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Question:

Is it appropriate for Christians to vote?  Some seem to think that you aren't a good Christian unless you do and others seem to think that we are citizens of heaven and therefore we should not vote.  We are ambassadors to this country and not citizens and ambassadors do not vote according to this point of view.

Answer:

Voting or not voting is an issue I have wrestled with for many years. I have never voted but I am not convinced that I have been right on this issue.

The teaching that I heard is that we are citizens of another country (Philippians 3:20) and we are pilgrims here. Old Testament saints were often rulers of foreign countries but always as appointed governors (Joseph, Daniel) and not as elected officials. God did have his kingdom and his king on earth when David and Solomon (and others) reigned. But we are not in the Old Testament and we do not have an earthly king or an earthly kingdom right now.  However, if we are pilgrims and therefore should not get involved with the affairs of this world, what "battles" are we fighting, what races are we running, etc.?

Anyway, we are citizens of heaven but we have dual citizenship. We are also citizens of the USA. If the USA required us to vote, then we should obey the laws of the land and vote. However, voting is voluntary. If everyone followed the teaching that I have followed, our present system, which is the best the "world" has to offer, would not last. However, if we as Christians think we can change the world through the political system, we will lose our pilgrim character and we will begin emphasizing the social Gospel rather than the Gospel that saves eternally.

I know that we are to pray for our rulers and obey them regardless of whether we helped to elect them. Sometimes we pray for things and the Lord says "no". Perhaps after praying, we would vote for someone and the Lord would say "no".   Perhaps the "best" man for the job is not the man that the Lord will use at that particular juncture, particularly since the Lord might be using a corrupt man to correct or judge a nation.

I have always been afraid that if I started voting, I would probably want to get "too involved". That might not be true of most Christians. All I know is that we should pray for our leaders, that we should not expect the political system to be the answer to the moral problems of this world, and that we should not get so involved in politics that we forget that our commission is to make disciples, baptize them and teach them. Our commission is not to vote. I think voting should be a personal matter and not necessarily an church matter since we live in a society where voting is necessary to maintain our system of government. However, I don't think it is right to assume you are not carrying out your God-given responsibilities if you do not vote. Your friends who want you to vote will not only want you to vote but they will most likely want you to vote Republican because they are against abortion and not Democrat even though they fund the social programs for the poor. They will justify letting the ban on assault weapons expire because "the law doesn't do any good anyway" and the constitution gives us the "right" to carry "AK47's" but they will not allow that same line of reasoning when it comes to other moral issues.

People who promote voting as a source of morality and righteousness are often controllers who have forgotten that only the Holy Spirit can change people. They want to force the unsaved to live like they think the saved should live. All they cause is resentment. The law will never make people righteous even though it sets a standard of what morality ought to be. By voting we are assuming we are establishing the right lawmakers and enforcers.

To vote or not to vote, that is the question. I really don't know. But I know that we should pray and that we should continue to pray for the winner even if we didn't vote for him.

Hope this helps,

Bruce Collins