaks about issues the issues we face. We can respond biblically to the questions of medically assisted death, religious freedom, palliative care, human trafficking, refugees, child and youth in government care, poverty and homelessness, etc. We need to make sure we understand what the Bible teaches about these issues and seek the candidate that we feel would best lead our country to reflect our opinions. We then vote and trust God. Once we have a government in place, we are then called to support what we can.
Romans 13 teaches the church that the governments that are put in place are ordained by God. This means that we are to submit to their authority and also to pray for them and pray that they lead and govern diligently and honestly. Even if we disagree with their policies, we are still to respond in a Christ-like manner and pray that they are open to God leading their lives and ability to make wise decisions. Also, 1 Timothy 2:2 says that we pray for them that they would let us continue to lead peaceful lives and practice our faith in freedom and security
With this in mind though, it still means that we do have a part to play in the election process. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has created a website to help Christians think through the issues and vote in a manner that reflects our faith and practice: http://www.theefc.ca/Election2019
So, what can we do?
- Pray for our current elective officials – pray that God would break into their lives and that they would come to know Christ if they already do not. If they do believe, that their belief would lead them in making wise and thoughtful decisions on policies that affect our society.
- Pray for those who are seeking to be elected or re-elected – God is sovereign and we can ask God to show His power by putting the best candidate in the seat.
- Pray for those who will vote – we have a big problem with people not exercising their freedom to vote. Pray that many would make the effort to get familiar with the issues and vote intelligently. Use the EFC voter guide. Talk to others. Read the websites. Plan to get out and vote.
- Pray for our country – Our country is at cross-roads and we ask that God would provide the peace and love of neighbours to persevere through our differences.
This year, our church facility will be a voting station. We are happy to see our building used to bring the community-at-large together. Voting is important and even though we don’t publicly endorse one candidate over the other, we want Burlington to see that we do care about the process and are praying that God would lead our nation to the right government for the next 4 years.
So we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6: 9-10).
Aaron Groat, Senior Pastor
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