As citizens of the USA prepare to choose a new president and many other officials, we who are also Christians note some fundamental scriptural principles about God and earthly governments.

Scripture tells us that God raises up governments and puts them down — both to bless and to punish. The Most High rules over the kingdoms of men (Daniel 4). Pilate’s supposed power depends on God (John 18). God assigns governments certain responsibilities, and he holds them accountable for their performance (Rom. 13).

However, Government is not God, and it is not the source of our security. Our votes will not determine whether our nation survives or our Christian lives are threatened. History is replete with stories of Christians who thrived while bearing quiet witness under oppressive conditions and harsh rulers. And whatever the future of faith in America, its demise (if it occurs) will have been self-inflicted by professing Christians on both Left and Right who squandered opportunities to exert godly influence and instead tried to grab and retain worldly power.

We cherish our American liberties and freedom of religion, and we also remember that Jesus’ kingdom is “not of this world” — it originates in heaven not on earth (John 18). Regardless of where we live and the form of government we live under, our mission in this world is to glorify God and to spread the word of Jesus’ atoning work and the kingdom of God.

Today many Christians believe that we face two bad choices. Major philosophical differences seem to have been smothered by the coarse and crude. Near-opposite visions of our future lie buried beneath falsehoods and failures. Do we pray and stay home on Election Day, as my father concluded that Jesus wanted him to do? Do we hold our nose and vote for the lesser evil? Do we protest with a write-in or third party candidate? I urge you to pray for God to work his will, then to do as you feel led. But please do not suggest that God approves of either major candidate, or that any thoughtful Christian faces an easy choice.