In the book of Proverbs we find this verse: Where there is no vision, the people perish; but he that keepeth the law, happy is he. (Proverbs 29:18, King James Version) In a newer translation we have a slight modification: Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. (New International Version)
In a political election year, we hear a tremendous amount about the vision of the candidates. Candidates present and defend their vision and try to destroy or belittle the vision of their opponents. In a year in which we are told that the negativity will increase in comparison with other years, and that the public at large is convinced by the negativity of the campaign and enjoys it and is persuaded by it, having a biblical centered vision is getting more difficult.
One of my colleagues, Dr. Ron Sider has written an analysis of the vision that President Obama and Mr. Romney has. The title of the article is: Obama vs. Romney: Does God Have A Preference? He has analyzed their platforms on major positions such as economic justice, the sanctity of human life, peace-making, marriage, creation care and sexual integrity. After analyzing their position, he came to the conclusion that as a Christian seeking the mind of God he cannot make a decision yet. He will watch the debates, he will read extensively, he will pray and then he will vote.
The American history is developed in imperfect visions. The Puritans and Pilgrims had a vision to create a new country that will reflect justice, but their justice did not extend to the Indian tribes whose land they have invaded. The vision that Lincoln had was to free the slaves, even though for some people’s preference he was too cautious and vacillating. Both President Wilson and Roosevelt had doubts and opposition to involving the American troops in the World War I and World War II respectively, but historians argues that without our participation, most likely the war would have gone in
the other direction and in the later war fascism would have won.
When I study the vision that our Presidents have had since President Kennedy,
I concluded that the one who knew the Scripture the best was President Jimmy Carter. I have heard him teach a Sunday School lesson, preach a sermon and give a theological speech before the Baptist World Alliance. Yet, I came to the conclusion that some of his biblical connected positions did not produce long range results because he rarely had surrounded himself with people who appreciated his biblical vision and who were willing to implement it.
While in many aspects the American public has forsaken its connections with the Scriptures, it is undeniable that on the international scene, we are still the nation whose moorings/foundations are the most biblical. Compared with the French and British and other Western nations in which the Bible at one point was important and legislative, we have remained the most connected to that history.
I pray that the vision of the person that will become the next president will be centered in the Word of God. This person could shape the future of the nation for many years to come. If the vision is not biblically centered, people will cast more restraints, but the casting of godly restraints may produce future ruin for us and for the generations to come.