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Responding to ongoing election conflict: Three biblical steps to our “upward call”

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Responding to ongoing election conflict
President-elect Joe Biden speaks after the Electoral College formally elected him as president, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

My father died on this day in 1979.

When America became involved in World War II, he enlisted in the US Army. Because he could type, he was made a radio operator and stationed with three hundred other soldiers on an island in the South Pacific. Only seventeen survived. 

My father gave up his aspirations for a medical career to serve his country. While stationed on that island, he contracted a skin disease that he battled for the rest of his life. He suffered a massive heart attack in his early thirties and died of a second heart attack at the age of fifty-five. I have long wondered if the horrific stress of his wartime service contributed to his health issues. 

Yet my father never complained about what he had suffered for our country. Not once. He was proud to be an American and proud to have defended his nation. He considered ours to be the greatest country on earth, one worthy of his sacrifice and, if necessary, his life. 

I wanted to begin today’s article with this tribute to my father for two reasons. One is to express publicly my profound admiration for his patriotism and sacrifice. The second is to seek to emulate his love for our country in responding to the current state of our nation. 

Closing a state capitol 

When the Electoral College met in Michigan yesterday, the state House and Senate office buildings were closed due to security concerns. The state Capitol was also closed to the public. 

Violence erupted Saturday evening in Washington, DC, following clashes between Trump supporters and counter-protesters. Eight police officers were injured and four people were stabbed.

That same evening, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson was about to watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas with her four-year-old son when a crowd of “Stop the Steal” protesters with American flags and guns gathered around her home. They stood outside accusing her of ignoring widespread voter fraud until they were dispersed by police. 

The news brought to mind a call two years ago by Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters for her supporters to publicly harass members of the Trump administration “in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station.” 

Was the election rigged? 

As I’m sure you know, the Electoral College certified Joe Biden’s election yesterday. But this is not the end of the story. 

Unsurprisingly, 100 percent of those who voted for Joe Biden in the November election said in a recent poll that he was the legitimate winner; only 2 percent said President Trump should continue to contest the election. By contrast, 82 percent of those who voted for President Trump said that they do not consider Mr. Biden’s election to be legitimate; 79 percent said the election should continue to be contested. 

To that end, an effort is underway to challenge the election results on January 6 when Congress convenes to officially tally the Electoral College votes and certify Joe Biden as the president-elect. 

As I noted last week, 68 percent of Republicans and 28 percent of all Americans said they were concerned that the election was “rigged” for Joe Biden. Regardless of whether this in fact occurred or would even be possible, note this fact: a large percentage of our country believes that Mr. Biden, or at least his supporters, would have done so if they could. 

Similarly, even after a report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller found no evidence that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia in the 2016 election, 48 percent of respondents to a Reuters/Ipsos poll said they believed “Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.” Whether he did or could have done so, they clearly believe the president, or at least his supporters, would have acted in this way if possible. 

As another indication of our political gap, 97 percent of Biden voters said the mainstream media reported the election results accurately; 86 percent of Trump voters said it reported the results inaccurately. 

What keeps us from our goal?

In a culture plagued with such partisan divides and distrust, is there a way forward? Let’s consider three biblical imperatives. 

First, concerns regarding voter fraud should be investigated. A constitutional republic depends on the credibility of its voting systems. With all the technological and cultural changes of recent years, it is understandable that a system as old as ours should be examined occasionally and made as efficient as possible. This should not be a partisan issue—all Americans should want an electoral process that all Americans can trust. 

The Bible calls us to “seek justice, correct oppression” (Isaiah 1:17). God testifies, “I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong” (Isaiah 61:8). It seems to me that a bipartisan, unbiased study of our electoral system is an appropriate response to the recent election. 

We should ask of our political engagement: Is this just for all? 

Second, in our political engagement we are to “speak the truth to one another” (Zechariah 8:16; cf. Ephesians 4:25). After praying for God to “lead [us] in your truth” (Psalm 25:5), we measure our opinions and those of others by biblical revelation, reason, and accountability to the community of faith. 

We should ask of our political engagement: Are we “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15)? 

Third, in all we say and do, we should seek to honor our Father and draw others to him. Scripture is clear: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Jesus said we would “be” his witnesses (Acts 1:8), a calling that encompasses our private and public lives. 

We should ask of our political engagement: Will this honor Jesus and lead others to him? 

The writer Robert Brault noted, “We are kept from our goal, not by obstacles but by a clear path to a lesser goal.” By contrast, Paul testified, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

What is your “upward call” today?

NOTE: A Daily Article reader wrote: “Thank you for encouraging truth about hope. We need more of it. Our world needs more of it.” I am grateful for her kind words, which I see as evidence that a movement of culture-changing Christians is happening. To join in our mission, your year-end, tax-deductible gift to the Denison Forum will be DOUBLED by a generous matching grant up to $150,000. Don’t wait. The deadline is December 31, so give today.