Bart Barber: An Election Day Pledge on Responding to the (To Be Determined) President
Pastor Bart Barber shares his thoughts on how to relate to the president that (we assume) will soon be declared.
It’s Wednesday, the day after Election Day in the United States. The outcome of the presidential election sits precariously on a knife’s edge. Situations like these intensify the emotions that were already of elevated intensity, perched atop a mountain of TV ads, October surprises, conspiracy theories, protests, tweets, posts, and direct-message campaigns.
Just for moments like these, God has given us the Bible. Christians describe the biblical documents as our “canon”—the consistent, unwavering rule that grounds us in seasons of inconsistency and instability. What principles does that canon give us to help us to face a day like this one?
God has told us that the idea of a government is a good gift that He has given us. It exists by His authority. Through it, He gives us justice (vengeance against evil), albeit an imperfect, partial, temporary justice to serve us while we await the final justice that He has promised. For these reasons, we are commanded to obey those who have governing authority over us, to pray for them, and to give them “taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (Romans 13:7). We do this not only because it is a duty we owe to God but also because we hope to lead quiet lives by which, even in the midst of suffering, we can “put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” (1 Peter 4:15).
With these principles in mind, I have written a pledge that I reaffirm on every election day. I have tried to live it out under the Bush, Obama, and Trump administrations. Whoever occupies the Oval Office on Inauguration Day, these are the particular things I pledge to do:
1. I will pray for …
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May 18, 2021