In this election season, I often find conservative Evangelical Christians (of which I am one) claiming that President Obama is “unbiblical” and that Governor Romney is the “biblical candidate”. To me, it all depends on the issue. I don’t share President Obama’s stance on abortion, but I do resonate with his efforts to make sure health care is available to all.
In my estimation, neither candidate has a corner on the market on what it means to be biblical. For conservative Evangelical Christianity, Mainline Protestant Liberalism (as far as I can tell, President Obama’s tradition) and Mormonism (Governor Romney’s tradition) each in their own way would not resonate in important ways with Evangelical convictions on what is entailed by being biblical. For example, Mainline Protestant Liberals do not affirm the full truthfulness of the biblical canon, whereas conservative Evangelicals do. Moreover, Mormons see the Book of Mormon as canonical, whereas conservative Evangelical Christians do not.
For me, being biblical entails being pro-life—all life. I would love to find a candidate who is pro-life for all forms of life across the board, from concern for the human fetus to concern for the well-being of the mother and the child after birth, including economic support and health care, from prison reform and immigration reform to stricter control on gun ownership, and from greater attention given to the environment involving significant reductions in pollution to equitable treatment for the poor (rather than preferential treatment for the rich). These values to me would go a long way toward signifying a more holistic biblical vision (Biblical passages that weigh heavily on me in terms of a theology and ethic of life include Exodus 22:21-27; Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 58:6-12, and James 1:27).
To get there, we will need to stop claiming one party or one candidate has a corner on the Bible. It’s not even close. Neither of the parties nor their presidential candidates can bear the biblical banner. For those who are interested in finding a biblical candidate and for being biblical, they had better keep reading Scripture and continue praying for the political candidates and governing officials we do have (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
Dr. Paul Louis Metzger is the Founder and Director of The Institute for the Theology of Culture: New Wine, New Wineskins and Professor at Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University. He is the author of numerous works, including Connecting Christ: How to Discuss Jesus in a World of Diverse Paths (which can be found wherever fine books are sold), and is a charter member of the Evangelical Chapter of the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy.