By David Schnittger, President, Southwest Prophecy Ministries
The Bible has much to say on the importance of preserving unity among believers in Jesus Christ. For example, we read in Ephesians 4:3-6: “Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Here Paul emphasizes the unity of Spirit that preserves peace among Christians.
Notice that this unity is built upon the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, not secondary disputable issues. Paul deals with what our attitude should be toward disputable issues in Romans 14:1-5: “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believes that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who are thou that judgest another man’s servant? To his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
In this passage, Paul is dealing with secondary preferential issues, not primary fundamental issues such as those listed in Ephesians chapter four. In these preferential issues, according to Paul, we are not to despise or judge other Christians, but rather seek to be “fully persuaded in his own mind” regarding his own convictions on such matters.
I want to apply these biblical principles to the current presidential primary season. The 2016 primary season, for both major parties, has been the most divisive in recent memory. For example, I have heard in recent weeks, of good patriotic organizations fracturing because of divergent candidate preferences. I have also heard patriotic radio hosts chastening listeners for not supporting their preferred candidate. I have even heard of marriages being disrupted over candidate preferences. As I consider these divisions, I say, with James, “My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:10b).
The Bible makes it clear that our unity is based on the unchanging fundamentals of the Christian faith, not on disputable issues such as preferences for fallible candidates. I like my pastor’s bumper sticker which proclaims, “Jesus for President.” My friends, He is the only perfect person, but sadly, He is not running for office this year. I can honestly say that I am greatly looking forward to His administration!
What I am urging among the brethren, even in the midst of this heated primary season, is a plea for unity. Believers should not judge or despise one another over these disputable, preferential issues. In the United States, our constitutional system provides for free elections and the “sanctity of the ballot box.” In America, no citizen, Christian or otherwise, should be judged, harassed or intimidated because of preferences regarding their political party or candidate. As I have thought and prayed about what I am observing, particularly in the Christian community of late, in the interests of unity I have decided that Southwest Prophecy Ministries will implement the following non-endorsement policy effective immediately:
Southwest Prophecy Ministries will not post any articles, headlines, videos or Facebook posts either criticizing or endorsing any candidate or political party or election process during the election season. We will continue to post information critiquing those non-candidates who are currently in office based on biblical and constitutional criteria.
I am implementing this policy in order to prevent division within our ministry as well as to prevent discord and estrangement within our constituency. I respect you, our reader, enough to have confidence that you will seek out candidate information elsewhere and that you will vote according to your conscience. We welcome believers and non-believers alike to our website, regardless of your party affiliation or candidate preference. Our purpose is equipping end-time saints, not endorsing political candidates! We freely acknowledge that no candidate is perfect (Romans 3:10), and that all candidates will inevitably disappoint us once they are elected. I believe this non-endorsement policy reflects the sage counsel attributed to Saint Augustine who purportedly said, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.”