Should Christians Vote?

Someone once asked, Did the Founders ever tell us how we ought to vote? Well, I can think of one that did, and that was John Jay. Many people may not know, but John Jay was the first Chief Justice of the first Supreme Court, and he was appointed by George Washington, the Father of our Country. He made this statement, which today would really cause the hair to stand up on the back of some people's necks. He said,

*†† Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

If someone made that statement today, it would cause a great deal of uproar. Nevertheless, that is what the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said. We need to continue to pray for our nation and for men to lead us that will speak out in truth and righteousness. Then act according to what they say.

Why Should Christians Vote for Godly Men and Women?

Righteousness exalts our nation, sin brings a reproach.

*†† (Prov 12:3 NIV)A man cannot be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

Godly leaders punish those who do wrong and reward those who do right.

*†† (Prov 12:7 NIV)Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.

Godly leaders are role models to all of us in our communities, counties, state, and nation.

*†† (Mat 5:16 NIV)In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Godly leaders are role models to other countries.

*†† (Mat 5:16 NIV)In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Leaders strengths and weaknesses trickle down to the people they represent.

*†† (Prov 20:7 NIV)The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him.

Godly leaders keep the greatest commandment.

*†† (Mat 22:37-40 NIV)Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' {38} This is the first and greatest commandment. {39} And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' {40} All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Godly leaders prayers are answered. (James 5:16)

*†† (James 5:16 NIV)Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

 

And this is just a few of the things we can expect from Godly leaders

Can Leaders Be Held Responsible?

The abandonment of righteousness will weaken the seat of government and the stability and security of the nation.

*†† Proverbs 16:12: It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness.

What a ruler does in private can and does pervert public justice.

*†† Proverbs 31:4-5: It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

The United States government is based on a covenant, which we call the Constitution. The abandonment of truth and loyalty to covenants undermines the leadership of a ruler.

*†† Proverbs 20:28: Covenant loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness.

Dishonesty and falsehood corrupts others so that the entire government becomes less reliable.

*†† Proverbs 29:12: If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked.

Should We Submit to Government Leaders?

*†† Mark 12:17: And Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Our first allegiance is to God. We are to worship only God and to be absolutely submissive to Him. We are to be secondarily submissive to human institutions and authorities.

*†† Romans 13:1-2: Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.

*†† 1 Peter 2:13-16: Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil. Live as bond-slaves of God.

Christians are to have a submissive spirit toward authority. But we must ask: "Where does authority lie in a constitutional democracy like the United States of America?" The Bible does not deal directly with the responsibilities of Christians in a democracy in which officials are elected by "the people" and laws are made by representatives of "the people." In our society submission is primarily to laws and constitutional processes, not persons. The president, senators, and congressmen and women are servants of "the people," not masters of the people.

 

Biblical submission is a readiness to obey law and uphold the legal order, not an approval or endorsement of all lawmakers absolutely. Christ's absolute supremacy over our lives qualifies the absoluteness of human law (Acts 5:29). There can be a submissive spirit and readiness to obey even where, for the sake of conscience, some laws and lawmakers may have to be resisted.

Can Public Officials Be Criticized?

*†† Exodus 22:28: Do not curse the ruler of your people.

John the Baptist's preaching is an example of a proper indictment of government authority. Jesus said of John the Baptist, "Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist!" Nevertheless, John was beheaded for publicly indicting the ruling authority (Matthew 14:5-11).

*†† Matthew 14:3-4: Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, for John had been saying to him: "It is not lawful for you to have her."

 

Jesus called Herod "a fox" (Luke 13:31-32). Paul called members of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court, "whitewashed walls" (Acts 23:1-3). Therefore, opposition to a leader's behavior and public criticism of it is not necessarily inconsistent with a submissive spirit to governing authorities.

What is the Most Important Obligation of Christians Toward Leaders?

Christians are to pray for the salvation of all in authority. Do you care about the soul of your political leaders? The prayers of Christians also have a "selfish" focus. The conversion of unbelieving political leaders to God will mean the opportunity for us to lead a "tranquil and quiet life."

*†† 1 Timothy 2:1-3: First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.

Do Christians Have an Obligation to Vote?

I once heard of a church where members thought it was against Godís will to vote. Concerned that a corrupt politician would win a local election, church members gathered for an all-night prayer vigil. In the morning, however, they refused to vote and the good candidate lost--by fewer than the number of votes represented by those at the prayer meeting. It seems tragic, but maybe those church members did the right thing. After all, isn't politics a dirty business? Christians are citizens of heaven, not of earth...right? Every Christian must grapple with this question and come up with a defensible answer.

What It Means to Be a Christian Citizen

There are at least five good reasons why Christians should vote:

  1. God has granted us authority. All authority belongs to God, but He has put human beings on the earth as caretakers. What is our task? According to Jesus in Matthew 28:18-20, we are to go out and make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey God in every area of life. This includes politics. We must disciple people to make godly decisions about government, and promote the efforts of those who are already doing so.
  2. We need to stand against evil. St. Augustine said those who are citizens of Godís kingdom are best equipped to be citizens of the kingdom of man.

    The alternative is unthinkable. In the 20th Century, atheistic and secular humanistic leaders gained control of nations all across Europe, Asia and Africa. What was the result? According to historian R. J. Rummel, almost 170 million men, women and children have been brutally murdered by these governments, all in the name of human progress. These facts led historian John Hallowell to note, "Only through a return to faith in God, as God revealed Himself to man in Jesus Christ, can modern man and his society find redemption from the tyranny of evil."
  3. Christian values contribute positively to society. The Bibleís solutions make sense. It is Christian involvement in government through the ages that gave us hospitals, civil liberties, abolition of slavery, modern science, the elevation of women, regard for human life, great works of art and literature, a workable system of justice, education for common people, the free-enterprise system, and much, much more.

    When we see the good that results from applying Godís principles, and the horror that results from rejecting them, doesn't it seem cruel and irresponsible to keep Jesusí teachings about truth, love and compassion to ourselves? At very least, we should vote to keep OUT of office those who attempt to oppose God's authority.
  4. Obedience to authority demands good citizenship. The Apostle Paul in Romans chapter 13 clearly states that we must obey governmental leaders because all authority comes from God. Hereís the catch: in America, the people are the leaders! Here, at least, we express our obedience to God by exercising our rights and privileges as citizens. That means voting.
  5. Good citizenship sets an example for generations to come. Those who apply Godís principles to government pave the way for generations of blessing. In 1768 a Christian minister named John Witherspoon became president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. While there he taught biblical principles of government to his students.

    Of the 478 young men who were graduated during his tenure, writes author John Eidsmoe, "114 became ministers; 13 were state governors; 3 were U. S. Supreme Court judges; 20 were U.S. Senators; 33 were U. S. Congressmen; Aaron Burr, Jr. became Vice-President; and James Madison became President." As a Christian, Witherspoon exerted an enormous influence on the direction of American government.

*†† (Prov 3:27 NIV)Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.

*†† (Gal 6:10 NIV)Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

*†† (James 2:15-18 NIV)Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. {16} If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? {17} In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. {18} But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.

*†† (Acts 5:28-29 NIV)"We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name," he said. "Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." {29} Peter and the other apostles replied: "We must obey God rather than men!