Church elections or political rallies?

Dear BPCWAians, At our last church Triennial elections, a child asked who would lose, if someone was elected at our elections. In the mind of the child, the word “elections” brought to mind the world’s  idea of political or school elections, where one fights against another – hence, someone being elected means that someone else has “lost” as a result of that. This year marks elections across several nations around the world as well, and we may read about these in the newspapers. But God’s children must be very clear that church elections are and must never be or thought of like the world’s elections. We thank God that there is peace in the church, and especially in times of peace, every Christian must do their best to prevent unsavoury and carnal practices from creeping into the church elections. These are some characteristics that every church member must rally against when it comes into the church. It is best to learn such lessons in times of peace.

Not partisan based. Most elections are based on political parties fielding candidates for a particular post or position. For example, there may be the Labor or the Liberal party. Both political candidates would then be vying for the same position. The one who gets most votes will win that election and would fill that seat, be it for the office of Premier or Prime Minister etc. In many cases, the voters (and sometimes even the media) would also be for or against a certain political party. This is a key point where Christians must view church elections differently. We must never view elections as being to support your best friend, nor to support your particular interest group. When this happens, there are factions in the church, because it becomes a race of “us” against “them”. This was what happened in the Corinth church, which Paul admonished them for. 1Cor 1:11-12 “… there are contentions among you. 12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.” But not having opposing factions is not sufficient. Rather, we must focus only on the fact that BPCWA is Christ’s church, where He sits as head (Eph 5:23). Paul gives a strong rebuke to bring the church to their senses – “Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor 1:13). We are Christians, we bear Christ’s name, and to Him alone we pledge loyalty in church. It is all too human to get carried away with emotions and thoughts that are not biblically focussed: “He’s my good friend/relative we have been through so much together.” “We’re in his group and he’ll speak up for our interests.” “He’s a nice guy,  so I don’t want to offend him by  not voting for him.” Or some refuse to vote because “He offended me, is against sins I practice, does not let me do what I want in church”. Rather, our thoughts should be focussed on God’s criteria found in His Word for His church in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1. Whether you are from the Seniors, Regen or Chinese Adult Fellowship groups, your thought should be focussed on “This is Christ’s church – does he meet the biblical qualifications, able to perform the roles of that office, and think of what is best for church instead of only a specific interest group?”. We are to remember – we are accountable to God for how we vote, though no one sees.

No pretensions. Additionally, to maintain church unity, everyone who is to be elected to office must have the same personal and genuine convictions of faith and practice on the biblical doctrines that we as a church stand for, uphold, and teach. This is what the Board of Elders strive to ensure through the due diligence that we put in before announcing the candidates for elections. What if the Board of Elders fails to do that, or through genuine oversight missed seeing an aspect which should make the candidate disqualified from church office? We welcome members to ask any candidates about their convictions too before they vote. This is the responsibility of the voter. Hence, we provide the write up of all candidates. All members who have sworn in membership to uphold the church constitution should never vote for any candidate who is not a fundamentalist, not of the Reformed, Premillennial, Bible-Presbyterian faith, or who does not practice biblical separation.

No campaigning. For some countries, election year falls in a pandemic year. Since the fight is for votes, it is a time when each aspiring candidate will do what is necessary to win votes. Reporters trail politicians as they go around on visits to homes, shaking hands around the community. As election month draws near, politicians are conscious that what they do  will affect their votes. Unpalatable policies are set aside, good news take the forefront, and politicians take great pains to brush aside anything that causes them to lose votes. What is intended in these activities is for the voter to have a picture of how “good” the candidate is – especially in the months or weeks leading to the actual election day so that they will get voted in. The Christian must be especially cautious about any candidate who acts unusually out of character just to please people before elections. These can be dangerous signs that the person may be a man-pleaser. Everyone who votes must ensure “that the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared” (Job 34:30). Instead, we should seek in office the righteous man who will  be steadfast in doing what is biblical, what is needed, even if it  is unpopular, and even if it incurs the displeasure of some members just before the time of the election. Someone who holds a personal grouse may be tempted to express their unhappiness by not voting for the person, or submitting a spoilt vote. But “the righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.” (Job 17:9) One who stands for office for the right reason should not flinch to deal with difficult issues whether or not elections are near. We must pray and want in session people that will fear God rather than men, who truly seek to please God and serve Him rather than seek position and power. Prov 29:25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”

Israel was chosen as a nation to serve God’s purpose. Today, the church temporarily fills that role. BPCWA should “seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.” (Isa 58:2) When Israel’s leaders failed, Israel failed to live up to what God expected of them. When the people failed to follow the right leaders, Israel also failed. Let us, BPCWA, in this age and always, seek to have leaders that will do righteousness for Christ’s sake.

Yours in our Lord’s service,