(Under construction. Much more to come in the future.)
“the political parties of the world [have] fraud on both sides.” Ellen White, GCDB February 17, 1897, par. 7.
We need to educate our SDA members much better about politics and ways we can be biblically involved and reasons why it can often be a waste of time or harmful. Because most people don’t know the principles of finding truth fairly, most judge based on whether people around them believe something, whether it’s traditional/conservative, or whether it’s popular/liberal. But none of those are godly or objective academic ways to find truth. The Bible repeatedly warn against just following traditions (Mark 7:5-13, Galatians 2:14) and also against following popular customs in the world (Romans 12:2, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15). The conservative Pharisees and liberal Sadducees united to crucify Jesus.
Georgetown University professor Carroll Quigley who taught many leading politicians said, “the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can ‘throw the rascals out’ at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy” Tragedy and Hope, 1966. p. 1247-8.
What principles does God give us to help think and act wisely in politics? God gave Ellen White some crucial insights and several SDA pastors have talks on that.
Dr. Nicholas Miller, professor of theology at Andrews, has a talk on this here:
Principles of Adventist Voting & Political Involvement https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XT2diraQ5Zs
Adventist professor of Adventist history, Dr. Morgan, writes about Ellen White,
“She was interested in government supporting benevolent reform, benevolent endeavors, [interested in] things that are causing poverty, crime, the breakdown of the family, and so forth. I think she would be interested in whatever could be done to redress those without violating religious liberty and constitutional freedom.”… https://www.adventistreview.org/2008-1525-8
James Standish, director of the Adventist department of religious liberty for many years, writes:
“From our earliest days Adventists fought crucial battles to preserve religious liberty,2 led in the movement for prohibition of alcohol, urged the abolition of slavery (and adamantly refused to obey the Federal Fugitive Slave Law),3 advocated for the rights of the poor, and firmly opposed war. Explaining the rationale for Adventist public policy activism in 1892, Ellen White wrote: “Many deplore the wrongs which they know exist, but consider themselves free from all responsibility in the matter. This cannot be. Every individual exerts an influence in society.”
James Standish. “A Voice on the Hill: NARLA and the New Congress.”
Ellen White has several principles about how SDAs should interact with politics. Basically, Ellen White spoke very strongly that SDAs should use their influence in politics to support godliness and to oppose evils of many kinds including slavery, injustice to protect religious liberty, to support health/temperance (and she said it was right even to vote on Sabbath to promote Godly principles). She also said Satan wishes SDAs not to be involved in politics and to eliminate their influence. But Ellen White is very clear that we should not surrender our allegiance to any political party. We are responsible to follow God’s principles above all else and this must not be compromised by joining a political party. Research confirms the wisdom of this, showing that politics can even wreck people’s ability to do basic math, and abandon morality of different kinds.
1) GOD WANTS SDAS TO USE THEIR INFLUENCE IN POLITICS AGAINST EVIL LAWS
“There is a cause for the moral paralysis upon society. Our laws sustain an evil which is sapping their very foundations. Many deplore the wrongs which they know exist, but consider themselves free from all responsibility in the matter. This cannot be. Every individual exerts an influence in society. In our favored land, every voter has some voice in determining what laws shall control the nation. Should not that influence and that vote be cast on the side of temperance and virtue?” (1881)… (Review and Herald, Oct 15, 1914)
2) SATAN WANTS SDAS NOT TO VOTE ON MORAL ISSUES
Ellen White wrote about how some were advocating that SDAs not vote (in regard to temperance in this case, but it would apply to other cases).
“Satan and his evil angels are busy at this time [trying to influence SDAs not to vote], and he has workers upon the earth. May Satan be disappointed, is my prayer” (Temperance, pp. 255, 256).
3) WE SHOULD NOT ALIGN WITH POLITICAL PARTIES
Ellen White strongly warned against aligning with any political party:
“It is a mistake for you to link your interests with any political party, to cast your vote with them or for them.” and ” We cannot safely vote for political parties; for we do not know whom we are voting for. We cannot safely take part in any political schemes.” Gospel Workers, pp. 391-393.
4) DON’T COMPROMISE YOUR VALUES WHEN YOU ENGAGE IN POLITICS
Ellen White spoke very strong about the importance of not compromising when they get involved in politics, something that is easy to do. When people support policies that are against God’s principles, God judges them as guilty of the sins of those they support while in office. She says this about the issue of religion liberty, but it applies to all principles that God gave for government.
“We cannot labour 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 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” (Fundamentals of Christian Education, page 475, emphasis added). .
She also says in several that it is right and valuable for SDAs to aim to be leaders in government and politics if God leads them in that direction and that they can use their influence for good. She compares this to Daniel in politics in Babylon or Joseph in Egypt. But there are also many other ways to serve God that are good as well, or even better. It depends on God’s calling to each individual.
An Adventist professor Osborn says, “The need [is] to avoid partisanship. Study the issues, vote for the person and not the party. Study each issue for yourself.”
5) NEVER SUPPORT GREED
Ellen White said that Jesus warns in all cases against supporting greed and that to support greed is to support Satan’s work.
“The voice of one in authority spoke with great decision, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. Read the directions given by the only-begotten Son of God when enshrouded in the cloudy pillar. When that voice is obeyed, ye will not give your voice or influence to any policy to enrich a few, to bring oppression and suffering to the poorer class of humanity.
There is in this excitement just what separates those of the same faith. Is this bearing the divine credentials?
Beware. See that your arm is not linked in the arm of a personal demon. He is in appearance as a man. He is walking about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, and he finds them among Seventh-day Adventists…
There are many who will be deluded, and who, by pen and voice, will cast their whole influence to create an evil condition of things (a condition that will exist just the same whatever they may do); but they should not be bound up with the evil workers.” TM p. 332-33
The Bible repeatedly warns against greed as the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6:10), that we can’t have both God and greed (Matt. ^:24), that government leaders must not be greedy or promiscuous or ignorant of God’s laws (Deut. 17:17-20), and that this ruins families and causes national ruin***There just is absolutely NO way whatsoever to be on God’s side and greed at the same time. NONE. God can wink at ignorance (Acts 17:17). But people only do vast harm when they support greed.
***While there maybe admirable individuals in various parties, thinking that political parties are going to solve most of our problems is foolish. We need to learn to live as the Christian church did under Rome, the Chinese church did under persecution of its time, etc. Here are some reasons.
1. Researchers show that joining/strongly identifying with a political wrecks people’s ability to do even basic math, as well as figure out truth in other areas.
2. When people reject contrary evidence and disagree about politics, it at least damages trust in the judgement of others and has in many cases fractured relationships, friendships and even families and marriages as these sites show.
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/when-politics-destroys-family https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/apr/12/fox-news-brain-meet-the-families-torn-apart-by-toxic-cable-news https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/11/how-politics-in-trumps-america-divides-families/576301/ https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/donald-trump-is-destroying-my-marriage.html
3. Politics often distracts from the best solutions, which are personal daily choices following God’s principles and what we can do for God and others.
4. Politics often wastes huge amounts of time for little or no improvement and damages many relationships. This cripples mission and reduces the time we could be witnessing to others.
5. Politics influences people to refuse to submit to God’s principles. I have seen many on both sides set aside God’s principles for political ideology and refuse to admit harmful principles of their political party. Democrats often won’t admit that Darwinism, abortion and removing God from public education is harmful even though both God and science show it is. Republicans often won’t admit that their economic policies like trickle-down economics are based on greed and giving trillions to the super rich for no work done which Bible principles forbid, war for greed and power, and support for corporations which are often anti-Christian.
6. Many politicians claim that America is the best and freest nation on
earth. But many studies and comparisons of nations show this is not true in
many areas. Both parties for example are following policies that plunge
Americans into debt. Under both democrats and republicans in recent years, the
average debt has been over $130,000 per American. https://debt.com/statistics/ The Bible
says that debt is slavery (Prov. 22:7). So both parties are in fact supporting
what God calls slavery. Debt and money problems are often the #1 problem that
breaks up families. And that has many serious consequences for many years. So
this is a very big issue.
7. Politics can cause dissension in churches, and distrust of leaders because of their real or imagined political leaning.
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