Two days before the general election, Pastor Tony Evans lamented that Christians “have allowed government to divide the Church.”
"What we are seeing today especially among Christians is us building walls against one another because of government. We’ve allowed government to divide the church and that is an agenda from Hell," Evans said Sunday during his message on “God and Conscience" at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas.
"We’ve made government God or made it bigger than God because it can do something God wouldn’t do."
Evans denounced the vitriol he often sees on social media as Christians argue over political issues.
Referring to Romans 15: 7, Evans said, “Therefore accept one another just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.”
“When your political vote causes you to reject, demean, ridicule, curse, cuss others who differ from you but are not abandoning Scripture to do so, they just have a different set of priorities … Everybody may not feel the same about Democrats and Republicans or this candidate versus that candidate. But … don’t let that issue get in the way of your fellowship in the program of God,” the pastor told the congregants.
“It is embarrassing, I mean, downright embarrassing, to read social media and see the vitriol, the hatred, the evil, the downright hellishness of Christians going at each other. We have become more pagan than the non-Christian world and how we talk to one another just because people are disagreeing politically. When you can have good on both sides and bad on both sides, … do not disregard one another because to do that is an embarrassment to God.”
When Christians are “going at each other, what do you think the world thinks when they see the hatred in the Body of Christ as though one candidate came from Heaven and another candidate came from Hell, one party came from Heaven and another party came from Hell?” he asked.
It’s not wrong to disagree or to vote differently, but it is wrong “to be contemptuous,” Evans emphasized.
“Democrats, you’re going to have to accept Republicans. Republicans, you’re going to have to accept Democrats because God has accepted them so when you attack another person in the family of God because they voted differently, you have attacked God,” he noted. “The Bible says that the mouth reflects the heart ... The way you know how Christian you are is not about how you wave your hand or how you praise the Lord or how you flip a pew or how you sing a song, but what comes out of your mouth when you’re not in church, when you’re on social media."
The Dallas pastor urged fellow believers to "allow for differences within the boundaries of Scripture when there is room for those differences."
He pointed out that God allows Christians to "make your own play call" within biblical boundaries "because every Christian doesn’t start in the same place."
"Some Christians vote the way they vote because of the experiences they’ve had. … That has colored how they perceive things," he said. "Others are based on their perception of life … and that perception has colored their priority. Both are legitimate.
"Some families were taught one way, another family was taught another way … They’re operating off of their upbringing."
For African-American Christians, they may have "extra sensitivity" when it comes to injustice and the dignity of life, while for Anglo Christians, they may be most concerned about the moral agenda and what their children are being taught in school, the pastor noted.
"Neither is wrong … but they’ve been affected differently," he said.
He also emphasized, "You can’t cut them down, Scripture says. You can’t disregard them."
"You don’t look down on one another because we belong to another King and another Kingdom."
During the sermon, he explained the role of one's conscience when it comes to voting.
“You are free to vote. Your conscience and everybody’s conscience won’t vote the same way when you’ve got two legitimate or two illegitimate forces at work.”
Evans then asked, “But what happens when there’s some right, some wrong...? Which way do you go?” He added that an issue may not be “perfectly biblically clear.”
“Your conscience is your heart regulator. It is the thing that regulates between right and wrong, good and bad, up and down. It’s the beeper that goes off when somebody comes into your house and the front door goes beep… It is the signal that God has built into every human being to govern and guide them if the conscience has been properly informed,” he explained.
But the Bible says “the heart is deceitfully wicked, so you can have uninformed consciences that make uninformed decisions but they’re still operating on wrong consciences.”
“That’s why, it is critical that your conscience gets the right data in order to make the wisest possible decision, but everybody’s consciences won’t register equally to every circumstance because every Christian is not at the same spiritual level.”
He called on Christians to be informed "of what God expects."
"God expects you to be a Kingdom voter, not a cultural voter."
And what a Kingdom voter does is: vote, pray, examine issues based on the Word of God, seek unity, look at both policy and personality, and look at how one's decision will affect not only oneself but others, the pastor explained.
In the end, he said that "God's going to decide the outcome ... But it's a partnership. He takes into consideration our choices. Your choice matters."
"God has a conditional will. These are the things He decides to do in concert with whether we do what we're supposed to do or not. But He has a sovereign unconditional will. Those are the things He's going to do regardless of whether you do your part or not," he added.
The sermon was part of a series on “Kingdom Voting” that kicked off in September. At that time, he said that one may decide to vote for a Republican or a Democratic or a libertarian candidate, but “every Christian should be a Kingdom independent.”
God does not want to take sides, he stressed. He is there to “take over” because He rules the nations.