‘No election can undermine the kingdom of Christ,’ Boyce College dean says in SBTS chapel
Christians should not seek hope or protection in kingdoms of this world, said Boyce College Dean Matthew J. Hall in a Sept. 27 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. While many evangelicals feel weighed down by their responsibility to vote in the upcoming presidential election, Hall said Christians should place their confidence elsewhere.
“O, how we need pastors and leaders who do not capitulate to the fear, the rage, and the hand-wringing that marks our day,” said Hall, who was appointed dean of Boyce, the seminary’s undergraduate school, in June. “We need bold public witness for truth, but we don’t need to panic. May we be good and faithful citizens involved in public life, motivated by love for God and love for neighbor, absolutely — but always mindful that Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world and it is not contingent on any election or any president or any kingdom of this world.”
Preaching the morning after the first presidential debate, Hall emphasized the contrast between Christ’s kingdom and the kingdom of Rome in John 18:33-40. Christians should fight the temptation to look to the kingdoms of this world to give “hope or protection or authority,” remembering the difference between the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God and resisting the widespread fear of this election cycle, Hall said.
Jesus’ mission was to proclaim the truth of the kingdom, Hall said, and the local church by extension is the “visible outpost of the kingdom of Christ in this age,” sent to share in Christ’s ministry and bear the truth of the gospel. Voting as a church member in congregational matters is the most significant vote that can be cast, he said.
“That vote is far more important and far more enduring and far more significant than any vote that you will cast on November 8 because that vote represents something that is enduring and eternal and rooted in the kingdom of Christ,” Hall said. “I can assure you as someone who teaches American history and American government, elections do have consequences; they matter. But no election can undermine the kingdom of Christ, nor roll back the spread of the gospel.
“Maybe you’re counting on this election to do for you what no election can ever do. If you think that one candidate or one party is the party of righteousness and the other is the candidate of evil, or the party of evil, let me just go ahead and suggest that you have set yourself up for this problem. That kind of dichotomy might suggest that you have forgotten the nature of the kingdom and you’ve been blinded to reality. So pray and vote your conscience, please, but don’t confuse American politics with the kingdom of Christ. Jesus is ruling and reigning right now, no matter who is in the White House. And I’ve got a news flash for you: That’s not going to change after November 8.”
In the eyes of the world, the exchange between Jesus and Pilate would be seen as a “homeless and roving Galilean rabbi” who was put in his rightful place by the religious leaders and elites through execution, Hall said. However, through eyes of faith, Christians need to see the Son of God, full of authority, who submits to the Father’s will to bring about salvation for those who believe and judgment to those who deny him.
“No empire can stop the spread of [Christ’s] kingdom,” Hall said. “A bloody cross and an empty tomb testify that the king of the Jews is ruling the cosmos right now. And if all that’s true … then no matter what may come with the kingdoms of this world, we can still claim, by faith, ‘Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. The body they may kill, God’s truth abideth still; his kingdom is forever.’”
Audio and video of the Hall’s chapel message are available at sbts.edu/resources.