Should a Christian Vote?
Pastor George C. Bruns
Well itís election time again. And with each coming election we seem to have fewer real good people from which to choose. With such a poor selection of godly candidates to choose from, is it really a Christianís duty to get out and vote? There was a time when that question would not have had to been asked. In 1892 United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Field writing for the high court in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States said, "Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries...this is a Christian nation." Many other statements made by the courts during the mid to late 1800ís echoed that sentiment. Yet, even though the United States was founded on Biblical standards and at one time declared itself to be a Christian nation, it never really was. The name Jesus Christ appears nowhere in any of the Federalist Papers, nor in the Declaration of Independence or Constitution. And, where God is mentioned it is used in a vague sense that at the time was accepted by Christian, cultist or Deist alike. It is clear that even if America was "Christian" in the distant past, it is not today. The United States of America is most decidedly pagan. The acceptance of evolution into our public schools, legalized abortion on demand and government support of homosexual rights are all clear indications that our government is not "Christian."
But this change in attitude that has caused the U.S. to move in a more pagan direction did not take place overnight but rather very slowly, little by little. Even the secular world recognizes this fact. Linda Bowles, a conservative political analyst wrote, "The religious values that inspired the Constitution were not lost in a fierce battle, gallantly defended to the bitter end. They were ceded by a thousand subtle surrenders and a thousand compromises; just little ones, none worth fighting over." (Conservative Chronicle, June 7, 1995)
Along with these changes we have been told by both the Democratic and Republican Parties that their platforms are in favor of pursuing a "New World Order" concept of government. In 1991 President George Bush often referred to the United States and Gulf War Allies as working toward a "New World Order." This is clearly Satanic. The Bible tells us that the Anti-Christ will be the head of a one world God-hating government. (Revelation 13)
Now, please do not misunderstand, government is not an evil institution. In fact government is a God ordained institution. Before Noahís flood, the world was in chaos. Violent men wandered about preying on the weak. The Bible calls them "mighty men" and "men of renown." They were renowned not for their goodness but for their wickedness. "And God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5) God destroyed these men with a world wide flood. After the flood God established human government as a protector of mankind should evil men again arise to do violence. So God commanded Noah, "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every manís brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth manís blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." (Genesis 9:5-6)
This concept of human government as a God given protector of the people was still in effect in New Testament times. Paul writing to the Church at Rome said, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are Godís ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." (Romans 13:1-7) It is hard for us to think of some of our politicians as ministers of God, yet that is what the Bible teaches. Yet remember, Paul
was writing this to a people who were living under Roman tyranny. The Roman Caesars were some of the most depraved men that ever lived.
We are to respect, obey and, yes, even pray for those who are in the rule over us. The Apostle Peter writes, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lordís sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that sent him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of the same." (1 Peter 2:13-14) And the Apostle Paul wrote, "I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior." (1 Timothy 2:1-3)
Yet in all these admonitions we never read a command to participate in the government. We may participate, but we are not commanded to participate. Joseph, Mordecai, Daniel and others participated when necessary. However we must never participate in an ungodly act, even when ordered by the government. Danielís three friends Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abed-nego) were thrown into the fiery furnace rather than to bow down and worship an idol as ordered by king Nebachadnezzer (Daniel 3). And Daniel was thrown into the lionís den for praying to the God of the Bible when ordered not to by the kingĎs proclamation (Daniel 6). Luke, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, recorded this statement made by Peter when he was brought before the Sanhedrin for preaching Jesus Christ when commanded that he should not, "We ought to obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29)
So what is a believer to do in regards to human government? The Bible tells us to obey it, pay taxes to it, and pray for it. And participate in it only where you can without violating the commandments of Scripture.
However, believers are commanded to fulfill the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). This includes preaching the gospel, baptizing new believers and making disciples out of them by teaching them the word of God. We have not been commanded to get a particular candidate elected to office or push forward a "Christianized" political agenda. Nowhere did Jesus tell his disciples to protest against tyranny, withhold taxes, or become politically active. We are to be about the Fatherís business.
That business has nothing to do with the political scene. Besides, what candidate can a born again, Bible believing Christian support in this day and age? Doesnít the Scripture teach us to separate from that which is unholy? Paul writing to the Church at Ephesus said, "And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is even a shame to speak of those things which are done of them in secret." (Ephesians 5:1-20)
Suppose you were the Devil and you wanted to corrupt a Christianís holy testimony and get him to identify himself with evil against the commandments of God, how would you go about it? Well, you could raise up two candidates one a vile person who stood against everything our Lord stands for, he would be pro choice on the abortion issue, against the death penalty, for gay rights, etc. The other candidate would be a sort of moral man who was pretty good in most areas. He would support "family values." He would be neutral on gay rights issues. He would only support abortion in the case of rape or incest. He would oppose gambling casinos, but not the lottery. So then, which man should the Christian vote for? The Devil wouldnít care. They would both be his men! Where in the Bible does it teach that a believer should accept the lesser of two evils? It doesnít. It teaches a believer to flee from all evil, not to cooperate with it. The Apostle Paul wrote, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." (1 Thessalonians 5:22) We are not to yoke ourselves or be identified with such things. Being a member of a political party or voting for a particular candidate is a yoke! "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath unrighteousness with righteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness?", says Scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14).
Godless conservatism cannot save us from godless liberalism. We are not commanded to reform men through legislation but to give them the gospel for salvation. Mark recorded this quote from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) We are to make disciples not delegates.
Jesus declared, "My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight". (John 18:36). Fight, vote whatís the difference? It is just a different method of waging political warfare. Even the candidates recognize that itís warfare, just listen to them talk about the "fight" they are in or the "campaign" or "battle" they are waging. The Bible tells us that we are to live peaceably with all men (Romans 12:18). Our fight is a spiritual one not an earthly one (Ephesians 6:10-12). We are to contend for the faith (Jude 3), not for a political favorite. Besides, when you received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour you pledged your allegiance to Him. "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength." (Mark 12:30). You owe allegiance to no other. You are a citizen of heaven, a stranger and pilgrim on this earth, an ambassador for Jesus Christ!
The god of this world, Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4) is in charge of the economic, social and political systems of this sin cursed world, including Americaís. We are foolish to believe that voting or legislating morality will change that fact. You canít force Christian values on unregenerate Americans. You will only end up reforming some into thinking that they are good, but in reality you will change no one. The gospel of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit can, however, effect a genuine change in people. And when God changes the human heart a manís politics will change.
Letís be honest, find a God fearing, Bible believing Christian who youíd be willing to vote for and who would be willing to run for office and allow him to voice his beliefs on abortion, the death penalty, gay rights, the environmental issue, animal rights, etc. without compromising his faith, and he could not get elected to anything except deacon in an independent fundamental church, maybe!
Stop kidding yourself, your vote will not stop the downward spiral this country is in. However, preaching the gospel (which includes the repentance of sin) and promoting prayer might, God says, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14) Yes, I know this verse belongs to Israel and was not written to the church or to the U.S.A., but do you really believe that God would ignore the prayers of the righteous? If the unsaved gentiles, like the Ninevites, could repent and be spared God's judgment, couldn't we? Donít get out and vote, get out and witness!