Ronnie Floyd is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas.
SPRINGDALE, Ark. (BP) — God-talk is filling the campaign trails across America. The candidates and their public conversations about God range from comfortable to unfamiliar. Often, this results in confusion within the minds of Christian voters about whom they should support.
A biblical worldview
There is a competition of worldviews occurring in this season. This is not new, but it is becoming more and more apparent as we listen to the views of the candidates for president of the United States.
Additionally, secularism is growing in America. A secular worldview is indifferent toward God or just excludes God from the thought process completely. Therefore, when you listen to the views of candidates or read their various positions, listen for their specific worldview.
Are their thoughts coming from a biblical worldview, a secular worldview or even a combination of these two competing worldviews? You should not necessarily look for them to quote Bible verses or stories from God’s Word. But when holding a Bible in your hand and opening up its eternal treasure of truth, is anything they say they believe found anywhere in God’s Word?
God’s Word is the only forward truth. It is the only truth that has been true, is true today, and will be true eternally. Therefore, we need to be familiar enough with God’s Word to evaluate not only the politics in American life, but all things in this world.
5 major issues facing genuine evangelical Christians
Prayer is not inaction, but our greatest action. Simultaneously, it is incumbent on us to not check the Bible and Christian worldview at the door when we live life and participate in the political processes afforded to us in America.
We are to live out our faith and the principles of the Bible through dating, marriage, family, workplace, recreation, church, government and all of our relationships. A faith built on Jesus Christ is a faith that is strong and balanced enough to be lived out in all areas of our life. It is not intimidated by intellect nor does it retreat when attacked.
Even though there are many things that genuine evangelical Christians must consider, I want to highlight five issues in this political season:
1. The sanctity and dignity of human life
The sanctity and dignity of human life from the womb to the tomb should be a major concern for all Christ-followers. The de-valuing of human life in the way we treat one another is not without great consequence. This includes the racial crisis that is real and big. The divine imprint of our God is on each human being. He places value on each of us; therefore, we should mimic His treatment of all people.
We need to remember that regardless of who becomes the next leader in our nation, one day we will stand in the presence of God and give an account of ourselves to Him. The sanctity and dignity of human life should be non-negotiable for all evangelical Christians.
2. Marriage and family concerns
Biblical marriage is between a man and a woman. The brazen attack against this most important fundamental truth is outrageous. Evangelical Christians must stand strong for biblical marriage even if the cultural winds deem us irrelevant.
As you evaluate the words and positions of candidates, what do they believe about family? We believe that redemption is possible for anyone. A new path toward righteousness is always applauded by any genuine evangelical.
Yet, will this person have your family on his or her heart in all their decision-making? Do they have the next generation on their heart? What will they do to lift up the family unit in America?
3. Religious liberty
While the threats and horrific actions against Christians exist globally, will the next Commander in Chief of our nation sit idly by hoping it will just go away, or rise up and lead toward a solution?
Even though religious liberty was the core belief that led to the creation of our great nation, we know it is being threatened more today than any of us remember in our generation. This is unacceptable and defies not only the dignity of each human life, but also the history of our nation.
America needs a champion for religious liberty. The world needs America’s next president to be a champion for religious liberty internationally.
4. Competent executive
Evangelical Christians should desire that our president be competent in leading our nation. He or she may not be able to state theological positions and quote Bible verses to your satisfaction, but he or she must be a leader who understands the history of our nation and the Constitution of the United States.
He or she needs to be a competent executive and an effective leader of people. He or she needs to be able to gather other competent leaders around them who can assist in charting a robust future for our nation that honors our history and Constitution in every way.
5. Appointments, appointments, appointments
Leadership matters. The president of our nation makes appointments to various places of influence all over our nation and world. Have you ever considered the power of his influence in these appointments? Some of these appointments are not for a term, but for life.
We need to remember: One of the most critical issues facing the next president will be the appointments to the Supreme Court of our nation. These appointments are for life. Some say the next president may be able to appoint as many as four Supreme Court justices.
While preparing for the release of this article, we became aware of the sad and untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia of the Supreme Court. It was President Ronald Reagan who appointed Justice Scalia in 1986. Leadership matters! Justice Scalia leaves a legacy of conservatism on moral and social issues. He was a giant of a man and a leader. He championed human life from the womb to the tomb, biblical marriage between a man and a woman, religious liberty, the Second Amendment, and he was a brilliant jurist and faithful to upholding the United States Constitution.
Now with his untimely death, we likely will see the appointment powers of the president become talked about in this election season. We must wake up and ask each candidate: What kind of people are you planning to appoint to any open positions on the Supreme Court of the United States?
Leadership does matter
As evangelicals, we need leaders from across the world of business, government, education, church and beyond to do what is right. Your leadership does matter. The spirit of your leadership is critical. We must be involved in these processes. Leadership matters!
I say it again. Dear America: Evangelicals can pick the next president, period. Your leadership matters.