NOTE: The day after this article was broadcast on KSYC 103.9FM in Yreka, CA, the radio station received this complaint from a listener:
Morning. I do not mean to offend, but why is a man allowed to go over the air and tell your audience what is and what not a “sin”?? I’m a Christian, but am appalled that this man spoke so judgementally (sic) and hateful to such a large part of our society. Why would this man, pastor or not, be allowed to alienate so many souls? … Tomorrow’s hope depends on what we teach our children, and I strongly believe in teaching acceptance, love and looking for the good in people (much of your music selection shows the lighter side of life). I plead with you, please reach out to the other members of our society that have now been completely slammed publicly. [emphases added]
Condemning words, actions and thoughts that the Bible calls sin is now hate speech.
November 6, 2016 (KSYC 103.9FM Broadcast) * Download this article (PDF)
Welcome to another edition of Sunday Focus on the Bible. My name is Nollie Malabuyo, Pastor of Big Springs Community Church.
This year’s presidential election has turned off many evangelical Christians because of the quality, or the lack thereof, of the two candidates. But because all men are sinners, the Bible is full of examples of choices between the “lesser of evils.” All of the men and women in the Bible whom God chose to lead his people, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, the judges, kings such as David, and the prophets and the 12 apostles were all flawed sinners. Yet God used them to accomplish his purposes for his people.
Therefore, all elections are basically a choice between the “lesser of evils.” There are no perfect politicians, whether Reagan, McCain, Bush, Gingrich, or many others. Reagan, a womanizer in his Hollywood days, was elected over an evangelical Carter. We are all sinners, so the flawed candidates in any election are no excuse for staying at home.
Rev. Kim Riddlebarger, pastor of Christ Reformed Church in Anaheim, CA, posted a Personal “Voting Guide” on July 18, 2007, a year before the 2008 presidential elections in which the major party candidates were then senators John McCain and Barack Obama. He says that in most presidential elections before then, he had voted for the “lesser of evils.” Also, all of the issues back in 2008 are the same issues today, and are in even more focus this year.
I agree with all of his criteria, especially as a Christian voter. But as a pastor, my duty is not to make political recommendations from the pulpit, but to encourage the congregation to vote wisely, knowing what the Bible says about many of today’s issues.
To summarize, some of the major issues in this “Voting Guide” that are even more important issues this year are: (1) abortion; (2) tax policy; (3) Supreme Court appointments; (4) same-sex marriage; (5) federal spending on welfare; (6) big government; (7) Second Amendment rights; (8) First Amendment rights, especially freedoms of religion and speech; (9) national security and terrorism; (10) racial issues; (11) experience in governing; and (12) personal integrity.
Remember, this list is descriptive, not prescriptive. This is how I will evaluate candidates, not how you will do yours. So here’s some criteria I selected from Riddlebarger’s “Voting Guide,” quoting from his exact words, and adding my own explanation:
The first group of criteria is about “Moral Issues.”
1. “Is the candidate ‘pro-abortion’ (i.e., supports partial birth abortion and federal funding for all abortions)?” Abortion, from the day of conception, to the day of birth, is murder of a human being (Exo 20:13; Mat 19:18). Therefore, definitely no to this candidate.
2. “Is the candidate consistently pro-life (i.e, in tax policy, supreme court appointments, etc).” I will not vote for a candidate who support excessive taxation, whether it be of the poor, middle class, or wealthy (1 Kgs 12; Luke 19:1-10). I will not vote for a candidate who I know will appoint Supreme Court justices who are opposed to this criteria.
3. “Does the candidate favor homosexual marriage?” Homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible, just like any other sexually immoral act (Exo 20:14; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9-10), so I will not vote for this candidate.
4. “Does the candidate support the traditional definition of marriage?” The Bible says marriage must be between a man and a woman (Gen 1:27; 2:24, so I will say yes to this candidate.
8. “Does the candidate express their concern about the poor and suffering through the advocacy of increased federal spending and centralized government programs?” Big government through doleouts is not what is needed to alleviate the suffering of the poor. What is needed is welfare reform and job training (2 Thess 3:10-12).
The second group of criteria involves “Constitutional Issues”
1. “Does the candidate favor limited representative government?” The federal system is based on the right of the states to enact their own laws. It must not dictate what states should do, as long as the state does not violate the Constitution. I will vote for such a candidate.
2. “Does the candidate defend Second Amendment rights?” I will vote for such a candidate.
3. “Does the candidate understand that the establishment clause of the First Amendment does not trump the free exercise clause?” If the candidate supports the freedom to exercise one’s own religion and to free speech, I will support that candidate. The right of churches to preach and teach the Christian Gospel should not be hindered (Acts 5:27-29; Eph 4:1).
The third group of criteria is disqualifications, or personal reasons why Riddlebarger will not vote for a particular candidate:
1. “Does the candidate engage in rhetorical class warfare—‘two Americas,’ ‘tax the wealthiest Americans’ etc?” Class warfare is about the same as Communism (Gal 3:28).
2. “Does the candidate play the race card? (This is different than addressing racial issues–something which is vital)” Racial tension has never been in such a high state since the 1960s (Gen 12:1-3; Psa 45:17; Gal 3:28; Rev 5:9).
3. “Does the candidate have a thin resume for office? Executive office holders (i.e. governors) are generally better suited for high office than is a legislator (i.e. senators).”
4. “Does the candidate make unsubstantiated concerns (i.e. global warming) important themes of their campaign?” Global warming is real, but not because of human-generated pollution. Rather, warming and cooling are part of the earth’s weather cycles (Psa 48:7-8).
5. “Does the candidate invoke “Christian America” themes?” As I mentioned before, there is no “Christian nation” today other than God’s chosen nation—the church (1 Pet 2:9-10).
6. Does the candidate see the judiciary as a means of enacting public policy? Again, appointing justices of the Supreme Court and other courts plays an important role in the future (Isa 9:6-7).
The fourth group of criteria is qualifications, or personal reasons why Riddlebarger will vote for a candidate:
“1. Is the candidate well-qualified for the position?
“2. Does the candidate understand the vocation of “public service”?
“3. Does the candidate possess strong leadership skills?
“4. Does the candidate possess good communication skills?
“5. Does the candidate manifest personal integrity?
“6. Does the candidate understand the great threat posed by militant Islam?” I consider this last criteria as one of the most important, because of the recent terrorist attacks not only here in our country, but throughout the world. I will not likely vote for a candidate who says that Islam is a “religion of peace.”
Again, this voting guide is a personal voting guide for me, but it is a good voting guide for all, especially Christians. You may order the list above any way you want in the order of importance as you see it according to the Bible’s commandments. But my first five in order of importance is as follows: (1) abortion and homosexuality; (2) national security; (3) taxation and government spending; (4) First and Second Amendment rights; and (5) personal integrity.
Big Springs Community Church invites you to its Sunday school and worship service this Sunday, November 6. On this election eve, the sermon theme will be: The Verdict: “In Those Days, There Was No King in Israel. Everyone Did What Was Right in His Own Eyes” based on Judges 19-21. We will briefly touch on how to vote Biblically and wisely. If you have any questions or comments about this subject, please call us, visit us this Sunday, or visit our website: www.bigspringsurc.org. I will post this broadcast on our website for your reference.
Let us pray: Almighty God, to whom we must account for all our powers and privileges: Guide the people of the United States, California, Siskiyou County, and our cities and communities in the election of officials and representatives; that, by faithful administration and wise laws, the rights of all may be protected and our nation be enabled to fulfill your purposes. We are reminded in Daniel 2:21 that you set up kings and you remove kings, and that after this election, no matter who is elected, Christ is still King of Kings. Give us faith and trust in Jesus our heavenly King that he will work all things out for the good your people, whether our leaders are good or evil. For we ask these in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.