Ever since the beginning of the GOP campaign for a presidential candidate, I have had people asking me if it was biblically permissible for a Christian to vote for a Mormon. I was asked that question at least twice this past week.
To be sure, irreconcilable theological issues separate Christians and Mormons, and if we were talking about appointing a person to a position of spiritual leadership, then a Christian could not agree with such an appointment without violating the clear teaching of Scripture.
But I do not believe that the same standard applies when considering someone for public office. As has been said, “We are not electing a Pastor in Chief, but a Commander in Chief.” Rather than expecting our elected officials to hold to a specific theological position, I believe we are to look for people whose worldview is most compatible with the worldview presented in the Bible.
Notice that I said most compatible. The Bible itself speaks of two ways that God has revealed Himself to man. One is by what we call general revelation; the other is special revelation. General revelation comes to us through nature: creation and conscience. Special revelation comes through the Law, the Prophets, Jesus Christ, and the Apostles. If we mandated that our civic leaders conform to special revelation, in essence we would be requiring that they be Christians in order to hold public office. Nothing in the New Testament supports that idea. Although the New Testament tells us that the governmental authorities are appointed by God and are ministers of God (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14), it is also clear that the authorities being referred to were not Christian, and in most cases, far from it. The New Testament references were primarily to Rome: Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, et al.
Now I am not saying that we couldn’t or shouldn’t desire our leaders to be actual Christians; but the Scriptures do not require that. After all, most of the time and in most places, the option of electing Christians to office has rarely existed. Even in the United States, which many have considered a “Christian Nation,” we have had very few men who were Christians, in the biblical sense of the term, serve as president. You could probably count them all on one hand. Yet, we have had many good men, from Washington to Lincoln to Reagan, whose theological views were ultimately inconsistent with special revelation, i.e. biblical Christianity. Nevertheless, because they all believed in a Creator and moral absolutes, i.e. general revelation, they served the nation well.
So, what should we be looking for in our civic leaders? Not those who affirm the Apostles Creed necessarily. As I said, that option usually doesn’t exist anyway. But we should be looking for those who affirm that there is a God who created mankind in His image, gave us laws to live by (i.e. the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount), and will hold us accountable for our actions. In essence, what we are talking about, and what I believe we should be looking for as believers, is someone who truly holds to the Judeo-Christian worldview. That is the correct view of reality, and those who govern according to that view will most benefit the nation.
Although Mormonism and Christianity disagree on special revelation and are therefore two different religions, they agree on general revelation and therefore have the Judeo-Christian worldview in common.
Can a Christian vote for a Mormon? I believe the answer is yes. Should a Christian vote for a Mormon? That is a question only you, the individual voter, can decide.