Did Huckabee say Christians will “go to hell” based on how they vote?

I hope you trust me when I say that this blog has no political—or maybe I should say partisan—axe to grind. Browse through the blog posts, and you’ll see that I’m hopelessly out of step with our culture at the moment, consumed as it is with the events of November 6. From my perspective, regardless who wins, the world will look much the same on November 7 of this year, as it will on January 21 of next year, or even four years after that.

The good news is not that this or that politician got himself elected or reelected, but that King Jesus is reigning right now, and our hope for the future rests securely in his hands. In fact, in Christ’s resurrection we’ve caught a glimpse of our own future, and we know that it will be good.

Having said that, a recent political headline caught my attention, about which I can’t resist commenting. It purports to describe something that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee said:

A headline from Slate.com, which echoes many similar headlines.

This headline comes from left-of-center Slate, but the idea was echoed around the blogosphere. A political commentator even wrote about it in the New York Times.

Granted, I haven’t listened to the speech (I’ve got a sermon to write!), but if newspapers and blogs are fairly reporting his actual words, then Huckabee said no such thing. Here’s the quote:

Your vote will affect the future and be recorded in eternity. Will you vote the values that will stand the test of fire? This is Mike Huckabee asking you to join me November 6th and vote based on values that will stand the test of fire.

I may or may not agree with Huckabee’s politics (again, this is not my concern here)—though I object to his strident tone—but his point has at least some theological merit. The “test of fire” of which he speaks isn’t the fire of hell, but the refining fire of judgment, of which the apostle Paul speaks in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. I referred to this scripture just last Sunday (and other times recently). Huckabee’s right about the fact that we Christians will face judgment for our actions on this side of eternity. Moreover, as Paul implies there and in 1 Corinthians 15:58, what we do for God’s kingdom in the here and now will somehow be carried forward into our future resurrection.

Two quick points: This judgment that believers face, according to Paul, has nothing to do with whether or not we’ll be saved. When our works are submitted to this refining fire, Paul writes, it may all burn away. “But if anyone’s work goes up in flames, they’ll lose it. However, they themselves will be saved as if they had gone through a fire.”

By all means, let us strive to make sure this doesn’t happen. But if it does, we’re still saved, not on the basis of what we do, but what Christ has done for us. I doubt that Huckabee, a Baptist minister, disagrees with me on that.

My second point is that we will all have much to answer for on Judgment Day, whether we prefer elephants or donkeys.

3 thoughts on “Did Huckabee say Christians will “go to hell” based on how they vote?”

  1. Brent, I agree with you that King Jesus will remain on his throne no matter who wins the election. However, I don’t agree that things will be much the same either way. Under “Obamacare” as HHS is planning to enforce it, Hobby Lobby may be santioned $1+ million PER DAY if they don’t cover abortion-inducing drugs. There is a similar impact (though perhaps of less magnitude) on numerous other entities, including Christian colleges. President Obama is pushing the country in a negative moral direction and infringing on religious liberties.

    In the book of Judges, often the Israelites were given over to foreign leaders who treated them miserably due to their sins. Upon their crying out for mercy, God would raise up a deliverer who would rescue them and then rule them for a number of years. I think this indicates that it is a matter of SOME importance to God who is on the “earthly” throne.

  2. I’m led through prayer to vote for President Obama. I’m hoping that he will win on November 6. Unfortunately, a lot of Republicans are not happy with Christians voting Democrat. I do hope that they’ll allow God to work as He chooses; I believe God knows best.

  3. My point is not primarily that someone should necessarily vote for Romney–he has some problems as well–but that there are consequences flowing from whoever the “king” is, and since in God’s providence he has given us the type of government where we have some say in who that “king” will be for us, we do, I think, have some obligation to take action in that regard. We have a lot of other obligations as well, and I am not ranking concern with “politics” as high on the list. But I don’t think we should “abstain” from such a crucial vote, consistent with God’s “concern” about who the king is, as I think the scripture indicates.

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