Should A Christian Vote for a Mormon?
Vol: 133 Issue: 20 Saturday, October 20, 2012
Until now, we’ve danced all around this subject, nibbling at the edges but without taking on the subject head-on. But I continue to get emails from Christians wanting to know how a Christian can in good conscience vote for a Mormon.
Which raises a second question that keeps showing up in my email box.
“If you say that God appoints rulers according to His will, then why bother to vote at all?”
We dealt with that question last month, so we’ll just briefly summarize here:
“Call me carnal, or worldly, or whatever other name you like, but I don’t want to see the United States fall from grace and I don’t want to see her come under judgment. Neither do I want to partake in that judgment when it falls.
I know that it is due, but I am content to pray as Abraham did, that for the sake of a few righteous, He will forestall judgment a bit longer. And I am content to vote the same way without fear that I am undoing God’s will. Indeed, no matter how one votes, one is advancing God’s will.
You see, when it comes to the next leader of the country, I don’t know what God’s will actually is. For all I know, He will rapture us out of here the day after Christmas. Or something.
But God knows what God’s will is and He uses your vote to advance it.”
In that column, I went through all the various reasons why I believe it is important for Christians to vote, not the least of which is one’s own carnal self-interest:
“Although I believe we are in the last days and that the Lord is about to return, that doesn’t necessarily translate into my being eager to see the “wheels come off the bus” as a friend of mine is fond of saying. Along with everybody else, I’m ON that bus.”
But as one reader pointed out to me recently, Obama at least claims to be a Christian, whereas Romney is totally sold-out to Mormonism, which also claims to be Christian, but is rejected by mainstream Christianity as a cult.
“So a vote for Romney means voting for a non-Christian over a Christian. Christians aren’t even supposed to sue other Christians, let alone side against them with non-Christians. Aren’t they? Well . . . aren’t they?”
I am not sure that my correspondent has it exactly right — Christianity isn’t like being a Mason. There’s no secret handshake or obligation to give preferential treatment to a Christian brother. As Christians, we’re obligated to love our neighbor as ourselves, regardless of his faith or lack of it.
But at the same time, we are also admonished not to be unequally yoked, so there is merit to his question.
Obama claims to have come to Christ after having been introduced to Him by Black Liberation Theologian Reverend Jeremiah Wright.
While I have serious reservations about his doctrine and even greater reservations about Obama’s understanding of “collective” salvation, when one examines the answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” — the answer doesn’t include doctrine.
“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Is this a doctrinal statement that says if I believe, my whole house will get saved? Not necessarily, (although in my case, it is true). In the jailer’s case, it was a personal prophecy to the jailer. The doctrinal statement is “believe”. Read down a few verses — they preached the Word of the Lord to his house.
“And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. . . And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.” (Acts 16:30-34)
The Scriptures simply tell us that having heard the Word, all his house believed. What this Scripture reinforces is that we are not saved by doctrine. We are saved by faith.
Go through all of the Scriptures from front to back, back to front, upside down or sideways, and nowhere will you find any suggestion that one is saved by doctrine.
What is “doctrine” anyway?
“Doctrine” is the set of beliefs held and taught by a political party, a church denomination or other group. It can also refer to a government policy, such as “the Monroe Doctrine” or the “Truman Doctrine.”
The Christian doctrine regarding salvation is incredibly simple.
“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. . . “
The doctrine for salvation is of course, a Christian doctrine, but all Christian doctrine is not essential for salvation. Even Christians cannot agree on all Christian doctrine. Is the Rapture pre, mid, or post Trib? Or is it pre-Wrath? IS there a Rapture?
The answer to each of those questions is doctrinal — to those that hold to that doctrine. But no two are the same and all five are contradictory of one another. One’s doctrine defines what church one attends, but it does not define whether or not one is saved.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
My doctrine is important to me and I believe with all my heart that is true and reflects what the Bible teaches. But I am not saved by doctrine, I am saved by grace through faith. My faith is not in my doctrine, my doctrine defines my faith.
My faith is in the fact that God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
I am among “whosoever” and I believeth in Him. I believe He paid the penalty due for my sins and that He extended an offer of Pardon to me, which I gratefully accepted and now I am saved. Salvation comes first.
“Doctrine” is what comes later.
By now, some of you are no doubt vibrating with fury. Am I suggesting that Obama is a genuine Christian? Others are just as furious, wondering if I am saying that Romney is a genuine Christian?
Do you think that I think that I am God?
Because only God knows if Obama was sincere in his profession of faith. Only God knows if Romney trusted his salvation to the shed blood of Christ or if his faith is in his church.
I don’t know. You don’t know.
You can’t know how sincere I am. I can’t know how sincere YOU are. So how can anybody know?
That is our dilemma. How can a Christian vote for a non-Christian over a Christian?
The Bible gives us only one benchmark against which to take measure and make such judgments. Only one. And it isn’t simply profession of faith.
Here is how Jesus viewed an empty “profession” of faith:
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7)
They think they shall be heard. . . but genuine faith speaks louder than words. . .
“Wherefore, by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7:18)
I believe that the Bible is pretty clear on all things, if one approaches the Scriptures as a little child, rather than seeking affirmation of preconceived notions.
Now, where are we going with this? Am I arguing that one can be a Mormon and still be saved?
Frankly, I don’t know if I am or not. For some reason, it seems a lot harder for me to make the case that being a Mormon means Jesus won’t accept you if you call out to Him for salvation.
But I am just as uncomfortable making the case that one can be saved and still be a Mormon.
In both cases, it seems to me that I am sitting in judgment according to my own doctrine, which we’ve already established from Scripture is NOT the criteria for salvation.
Here is my dilemma. If I were to judge Barack Obama on his profession of faith, I would have to agree he is probably a saved Christian. If I were to judge him by his fruits, I would arrive at a different conclusion.
Now, if I were to judge Mitt Romney based on his profession of faith, I would have to conclude he is probably not a Christian.
On the other hand, if I were to judge Mitt Romney by his fruits. . .
What was the question again? Oh yeah. “How can you support a Mormon like Mitt Romney over a Christian like Barack Obama?”
If we’re judging each man by his fruits, it’s really not that complicated.