Well-known author and theologian Timothy Keller has rejected the growing idea that Christians must vote for a particular candidate come November. He cited a “liberty of conscience” when discussing how followers of Christ should approach the 2020 election.
In a series of Twitter posts last week, pastor Tim Keller ruffled some feathers with his comments regarding how Christians should be involved with politics. He implied that the decision to vote for one candidate over another isn’t so cut and dry.
“The Bible binds my conscience to care for the poor. But it does not tell me the best practical way to do it. Any particular strategy (high taxes and government services vs low taxes and private charity) may be good and wise,” Keller began.
“[It] may even be somewhat inferred from other things the Bible teaches, but they are not directly commanded and therefore we cannot insist that all Christians, as a matter of conscience, follow one or the other,” the pastor added.
Keller went on to say that the “current political parties offer a potpourri of different positions” of which the Bible “does not speak to directly.”
“This means when it comes to taking political positions, voting, determining alliances and political involvement, the Christian has liberty of conscience,” Keller continued.
“Christians cannot say to other Christians ‘no Christian can vote for…’ or ‘every Christian must vote for…’ unless you can find a Biblical command to that effect.”
Keller’s comments were immediately criticized across social media, including a comment from Georgia pastor Charles Yarbrough.
“Hey Tim… No Christian should vote for anyone who advocates the murder of babies in the womb… even after they are born. This is indescribable evil… period,” Yarbrough wrote.
One commenter combated Keller’s remarks, saying the Bible actually does tell Christians how to take care of the poor.
“The Bible spells out how to give to the poor. Its to be given willingly in obedience, not given to a national treasury for redistribution,” the comment reads.
“Taxation is forced, who knows where the money goes. Can u find a scripture of someone being jailed for not giving to the poor or tithing?”
Marshall Albritton, a lawyer, also responded to Keller’s comments. While he said he agreed with Keller’s overall assessment, he felt that “two things are essential and nonnegotiable.”
“Everyone, including political leaders regardless of party, must say that abortion is evil. The Govt should not fund abortion. Political reality now is that one party refuses to do either of these,” Albritton tweeted.
Keller responded to the criticism, believing many who opposed his stance misunderstood what he was trying to convey.
“The Bible tells me that abortion is a sin and great evil. But it doesn’t tell me the best way to decrease or end abortion in this country, nor which policies are most effective,” Keller replied on Twitter.