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10 Guidelines for Christian Voters

April 22, 2016

 

  1. Make God’s Word your primary voting guide. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 110:105).
  1. Pray before casting your vote. Ask the Lord, first, for guidance as you vote. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him…” (Prov. 3:5-6). Pray also for the candidates even the ones whom you do not like. “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way” (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
  1. Vote for a candidate who upholds Christian principles. Are his/her views on important social and moral issues biblical? Religious freedom. Will the candidate hinder you from exercising your faith in Jesus Christ, or will he/she protect your liberty as a Christian? Sanctity of human life. Will the candidate promote abortion, or will he/she fight for the sacredness of life in the womb? Marriage. Will the candidate endorse (so-called) “same-sex marriage,” or will he/she uphold the biblical definition of marriage—a union between one man and one woman only? Each candidate should be evaluated in light of these and other moral questions. As followers of Christ, we must not “give approval to those who practice” what God has declared to be morally evil (Rom. 1:32).
  1. Vote for a candidate who is able to lead our country with justice. Remember that you are not voting for a pastor, but for a president. The candidate might not share all of your theological views, but if he/she is committed to a fair and righteous judicial system, then you might want to consider voting for this candidate.
  1. Vote for a candidate who has already demonstrated his/her ability to lead well. Look at the candidate’s track record and ask these questions: What did he/she do to improve our economy, stop crime, and maintain peace and order in our land? Did the candidate abuse his/her political power to serve his/her own interest? Was he/she immoral, corrupt, dishonest, or greedy?
  1. Cast your ballot in good conscience. Admittedly, it can be challenging to find a candidate who is both gifted in leadership and righteous in character. However, God knows our struggle in this regard, and yet he calls on us to participate in the process. So, if you’ve sincerely sought the Lord’s guidance, you can cast your ballot with peace and confidence, trusting that your obedience will be pleasing to the Lord.
  1. Recognize that from eternity past God has already ordained our next political leader. “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1). Ultimately, it is God—not the people—who appoints a leader (Gen. 45:8). We are only God’s instruments in bringing about his eternal plan. Be willing, therefore, to submit humbly to God’s sovereign will, knowing that his will is always for our good and for his glory.
  1. If the candidate who wins is immoral, remember that God is able to use even wicked leaders to accomplish his eternal plan (Rom. 13:1-7). Of course, this does not give us permission to vote for bad candidates! However, it should remind us that our greatest hope does not lie with any earthly leader, but with our heavenly Father, who is divinely able to overcome evil for good. Indeed, God in his providence can even use a bad ruler as his “servant for your good” (Rom. 13:4).
  1. Never forget that God is causing all things—including the upcoming election—to work together for the good of his people, conforming them more fully to the image of his Son, Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:28-29). Whatever the outcome of the election may be, one thing is certain: God will use this election for our sanctification. We are concerned about peace and prosperity, but God is concerned about our piety and his eternal glory.
  1. Finally, respect those who oppose your political position. Even among Christians, there are varying opinions regarding who should be elected to leadership. So, learn to “agree to disagree,” or better yet, to disagree with kindness. Even if your preferred candidate does not win, you are still to honor the candidate who is elected. You must also obey your new leader, unless he/she instructs you to do something that would require you to disobey God. As Christians, our greatest allegiance is to God. As Scripture exhorts us to do, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

 

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2016 1:20 pm

    You say, “God knows our struggle in this regard, and yet he calls on us to participate in the process.” There is no scripture quote after that line because it’s not biblical. Participation in the political processes of the secular state is not anywhere commanded or commended in the Scriptures. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be part of the process, but you likewise cannot and should not tell other believers that God requires it. He doesn’t.

    • April 24, 2016 12:27 am

      While it may be true that there’s not a single Bible verse that says, “God commands that his people vote for political leaders” (largely because leaders weren’t selected in the same way in ancient Israel), the Bible is filled with instruction for God’s people to be actively engaged in both influencing and leading the culture in which they live – and we’d be hard-pressed to do this without voting! In fact, one way to make absolutely certain that Christians don’t influence the culture politically or socially is to simply refrain from voting…and there’s nothing in the Bible to indicate that God would be pleased with us behaving in such a way.

      One of the clearest passages that I know of that implies our need to vote is God’s instruction to the Israelites in Exodus 18:21 – “Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.” However, a number of other Bible passages either echo or imply a similar conviction about our need to be involved in the political process, such as Deuteronomy 1:13; 17:14-20; Jeremiah 29:4-9 [which exhorts us to “seek the welfare of the city”; Romans 13:1; 2 Corinthians 13:11; 1 Timothy 2:1-2; Titus 3:1-11; etc.).

      Of course, our greatest allegiance is not to earthly rulers, but to God, and it is in him that we trust and hope for all of our future blessings. Nonetheless, God does command us to be “in but not of” the world, and I’m not sure how you could claim to be “in the world” at all if you knowingly pass up opportunities to help decide who rules over you. So, in light of this and other related biblical evidence, it does seem (to me, at least) that the Bible calls on us to vote for our leaders – and to seek involvement in our culture in a multitude of other ways, too.

      If we truly are the “salt of the earth” and not just “salt” for the church, then one way that we can both preserve and enhance our surrounding culture (as salt does) is surely by helping to nominate, elect, and – in some cases – even run as excellent, God-honoring government and political leaders.

  2. Gary permalink
    April 23, 2016 12:59 pm

    Good article, but listing only 3 biblical principles on which to vote, abortion, gay marriage, and religious liberty (which I suppose to mean the right of Christians not to bake cakes for gay couples), is a mind-boggling lyrics narrow perspective of how the faith affects our politics. Nothing about poverty, violence, racism, access to medicine, lead poisoning, prison reform, etc.? A Bible viewpoint has plenty to say on all these and a myriad more.

    • April 23, 2016 10:37 pm

      Perhaps you missed this sentence, just behind the comments to which you were referring…”Each candidate should be evaluated in light of these AND OTHER moral questions.” It seems pretty clear that the purpose of this article is to offer some biblical principles regarding how we vote, not to offer an exhaustive list of all the moral issues which divide both candidates and voters. As the article indicated, the three named issues were simply examples of what kinds of things we should consider when evaluating candidates.

  3. Douglas Belardi permalink
    April 23, 2016 12:26 pm

    It appears the vast majority of Americans are either apathetic and ignorant of the world around them or are perfectly willing to support a woman of no integrity who lies continually to the public and herself or an amoral thin-skinned narcissistic megalomaniacal dictator both of whom’s lives are totally at odds with even a Judeo-Christian ethos or worldview let alone exhibit any fruit of a genuine Christian conversion
    I can not vote for either.
    Where are those who stand on Biblical Christian principles above all today? They certainly do not include Jeffress, Huckabee or Falwell..
    The Bible clearly teaches we are to select as our leaders men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe
    Exodus 18:19-23 English Standard Version (ESV)
    19 Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, 20 and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. 21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. 22 And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. 23 If you do this, God will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
    Charles Haddon Spurgeon rejected voting for “the lesser of two evils”
    Early in his career (he was but 22 years old), he preached this to his congregation:
    Let us whenever we shall have the opportunity of using the right of voting, use it as in the sight of Almighty God, knowing that for everything we shall be brought into account, and for that amongst the rest, seeing that we are entrusted with it.
    And let us remember that we are our own governors, to a great degree, and that if at the next election we should choose wrong governors we shall have nobody to blame but ourselves, however wrongly they may afterwards act, unless we exercise all prudence and prayer to Almighty God to direct our hearts to a right choice in this matter.
    In sum, the issue here is accountability for our voting actions. Spurgeon would have us realize that accountability both in the next life and here in the world—in living with the consequences.

    If there are any political lessons we may learn from Spurgeon, perhaps they are these: Christians must vote. Spurgeon believed voting was a God-given duty for the Christian. He wrote, “We are now called upon to exercise one of the privileges and duties which go with liberty, let no man be neglectful in it. Every God fearing man should give his vote with as much devotion as he prays.” For Spurgeon, whose personal books on politics can be read in The Spurgeon Library, the option not to vote was not an option. Vote on moral and biblical principles, not on partisan allegiances. Though Spurgeon sided with liberal politician William Gladstone to such a degree that many dubbed them “the two prime ministers,” Spurgeon voted against Gladstone when his conscience required him to do so (i.e., the vote for the Home Rule Bill of 1886). Spurgeon voted instead “as unto the Lord.” He wrote, “Do not give yourselves up to party spirit. It is a pity when a man cares only for politics, when the one grand thing he lives for is to return a Liberal for Parliament, or to get in a Radical, or to lift a Tory to the top of the poll. To live for a political party is unworthy of a man who professes to be a Christian.” Fidelity to Scripture must always undergird a Christian’s political activism

    Spurgeon also wrote ”compromises made in the name of short-term gains are nothing more than “new-made graves.” In short, with such near-sighted goals, we are waxing merry with evil company, and digging our own political graveyard.”
    If we are to survive, we must immediately reject all short term political fixes and the compromises toward “some lesser evil” for which they beg. Such decisions do not befit the Christian, do not exemplify the Christian’s most faithful judgment and stand for principle, do not glorify Christ, and they lead to God’s judgment in society. Those interested in the Savior of Society will shun that sham just as Spurgeon has shown us here.
    Stonewall Jackson said “Duty is ours, consequences are God’s.”

    I am not responsible before God for how other people vote. I will be held accountable at the Judgment Seat of Christ for how Ivote. I must vote for the candidate who will uphold Biblical principles and Constitutional government, regardless of that candidate’s perceived “chance” of winning. As Christians, we do not believe in chance. I believe as did Patrick Henry that “there is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations…” I would be far more comfortable before God having voted for no one, rather than simply picking the lesser of two reprobates just so I could say “I voted.”

    As for a vote for a third party being a “wasted vote,” the only wasted vote is a vote for a candidate who tells you before you even go to the polls that he is going to violate the Constitution and the Bible. Read the Republican Party platform. You won’t have to read very far before you find plenty that is both un-Biblical and un-Constitutional.

    I am a proud Ted Cruz supporter. I have contributed to his campaign for the last year and as a Texan have i voted for him for him on Super CRUZday. I have Christian friends who have told me, that if worse comes to worse, they will vote for don the chump over hillarITY in November
    How is don the chump any more moral or acceptable than hillarITY?
    They speak of pragmatism over principle.
    I can not vote for either.
    Where are those who stand on Biblical Christian principles above all today?
    I will write in Ted Cruz or vote for The Constitution Party before I support amoral godless men (or women)

  4. John permalink
    April 23, 2016 11:19 am

    You forgot the most important bit of advice: don’t vote at all. Lesser evil is still evil and no politician will change the direction we are headed.

  5. April 23, 2016 8:00 am

    Reblogged this on ARE YOU REGISTERED TO VOTE? and commented:
    Make God’s Word your primary voting guide. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 110:105).

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