Nearly from the moment I became a Christian, and because I had some wise mentors, I understood that truth is usually in the tension between two thoughts. Frankly, I found it comforting. I found that it freed me from the pressure to be scientifically exact about spiritual things. I found it forced me to rely even more on God.
I wish I could say this principle, still precious to me years later, has always been welcomed by my fellow Christians. I wish we were—together—thinking this way about American politics today.
It seems undeniably biblical to me. For example, the Bible teaches that God is sovereign but that man exercises his will also. Both statements are true, I understand, but because I’m a limited creature I can’t comprehend much more than this now, in this life. That’s fine with me. It’s a glorious mystery held in tension between two truths. I affirm both, hold both in my mind at the same time whether I understand either fully or not.
Most biblical truths are like this. We are saved and yet we are still being saved. God meets our needs but all who live righteous lives will suffer. Men are made holy by Christ but can descend to the nature of demons. God is near and removed, comforting and terrifying.
Thinking two thoughts at once. It is what we have to do when thinking about God and his truth. It is what the Christian life requires.
So you can understand why I am so disturbed by the standard Christian response to the current presidential election. Most Christian conservatives are so intent upon defeating Mr. Obama that they are intentionally keeping quiet about Mr. Romney’s Mormonism, a topic they would rage about any other time. Several prominent national leaders have told me how much they appreciate my book on Mormonism, but then they have touched their forefinger to their lips as though to say, “But let’s not talk about that now.”
I think my political views are fairly well known. I am pro-life and pro-free market (though not always pro-big business) and pro-family and so on. My lean in this election is obvious. But I do believe we can hold two thoughts in our minds at the same time. Yes, Mr. Romney represents our political values. And, yes, he is a member of a religion that rewrites every cardinal doctrine of traditional, creedal, biblical Christianity. Let’s vote for him if we so choose, but let’s not go silent on that other vital matter. In fact, let’s use the present moment as a chance to articulate truth. The one does not overrule the other. There is no reason to remain silent on theology because we have a political preference. In fact, it may be sin to do so.
Thinking two thoughts at once. It is how we understand God. It is how we understand the central truths of Christianity. It is also how how we live as citizens of this world while at the same time being citizens of a world that is yet to come.