Thinking Out Loud

When Your Political Views Obstruct Clear Biblical Teaching

We’re less than two months away from an election. Pastors are, I believe, right to lead their congregations in prayer for local, regional, and national leaders. They may even go further and address relevant matters from the Word of God. As always, however, there will be liberals in the church pushing an agenda that originates with the unbelieving.

But as is the case when approaching most elections, inevitably there may be those within the pale of orthodoxy that show their liberal bent. It may have always been there, but time has a way of turning issues from being monochrome in previous years, to eventually being presented in neon lights.

Sometimes these matters provide a good case study to learn from.

Enter, Timothy Keller.

Last night Timothy Keller tweeted a thread of thoughts relating to freedom of conscience in politics.

But it was his follow up tweet that is drawing this response from me.

According to Keller:

“The Bible tells me that abortion is a sin and great evil, but it doesn’t tell me the best way to decrease or end abortion in this country, nor which policies are most effective.”

The Christian response to this ought to be straightforward:

1. We must ask Keller the question, Is abortion murder? If so, we may replace the word ‘abortion’ with ‘murder.’

2. We can then ask Keller if the Bible teaches us what to do in the event of murder. Most Christians understand the implications of Genesis 9:6. If your actions kill but there was no intent at all to do harm, you live (though there will be a measure of punishment) (Deut. 19:5). But if your intent was to do harm—even if the intent wasn’t to kill—you die (Deut. 19:11-13). There are no sub-divisions such as racially motivated murder, or crimes of passion as biblical categories for determining justice. Your only hope of avoiding capital punishment for killing someone is if there was no intent to harm at all (like an axe head flying off and striking someone nearby) or your actions were in self-defense.

3. We may further inquire whether Keller believes that the primary goal of justice is efficacy or the glory of God. We are not to take a purely pragmatic approach to the law of God. If I can prove that allowing people to steal whatever they want, whenever they want, is the best way to eliminate world hunger, do I remove all necessary laws that would punish a thief and reflect the eighth commandment? Do we worship Caesar rather than Jesus when Caesar threatens to kill Christians, simply because it would be an effective way to lessen the number of deaths (ignoring the first commandment)?

The Christian does not strive for what he believes will minimize certain behaviors or outcomes. He propagates and upholds the will of God, to the glory of God, whether he—or others—must face consequences for doing so.

As for Keller’s motives for pushing this agenda, that’s between him and God.

As Sproul once on a Q and A panel:

“Any candidate who supports abortion by law has completely abrogated his responsibility as a governor by failing to protect and maintain the sanctity of human life.”

All Christians ought to possess this kind of commitment to explicit biblical teaching. And it is explicit. Why Keller refuses to see it we may never know.