Are You A Pragmatist?

Let’s set the record straight and think through some areas of life in a methodological fashion.  Many Christians believe that God works all things after the counsel of His own will. Indeed, that God raises kings and casts down kings; this is the area I seek to address, namely, politics.

A lot of us are good Calvinists. Some of us are Calvinists and wish to be men and women of God’s law. But for some strange reason, we completely neglect applying God’s law to politicians or think that it has little to do with whom we cast our vote for. Even if we are not Calvinists, most are not naïve enough to think rulers are appointed by accident or that God had nothing to do with it. So, let’s set the record straight.

We’re pragmatists, let’s face it. We justify our choice of actions often on the basis that they are the “lesser of two evils”. While we are vigilant not to allow this to happen in our individual lives, it is most evident in our politics. Sure, we may try to live an individually pious life, go to church, and even seek to live according to God’s law in our business, our family, but we have our idol. We need to have that one area of life where we feign lordship and original authority over and this we are most comfortable with when we cast our vote or examine a candidate for some civil position. So let’s look at the excuses we use:

 “We need to vote for the lesser of two evils, otherwise we are responsible for what the greater of the two evils does”

You’ve heard this before. Heck, you may have even said it to one of your neighbors before (Although, probably not as awkward sounding as the way I phrased it!). But let’s ask this question to stimulate the synapses: who makes us responsible for our actions? Of course, God does. But how do we get the knowledge that we are responsible for a given course of action? By God revelation through His law. So, the fundamental question to ask is where does God command that we vote for the lesser of two evils? At this point your mind is racing. Perhaps you thought it was common sense that we are to vote for the lesser of two evils and just assumed it was something God commands of us. Common sense, however, is rarely common and even less sensical.

 “I want to stop the spread of evil, so I will make sure Evil-man-X is not elected and lesser-Evil-man(or woman)-Y is!”

This was an unfair way to phrase the reason for voting for the lesser of two evils. But let’s be real: we are calling it the lesser of two evils! We are freely granting that our course of action is a vote for evil. But we justify it by bringing to mind all the evil that won’t happen if the eviler (It’s not a word, I know) guy doesn’t get elected. Pragmatism 101. Definition of pragmatism: a reasonable and logical way of doing things or of thinking about problems that is based on dealing with specific situations instead of on ideas and theories. Now, I would even dispute that such reasoning is indeed logical or reasonable, but the point is that it is not based on principles; it is based on what one believes the outcome will be.

The Scriptures do indeed tell us to prevent evil, but it is always with the prior understanding that we are making positive actions of righteousness, not actions that are the lesser evil (which is still evil). God judged the people of Israel for wanting a king that was like the pagan kings, and God gave them what they wanted (See 1Samuel 8). I fear we are getting what we are asking for by casting our vote for a man we know to be a reprobate. We are asking water out of a rock if we expect righteousness to rule the land with such ideas.

Often we think of politics as a grey area where things are dealt with pragmatically

There is a disturbing trend in the thinking of those who want the lesser of two evils in a civil position, and it is that of atheism. At this point you think I am off my rocker. You’re a Christian, after all! You read your Bible perhaps hours in the day. You pray. You go to church and are an active member. You disdain evil in yourself, your family and the culture. But still, I say, you have succumbed to atheism in your thought For, although you are keen on God’s commands and God’s providence in your life in all things, you have thought like a person who sees the world run by chance in your politics. You have seen pragmatism as carrying more weight than faithfulness to your God. Suppose, indeed, the lesser of two evils gets elected. You think you will be the better off for your action. But is there not a God in heaven? When you cast your vote for a candidate and know of his godless ethics, his godless morals and his godless starting point in his thinking, namely, humanism, you are responsible for what he does. You put him there in that position of power. You said, “let this man reign over us!” But is there not a God in Heaven who will judge your course of action? Here’s a brief sampling from proverbs about a ruler:

Proverbs 29:2  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Proverbs 30:4  The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

Proverbs 20:26  A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

Proverbs 25:5  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

Proverbs 29:12  If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

Proverbs 28:15  As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

What’s the point? If you vote for the lesser of two evils, you put that wicked ruler into power. You think like an atheist if you think all is going proceed in joy and bliss because the guy who was more wicked than the one you voted for is not in office. Here’s the catch: whereas you might have a reason to expect God’s blessing if you voted for a righteous man (Based on God’s covenant promises, especially found in Deuteronomy 28), the only thing you should expect for voting for an ungodly man is chastisement (See again Deuteronomy 28).

You see, the lesser of two evils argument is predicated upon a system where God is not the judge of Heaven and earth. Where things happen by chance; where one guy has “more of a chance” than the other guy. Where voting for evil actually stems the tide of wickedness instead of increasing it! This only can be if God is not Sovereign and where He does not the Judge of the universe.

So, are you a pragmatist?

– Jesse Murch

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