Pastor Tim Keller Speaks on ‘Liberty of Conscious’ and Urges Christians Not to Demonize opponents

Pastor Tim Keller
Keller is the Founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and Chairman and Co-Founder for Redeemer City to City. |

In a series of Twitter posts last week, distinguished pastor Tim Keller urged Christians to acknowledge their "liberty of conscience" when voting rather than believing they must vote one way or another.  

In his tweets, Keller addressed how Christians should approach this election season. He stated, "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 ... [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."

Keller is therefore explaining that Christians do not have to feel as though they are restricted to only a certain presidential candidate or specific policy, as the Bible does not explicitly state which to vote for. He further elaborated on this idea by explaining, "This means when it comes to taking political positions, voting, determining alliances and political involvement, the Christian has the liberty of conscience. 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." 

This idea of liberty of conscience is something not extremely common amongst Christians. Just earlier this month, in an interview with Falkirk Center at Liberty University, Pastor John MacArthur talked about why "from a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote Democratic." He further explained, "There's no way that a Christian can affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage, or any kind of gross immorality."

MacArthur is not the only one to have opposing opinions to Keller. In response to Keller's tweet, a pastor and Bible teacher from Georgia, Charles Yarbrough, tweeted, "Hey Tim...No Christian should vote for anyone who advocates the murder of babies in the womb, and in some cases like the governor of Virginia, even after they are born. This is indescribable evil...period."  

In response, Keller reiterated his point, tweeting, "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."  

Additionally, Keller also stated that Christians should not attempt to demonize one party or the other. He explained the immorality of doing so, as everyone "fall[s] infinitely (and therefore equally) short of loving and serving God in the way that is due him."

The results of Keller's words are yet to be seen. However, as of now, from a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in June, 82% of white Evangelicals say they will vote for Trump, and 88% of black Protestants and 52% of Catholics say they will vote for Biden.