The study of the Puritans/Pilgrims led by my friend Todd Leonard a few weeks ago was helpful in cementing in my mind why I cannot vote for a Mormon (or a Muslim, or a Jew, or a Christian Scientist) for president…. Here are my (and only mine) brief thoughts:
While still on the Arbella, sailing to the Massachusetts Bay Colony, John Winthrop delivered or at least penned his treatise titled, “A Model of Christian Charity.” Without going into too much detail (you can find the entire text here: (http://religiousfreedom.lib.virginia.edu/sacred/charity.html) I just want to point out that Winthrop was a governor in submission to the Lordship of Christ. So, when at the end of his sermon, says to the colonists that they “shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon (them),” we must remember that this is in the context of how they should carry out living justly, mercifully and humbly (Micah 6:8) in the land. He was quoting Christ and His description of how his disciples should effect the world for the kingdom.
In other words they would have no light at all if Christ was not their Lord. If the government (of the people) is not in submission to Christ then any light they offer is ultimately a false light and the Church must call them back to repentance and faithfulness. This was how many of our fathers saw their work in building a new world, it was an extention of the eternal city – the Kingdom of God.
When John F. Kennedy used the phrase “city on a hill” to describe America he moved away from the Gospel and found redemption within the borders of the US. When Ronald Reagan used the phrase even more narrowly, equating the “city” with the Republican platform of governance, the “city” shrank again.
Here is where I get to the heart of my argument against voting for a Mormon to president. If our president is part of a Christian cult* (large, moral, nice, well dressed and no longer dogmatically racist to be sure, but still a cult), then he is not under the Church’s authority. There are no elders who will give an account for this man’s soul.
If God lifts up another John Knox who will speak to those in power his audience at the Whitehouse will not be listening, at least not with the ear attuned to a conversation amongst the Trinity. The source of our submission to authority is rooted in the Trinity. As the Son submits to the Father and the Father receives the Kingdom from the hand of the Son and the Spirit is sent in submission to them both, we submit to them and to one another. Now, if you hold that the god of this planet was once a man like us (sinner like us?) and was elevated to rule – solo – the idea of submission has no foundation.
If a Mormon is elected to be President I will submit to him as my leader. To paraphrase John Knox to Mary, “If the (country) finds no inconvenience from the government of a (Mormon), that which they approve shall I not further disallow than within my own breast, but shall be as well content to live under (his rule) as Paul was to live under Nero.” Having said that, there is a world of difference between being ruled by someone and actively supporting their ascendency to power.
Even if we try to get Luther to say, “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk than a foolish Christian” I would challenge anyone to defend the idea that Luther would campaign for a Muslim to be his Prince. Even Martin Luther and his Two Kingdom theology would not encourage a Christian to actively support putting a non Christian as the representative head of a people. (This is a bit of an anachronism, since the idea of representative democracy was outside of Luther’s paradigm.)
Finally, let me say that politics is a tool in the hand of an almighty God; it is not the source of wisdom, health, blessing or salvation. So, I will not despair if our current President is reelected nor will I sit back and declare “it is finished” if Ron Paul (for example) wins in November 2012. No, but I will labor to show that Christ claims supremacy in every area of life and that will include national elections.
*I am using the term cult here to identify an off shoot of Christianity that claims to have discovered some truth the Church has missed about the Triune God revealed in Scripture, yet departs significantly and damningly from the Christian faith. Mormons in this case deny the Trinity, the eternality of God, the corruption of man and many other Christian essentials.