Wineskins Archive

January 8, 2014

Election Year Reflections: Is There Any Word from God? (Oct 1992)

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by Edward Fudge
October, 1992

6A few weeks from now, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, we Americans across seven time zones will trek in quadrennial ritual to our respective polling places. There we will collectively choose George Bush or Bill Clinton – or, less likely, Ross Perot or some other candidate – to be the next President of the United States. Do we who are Christians have anything unique to say in the current presidential campaign? Is there any guiding word from God?

Churches of Christ have no brotherhood voice, and our local congregations will endorse no candidate or pollitical party. To do so would be legally inappropriate, procedurally unworkable, and spiritually presumptuous. That does not mean, however, that Scripture provides no principles relevant to the process. I suggest three areas in which the Bible challenges conventional wisdom and popular but careless thinking.

First, while we reject the cynical notion that all politicians are crooks, the Bible is clear that they all (like we) are sinners. That means that our next president will be a sinner, as were all his predecessors in office. It also means that no human act or agenda, no political platform or program, is totally pure. However ringing the rhetoric and however noble the ideals, the best goals of all candidates fall woefully short of God’s perfect standard for human life and society. Some sinful people at every strata of society, whether on welfare or on Wall Street, will abuse any system we have, proportionately to their power and opportunity. That will happen whoever occupies the White House and regardless of which party controls the next Congress.

Second, “dirty tricks” are inherently unchristian. “Truth” and “light” should be our watchwords. As for lying, gossip and slander, we ought neither to commit them nor listen to others who do. Such activities are neither funny nor clever to people of principle. They are evil, no matter who does them. The old cliche is wrong: the end does not justify the means.

Third, most issues are far more complex than their vocal partisans wish to allow. Consider the abortion controversy. Why should a “pro-life” position not include concrete proporsals for quality life after birth? And why should “pro-choice” rhetoric not also address the need for responsible choices before conception? Must “pro-life” advocates always presume that the answer they give to the fundamental moral question of individual human value is inherently inconsistent with a “pro-choice” answer to the political question involving states and the federal government? Is there any intrinsic reason why “pro-choice” advocates cannot unashamedly counsel premarital sexual abstinence and lifelong marital fidelity? Have the microphones on both sides been usurped by extremists? Must they be?

Or consider the much-discussed matter of “values.” Which is more important: personal morality (holiness), or concern for the powerless and needy (justice)? Biblical prophets consistently demand both. In a non-theocratic society, what is government’s proper role in establishing either? Assuming the answer is at least “some,” at what level of government is regulation most appropriate and most effective?

Should social regulation merely prohibit evil conduct, or coerce good behavior, or both? And to what extent? Ought human law seek to enforce all God’s commandments? If not all of them, how many and which ones?

Why do the advocates of the poor and disenfranchised, who denounce so eloquently the sins of discrimination and middle-class indifference, not also promote with equal volume the virtues of hard work, responsibility and persistence as keys which free from the debilitating chains of ignorance and poverty? What, in the meantime, do proponents of free enterprise and “trickle-down” economics have to say to the fatherless family with an empty cupboard, or to the able-bodied men and women who are eager to work but lack the education, training or contacts to find jobs they can perform?

Amidst the ambiguities, the Bible assures us that God ultimately prsides over all the nations. Societies, like individuals, have character whether good or evil, and character has consequences. Earthly rulers govern at God’s pleasure and they are accountable to him for their stewardship in the end. Jesus Christ is the only Savior of the world, or of the United States of America, which, we should remember, has no divine promise of perpetuity.

Unlike most people in all the world’s history, we are blessed with the freedom to participate in selecting our leaders. Policies, although imperfect, are important. The business of governing is too significant to leave to the thoughtless. As Christians, let us pray diligently, evaluate carefully and vote accordingly.Wineskins Magazine

Edward FudgeEdward Fudge presently practices law with the Houston firm of The Lanier Law Firm, P.C. His mother was born Sybil Short; her parents were missionaries in southern Africa from the 1920s, and she was born and reared in what are now Zambia and Zimbabwe. Her parents were Will and Delia Short, and their story and hers are told in brief in Edward’s book, The Sound of His Voice. His father was Bennie Lee Fudge, a Christian publisher and preacher who influenced a generation of believers in Churches of Christ and Christian Churches through his “Use Your Bible” workbooks for Sunday Schools. Edward is an author of Christian works and a frequent guest speaker at many churches and gatherings, and operates the gracEmail ministry as well as maintaining its Web site, [].

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