Inflation is not the most serious issue in this election -- Meditations on the eve of Election Day
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
By the time you read this, almost certainly the election Tuesday, Nov. 8 will be history. But at the time I write on Sunday night, Nov. 6, pollsters are polling, and pundits are "punditing", much like weather forecasters tracking a tropical storm, attempting to foresee where the storm will actually hit land. One question they ask voters is, "What is your greatest concern as you vote?" According to the reports, inflation and the economy is by far the issue that ranks foremost in voters' minds. Crime, education policies, illegal immigration across the southern border, and abortion are among the other issues, not necessarily in that order.
Many, if not most, pundits foresee a "red wave", that is, a resounding defeat of the rule of the Democrat Party of President Biden in one or both houses of Congress. Due to the current alignment of the two major parties and their policies, Republicans are most likely to gain the vote of those concerned about inflation and the price of gasoline, and at the same time tick the boxes on the problems of the rise in crime, educational policies, and the inundation of illegal immigrants. We, as Bible-believing Christians, and our churches seem to have every reason to believe that the choice we make in the ballot box this election is a slam-dunk.
Is there a problem with that?
Yes, there is, if indeed a supermajority of voters puts inflation at the top of the list of their concerns, and many of those polled are Bible-believing Christians, as I suspect. That means that these "followers of Jesus" put material considerations above spiritual principles. Can I prove that's a problem from the Bible? Let's see.
When Paul wrote in Romans 13.1-7 regarding our Christian duties to the State, in other words, to the government authorities, he made three points:
1) All authority is ordained by God. That applies from national government to civil relationships in our work environment (employer/employee), and down to the family level (husband/wife, parents/children).
2) The role of the state, as God's servant, is to approve those who do good and to carry the sword to punish those who do evil
3) Our duty is to submit..."you must submit"...to the government authority. Rom. 13.5
So that means...?
The role of the government is not to make everyone prosperous. It is "to punish the evildoers and approve those who do good." To which I hear someone say, "But what if the government is punishing the innocent and allowing the criminals to go free unpunished?" (As is too often the case in the US in the last couple of years)
See Point 3) above: we are to submit, that is our duty.
"But what about the State?" you ask. Actually, the State is doing what it was set up to do: it punishes the evil and approves those who do good. The problem is that the State has redefined good and evil, contrary to God's standards. Isaiah 5.20 says, "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter." That is the authorities' problem, and they will answer to God for it. We are still commanded to submit.
Submit is not the same thing as obey
Paul, in Ephesians 5.22 and 24, wrote, "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as to the Lord....Now as the church submits to Christ, so wives are to submit to their husbands in everything." But in Eph. 6.1 he says, "Children, obey your parents..." and in Eph. 6.5, "Slaves, obey your human masters..."
Wives submit...children obey...slaves obey. Husbands are not masters; wives are not slaves. There is a lot more to be said about the husband-wife relationship in terms of authority, but the wording of the sacred text cannot be lightly dismissed. In the relationship between Christian citizens and the State, we have Biblical examples that confirm God's will: we are bound to submit, but not to obey.
In Acts 5.29, we read Peter and the apostles' reply to the order to not preach in the name of Jesus: "We must obey God rather than men." Perhaps the most vivid example of this is that of the three Hebrews in Daniel 3, who refused to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's golden image despite being warned that their refusal would result in being thrown into a fiery furnace. In essence they said, "Throw us into the fiery furnace, if you must. You have every right to do that, according to your order. We submit to your authority, but we will not obey your order, which is against what our God has said."
It may be OK this time, but what about next time?
We cannot ignore the fact that inflation is a problem, but it is not the real problem. It is a material problem, not one on the spiritual plane. Jesus taught His disciples to not worry about what they would eat, drink, or wear tomorrow. Our Father will take care of all our needs. If the pivotal issue in our choice of whom to vote for is the candidate who we think will best promote our well-being and prosperity, we are walking into Satan's trap. Yes, this time the logical choice would seem to not only resolve the material issue but be a better choice for fulfilling the role of authority as God set forth in His Word, having moral and ethical positions closely aligned with what God has revealed. The evil doers will be punished, and those who do good will be approved.
But what if, one day, the choice is between a party or candidate who has convictions in line with the principles of God's Word and another party or candidate that promotes views contrary to the Bible? No problem, you say. I choose God. But what if, in addition, the second party can guarantee you employment and the right to do business, and by choosing the first party you forfeit those rights? Would you still vote for the party whose values reflect God's viewpoint, or would inflation be the uppermost issue in your decision?
If you voted this time thinking of the price of gasoline at the pump, I think you got by lucky. At least it wasn't a choice between taking the mark of the beast on the hand or forehead and being beheaded. Not yet, at least.