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Power Of The Vote
by Tom Wacaster

It seems to me that politicians barely get through with their campaign for election and it is time to consider their re-election. In some cases that is every two years; in most cases it is every four to six years. I consider it an honor to be able to have some input into who we select to serve as our leaders, and I take that responsibility very seriously. I’ll not say that I have voted in every election; but I think I can honestly say that I have made an attempt to do so, and when an important issue is on the ballot I double up on that effort. An article in the Fort Worth Star Telegram on October 21st was critical of the negative ads being presented to the public, such ads having little or nothing to do with the real issues that need attention. According to the author, one would think by the ads that the issues facing the American people are whether or not a particular candidate ever lied, where they stand on global warming, or exactly how closely associated they are with the President or some other liberal/conservative politician. A 1960’s song asked, “Where have all the flowers gone…” I would ask, “Where have all the leaders gone?” Since early voting has started, and since the general election is now less than a week away, I thought I might make a few comments relative to this civic privilege and responsibility.

The fact that I have the right, and the privilege to vote makes me think of voting in general, and how some folks have either neglected the practice all together, or they have assumed that voting does wonders in the social and political realm, so why not in the spiritual realm? As for our social duty, Sean Hochdorf addressed this point very well several years ago in a lecture he prepared for the Memphis School of Preaching lectureship of 2005: “It is an absurdity to be passive when issues such as gay marriage, abortion, stem-cell research, and the like are on the ballot. These are all issues with which Christians should be gravely concerned. These are moral, biblical issues. If Children of God do not take a stand for truth and morality in choosing our leaders, then we are to blame when ungodly men take office. One can be sure that the devil is voting whether Christians are or not” (MSOP Lectures 2005, page 228). Brother Hochdorf then provided a quote from Mark Twain, a portion of which appears here:

Whenever a Christian votes, he votes against God or for Him, and He knows this quite well…God is an issue in every election; He is a candidate in the person of every clean nominee on every ticket; His purity and his approval are there, to be voted for or voted against, and no loyalty to party can absolve His servant from his higher and more exacting loyalty to Him. If Christians should vote their duty to God at the polls, they would carry every election, and do it with ease. If the Christians of America could be persuaded to vote God and a clean ticket, it would bring about a moral revolution that would be incalculably beneficent. It would save the country - a country whose Christians have betrayed it and are destroying it. Christianity is on trial now. And nothing important is on trial except Christianity (MSOP Lectures 2005, pages 228-229).

Mark Twain was ahead of his time in many respects, but if he could have looked 100 years into the future I think he would have doubled down on his remarks. Most folks who are responsible with regard to their civic duties understand the importance of voting and the impact they can make on society in general and upon generations yet unborn.

No doubt the power of the vote is not always recognized, and it seems it is not utilized as it should be when genuine “change” is so important.

There is, however, a growing tendency in religious circles to take the same approach toward spiritual matters. Various denominations have, for years, practiced voting prospective candidates into their religious body. I came across the following humorous story some years ago that illustrates the foolishness of “voting” people into a church: There was a man who attended services with his wife every Sunday, but who had not yet received any kind of “sign” that he was one of the chosen. His wife used to pressure him to seek a sign more earnestly than he appeared to be. So the man made up a story that he told the church one Sunday and the church “voted” the man in as a member. On their way home the man told his wife what he had done. She insisted that he go forward the following Sunday to confess what he had done. He did, and he was withdrawn from. On the way home he told his wife that it was an odd thing to him that when he told a lie the church voted him in and when he told the truth, they voted him out. While we might smile at this simple but fictitious story, it well illustrates the foolishness of men seeking to determine right and wrong by the power of human “vote.” In 1989 a group of “biblical scholars” voted on whether or not material in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) was actually representative of the “historical Jesus.” One example of the hatchet job they did on the inspired word of God had to do with the Lord’s prayer. It was concluded by a vote of 26 to 4 that the Lord’s prayer was not the words of Jesus. A good description of these so-called scholarly elite was penned by a fellow preacher several years ago. Such are “mass bred in humanistic incubators with only a few inductees maintaining any real Bible faith.”

Would that our brethren were exempt from such foolishness. Unfortunately some of our more “liberal minded” brethren have succumbed to such sophistry. A couple of examples will suffice. Fifteen years ago a “progressive” (that just another word for liberal, do-your-own-thing mentality) congregation of the churches of Christ decided that they would conduct a Christmas program for the holidays. A poll was taken in the congregation, and they “voted” on whether or not they thought using instrumental music was “uncomfortable.” The result of the poll? With only a small handful voting that they would feel “uncomfortable” using instrumental music, it was decided that the program would go forward, the planned activity having won the majority of the votes. Another example of such sophisticated silliness occurred just over twelve years ago in a congregation that was torn by strife and division. There were actually two congregations meeting in one building. Wanting to go beyond the word of the God, the liberal element decided to call for a “vote” at the next men’s business meeting, and the decision reached in that vote would become the policy of the congregation. As it turned out, 61% of the congregation determined the direction they would go in matters pertaining to doctrine. No appeal to the Bible; no “thus saith the Lord”; no study to see what God had to say on the matter - just a simple “vote” of the members.

So you see, we have not escaped the mind set that we can somehow “vote” in or out what we may like or dislike. When the judgment day comes, those who have “voted” against God will find themselves being “voted” out of heaven. But the vote cast against them will not be a vote cast by the angels in heaven, or a vote cast by unbelievers and disobedient associates. The “vote” will be cast by God, and as someone has wisely noted, “God is a majority, whether we are on His side or not!”
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