Category Archives: Voting and Politics

Seventh-day Adventists and Politics

As our nation is smack dead in a heated political campaign, what should be our position as Christians, as Seventh-day Adventist? Below is an excerpt from the book Fundamentals of Christian Education.

Those who have charge of our institutions and our schools should guard themselves diligently, lest by their words and sentiments they lead the students into false paths. Those who teach the Bible in our churches and in our schools are not at liberty to unite in making apparent their prejudices for or against political men or measures, because by so doing they stir up the minds of others, leading each to advocate his favorite theory. There are among those professing to believe present truth some who will thus be stirred up to express their sentiments and political preferences, so that division will be brought into the church. – {FE 475.1}
The Lord would have His people bury political questions. On these themes silence is eloquence. Christ calls upon His followers to come into unity on the pure gospel principles which are plainly revealed in the word of God. We cannot with safety vote for political parties; for we do not know whom we are voting for. We cannot with safety take part in any political schemes. We cannot labor to please men who will use their influence to repress religious liberty, and to set in operation oppressive measures to lead or compel their fellow men to keep Sunday as the Sabbath. The first day of the week is not a day to be reverenced. It is a spurious sabbath, and the members of the Lord’s family cannot participate with the men who exalt this day, and violate the law of God by trampling upon His Sabbath. The people of God are not to vote to place such men in office; for when they do this, they are partakers with them of the sins which they commit while in office. – {FE 475.2}
We are not to compromise principle by yielding to the opinions and prejudices which we may have encouraged before we united with God’s commandment-keeping people. We have enlisted in the army of the Lord, and we are not to fight on the enemy’s side, but on the side of Christ, where we can be a united whole, in sentiment, in action, in spirit, in fellowship. Those who are Christians indeed will be branches of the true vine, and will bear the same fruit as the vine. They will act in harmony, in Christian fellowship. They will not wear political badges, but the badge of Christ. – {FE 475.3}
What are we to do, then?—Let political questions alone. “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” What can there be in common between these parties? There can be no fellowship, no communion. The word fellowship means participation, partnership. God employs the strongest figures to show that there should be no union between worldly parties and those who are seeking the righteousness of Christ. What communion can there be between light and darkness, truth and unrighteousness?—None whatever. Light represents righteousness; darkness, error, sin, unrighteousness. Christians have come out of darkness into the light. They have put on Christ, and they wear the badge of truth and obedience. They are governed by the elevated and holy principles which Christ expressed in His life. But the world is governed by principles of dishonesty and injustice. – {FE 476.1}
“Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Two parties are here brought to view, and it is shown that there can be no union between them. – {FE 476.2}
Those teachers in the church or in the school who distinguish themselves by their zeal in politics, should be relieved of their work and responsibilities without delay; for the Lord will not co-operate with them. The tithe should not be used to pay any one for speechifying on political questions. Every teacher, minister, or leader in our ranks who is stirred with a desire to ventilate his opinions on political questions, should be converted by a belief in the truth, or give up his work. His influence must tell as a laborer together with God in winning souls to Christ, or his credentials must be taken from him. If he does not change, he will do harm, and only harm. – {FE 477.1}
In the name of the Lord I would say to the teachers in our schools, Attend to your appointed work. You are not called upon by God to engage in politics. “All ye are brethren,” Christ declares, “and as one you are to stand under the banner of Prince Emmanuel.” “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all His ways, and to love Him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the Lord, and His statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good? … For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward: He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment. Love ye therefore the stranger: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; Him shalt thou serve, and to Him shalt thou cleave, and swear by His name. He is thy praise, and He is thy God.” – {FE 477.2}
The Lord has given great light and privileges to His people. “Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments,” He says; “keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon Him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I have set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons.” – {FE 478.1}
As a people we are to stand under the banner of Jesus Christ. We are to consecrate ourselves to God as a distinct, separate, and peculiar people. He speaks to us, saying, “Incline your ear, and come unto Me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.” “In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by Me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake…. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.” – {FE 478.2}
I call upon my brethren who are appointed to educate, to change their course of action. It is a mistake for you to link your interests with any political party, to cast your vote with them or for them. Those who stand as educators, as ministers, as laborers together with God in any line, have no battles to fight in the political world. Their citizenship is in heaven. The Lord calls upon them to stand as separate and peculiar people. He would have no schisms in the body of believers. His people are to possess the elements of reconciliation. Is it their work to make enemies in the political world?—No, no. They are to stand as subjects of Christ’s kingdom, bearing the banner on which is inscribed, “The commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” They are to carry the burden of a special work, a special message. We have a personal responsibility, and this is to be revealed before the heavenly universe, before angels, and before men. God does not call upon us to enlarge our influence by mingling with society, by linking up with men on political questions, but by standing as individual parts of His great whole, with Christ as our head. Christ is our Prince, and as His subjects we are to do the work appointed us by God. – {FE 478.3}
It is of the highest importance that the youth understand that Christ’s people are to be united in one; for this unity binds men to God by the golden cords of love, and lays each one under obligation to work for his fellow men. The Captain of our salvation died for the human race that men might be made one with Him and with each other. As members of the human family we are individual parts of one mighty whole. No soul can be made independent of the rest. There is to be no party strife in the family of God; for the well-being of each is the happiness of the whole. No partition walls are to be built up between man and man. Christ as the great center must unite all in one. – {FE 479.1}
Christ is our teacher, our ruler, our strength, our righteousness; and in Him we are pledged to shun any course of action that will cause schism. The questions at issue in the world are not to be the theme of our conversation. We are to call upon the world to behold an uplifted Saviour, through whom we are made necessary to one another and to God. Christ trains His subjects to imitate His virtues, His meekness and lowliness, His goodness, patience, and love. Thus He consecrates heart and hand to His service, making man a channel through which the love of God can flow in rich currents to bless others. Then let there be no shade of strife among Seventh-day Adventists. The Saviour invites every soul, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” He who approaches nearest to the perfection of Christ’s divine benevolence causes joy among the heavenly angels. The Father rejoices over him with singing; for is he not working in the spirit of the Master, one with Christ as He is one with the Father? – {FE 479.2}
In our periodicals we are not to exalt the work and characters of men in positions of influence, constantly keeping human beings before the people. But as much as you please you may uplift Christ our Saviour. “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory [from character to character], even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Those who love and serve God are to be the light of the world, shining amid moral darkness. But in the places which have been given the greatest light, where the gospel has been preached the most, the people—fathers, mothers, and children—have been moved by a power from beneath to unite their interests with worldly projects and enterprises. – {FE 480.1}
Great blindness is upon the churches, and the Lord says to His people, “What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” – {FE 480.2}
The condition of being received into the Lord’s family is coming out from the world, separating from all its contaminating influences. The people of God are to have no connection with idolatry in any of its forms. They are to reach a higher standard. We are to be distinguished from the world, and then God says, “I will receive you as members of My royal family, children of the heavenly King.” As believers in the truth we are to be distinct in practice from sin and sinners. Our citizenship is in heaven. – {FE 481.1}
We should realize more clearly the value of the promises God has made to us, and appreciate more deeply the honor He has given us. God can bestow no higher honor upon mortals than to adopt them into His family, giving them the privilege of calling Him Father. There is no degradation in becoming children of God. “My people shall know My name,” the Lord declares; “therefore they shall know in that day that I am He that doth speak: behold, it is I.” The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” – {FE 481.2}
Why is so much attention given to human agencies, while there is so little reaching up of the mind to the eternal God? Why are those who claim to be children of the heavenly King so absorbed in the things of this world? Let the Lord be exalted. Let the word of the Lord be magnified. Let human beings be placed low, and let the Lord be exalted. Remember that earthly kingdoms, nations, monarchs, statesmen, counselors, great armies, and all worldly magnificence and glory are as the dust of the balance. God has a reckoning to make with all nations. Every kingdom is to be brought low. Human authority is to be made as naught. Christ is the King of the world, and His Kingdom is to be exalted. – {FE 481.3}
The Lord desires all who bear the message for these last days to understand that there is a great difference between professors of religion who are not doers of the word, and the children of God, who are sanctified through the truth, who have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord speaks of those who claim to believe the truth for this time, yet see nothing inconsistent in their taking part in politics, mingling with the contending elements of these last days, as the circumcised who mingle with the uncircumcised, and He declares that He will destroy both classes together without distinction. They are doing a work that God has not set them to do. They dishonor God by their party spirit and contention, and He will condemn both alike. – {FE 482.1}
The question may be asked, Are we to have no union whatever with the world? The word of the Lord is to be our guide. Any connection with infidels and unbelievers which would identify us with them is forbidden by the word. We are to come out from them and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans or work. But we are not to live reclusive lives. We are to do worldlings all the good we possibly can. Christ has given us an example of this. When invited to eat with publicans and sinners, He did not refuse; for in no other way than by mingling with them could He reach this class. But on every occasion He gave them talents of words and influence. He opened up themes of conversation which brought things of eternal interest to their minds. And this Teacher enjoins us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” On the temperance question take your position without wavering. Be as firm as a rock. Be not partakers of other men’s sins. Acts of dishonesty in business deal, with believers or unbelievers, should be reproved; and if they give no evidence of reformation, come out from among them and be separate. – {FE 482.2}
There is a large vineyard to be cultivated; but while Christians are to work among unbelievers, they are not to appear like worldlings. They are not to spend their time talking politics or acting as politicians; for by so doing, they give the enemy opportunity to come in and cause variance and discord. Those in the ministry who desire to stand as politicians should have their credentials taken from them; for this work God has not given to high or low among His people. God calls upon all who minister in doctrine to give the trumpet a certain sound. All who have received Christ, ministers and lay members, are to arise and shine; for great peril is right upon us. Satan is stirring the powers of earth. Everything in the world is in confusion. God calls upon His people to hold aloft the banner bearing the message of the third angel. We are not to go to Christ through any human being, but through Christ we are to understand the work He has given us to do for others. – {FE 483.1}
God calls to His people, saying, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” He asks that the love which He has shown for them may be reciprocated and revealed by willing obedience to His commandments. His children are to separate themselves from politics, from any alliance with unbelievers. They are not to link their interests with the interests of the world. “Give proof of your allegiance to Me” He says, “by standing as My chosen heritage, as a people zealous of good works.” Do not take part in political strife. Separate from the world, and refrain from bringing into the church or school ideas that will lead to contention or disorder. Dissension is the moral poison taken into the system by human beings who are selfish. God wants His servants to have clear perceptions, true and noble dignity, that their influence may demonstrate the power of truth. The Christian life is not to be a haphazard, emotional life. True Christian influence, exerted for the accomplishment of the work God has appointed, is a precious agency, and it must not be united with politics, or bound up in a confederacy with unbelievers. God is to be the center of attraction. Every mind that is worked by the Holy Spirit will be satisfied with Him. – {FE 483.2}
God calls upon the teachers in our schools not to become interested in the study of political questions. Take the knowledge of God into our schools. Your attention may be called to worldly wise men, who are not wise enough to understand what the Scriptures say in regard to the laws of God’s kingdom; but turn from these to Him who is the source of all wisdom. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Make this first and last. Seek most earnestly to know Him whom to know aright is life eternal. Christ and His righteousness is the salvation of the soul. Teach the little children what obedience and submission means. In our schools science, literature, painting, and music, and all that the world’s learning can teach are not to be made first. Let the knowledge of Him in whom our eternal life is centered come first. Plant in the hearts of the students that which will adorn the character and fit the soul, through sanctification of the Spirit, to learn lessons from the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. Thus students will be fitted to be heirs of the kingdom of God.—June 16, 1899. – {FE 484.1}

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