Some Christians in this year’s Republican elections have justified their support of candidates who are known to be unjust people by arguing that none of the candidates met the biblical qualification of being a just man who rules in the fear of God (2 Sam. 23:3) because they (and all the rest of us) are all sinners. Some have also asserted that we are always voting for the lesser of two (or more) evils because all of us are evil.
These viewpoints—especially the viewpoint about always being in the position of having to vote for the lesser evil—are false because they do not account for relevant biblical data. Several passages in both Testaments provide that data:
1. In spite of Shechem’s vile raping of Dinah, God inspired Moses to record that he “was more honorable than all the house of his father” (Gen. 34:19). God thus did not want us to think even of Shechem only as less evil than the rest of those who were in his father’s house.
2. Scripture does not say that Jabez was less evil than his brothers; it says that he was more honorable than they were (1 Chron. 4:9).
3. Cornelius was an unsaved government official who is commended by both the inspired Scripture writer (Luke; Acts 10:2) and by others of his own nation who speak of him in glowing terms (Acts 10:22). If an unsaved Roman civil authority is commended in such ways in Scripture, should we approach all elections with the mindset that we are always voting for the candidate who is the least evil one?
4. Scripture explicitly speaks of Barnabas as “a good man” (Acts 11:24). Are we to believe that he is the only Christian who has ever been a good man? Have there never been any Christians who have run for public office who in the same sense truly were good candidates?
These passages show that it is valid to speak of people as good people even though they are sinners in the same sense that we all are (as spoken of in Rom. 3:23). It is wrong to say that we are always voting for the lesser of two (or more) evils when we vote.
There are elections in which we have the choice of voting for men who are or would be “just, ruling in the fear of God” even though they are still sinners in the sight of God because they have not been sinless throughout their lives. It’s a shame that we no longer have that choice in this year’s presidential race (among the major candidates) because many Christians voted for an unjust candidate by wrongly reasoning that there were no just candidates in the race.
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