Home Pastors Voting Out of Fear

Voting Out of Fear


This is an election year. No, this isn’t a blog about who you should vote for. It is a blog about why we often vote the way we do…and shouldn’t.

Tim Alberta, in his sweeping look at the state of American evangelicals, writes of the motivation of fear, and how there are many who realize this and thus commit themselves to trying to scare Christians. Writing of one conference he attended, he noted that for three days,

…thousands of believers were told that their children were being groomed; that their communities were under invasion; that their guns were going to be confiscated; that their medical treatments were suspect; that their newspapers were lying to them; that their elected officials were diabolical; that their government was coming after them; that their faith was being banned from public life…that their nation was nearing its end.

And it works. As Cal Thomas, once a leader of the Moral Majority, noted, “You can’t raise money on a positive note. If the goal is bringing in money, you have to scare them.”

Fear doesn’t just motivate—fear clouds your judgment. If you give in to fear and develop a mentality that you are under siege you give in to an “anything goes” mentality. As Alberta concluded at the end of observing the three-day event: “Character didn’t matter. Truth didn’t matter. Honor and integrity didn’t matter. Those were means, and all that mattered was the ends: winning elections.” When fear rules, then what you fear—defeating it, avoiding it—becomes the ultimate aim.

Contrast that with these words from theologian John Dickson:

I’ve spent time with underground pastors in China and the amazing thing about them is how cheerful they are…I’ve been with pastors who have all been to prison—one of them three times. But they’re not afraid, they’re not paranoid. They are genuinely cheerful. Because they think, “Well, if I go to prison, there will be more people for me to preach the gospel to.”

Dickson notes that much of what drives evangelicals in America is “fear that we’re losing our country, fear that we’re losing our power.” He rightly adds, “and it’s so unhealthy.” One reason is because ultimately, those are not the things that matter most. But the primary reason is because, as Christians, we are not to be driven by fear at all. In fact, “fear not,” in one form or another, is listed nearly 365 times in the Bible which, coincidentally(?), is how many days there are in a year. For example:

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10, NLT)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. (II Timothy 1:7, NLT)

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. (I John 4:18, NLT)