The Bible and the Ballot, by Tremper Longman
FEBRUARY 22, 2020
No matter where you are in the political spectrum, you must acknowledge the divisiveness and vitriol and partisanship that threaten our national and human unity.
We live in turbulent times. No matter where you are in the political spectrum, you must acknowledge the divisiveness and vitriol and partisanship that threaten our national and human unity. Because of this, our political rhetoric has become caustic. Each side demonizes the other. Unfortunately, many Christians have participated in name-calling and attempts to shame and humiliate the other side. For this reason, I decided to add at the end of each chapter of The Bible and the Ballot a section that briefly speaks to what I believe Scripture wants our attitudes and dispositions to be on a particular topic. For example, it’s hard to speak badly about immigrants, documented or not, if we recognize them as God’s creation and image bearers (not to speak of the fact that many of them are our brothers and sisters in Christ).
What makes The Bible and The Ballot different from almost any other written recently is that it is a book about the Bible and political decisions. We have had a number of political theologies recently written by insightful Christian scholars and political thinkers. But this book is different, as can be seen by the intentional interaction with specific biblical texts in their literary, historical, and theological context.
The topics that I cover are controversial among Christians. I have tried to back up my understanding of specific texts as I derive the relevant principles. I will be honest that I hope to persuade you on these matters. These are God’s principles, I would argue, not mine.
But, of course, I could be wrong on certain of my conclusions. I ask only that my Christian readers feel themselves constrained by Scripture. The worse response would be: He is right about what the Bible says on same-sex marriage, abortion, war, or immigration, but I don’t care. I’ll keep my own viewpoint on the matter. After all, we hear the voice of God in the Bible and thus the Bible is the church’s canon, its standard of faith and practice.
Tremper Longman III is Distinguished Scholar and Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies at Westmont College
Excerpted from The Bible and the Ballot, by Tremper Longman. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.