Some Observations Concerning Politics

POLITICSThere are some who would proclaim that Christians should not be involved in the political process. I do not agree. It is my humble opinion that we need Christian candidates and Christian voters to step to the forefront. The civil government is a minister of God for the good of the people (See Rom. 13:1-7). This means that God has ordained and laid down the basic functions that the government is to perform. It is the state’s responsibility to protect the good and to punish the wicked. Romans 13 clearly affirms that the civil government has the God-ordained power and responsibility to keep law and order and to protect its citizens from evil-doers. As we all know, not all leaders know their God-given responsibility, nor do they all care. Through the exercising of their own free-will, some leaders choose not to rely on God’s wisdom but, rather, they choose to rely on themselves. And so we see an unavoidable truth when it comes to people and power—governments are ordained by God, but people mess them up. Since civil government is ordained by God, and since leaders do make a difference, and since we have the power to elect these leaders, then doesn’t it follow that Christians should seek to implement moral/ethical leaders? That’s my take on the issue. Even as I type these words, I am well aware of the fact that “moral/ethical leaders” has become an oxymoron. Still, it is my contention that Christians should vote, and that they should vote morals first.

However, I must provide this addendum. It’s not a sin not to vote. Those of us who feel strongly about the political process and voting must be careful not to bind something on others that is simply not mandated in scripture. There is no Biblical teaching that supports the idea that refusing to vote is sinful. Some Christians feel strongly that they cannot, in good conscience, cast their vote for either candidate this year. As a result, they have chosen to sit this one out. And there are many brothers and sisters in Christ who are quick to condemn this approach. I often hear brethren say, “If you choose not to vote, you’re just letting Hillary win.” I’ve also heard it stated this way, “A refusal to vote is a vote for Hillary.” Folks, this is ridiculous. Let’s say Hillary gets 60 million votes this election and Trump gets 60 million votes as well. You have the opportunity to cast the deciding vote. It’s all on your shoulders. Your vote decides the next president of the United States, but you decide not to cast a vote. How is that a win for Hillary? It’s not a win for either candidate. Christians need to quit trying to shame people into voting with such faulty reasoning. Yes, voting is a way to exert positive influence. But, despite what some Christians claim, it’s not morally reprehensible not to vote. We must ask the question, “Is voting the only way a Christian can exert influence in our culture?” There are many Christians who are so consumed with politics that it has become an idol that rules their hearts. They have forgotten that we have a king. God is on His throne, and will still be on His throne regardless of who is elected as our next president. Politics must have its place. You don’t truly change the world through politics. You change the world one soul at a time through spreading the gospel. Sadly, some Christians are more passionate about politics than they are the gospel.

Have you ever noticed that not once in the book of Acts do we find the apostles getting sidetracked by politics? They didn’t put their mission on hold to protest or picket. Paul didn’t strengthen the churches so that they could oppose the government. Though many in Jesus’ day expected a Messiah who would overthrow the government and rule with an iron fist, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world (Jn. 18:36).” Again, I believe in exercising my right to vote. I believe that Christians should be involved in the political process. However, I also believe that kingdom pursuits should come first. Just like Jesus and just like the apostles, our primary mission should be saving the world through saving souls.

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