Recently, it has come to my attention that only about 50 per cent of Christians ever bother to vote. Anecdotal, to be sure, but from my own experience, entirely believable. How else can we account for the fact that we live in a country that kills unborn babies, experiments on tiny human life, has now institutionalized homosexual “marriage” and is considering legalizing prostitution?
Many conservative Christians believe the world is going to hell in a hand basket and that all they need to do is just hang on until Jesus comes. They would argue that the only lasting help for the world is the preaching of the Gospel, so why be concerned about lesser enterprises like getting involved in the great moral and political issues of our country? Many of these same Christians might agree that we should pray about moral issues, but would be very reticent about political activism.
The tragedy of the above portrait is that it doesn’t square with the New Testament. To abandon the world for individualistic piety denies Jesus’s call to be salt and light. When Christians abdicate their civic duty, and give over the power structures to secular humanists, they effectively refuse Jesus’s call to “love our neighbour as ourself.” For when politicians decree abortion a right, while Christians sit on their hands, we have failed to love our unborn neighbour. And when we cede political control to moral relativists, we set the stage where one day, the daughter of our neighbour may be enticed into prostitution at a local legalized brothel. Yet, Christians might have blocked that brothel had they bothered to vote.
Institutionalized evil laughs at passive, pusillanimous Christians. Jesus doesn’t. He weeps.
The fact is, we are called not only to speak the Gospel, we are called to live it. And the faithful living of it demands that believers involve themselves in their society to bring about substantial healing. Note that full healing must wait until the coming of Jesus himself. But lives that are salt-bearing and light-giving will bring significant healing to a sin-sick world at the present time. Faulty logic confuses many Christians at this point. For far too many say something like, “The real hope of the world is the preaching of the Gospel, and that’s what we must do.” Now, while it’s true that the ultimate hope of the world is Jesus Christ, it is error to imply that the Christian is to be involved only in preaching and teaching. For this is not an either/or proposition. It is a both/and proposition. Believers are called to preach and teach Jesus, but they are also called to live as disciples, called to love their neighbour, called to be salt and light to a world that needs both. To do only one is disobedience to the Master.
Francis Schaeffer, pastor, theologian and founder of L’Abri Fellowship, saw this so clearly some 25 years ago. He was concerned about the loss of moral consensus in the U.S.A., particularly regarding abortion. And he was questioning the lack of participation from Bible-believing Christians. In an address to Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida in 1982, he said the following: “We must recognize that this country is close to being lost. This country is almost lost because the Bible-believing Christians, in the last 40 years, who have said that they know that the final reality is this infinite-personal God who is the Creator … have done nothing about it as the consensus has changed. There has been a vast silence!”
Schaeffer’s words, relating to the United States, could just as well be applied to Canada over these last 25 years. Nevertheless, I am hopeful that our country is not irretrievably lost. In fact, it is not. But, the present moment may be the last opportunity for change. For we are in the midst of an election that will have weighty consequences for years to come. If ever there was a time for “salt and light” people to become involved in politics, study the issues and vote only for candidates who will uphold righteous standards, that time is now.
May God help us as believers to repent of our vast silence. And may we have courage to shine light into cultural darkness. For if Canadian Christians will leave behind their sorry voting record and faithfully go to the polls, they may well change the future of Canada.