Election: Evangelical Pastors Make Final Plea to Vote Biblical Values
Evangelical pastors have made their last-minute appeals before Election Day Tuesday. The central message: fulfill your biblical duty to vote and vote in accordance with the Word of God.
"To him that knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin," said Jonathan Falwell, pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Va., during his Sunday message.
"We have the opportunity to determine the course of our country. When you don't exercise the right and the privilege and the opportunity that you have to walk into a voting booth, to do what men and women have died to give you the right to do, I believe that's a sin. I believe it's wrong."
Falwell, son of the late Rev. Jerry Falwell who co-founded the Moral Majority, made it a point to tell the congregation that their voting matters.
"All Christians have a duty to do everything in our power to elect leaders who uphold biblical values and morals," he stressed.
Citing Proverbs 14:34, Falwell said righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.
Like many evangelical pastors, he listed marriage and the sanctity of life as central issues that Christians need to consider when choosing the next president.
Marriage, he said, is the most important institution that God gave us – even more important than the institution of the Church.
"As people of God, ... we better not redefine it," he underscored.
What the Baptist pastor preached on Sunday came directly from the Word of God, he clarified, and not from his opinion or what he learned from his late father.
David Platt, pastor of The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., also exhorted Christians to be biblically responsible in Tuesday's election.
"By God's grace we have a say in who leads this country. I want to exhort us to be biblically responsible with the say that god has given us. My aim is not, would not be to encourage you, exhort you to vote for a particular person or a particular party but to vote and to live in this country informed by biblical truth," he stated.
In addition to the issue of marriage and abortion – which he called the most morally outrageous and sinfully vicious practices that Americans participate in in the name of freedom – Platt also listed caring for the poor as something the Bible informs them on.
He acknowledged that God is sovereign over everything, including who's going to be the next president of the United States but "that doesn't mean we sit back in the sea of divine passivity and do nothing in our country," he said.
"Because God's sovereign over everything we work in this country as pilgrims to be faithful to this Word, knowing that while we're pilgrims in this country today, we are citizens of a kingdom in a country to come."
Falwell and Platt have been joined by hundreds of pastors across the country who have called on Christians to vote and to vote their values. Evangelists Greg Laurie and Franklin Graham as well as bestselling authors Max Lucado and John Piper have made the exhortation.
While most have not endorsed a specific candidate for the White House, they have indicated that Romney's Mormonism is not a stumbling block for them.
"I've heard it said ... that there are people in our country today who have actually said that they would have a hard time voting for Obama because he's African American. I 've also heard it said that there are people in our country today that would have a hard time voting for Mitt Romney because he's Mormon," said Falwell.
"I would submit to you today that both of those are wrong," he asserted to applause from the congregation.
"We should not determine our leader based on the color of their skin or what they look like or where they come from; we should base who leads our nation on the character that is inside."
A LifeWay Research study released in October found that 57 percent of Protestant pastors plan to vote for Romney and only 17 percent plan to choose Obama. Eighty-two percent of pastors who plan to pick someone other than Romney said their decision was not related to his Mormon faith and 60 percent of undecided pastors said their hesitation has not been influenced by Romney's faith.