Why All Christians Should Vote No Matter Who The Options Are
“It just cannot be! How did this happen? I cannot believe I may not even vote in this presidential election!” Those are the words I heard over lunch a few weeks ago from my good friend Dan. Fast forward to last night after Super Tuesday in Texas and Dan sends me these texts: “I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things.” And “Trump has won. It’s over! Build your bomb shelter and buy your guns and canned foods.” The words of Frodo did make me smile and Dan’s overly facetious second text actually made me laugh. However, Dan is really upset about all that is happening on the political scene. But what concerns me most is not that Dan think’s Trump would be an awful choice for America. That is Dan’s point of view and that may well be true, however, what is really disturbing is Dan for the first time in his life is thinking of not voting. A follower of Christ and a really smart guy is contemplating not casting a vote! Now when I say smart guy I really mean it. You ever met that guy in high school who was thoroughly irritated when he received his ACT score? Only to find out that the reason he was so angry was not because he bombed it, no rather because he was a few points shy of a perfect score. As you may have guessed Dan is that guy, literally. And as with most smart guys he cares about how our government conducts itself; so here is the situation. We have a guy who has the Spirit of the living God inside of him and is high in intellectual quotient and he is seriously thinking of not voting. To borrow a Pauline phrase, “Brothers that ought not to be!”
I have had lengthy conversations with Dan and at this point I am not sure where Dan will land. But I thought I would lay out my best Biblical argument for what I have been advocating and beg and plead to all believers of Christ to get out and vote no matter who the candidates turn out to be.
IT’S NOT IN THE BIBLE
In the Bible we find kings and appointed men who govern and they are not elected in some democratic manner. In fact, part of my appeal is to point out when the Bible was written this idea of an elected king was simply not a thought. What we have then is a political system in which the Bible has things to say about how believers should conduct themselves; in response to the governing authorities, Romans 13. We also have the assurance to know that all kings and presidents are in office because God placed them there, again Romans 13 and Daniel 4. But we do not have an exact one to one correspondence outlining how believers should respond in casting votes for that governing authority. Again, this simply was not an option in the first century. So the question Dan and so many of us are wrestling with is this: What is the Godly action that would bring God the most glory? What do followers of Christ do when faced with two political options that neither seem to be God’s choice? Should we not vote? Should we vote, but throw that vote away on a candidate that has no real chance of winning? As if to say, “I did my civic duty, however, I am dissenting.” Or should we vote for a lessor of two evils as it were? I am going to argue the lessor of two evils though I am not a fan of the picture that phrase paints.
POLITICS AND GOD:
In Mark 12:13-17 we see an amazing statement by Jesus: “And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians, to trap him in his talk. 14And they came and said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are true and do not care about anyone’s opinion. For you are not swayed by appearances, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Should we pay them, or should we not?” 15But, knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why put me to the test? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” 16And they brought one. And he said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said to him, “Caesar’s.” 17Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at him.”
Now I know what you are thinking, “Don’t go there! This has nothing to do with me voting or not.” I plead with you to hear me out.
I want you to notice something very interesting about the statement Jesus made. “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” Notice he didn’t simply leave it to taxes. Jesus is speaking in a broad context of “things” pertaining to the government. My argument is the voting process would indeed be a “thing” in which belongs to Caesar. And Jesus said, “Give to Caesar” that is the government, what is due the government. And it just so happens that we find ourselves in a country in which voting is a part of the government and our role told to us by Christ is, give the government their due.
Also notice that Jesus then says, “Render to God the things that are God’s.” This is a statement about God’s sovereignty. There are things that are God’s and we give that to Him by prayer and supplication. There are things that are God’s and we need to not try and control those things. There are things that are God’s and we need to remember they are His. But we need to remember we have a role and we are to render to God, because that is the role He gave us. There are things which we are commanded to be a part of and they are on God’s to do list. It is no coincidence that we are asked to play a part in both the giving the government their due and giving God His due. Jesus giving us a command to play a part is extremely important and one we must consider.
TAKE OUR BALL AND GO HOME
In Philosophy there is something called the law of identity. What the law of identity says is this: Whatever a thing is, is indeed what it is, and it is not something else. For example snow is white if and only if snow is white. Identifying snow that is white would require the property of white being a part of snow, if it is true that snow is white. If it is true that snow is white then it is the case that indeed snow is white. Which means white snow cannot be blue snow or the dreaded yellow snow. If snow is white, it is only true that it is white if indeed it is white. And I appeal to the law of identity in part when answering the question, “ What brings God more glory, voting or not voting? ” Answer? Voting!
Now the reason I believe that to be so is partly due to the law of identity. Now this is only to be borrowed as a philosophical construct not an academic observation. Had God not wanted you and me to vote, we would not find ourselves in a country in which we can vote. We can vote if and only if we can vote, and indeed we can vote. And because it is the case we can vote then God ordained that we vote! Of course simply having the right to do something does not mean we ought to do it. It is possible God placed us here not to vote, however, voting seems to be a privilege ordained by God as a means to elect men and women to govern the United States of America. And if that is true then it seems God is calling me and you to render to the government what is the governments, and that of course is our vote!
So we see Jesus commanding us to participate in giving the government what is due them. And the idea that we do not like the two choices that God has given us does not give us the right to take our ball and go home. We cannot forget that we have the Spirit of God living inside us. And we must not forget that God cannot accomplish His will on earth without us. And it is not because God is not powerful enough to do it by Himself, obviously that is false. But it is the fact that for whatever reason God chose to set it up that He uses mankind to bring about His will on earth. I see our plight analogous with the questions, “Why Pray?” and “Why Witness?” If God is sovereign then he doesn’t need me to tell others about Him, I mean they are His right? WRONG! If God knows what I need before I ask, then I don’t need to pray right? WRONG! If there are two choices for president and I don’t like either, then God doesn’t need my vote right? WRONG!
God shows us in the Markian passage that man’s participation and God’s participation are both needed. My knowing my role as a follower of Christ is in part because I know the role of God. I am rendering to God what is His and what is His is a state of affairs in which He has ordained for me to participate. Who am I to try and tell God He has the wrong two options before me? He being sovereign gives me assurance that those options are ordained by Him.
“The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.” Daniel 4:17
Therefore, for me to refuse that which He has set before me to participate; is me not rendering to God what is God’s. Rather it is me saying to God, “You got this wrong! I will not vote! You cannot make me! I am Godly God! I have the Holy Spirit! I will not vote for either of the options you have set before me! I will not affect your will on this earth! I will not listen to your prayer, “Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done!” I will not render to the government a vote nor will I render to you your sovereign will to place before me two candidates of your choosing!
DON’T VOTE YOUR FEELINGS VOTE HIS WILL
I know this is not an easy thing to navigate. This vote can only be cast with much prayer. God wants us to render to Him our prayers and He in turn will guide us to the president which will bring Him the most glory. It may be the case that God uses His people to place in office a horrible president; because God’s glory shines brightest in the darkness.
To be clear on my position try a hypothetical like, “If Stalin and Hitler were running for president are you telling me I should vote for one of them?” I am answering yes! And the reason is because of the massive truth that God has told us which is; He places every president in office. If we did not have that knowledge, I could not and should not say what I have. I believe the biblical answer is not to vote your conscience when God tells us otherwise. Many are advocating to “not vote” or waste it on a “third party”, but rather I think the biblical answer is by faith vote God’s will! We are in the middle of what Jesus sandwiches together in His statement and that is government on one side ready to receive from us its due and God on the other side ready to receive His due. And God’s due is enabling us to enact His will in the giving to the government that which God has enabled us to give, which is our vote! And yes we are in the middle, but that is because that is how God made it to be. Fight for Godly principled candidates in the primaries and perhaps all the way to the voting booth. However, if in the end there are only two who are viable for president, that is to say, one of the two will be president then remember this going to the polls. God placed those two viable choices there for you to choose! Therefore, by Faith, do it! Don’t throw your vote away on an option God never presented as viable. For if God places the kings of this world then He is willing one of the two be our choice. I know this because if He didn’t will one of the two to be president, then they would not be viable options!
Final Thought From John Piper
I want to end with a quote from John Piper. This was taken from his sermon, “The Sovereignty of God: “My Counsel Shall Stand, and I Will Accomplish All My Purpose” November 3rd 2012.
Piper is speaking of God’s ultimate control of everything. He then addresses the issue of voting from those that make up the body of Christ.
“Vote on Tuesday. That’s a pastoral exhortation. Not a demand from God but pretty strongly felt sense that that’s God’s will as I discern our role in a democratic order, that you should do that. I know many of you, including myself, are not excited about the options in front of us. I don’t care about whether or not they are ideal options. I just know somebody is going to be president and you should not abdicate the impossibility of discerning who over the next four years would incrementally bring the greater blessing to this nation. Who can know? Well God can know, alone. But humans are being called upon to make that choice and if all the people who pray most and think most biblically bow out of that decision making process then, we have less cause to think that the best will come. So, I say to you vote on the candidates and vote on the amendments and let there be no man exalting illusion that you will be decisive in who becomes president. Nobody on the planet will be decisive in who becomes president! God will be decisive in who becomes president! Daniel Chapter two verse twenty-one “He changes times and seasons. He removes Kings and sets up Kings.” “The most high rules the kingdom of man gives it to whom He will.” God will reign on Tuesday. As He has reigned every Tuesday and in all generations….
So to all the Dan’s in the world I plead with you to consider your call as a follower of Christ and as November approaches keep these wise words from C.S.Lewis in mind…
“Peter did not feel very brave; indeed, he felt he was going to be sick. But that made no difference to what he had to do.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia
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