Election Statement from Elders

08.17.20 | Elders

Election Statement from Elders

    New Hope Church is a Christ-centered community for all peoples, moving toward Jesus and taking others with us. As citizens first and foremost of God’s kingdom, we expect the vision and values of Jesus Christ to define every aspect of human existence, including how we enter this year’s election cycle. As an Elder Leadership Team, we want to acknowledge that we stand firm on foundational biblical truths such as the sanctity of life, covenant marriage, gospel-influenced justice, embracing the foreigner and the marginalized with love and respect, and so forth.

    The intent of this statement is not to minimize the importance of these truths, but to offer biblical guidelines on how to engage one another in ways seasoned with Christ’s love and grace. We desire that the New Hope Church family votes responsibly, and, significantly, we desire that in this season we love God and one another supremely well. This is good for our own souls, and is an important testimony to a watching world.

    Vote with a Biblically-Informed Heart & Mind
    One of the greatest privileges afforded citizens of the United States is freely voting in local or federal elections. We who are citizens of the greater kingdom—God’s kingdom—have a particular responsibility to lean into God’s eternal wisdom regarding how we might cast our ballots. The Apostle James wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”[1] To vote well, it is vital that followers of Jesus tap into the riches of God’s Word, discerning how to ensure optimal human flourishing and that God receives the greatest possible glory.

    As elders of New Hope Church, we invite our church family to pray for God’s guidance regarding how to vote, to weigh objectively, thoughtfully and prayerfully the many viewpoints in the public square, and to do so from a biblically-informed and biblically-grounded posture. This is a serious matter—a privilege not to be taken for granted or to be stewarded poorly. We must all have hearts of complete dependency upon the Lord in this regard, “filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”[2]

    Engage the Season with Love as Your Guiding Principle
    Jesus told His followers, “By this all people will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”[3] It is instructive to note that Jesus does not talk about the use of political power or material resources to show Himself to the world. It is through the love that Jesus’ followers have for one another that the world will know Him. Moreover, when asked about the greatest commandments that should guide faith and practice, Jesus offered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second one is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[4]

    James declared, “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’ you are doing well. But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.”[5] With these values in mind, the Elder Leadership Team believes it is vital that we citizens of God’s kingdom allow our shared love for Jesus and our neighbors—whomever they may be—to be the prevailing feature of this election cycle, shaping in heart, word and deed any and all political dialogue and devotion.

    Relating Well in the Day-to-Day
    James wrote that a “forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.”[6] This divine insight into human nature serves as an important caution regarding the manner with which we engage other people during this political season. We need to be a people who are “quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”[7]

    As we participate in conversations around the supper table, the water cooler, or, significantly, on social media, we must “let no corrupting talk come out of [our] mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”[8] We must be a people who “strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord,”[9] even if this is in the face of sharp disagreement around political matters. Indeed, it is a mark of a faithful kingdom-citizen “to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”[10] This allows us to “let [our] light shine before others, so that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven.”[11] 

    Jesus Is Our True North
    Remember that regardless of who it is God appoints to positions of power, for “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God,”[12] at the end of the day it “is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.”[13] Indeed, we need to pray “for kings and all who are in high positions,”[14] but it is Jesus Christ who “is before all things, and in Him all things hold together,”[15] so that “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.”[16] No matter how this or any election season turns out, Jesus remains “the king of glory!”[17] For this reason alone, engaging the entire election cycle with our king’s mandate toward godly wisdom and genuine love is paramount. 

    Conclusion
    Because Jesus is the king of glory, before all things, and we who know Him are citizens of His greater kingdom, then we must vote wisely and well, love supremely all who cross our paths, not allow the political dynamics to get in the way of genuine love and care, and we must pray for those He appoints to power, remembering that in the end they and we will bow down before Christ’s throne.

    We citizens of God’s kingdom have the privilege of presenting a counter-cultural narrative before a watching and oft-raw world. Let us enter this season well-engaged, remembering that “our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,”[18] whose glory we are to declare,[19] “that in everything He might be preeminent.”[20]

    -------------------

    NAVIGATING A NEW ELECTION SEASON

    Four years ago, the election season failed to bring out the best in humanity, including many Christians. However, Scripture reminds us that, as citizens of a greater kingdom, we're called to a higher standard (Ephesians 2:19). In anticipation of another election, the Elder Leadership Team developed the above shepherding statement to encourage voting based on convictions and conduct that is pleasing to God.

     

    [1] James 1:5
    [2] Colossians 1:9
    [3] John 13:35
    [4] Matthew 22:37–39
    [5] James 2:8–9
    [6] James 3:5–6
    [7] James 1:19
    [8] Ephesians 4:29
    [9] Hebrews 12:14
    [10] Titus 3:2
    [11] Matthew 5:16
    [12] Romans 13:1
    [13] Psalm 118:8–9
    [14]1 Timothy 2:1–2
    [15] Colossians 1:17
    [16] Philippians 2:10–11
    [17] Psalm 24:10
    [18] Philippians 3:20
    [19] Psalm 96:3
    [20] Colossians 1:18