Mailbag, Politics

The Mailbag: How Should Christians Vote?

 

Tomorrow, Tuesday, November 6, is election day in the United States. How should Christians vote?

Voting is a privilege, and, for U.S. citizens, a right. I encourage you to use your vote as a godly influence by voting according to biblical principles. My answer to today’s Mailbag question is adapted from my 2008 article, How Should Christians Vote?

 

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Tomorrow is election day. How can we steward our vote in a godly way?

First things first. Christians, especially Christian women, should vote. Not voting would not only be an insult to the sacrifice of the dedicated men and women who have given their lives in the cause of freedom and suffrage over the years that we might have the luxury of having a voice in our governance, but voting is a gift from God. Should we treat this gift lightly by failing to exercise it?

If you have never had the opportunity to visit a country, such as those in the Middle East, in which basic freedoms and women’s rights are limited if in existence at all, I urge you to do so if at all possible. After I returned to the U.S. from a visit to the Middle East a few years ago, I realized just how much we take for granted what an enormous blessing it is that God has seen fit to place us in a land of liberty, abundance, and opportunity. When I vote, I see it as a way of returning thanks to God for the gift of freedom, and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure our liberties.

For whom should Christians vote? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that whatever we do, we should do all things for the glory of God. “Whatever” and “all things” includes voting. Christians should vote for the person they believe will bring the most glory to God. Considering the candidate options with which we’re often presented, this, at times, seems an impossible task.

How do we know which candidate to vote for? Like all other decisions in a Christian’s life, this one should be governed by God’s leading through prayer and Biblical principles. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) to make a Godly decision.

Study the candidate’s platform and where he stands on each issue. Is he a proponent of anything that clearly conflicts with Scripture? Would he push to legalize or undergird things God calls sin such as abortion or sexual perversion? Does he support the persecution of Christians – denying us freedom of speech or assembly, and taking away the rights of Christians to run their businesses according to biblical principles?  Can we, as Christians– whose goal in life is supposed to be turning from sin and pursuing holiness – knowingly and intentionally disregard the fact that a candidate would stand in favor of sin rather than fighting against it, and give him our support?

Sometimes we lean towards voting for the candidate who would benefit us the most, personally. Perhaps he has promised a tax cut for our particular bracket, or said he would improve the roads we use for traveling to work. In and of themselves, those are good things, but does his platform also include favoring things which would hurt others or be detrimental to the fabric of our society in general? In other words, should a Christian vote for something or someone who will benefit herself at the expense of harming others?

I don’t believe we can do that and remain true to Biblical principles such as:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself;
Romans 15:1-3a

The Bible calls us to the mindset and heart attitude of placing others ahead of ourselves, laying down our lives for others, and doing what’s best for others before we consider what’s best for ourselves.

As is frequently the case these days, the person we vote for, believing he will make the most Christ-like decisions, loses the election. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually pretty disappointed when this happens.

I try to keep it in perspective, though. It’s within the realm of possibility that the person who won the election will get radically saved after taking office and make even more Godly decisions than the other candidate would have made. It’s also possible that he will unintentionally make the decisions God wants him to make for other reasons, such as political expediency or pleasing a particular special interest group. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Not only should we pray before we vote, but we have a Biblical mandate to pray for the winner after the election is over:

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 acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:1-4

Above all, we must remember that, while this election and future elections may determine who will sit in the White House, the Congress, or the State House, they do not, nor will they ever, determine who sits on the throne of the universe as King.

Please steward your vote in a godly way. Research the candidates, the issues, and the Scriptures, and vote for the people and proposals that are most aligned with biblical principles.

Additional Resources

The Mormon Moment: Can Christians Biblically Vote for a Mormon? (Depending on the candidates in your district, you may find the principles in this article from the 2012 Presidential election to be helpful.)

Does God expect Christians to vote? at Got Questions

Since God is totally sovereign over world leaders and events, why should we vote or be involved in politics? by John MacArthur

Christians and Politics: Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 by John MacArthur

Principles for Voting by R.C. Sproul

Relatable with Allie Stuckey


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

Encouragement

Encouragement for Election Day

lead-on-king

For those of us in the United States, by the end of the day, today, we will have a new President. Regardless of who wins, most Christians are anxious about how the next four years will go.

But Christ reminds us not to be worried or anxious. He wants us to remember that no matter what happens, we can trust Him to take care of us and carry us through. How can we keep that trust in God’s care and sovereignty at the forefront of our hearts and minds and not let worry creep in and take over? One of the ways I “reset” my mind is by rehearsing these truths through music. Here are some songs to remind us that God is sovereign and our one true King (and feel free to download either of these two banners to use as a social media cover photo!).

Lead on, O King Eternal

 

In Christ Alone

 

Because He Lives

 

The Church Triumphant

 

Rejoice, the Lord is King

 

God is in Control

 

The Hallelujah Chorus

 

because-he-lives

Christian women, Politics, Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday ~ How Should Christians Vote?

Originally published October 6, 2008

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Election day, November 4, is right around the corner. How should Christians vote?

First things first. Christians, especially Christian women, should vote. Not voting would not only be an insult to the sacrifice of the dedicated men and women who have given their lives in the cause of freedom and suffrage over the years that we might have the luxury of having a voice in our governance, but voting is a gift from God. Should we treat this gift lightly by failing to exercise it?

If you have never had the opportunity to visit a country, such as those in the Middle East, in which basic freedoms and women’s rights are limited if in existence at all, I urge you to do so if at all possible. After I returned to the U.S. from a visit to the Middle East a few years ago, I realized just how much we take for granted what an enormous blessing it is that God has seen fit to place us in a land of liberty, abundance, and opportunity. When I vote, I see it as a way of returning thanks to God for the gift of freedom, and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure our liberties.

For whom should Christians vote? The Bible says in I Corinthians 10:31 that whatever we do, we should do all things for the glory of God. “Whatever” and “all things” includes voting. Christians should vote for the person they believe will bring the most glory to God. Considering the candidate options with which we’re often presented, this, at times, seems an impossible task.

How do we know which candidate to vote for? Like all other decisions in a Christian’s life, this one should be governed by God’s leading through prayer and Biblical principles. Ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) to make a Godly decision.

Study the candidate’s platform and where he stands on each issue. Is he a proponent of anything that clearly conflicts with Scripture? Would he push to legalize or undergird things God calls sin? Can we, as Christians– whose goal in life is supposed to be turning from sin and pursuing holiness –knowingly and intentionally disregard the fact that a candidate would stand in favor of sin rather than fighting against it, and give him our support?

Sometimes we lean towards voting for the candidate who would benefit us the most personally. Perhaps he has promised a tax cut for our particular bracket, or said he would improve the roads we use for traveling to work. In and of themselves, those are good things, but does his platform also include favoring things which would hurt others or be detrimental to the fabric of our society in general? In other words, should a Christian vote for something or someone who will benefit herself at the expense of harming others?

I don’t believe we can do that and remain true to Biblical principles such as:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3-4

Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself; Romans 15:1-3a

As is frequently the case these days, the person we vote for, believing he will make the most Christ-like decisions, loses the election. I don’t know about you, but I’m usually pretty disappointed when this happens.

I try to keep it in perspective, though. It’s within the realm of possibility that the person who won the election will get radically saved after taking office and make even more Godly decisions than the other candidate would have made. It’s also possible that he will unintentionally make the decisions God wants him to make for other reasons, such as political expediency or pleasing a particular special interest group. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.

Not only should we pray before we vote, but we have a Biblical mandate to pray for the winner after the election is over:

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 acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
I Timothy 2:1-4

Above all, we must remember that, while the upcoming elections may determine who will sit in the White House, the Congress, or the State House, they do not, nor will they ever, determine who sits on the throne of the universe as King.

Church, Faith, Politics

The Mormon Moment: Can Christians Biblically Vote for a Mormon?

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SPECIAL NOTE: The scope of this article is limited. While all are welcome to read and consider it, the particular audience for this article is ONLY: Christians who are considering voting for Romney but are hesitant and wondering if it is biblically acceptable for a Christian to vote for a Mormon.

  • I am not attempting to convince Obama supporters to vote for Romney. This is a free country and you may vote for the candidate of your choice.
  • I am not addressing political issues such as taxes, the national debt, the military, etc. This article is of a theological, not political, nature.
  • I will not entertain any arguments as to whether or not President Obama is a Christian. Matthew 7:16, 20 say, “You will know them by their fruits.” The president has clearly demonstrated by his words and actions that he is not a regenerate Christian. Neither is his verbal claim to being a Christian sufficient to prove that he has been born again. Matthew 7:22-23 says, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord… And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you…” Claiming to be a Christian doesn’t make a person a Christian any more than claiming to be a doctor makes a person a doctor. You are more than welcome to believe whatever you like about the state of the President’s soul, but it will not be argued in this venue.

 

It’s an issue American Christians have never had to deal with before: voting for a Mormon for President. Maybe you’re a Christian who has been considering voting for Mitt Romney, but you’re “theologically hesitant.” If you vote for him, are you, as a Christian, supporting an idolatrous and false religion? Will Romney’s winning the Presidency give legitimacy to Mormonism? Will it further deceive the lost into thinking Mormons are Christians? Will more lost people consider becoming Mormons? These are weighty issues and should be fully considered.

However, I’d like to offer you the opportunity to consider the biblical argument for the freedom to vote for Romney if you so choose. What are some reasons you can consider yourself free in Christ to vote for Romney?

1. Romney is running for president, not preacher.

In Matthew 22:15-22, the Pharisees came to Jesus asking if it were “lawful” –in other words, “in keeping with Scripture”—to participate in a secular government by paying taxes. Jesus’ response? “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21)

As in Jesus’ time, our civil government in the United States is secular. It is not run by the church. It is not ruled by the Bible. And, usually (Matthew 7:14), it is not headed up by a genuinely born again Christian.

This isn’t a theocracy. And God’s ok with that. After all, He is the One who, in His sovereignty, has allowed and maintained this republic for the last 200+ years, and has established the authority of every President we’ve ever had (Romans 13:1).

So God gets -established, in fact- that there’s going to be one set of standards and requirements for civil governing authorities, and another set for those who are leaders in the church. For one thing, a leader in the church must be a genuinely regenerate Believer. There’s no such requirement –in the Bible or anywhere else—for Presidents. There’s a whole list of requirements for pastors, deacons, and elders in I Timothy and Titus, but they necessarily, apply only to Christians who desire to be church leaders. They do not apply to non-Christians (or even Christians) who desire the presidency.

2. We have two choices for president, both unsaved. Does it matter which label they wear?

Romney is a Mormon. If he holds to Mormon doctrine, he is, by definition, not a Christian. Obama claims to be a Christian, but his own words and the fruit of his life belie this claim.

Jesus said that the way to life is narrow and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:14). Statistically speaking, if you have voted in any election, you have probably voted for a lost person, even if that candidate claimed to be saved. Simply saying you’re a Christian doesn’t make you one (Matt. 7:21-23), and being a Mormon doesn’t make a person any “loster” than being a lost person who calls himself a Christian.

While it would be wonderful to have the option of voting for a born again Believer in this election, we simply don’t have that choice this time around.

3. Since we only have two choices in this election, and they’re on essentially equal spiritual footing, we have to look at externals.

We have two choices for president:

A.) Obama: A person who claims to be a Christian, yet encourages and promotes sin in the form of promoting the false doctrine of universalism, furthering the homosexual agenda, and promoting the pro-abortion agenda.

B.) Romney: A non-Christian who has pledged his support of the biblical definition of marriage and the pro-life side of reproductive issues.

The great Reformer Martin Luther may have summed it up best when he said, “I’d rather be ruled by a competent Turk (Muslim) than an incompetent Christian.”

4. Refusing to vote at all, or voting for a non-viable third party candidate has the same effect as voting FOR Obama.

We cannot afford to treat the question of whom we shall vote for in this election as merely a philosophical exercise or hypothetical question. There are real life consequences to our actions (or inaction) on November 6. For millions, this election is, quite literally, a matter of life and death. Sometimes we have to think of an election not as voting FOR a certain candidate, but as voting AGAINST a certain candidate by selecting his opponent.

As Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”

5. All governmental authority is established by God. And they’re not always Christians.

Romans 13:1 says, “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.”

Think back over the kings, presidents, emperors, dictators, and czars throughout history. You’ll come across…

Hitler. Attila the Hun. Idi Amin. Pol Pot. Ivan the Terrible. Caligula.

God put those guys in authority? Yep.

Now take a little journey through the Old Testament and look at some of the evil kings God allowed to rule his own chosen people.

Someone is going to win the election in November, and that someone is not going to be a Christian. Our only option is to vote for the person who, though not a Christian, is closer to lining up with what the Bible teaches.

6. A Mormon president will not cause hordes of people to become Mormons.

How many people do you know who became Catholics because JFK was elected? How many became Quakers when Nixon was elected? How many became “Christians” (or, depending on your way of thinking, Muslims) when Obama was elected?

If anything, the nomination of Romney to the ticket has shone a glaring, and very public, spotlight on the many anti-biblical beliefs of Mormonism. Instead of viewing his election to the presidency as an endorsement of Mormonism, why can’t Christians look at it as an opportunity to help others understand false Mormon doctrine and the truth of biblical doctrine? This is a wide open door for evangelism and the public exposure of deceptive teaching!

 

I believe biblical principles demonstrate that we, as Christians, have the freedom to vote for Romney. God has seen fit to orchestrate events so that we only have two viable choices in this election. Both are far from perfect, but Romney has demonstrated a willingness to uphold standards that are more closely in line with the Bible than those Obama upholds. If you’re still on the fence, give it some thought, give it some prayer, and consider for whom God would have you vote.