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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Thanks for a lot of good stuff to chew on.
The one thing I question is the idea that voting for a candidate who is very unlikely to win is equivalent to throwing away my vote. When third party candidates get significant support, it speaks to the party that loses votes.
The word is very clear that we are not supposed to modify our witness based on what we believe will be received. The prophets duty is to deliver the word of the Lord, not make it palatable. If believers rallied behind a candidate we could truly support in great enough numbers to send a clear message to the established parties, it would be speaking truth to power without having to choose the “lesser of two evils”.
I agree. And if that third option is indeed viable and shows up, then I could support that. But, let us not fool ourselves that all believers are going to choose the non-party favorite and that person wins the white house.
When we are talking God’s purposes and plans I have a hard time believing I should work only in the realm of viability. What if Andrew had taken that approach to the need to feed the multitude? The boy with his lunch was certainly not a viable option. John tells us Jesus asked Phillip where to buy bread, not to get a viable answer, but to test Phillip.
What if my faith is being tested? How big is my God? How big does He want my faith to be? Could viability become my god? Will God listen to an explanation of doing the safe and rational thing? If so, for me, the safe and rational thing, and the easiest to explain, is to do what’s right and trust the outcome to Him. Just a personal perspective, not a recommendation for anyone else.
You are right to say viability should not be our foundation. However, that isn’t my argument. My foundation is God revealing to us that He sets all powers of government. And my argument is a logical deduction from that foundational truth. The reason I say they have to be viable is based off of the truth that God has only provided one of two people that can be the POTUS. If and when a third option arises then by all means vote for neither of the two. But, if at the end of the day you are faced with only two options, knowing God is sovereign I argue vote by faith. Faith not in politics but in the God that said, I will place the POTUS, I will do it. And in this country that is done through voting. If you throw your vote away on a person in whom God did not make viable, then I argue that is a lack of faith in God who has said, He sets all powers. Thank you for your question.
There is an interesting counter argument to this too by Russell Moore from yesterday. Basically don’t fall into the false dichotomy of no voting, or only vote for a “winner”. A “protest” vote is just that – a protest that neither of the leading candidates is acceptable and you reject either. Prefer neither to either.
Hey Mark. I really like Dr. Moore. In fact I am reading his book right now and I think it is fantastic so far. Where I think Dr. Moore attempt fails is him trying to say moral evils like murder or adultery are the same as casting a vote for someone who may or may not commit evils. For example, God could save the next president after he or she is elected. There is no one to one correspondence between voting for someone and obvious sins listed in the bible.
Jesus said that if we cause one of His little ones to stumble that we might as well have a weight tied to us and be thrown overboard. So when we cast our vote for someone who proclaims to be Christian but goes against God’s commandments to us then we are tolerating sin and causing others to do the same that look to us as examples of a good Christian. We are guilty as well…we have led others astray!!!
I agree Gayle. Unless God tells us otherwise, right? See my comments above about 1 Sam 15. I assert God has said otherwise with Him placing the POTUS.
Looks like you beat me to it!
Your comment “the two choices Gid has given us” negated everything you said….I absolutely believe in the absolute supremacy and sovereignty of God but I also believe in the free will of man and I believe if the nominees come down to trump and Clinton it will be because America and particularly the Church in America has abandoned God… And it will be the judgment of God on Anerica if either one of them win the election….as a republican in the general election if I write in Cruz or Rubio my vote will still go to Trump….so I do not agree with you!!!
Hey Jacquelyn, I appreciate your comments and taking the time to read the article. The free will of man is not decisive in who is president. God is decisive and if we have only two viable choices then God choose them to be our choices. And you are quite right in saying God could use them to bring judgment on America. I am not saying that the person in office is going to do well, for us. I am saying that God expects us, his children, to have faith in His sovereignty and in His choices. If there are two choices for president then those choices are there because God chose them. I see a lack of faith in believing that God would ask His children to chose one of the persons He set before us and we say, “No thanks God, don’t you know we don’t vote for people like that?” :)
Spurgeon said, when choosing the lesser of two evils choose niether. The Word of God never tells us that in order to obey Him we vote in evil candidates in order to prove how much we trust Him. In fact, when the people said, “Give us a king to rule over us,” it grieved God and He said the people have rejected Him! In the New Testament do we not see the theme of obeying God (the higher law) over obeying the lesser law? God never tells us to obey a goverment that dishonors His higher law. We are not requires to vote for a lesser evil. Now, I have military background and believe everyone should vote because men and women died to give this right. However, I will only vote for a candidate I believe in…because we most certainly will be held accountable for what we tolerated.
I appreciate the comments. A few thoughts about them. First one must ask, “What evil are we choosing?” This evil idea is getting thrown around a lot. I am not sure what is meant by this. Are we to think that all presidents we have voted for in the past were not evil but our potential choices this November are evil? I guess it depends on one’s stance on evil. Evil in what sense? I agree we do resist evil. I think we do this in the primaries. Vote your conscience and fight for good! And perhaps God will give us a righteous choice. My point is if in the end of our fighting for a righteous choice we come up empty, we cannot quit. We still have to look for a righteous choice. That is for a lessor of two evils as some have put it. And as far as Spurgeon goes, I appreciate the comment in certain circumstances. Of course we would not choose to do some things like murder or torture. If faced with those options you choose neither. That is because God has said do not do that! That is explicit in the morality of God. I am suggesting voting doesn’t rise to that level. And I appeal to scripture that all governing authorities are established by God. And if that is true then the logical outworking’s of that requires us to vote. Because it will not be the case that someone will not become president if we do not vote. Again, I cannot say it any better than John Piper did in the quote of his I ended with in the blog. Thank you for your thoughts….
We as Chrisitians should practice “Daring Faith” in this election process. When has God ever allowed his people to go astray if we put our faith in him? Daring faith allows us to step forth knowing God is and will always be in control of every situation or circumstance. During this time we must seek God’s truth and guidance in folowing his will, not our own.
WHERE HAS OUR COUNTRY LOWERED OUR STANDARDS IN THE LAST 8 YEARS; TOO MANY TO LIST AND YOU KNOW THEM,
But God also set before us the option to write in a candidate or vote for a third party candidate. That option appears on every ballot out before us. I agree that we should vote, I just do not believe the the two choices made by the most prominent parties are our only options as Christians.
See comments above Mary Ellen for a more detailed response. It seems like voting for someone who cannot win is a very Pharisee thing to do. To actually vote for one of the options who God ordained takes faith.
Please break free from the bondage to the media opinion that the choice will be between Clinton and Trump! Sanders appears to be the only candidate with integrity, and media opinions notwithstanding, if the Democrats want to win the general election, they will heed the polls’ strong indications that Sanders, and not Clinton, can defeat Trump. In this election, as in most, integrity is far more crucial than platform. Congress has never enacted a new President’s entire platform. But if the President has no integrity, (s)he has nothing! My Savior was Jew who was concerned about the self-righteous powermongers of his day. Sound like anybody else you know?
Yes, Richard I agree both our viable options are “Powermongers” as you put it and really not options I would willingly choose. It will take an act of Faith to go into that voting booth and cast a vote for a viable candidate. This must be done with great humility and prayer.
I found this article to be very misleading and seemed to cherry pick vague scripture to semi-back what the writer wants you to do. I believe that most Christians don’t always hear clearly from God what path they should choose, so they make decisions based on God’s nature (or in some cases the nature they want God to have if they are not frequently in the Word to discern the difference.) I believe that people like this writer are confining themselves to vote out of fear of man, not fear of God, if they insist they have to vote for one of the 2 main party candidates. The ability to vote is certainly a blessing, and everyone who is able should vote. But as God’s people, we are held to a higher standard. Every person we can vote for will be flawed, but we can vote for someone who is running towards God, not away from God. To vote for whom I perceive as the lesser of 2 evils is wrong – I am not God and all evil is, well, evil. When both candidates on a 2 party ticket appear to be running away from God, I will choose the 3rd option (which by the way, God ALSO blessed us with) which is a 3rd party candidate or write-in.
Hey Alison, please see other comments where I address this head on. I first want to say I am not cherry picking vague scripture. The passage in Mark is dealing directly with the govt role, God’s role and mans. Also, the other scriptures highlights God being decisive in who is POTUS. I also am not fearful of man, I am fearful of God. He let me know and you that He sets the POTUS for us to do something with that knowledge. See my other comments on why I think voting is almost a logical necessity from that knowledge, at least in this country.
The free will of man does decide whose president. His love for us allows us to chose the direction of our lives. God is omnipotent, all knowing and He can and will orchestrate all things for Good. Does God raise up leaders? Absolutely, but He gives us the choice to select those people. To say that Trump and Clinton are God’s chosen candidates negates man’s respobsibility and free will to choose righteously.
Steve, I appreciate that comment because it highlights huge worldviews within the Christian faith. If you do not see that God is in control of literally everything, including sin, your point is correct. If you do however see God is exactly who He says He is revealed in Scripture then we are at odds with our conclusions.
How perfectly SILLY! MANKIND was given EVERYTHING ( by GOD/EVOLUTION) it needs to practice FREE WILL & CHOICE.
There is NO ‘sovereignty of GOD’ in the daily affairs of mankind. We sink or swim by our own devices. Grow up and stop conducting yourself in accordance with Sunday school stories. SMH
We are simply time+matter+chance a big accident who has meaning SMH….
Absolute nonsense. God/Evolution has given mankind everything we need to make choices and utilize free will… Intelligence, comprehension, judgement, discipline etc. No need for GOD to get involved in the routine affairs of humans. Oh, and we do NOT live in a THEOCRACY.
“Had God not wanted you and me to vote, we would not find ourselves in a country in which we can vote.” Could you please explain this. It seems to be the exact same logic to say “Had God not wanted me to have an abortion, I would not find myself in a country in which I can legally have one.”
Hello Evelyn…. Thanks for the comments… What we have to remember is a massive truth reveled in scripture. And it is based upon that truth that I have said what I did. And that truth is every president, king, dictator, monarch, prince, and on and on. Every one of them is where they are because God put them there. That is as plain as the nose on my face. And we also know that after they are placed into office God controls what they do like water in hands. Here is the verse: “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.” Prov 21:1. And because I know that to be the case then I have certainty that the two viable candidates are the one’s in which God ordained for me to choose from. And I know this because if He didn’t want me to choose from them He would have ordained other candidates for me to choose from. And I know He wants me to choose because He set me in a place, Acts 17, that allows me to be part of that choosing. So, had He not wanted me to be a part I would be somewhere else. Which is why I referenced the law of identity. If God didn’t want Christians to vote America would not be a place in which we could vote. But because we know all presidents are placed in office by God because He is the decisive one. Because we know that we only need to ask, “What means does God use in placing presidents in office, in the U.S.A?” Answer? He uses us His people to do it. And if he didn’t want it that way then it would not be that way but alas it is that way. I will end with this verse: “ For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” 1 Pet 3:17 There are times when God wills for us to suffer for doing good. That is what the verse says. But the verse also says that is better than the times when God’s will is for us doing evil. This vote may be the time in which suffering for good is not His plan.
You didn’t even address my question.
Evelyn, I apologize… I thought I answered :) Let me try again… You asked me to explain it and then said, Hey does not the same logic apply with this statement: “Had God not wanted me to have an abortion, I would not find myself in a country in which I can legally have one.” And the answer is no the same logic does not apply and here is why. My argument is based upon a massive truth. And that is all those in the govt who are in office are there because God put them there. So my logic and argument follow from that foundational truth. So because I know that truth, I can then press the logic of the implications of that truth to arrive at the argument I have put forth. Obviously, aborting a baby is not something that is prescribed for me to partake in by God. God does not tell us in his word that He is for abortion and finally Murder is evil and condemned in the bible. So because there are at least those three difference it is obvious the logic isn’t the same… Hope that helps…
I almost cannot believe what Im hearing here. God NEVER DEMANDS we choose from two wicked rulers. In fact He tells us over and over to RESIST evil. We are to resist evil in politics, in our communities, and in our homes. We are to resist it. God does not demand we ever accept evil and label it His will for us to choose our poison. On the contrary, God has told us to not be of this world. And that means doing things that are different and difficult. We are SUBJECT to the governing authorities and we are not to come against them in unrighteousness. We are to humble ourselves before them, but that does not mean taking part in or condoning their evil doing.
I agree 100% with Jenna. God didn’t give us these two options…God is pure light…there is no darkness in our God!!! He absolutely gave us free will and that’s what this is. It’s like He said
to Israel when they rejected God as King and wanted to be like all the other nations. They rejected God so He left them to their sinful ways. Why would Paul say in 1 Corinthians 5 at the end of the chapter that when those who proclaim to be believers but continue in the sin that has been pointed out to them, we should have nothing to do with them???
I agree Gayle that our sin has indeed forced us into this situation. But as we know from scripture God uses the sin of man to bring about His will. That is all I too am purposing.
I agree on the sovereignty of God. He knows who is going to be the next president. However, each of us will be held accountable. Russell Moore hits the nail on the head.
Hey Eddy… Thanks for the feedback. I really Like Dr. Moore and I respect his thoughts on this very much. We simply disagree on the outworking of that sovereignty. I have not spoken to Russell yet about where we might differ, however, it seems that my point is if God set up the political system of the USA. Then that is the method in which He wanted. And if that is the case I have been called upon and ordained by God to participate. I appeal to John Piper at the end of my argument, I think it is so spot on. If I who pray and think most biblically about things remove myself from the process that God ordained…. Well then I have no assurance that the best is in office… Because those who are most equipped to discern which choice to make are not part of it. I see not voting for a viable candidate an actual lack of faith In God choosing the two candidates that He asks me to place into office. Thanks for your comments Eddy…
It’s sad to see such misguided, and frankly, evil theology in your article. You talk about the sovereignty of God, yet would only vote for a “viable” candidate. How exactly does that work? If God is indeed sovereign, then every candidate is viable because God is ultimately in control. To use the law of identity: God is sovereign if and only if he is sovereign. And he is indeed sovereign. And because it is the case that God is sovereign, every candidate is viable because God is sovereign. If God is in complete control, as you admit, then every candidate is viable. Logic and sound theology completely undercut your argument about a viable candidate/third party option. I would urge you to read the biblical accounts of God using people who were not “viable” and accomplishing great things through them. Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Moses, Hanna, David, and Paul are just a few examples. If you truly believe in the sovereignty of God, then a candidate’s chances of winning should be irrelevant because God is ultimately in control of the outcome.
Second, while I agree that we are to render unto the government its due, I do not believe that includes voting in a way that is disobedient to God. Voting for a candidate means that I am hiring a person for a job. It’s a very important one, but essentially it comes down to the bosses (the People) hiring employees as public servants. I cannot give my approval to anyone who is not qualified for the job. First among the qualifications is being a person of integrity and good character. Expecting a person to be morally upright in the performance of his duties when you already know he has no integrity and an immoral character is foolish. Second among them is a ability to perform the duties correctly and within the established requirements and laws. In other words, candidates who openly say that they would do things which are in violation of the Constitution -the supreme law of the land- should not hold office. None of the candidates meet those requirements. In fact, the leading ones, Clinton, Sanders, and Trump are all horribly immoral people who support murder, and would intentionally violate the Constitution whenever they wanted to.
I find it extremely troubling that you would have people vote for a candidate, regardless of how immoral, evil, corrupt, or sadistic they are, because you believe that doing so would be rendering unto the government its due and it’s God’s will that I vote simply because he’s placed me in a country where we can vote. You are calling evil good and good evil here. That’s reprehensible and extremely dangerous theology.
I guess in order to understand what is sad, misguided, and evil one would have to present an argument that I could interact with. Since you present none I will simply posit as you did, without reason, that I disagree with your assessment. In regards to the sovereignty issue you mention. To say that every candidate is viable as you do is misguided. Do you seriously expect people to believe that every candidate has equal chance of winning because God knows the outcome? That isn’t just false that is demonstrably false. There are people who are running for president and you couldn’t even tell me their name right now without looking them up. And you suggest that they have just as good as chance to win the presidency because God knows who He will appoint? That is absurd! Furthermore, how do you think God gets the POTUS into office? By people! So if no people vote then no presidency (in theory)…. Since your assumption that all are viable because God knows the outcome is false based on simple probability, therefore the rest of your progression needs not to be addressed. As far as your analogy to try and equate the president with Noah, Jacob, Moses and the like. This isn’t analogous at all… God didn’t use votes of humans to put those people into their position. Since those great men and woman of the faith and God appointing them by Him alone, has no place in this discussion I will digress. In regards to your Second objection. Now this is a key component of my argument. If you do not see voting as that which God has instructed us to “Render” to the govt. Then you are quite right in having an objection to my argument. But at that point it would simply be a disagreement that you do not see it as something we are instructed by God to give to the govt and I do. A difference of opinion, that is all. And to your second point that you find it troubling that I would have people vote for a candidate regardless of how immoral, evil, corrupt, or sadistic they are… I point you to what John Piper said at the end of my post. All I know is that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be the next president, if things go the way they seem to go. I am hopeful that God gives us a clear “moral” option before the election that actually has a chance to win. But all I know is that God created this country, he did it not me. And someone will be president. There is not a third option of no president. So, knowing that God appoints all presidents I have faith, in God, that he is placing one of the candidates in office, to do what His hand and His plan has predestined to do. And I being His child have been called to participate. How do I know? Well because I trust God is in control of setting up the political System and if that is true he has made me a part of that process. And those of us who have the Spirit of God living in us should not say to God, we don’t trust your will to give us these two candidates. I think that is a lack of faith to trust the plan of God. Because if God did not want Hillary or Trump or whoever may rise to the fore before November, then they would not be there! Thanks for your comments Erik….
To answer Erik’s assertion that God’s sovereignty means every candidate is viable, you described omniscience and called it sovereignty. Sovereignty is not God knowledge of the outcome of this election, but His bringing about His will in this election, which I willingly admit that He uses humans to do.
As a side-note, you keep citing the quote from Piper but it contradicts your foundational assertion that not voting is essentially sin.
Hello Luke! I appreciate the comment. I did not mean to suggest that God’s sovereignty was God’s knowledge, you are indeed correct about the distinction you make. I was simply trying to highlight that His knowledge reveled to us is part of His sovereign work. And to your last part of the comment I never said not voting was as you said, “essentially sin.” That is not my position nor Piper’s position, though as he said, it is a strong pastoral exhortation. In short if you think the argument is saying not voting is a sin I encourage you to re-read it. That was not the articles aim nor is that what it says.
I might also add that most if not all of the leaders Erik pointed out as examples of ‘God’s leaders’ were extremely morally/ethically deficient in character at some point in their lives and God still used them to accomplish his plan and purpose. Based upon Erik’s argument none of these men would have been suitable for God’s use! By God’s design, he is glorified in man’s weakness, not strength.
Amen Brett! Amen! That is why I have hope that I too can be used for noble purposes by God. Even in my sins, He works to do His good pleasure!
This is not even what Jesus said in the render to Caesar scripture. Jesus was pointing out that nothing belongs to Caesar…everything belongs to God!!!
If true then it is hard to make logical sense when Jesus says, “Give to Caesar what is his” if in fact that is not what He meant.
You have to understand Hebraic thought and teaching. Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s…Nothing is Caesar’s because everything belongs to God. If you research the interpretation you will find the history and circumstances that led to this very slyly subversive comment by Yeshua.
Gayle, I am not saying you are wrong. It could be the case that multiple out workings apply from this passage.
First, Presidential elections are not dependent on the popular vote and besides the chances that your vote matters in mathematically inconsequential. Therefore, choosing not to participate based on conscious, within reason, should be a legitimate option in special circumstances. If you want to be more involved in politics, work at the local level where you will count for more.
However, although being a citizen comes with reaponsibilities, it should be noted that the sphere of government is not our best hope or our greatest calling, as Chriatians. I fear that we have become more of a demographic than a body, political rather than spiritual, Republian instead of truly Christian. Our greatest responsibility is not politically motivated. Everything about being Christian has become synonymous with being patriotic, Republican, capitalist. I’m not suggesting that those are bad in of themselves but they are not the basis of my identity and in fact, he majority of Christian history did not have those things. God blessed and had a purpose for America but it’s not only Americans or those who agree with our quasi political ideologies that will go to heaven.
Just a few thoughts.
I agree with you. Christ and His glory is the goal of everything that exists!
Why A Christian Should Not Vote: http://christinesmith.us/wordpress/2012/10/17/why-a-christian-should-not-vote/
I feel a strong kinship with Dan. In 44 years, I have never passed on an opportunity to vote, but I am considering that option now. One thing I have long believed is that not voting is also making a choice, and it might be the Christian choice for me, if I believe either candidate would embrace ungodly practices.
I absolutely reject the notion that Hitler rose to power “because God put him there.” God does not “will” bad things to happen in order to get to a “good” outcome.
There is a distinction between what God allows and what God ordains. God allowed the fall of Adam and Eve, but they chose to disobey him; they chose to run away when God called out to them, and they chose to blame another person rather than trust God’s mercy.
God allowed Jesus’ betrayal and wrought our salvation out of it, but he he did not cause Judas to sin; if there is no free will—no guilt—then there is no need of salvation.
God’s will is that his whole creation be reconciled to him; through the blood of Christ he has accomplished that. It’s a done deal. We are witnessing his will unfold in our lives. God is not a puppet master pulling strings to determine the course of history.
Hello sir! You outline a HUGE issue at the heart of this matter. That is God’s Sovereignty. Depending on your view of that will dictate in part where you come down on this issue. I encourage you to go visit desiringgod.org there look up the sermon I reference from John Piper. I think it is critical to have the correct view of God’s power and control in the universe. Thank you!
I have quite a few problems with this but I will only state a few.
1) I’m skeptical about your definition of the Law of Identity. First, because your paragraph is not structured very well and is confusing and redundant. However I don’t think you have a full understanding of what the Law of Identity is, and furthermore, it does not actually apply to the situation stated. The law of identity, in essence states that “A is A.” A thing IS itself. So the snow example does not work. “Snow is white” is an example of “A is B” because “white” is a changeable characteristic of snow. Some snow can be turned yellow, as you have said, in which case it is no longer white which means that A is not even B.
An actual example of the Law of Identity is. “A lawyer is a person qualified and authorized to practice law.” Those two things mean the same thing, and therefore demonstrate the Law of Identity.
This doesn’t even go into the fact that it literally does not apply to voting at all.
2) You keep implying that God orchestrates exactly who is up for election, and who becomes president. I question that statement. We live in a fallen world, and often things people attribute to God should really be attributed to our own fallenness. It can be possible that neither candidate is in God’s will.
3) What about voting for independents/writing in?
Hello Piper, I appreciate the feedback. I will address your questions in the numbering order you created in your question. 1.) When writing a blog I try to be super brief yet cover the argument which can be tricky because a blog isn’t a book. I have seen on FB people comment who still felt this was a long post. Also, I try not to be overwhelming with jargon that may exclude some readers with getting deep into the details. With those two things in mind I am quite aware there are many areas of “clarification” that can occur because I am trying to be brief and also trying to not alienate readers. With that preface I will address your concern. There are some hidden assumptions I use in my law of identity example. To be super clear my example of snow is white if and only if snow is white is actually an example of the correspondence theory of truth. Truth obtains if and only if the factors that make up truth are present in reality. With that said under the idea of Truth lies the law of identity. That is to say if you crack open the “Truth” egg about something one of the things that fall out is the identification of the thing pertaining to that particular truth. Which you quite rightly say the law of identity is expressed: A is A and not –A. Which is what I was trying to express when I was speaking of white snow. White snow is not yellow snow or blue snow, if it is white snow. White snow therefore is a truth claim corresponding to reality if and only if the snow is white; and the law of identity says if one is looking for white snow, then snow is white and white snow isn’t “not” white snow. One further observation. You are correct in saying that snow doesn’t have to be white in order to be snow. It can be yellow snow or green snow which is correct. My illustration was to say, if you are looking for white snow(assumption on my part) then yellow snow or green snow will not be the snow you are looking for.(Sounds rather star wars no? “This is not the snow you are looking for???? I digress…. In your comment about it “literally doesn’t apply to voting.” I agree. This is a borrowed idea from a philosophical construct to try and illustrate through an inductive argument. This is not to be an academic defense of voting and yes you can disagree that the argument fails. But keep in mind this isn’t the only argument but a cumulative case for the final conclusion. Perhaps it does fail, but perhaps the other evidences balance on the whole where this illustration lacks power. I of course do not think it lacks significance else I would not have written it.
2.) In regards to the degree in which God’s sovereignty reigns I point you to John Piper’s sermon that I reference in my blog: “The Sovereignty of God: “My Counsel Shall Stand, and I Will Accomplish All My Purpose” November 3rd 2012. I have provided the link: http://www.desiringgod.org/messages/the-sovereignty-of-god-my-counsel-shall-stand-and-i-will-accomplish-all-my-purpose It will be the case if you do not believe that Rom 13 or Dan 4 or Prov 21 means what it says, then you are right my argument has collapsed. Because the entire argument hinges on the known fact that Romans 13 and Dan 4 and Prov 21 does mean what it says. If we did not have that knowledge revealed to us then I would never have written what I did. And the real issue is how can men choose freely yet God control everything? And I leave you with two verses that illustrate this tension: Isa 53:10 “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.” Now I ask you who crushed Jesus? According to this God did! Was what happened to Jesus sinful? Yes! It was. Now ask, “How does God ordain a sinful act without He himself becoming sinful. I now leave you with the answer to that: Acts 4:27-28 “27for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.” So there is a way in which God ordains sin to happen and through it produces His outcome. Notice it said God did this. This is the physical outworking of what is told to us in Isa 53. And notice He uses man to accomplish His will, which is why I say we need to vote for a viable candidate.
3.) To your final question as to write in or third options. I see this as meaningless. It will have no productive impact to who is elected. Now it will have an impact because those who vote for non-viable candidates are using their power toward an ends in which there is no real positive impact to who is president. Meaning if there are two candidates who in reality are the only two options that are viable, to cast your vote for voting sake toward another option than the two, isn’t impacting who is president in a positive way. And I argue we might not like that but I have faith in God that He set me in the middle of the process to bring about His will on this earth which may have a negative impact. I will end with an answer I provided someone who asked me, “Won’t we have to give an account to God as to why we voted for the lessor of two evils?” Here is my response: Hey Keri yes you do give an account and here are the answers as I see them. God I trusted your word that all presidents are placed into office Ordained by you. Rom13 Dan 4. In America that is accomplished by people voting, and there were only two viable options and therefore I had Faith that you gave me those two options, I prayed and fasted and voted for the one that would bring you the most glory in the end. That is one option. Option two: Well Lord I didn’t think either of them seemed like someone I could vote for based on your character, and therefore I penciled in my sister! And I think a possible God response could be… Why would you think that when I told you in the Scriptures I ordain all presidents? I gave you two viable options and expected you to seek me to see who I wanted and you threw away your vote on your sister??????????? Just a thought… Yes Keri, I respect your right to the way you vote. This isn’t easy but I think the biblical way is the way Piper says it: “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.” END OF PIPER.
Thank you for your comments, I appreciate the interaction.
The author says, “God placed those two viable choices there for you to choose!”
Do Christians really believe that? Why would God give us such a terrible choice.
Also, if God has ultimate control over everything, it means we don’t have any free will. You see, to make sure Clinton and Trump were the two nominees, he must have made people vote for them in the primaries.
So if we don’t have free will and God is in control, then why even worry about who to vote for?
Hey Matt… I am actually writing a book on that very question! Stay tuned!
It seems to me that to write in a name that more closely reflects one’s values speaks louder than a vote camouflaged by millions of others who actually support person A or B. My Bible says to obey, and pray for those in authority, more clearly than whether it is my Christian duty to participate in the process in the name of “rendering”. Still, you state your case well, and answer the fedebacle.
Thanks David! I address this idea in the comments above. I think it is non-sense to suggest someone outside of the two parties could win at this point. Perhaps a viable option could arise. Again, I am not saying only vote for one of the two ONLY. If a real third option comes about and could win then that would meet “viable. But let us not deceive ourselves to think that will happen without some huge effort between now and November.
To say we only have 2 choices is misguided at best. We have seen 3rd party candidates win. Lincoln was a 3rd party candidate. In my home state of Minnesota we had Jesse Ventura win the governors race. There are more examples readily available.
Also a vote for a 3rd party is not wasted, when people vote for a 3rd party even in a loss the other parties, if they are smart, take note as to what these 3rd parties are standing for and often make changes to their parties platforms in future years.
Hey Bryce, I understand this position. However, I address it in the other comments in depth. Take a look there! Thanks Bryce!
What about Daniel and his friends? They worked for the government but came to a place where they had to refuse to bow down to the image of the king. Daniel could have said, “in God’s sovereignty he put me here to assist the king so I don’t need to make waves because God is using me in this situation”. But he didn’t say that. He came to a point where he felt in his heart he was disobeying the greater command and he refused to participate in “government”.
I have always voted. ALWAYS. but in this situation, I believe not voting in the Presidential race IS voting. I also have some issues about how you seem desperate to say God needs us to vote to accomplish His will. Just as God moves king’s hearts, he moves people’s hearts and I feel he is putting a burden on my heart that to vote for the lesser of two evils would in fact be evil.
Hey Stella, I agree with you with Daniel and his friends. However, the difference with my argument is our vote is in direct foreknowledge we have been given by God that all powers like the POTUS is appointed by him. We do not have that in the Daniel story and actually to worship another God is directly forbidden.
How do you determine which candidates are viable? Do we look at which candidates could possibly win our state or at those who could possibly win the election as a whole? In most Presidential elections, most states are not in play – everyone knows beforehand who will win that state. Does that mean that we have to vote for the one candidate expected to win our state? In this Presidential election, most pundits are willing to call the result today. Does this mean that we are all required to vote for the one viable candidate?
Great Point David. Viable to me is one that has the actual potential in reality to actually sit in the oval office. We are well aware not everyone running for president is viable. All I can appeal to here is a person would be honest and not think of some crazy outlandish scenario where their sister becomes president. That a person would really consider who God wants to sit at that desk. That is the only vote that matters, His!
At the beginning of the primary season no one thought that Donald Trump was a viable candidate for the Republican nomination. By most accounts, Donald agreed with everyone. But here we are four months later with him as the only ‘Republican’ candidate left standing. Was it sinful for Christians to vote for him at the beginning of the process before he became recognized as a viable candidate?
David, great question. This is where I think Dr. Moore’s article is spot on. In the primaries I apply everything Dr. Moore says. Because we don’t know who God is raising up, so we fight for righteousness all the time. We cannot allow ourselves to vote for “evil” as Dr. Moore put it. Now, I will say that phrase has been thrown around a lot without definition. But moving on, to answer your question. I do agree with Dr. Moore it is hard to see a biblical path that would justify one voting in the primaries for Donald Trump. But as Ted Cruz said the other night, “The voters chose a different path”. It is now at that point where I believe Dr. Moore’s article ends and this one continues. If after we have fought and not received from the Lord a definitive righteous choice, then I think Christians that think biblically more than politically do as John Piper says. Pray! For it cannot be the case that we give up on God because the path seems rough or it isn’t as clear cut anymore. Did God not bring 17 men down to 1? If the answer is yes then we by faith trust God at His word. And that is that He will decide who sits in the White House. But as I have stated in several FB posts and in the comments here, a simple thought experiment will show we must do the hard thing and trust God and vote for who He gave us to vote for. Because God’s glory is what we are all after and as I said in the post, it shines brightest in the darkness. Thanks for that fantastic question and taking the time to read the post.
God contacted me yesterday and said “Donald Trump is the Devil–vote for Hillary”
So, thanks for the advice, I’ll follow it.
I have no response !
Regarding your statement… “Should we vote, but throw that vote away on a candidate that has no real chance of winning?”
I’d like to suggest a comparison. If I am given the choice of lining up my family to face a firing squad for being Christians, or lining up your family for that same fate, my choice is “neither”. Though my answer is likely not to save them, I am responsible for my actions, not the outcome, and will have given the right answer. That’s an answer I can live with when I stand before God (which might follow shortly, given my answer), and I can trust Him with the results of my right actions.
Hey Timothy. The point you are making misses my argument. And this keeps coming up over and over with many. The argument is based on God allowing us to have foreknowledge of His will. That knowledge is that He places all POTUS. That then needs to be logically pressed to see what my role is if any in bringing that about. And my argument is this: Because the Truth of God’s word is what matters, not what I say, but what it says; I ask this: How does God place POTUS in America? And the obvious answer is by people voting! I agree, had God not revealed that bit of knowledge to us then your point would be well taken. However, since this truth is revealed to me I must submit to the Scriptures. I Samuel 15 is a classic example. God tells Saul to kill everyone including livestock. Now if you were a citizen under Saul and you heard Saul say his army is going to kill all including kids, what would you say? Well you should say, That is SIN! That is immoral! That is evil! UNLESS, God told Saul to do it. And if God did indeed instruct Saul to do it that massive truth would now dictate to you a choice. Will you bow to God or will you not? Saul choose not to and was removed as king over it. And that is exactly what my argument is. God said, He appoints all POTUS. I then ask, Can God place that person in office without anyone voting? If the answer is no then us not voting cannot be an option, unless we do not submit to God’s will. Therefore, by faith we take God at His word and we vote for His choice to bring the most glory to Him, which may mean a terrible end to this country.
I have zero desire to have any sort of debate regarding the thoughts that I share in the following text, considering my limited intellect and simple thinking, however I disagree with what you have written for the following reasons:
1) “Caesar” was not the government of the people Jesus was talking to, it was an outside third party that was ruling the people at the time.
2) “Give to Caeasar what is Caesar’s” is out of necessary submission. It is produced by the third party for the sake of the third party, so it belongs to said third party. The usage of it is necessary to continue living submissively in the state that that society was in at the time. Voting is not necessary or demanded from our government, so this argument is invalid. Taxes are a requirement for citizens of this country, and we should pay them. This is “necessary submission”.
3) We are first and foremost citizens of the kingdom of God, and our only obligation is to be obedient to him, submitting inasmuch as it does not cause us to be disobedient to him. Our loyalty is not to the nation that we live in, but to God and his people. God’s loyalty is not to the nation we live in, but to himself and his people abroad.
If a believer feels that he is being led by the Spirit of God to vote, so he should. If his conscience would condemn him, let him vote! But he bears no obligation one way or the other. Jesus was referring to taxation, and the need to be submissive to the government. To stretch that into something else would be adding to his words.
Chris since you only wanted to speak your mind and not have dialogue I will respect that. I appreciate you taking the time!
When Christians face two clearly immoral options, we cannot rationalize a vote for immorality or injustice just because we deem the alternative to be worse. The Bible tells us we will be held accountable not only for the evil deeds we do but also when we “give approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32).”
I agree Tracy 100% That is why my argument’s foundation is on the biblical truth that God set’s all POTUS. Had we not been given that knowledge I would never have written the article.
Sorry, but you are dead wrong. Our system allows for 3rd parties, write-ins, etc. so for you to claim that God is only leaving us 2 Evil options is bunk!
Hey Gary, I understand the comment in fact my friend Dan who I cite in the article feels the same. What I explained to him was this: I am only prepared to argue for what Scripture says. And Scripture only says that God places the POTUS. The 3rd party idea as part of the system is something that can be argued for, but I do not think biblically. In philosophy there is “weakly” actualizing something and “strongly” actualizing something. I believe the Scripture only revels the “strongly” actualizing the POTUS into office. The idea to write in a 3rd party to show disdain and perhaps win the war in 12 years because there was a backlash, is a good political argument, but I think that is all. But the Scripture only says God places the POTUS and if that is true then my participation in that event, at least in this country, is paramount. Please hear me, I am not saying as many has accused me of that we just vote for what we get and oh well. That is false! I am advocating we fight for righteous people. Notice I say FIGHT! We should withdrawal from the GOP we should rail against evil, God demands it. But God also says He places the POTUS and if that is true it is almost logical necessity that we vote for a viable candidate. Thanks Gary.
You commented above that we should not vote for murder or torture and if faced with the option we should choose neither. But in the article you wrote that we Should vote for a candidate in an election similar to Hitler vs Stalin. Can you clarify?
Thank you Kim for asking for clarification this is fundamental to what I have said. This is going to be long but this is coming up over and over and I am going to take the time to lay it out. What we know is Hitler and Stalin is evil, right? We might not be able to agree on everything but if a person does not think they are evil, well they probably do not believe evil ontologically exits. I do not like how people have pasted that quote and then called me crazy. I think it is unfair to pull random quotes without the foundational knowledge of what supports those quotes. Had I read what I typed out of context I might think I am crazy as well. Ok, now my argument that we should vote no matter who the viable candidates are is based on the truth given to us in Scripture. That is of course that God places the POTUS in office. I then ask, “How does he do that in America?” Well, through votes. I then perform a thought experiment to see if God’s foreknowledge given to me that He sovereignly decides who the POTUS is can be accomplished IF no one casts one vote. That is to say not a single delegate, speaker of the house, you get the picture. No one in the country votes, is the POTUS elected? And of course the answer is no. And if that is the case then it cannot be an option that no one votes, because God’s leader would not be chosen. No one would be chosen. Now I am fully aware there are safeguards in America where someone is the leader, but again this is in the context of voting. We are asking, “Should we vote.” I add that because there are those even now reading this saying, “No if there is a tie or no one actually voted then it goes to the congress… and then to the… I get that. Again, we are trying to answer the question, “Should we vote for a viable option.” To continue if the thought experiment shows someone has to vote we then ask, “Who votes?”. Well, many are saying everyone BUT followers of Christ. Or some say throw your vote away and be what I call a Pharisee. Meet the letter of the law and vote for anyone just to say you fulfilled the law. We all know where that gets us, no where. So, since we know someone has to vote in order to bring about God’s will and we have no way to tell who those people that should vote are, I am defaulting to anyone who CAN vote. Those who can or identify as a person who can vote is one who can indeed vote. So, to recap. God tells us He sets all POTUS and therefore we see if no one votes that does not happen so someone has to vote and I suggest that someone is anyone who can indeed vote. Now you are probably wondering why I said all that to answer your question. The difference between murder or torture as choices is because those are sin and forbidden by God. We cannot choose either of those so we rather abstain and our moral conscience is preserved before God, because that is all that matters, what He thinks. And the reason, that is the foundation, on which we abstain is because God said in His word do not commit murder or torture. So, a person does not choose between either because of God’s word. That is all we can go off of, what God says. And so we arrive at your question. The reason you can vote for Hitler or Stalin is because of God’s word. His word says, “He chooses kings!” He does that as John Piper says, “decisively.” Had God not revealed in the Scriptures that He does the work I would not have an argument, at least not a biblical one. And so it follows that if Hitler or Stalin is going to be president; if that is indeed the way it is going to go then to not vote knowing that God is going to place one of them in power seems like a lack of faith. It takes real belief in God’s sovereign work to walk in that ballot box and cast a vote for Hillary or Donald I fully recognize that. Therefore, we vote out of a logical conclusion deduced from God’s promise that He decides who the POTUS is. And in America that is done though the votes of the people. We don’t vote for murder or torture for the same reason we still vote for Hitler or Stalin. Because God says don’t vote for murder or torture and does say thy will be done. For instance I hear a lot, “A king says choose for this person to die or this person, what do you do?” Well I don’t do anything and probably die myself. And the reason I do that is because God said do not do that. And I am arguing this same thing is happening with the voting. If God sets them up and if God asks us in America to be a part of that I have two options. I say, “God I will not participate.” Or I say “God, I trust you and your word and I will vote.” All the while fighting against the very person I voted for in the future so to try and not face this issue again. In closing I point you toward I Sam 15. God tells Saul to kill men, women, children, and livestock. Now if you were a citizen under Saul and you heard this what would you think? I would hope you would rail against it and cry out it is murder and real evil because your conscience would demand it right? Now, you find out that Saul is saying and it is confirmed by the prophet of God that indeed God told Saul to do that. Now what do you do? Do you condemn Saul for following God’s will? This is where I find the connection to my argument. If God said to do something that seems to go against what people keep saying is their conscience, what do they do? Well, I say we let the word of God speak to us and we align our thoughts and mind to what God says, thus my conclusion. We vote because God told us in advance He is going to place the POTUS. We do not get to chose the two that stands before us, but we do get to be a part of carrying out His will or we don’t. And that is the difference between the two what does the text say? That is what we do, not what we “feel” but what God’s word says. God’s word says we don’t murder or torture and it says we play a part in God placing powers into office. Sorry it was so long, I hope it helps if it doesn’t I promise if you ask for clarification I will be shorter ;)
Thank you for personally taking the time to respond!! :) that does help.
Awesome! Thank you Kimberly!
This is an excellent rebuttal to your suggestion (which is not Biblical in the least – rather it is poor application of scriptures).
Hey Sarah. Oddly enough mine and Dr. Moore’s articles both came out on the 2nd of March without either of us speaking to one another nor reading the others thoughts on the matter. To be clear I do not see them at odds in the least. I simply see Dr. Moore’s applying to the primaries and this article to the general election. That is of course my distinction made by me not anything he has said or implied. With that said I agree with all he says, although I think we all are guilty of throwing around the word “evil”. But there has to be some catchy title, right? As far as your last comment about poor application of scripture. I am open to excellent application, however, no one has taken the time to point to the error of my conclusions from the text. Should someone do that I am more than willing to recant or be corrected. This isn’t about me it is about God getting Glorified! He is most Glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him! (john piper quote)
You have stated that the candidates we have were ordained of God. If human fallibility has nothing to do with it, than surely God’s sovereignty can also be realized through mass voting for 3Rd party or write in candidates. We limit God by restrictions him to the world’s standards. Frankly, I question your motives and I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be buying your book. Christians should pray diligently to find peace in whichever voting decision they make.
Hey Jennifer, all of this is because of human fallibility. I never have said the sins of humans have nothing to do with it. Rather, it has everything to do with it. God uses the sins of man to bring about His will. To your other comment, I am sorry you question my motives. I am not sure what you have in mind here. I want what is true not what is popular. I want what is biblical not what is convenient. I want God to get glory in all of this and so it is only with humble appeal that I ask you to simply believe me when I say I have no secret motives.
Thank you for taking the time to clearly articulate your thoughts. What I think you miss, though, is two things: 1) I believe that a vote is an indication of support and, as a follower of Christ, I choose not to support patently, clearly, ungodly leaders. 2) A non-vote is participation. When I make the wisest choices I can on the down ballot and chose not to vote for the president, I am sending a message that, as a voter, I am unsatisfied with the process and choices I am presented with. That too is a part of democracy and if millions make that choice it will change how the parties do their business–in other words, it will effect real political change.
Hello Randall. I address this very issue in some previous comments if you haven’t seen them it may be helpful. Dan who is mentioned in the article, makes this his response to me as well. He in fact said, “How is voting part of the process that God established but third party voting isn’t? Why do you throw that out as part of God’s sovereign work?” And it is not that I throw it out because it is indeed in the system that God set up, right? So why do I not see that as an out? Like I told Dan, that is a fantastic political argument in process, but I am not defending political arguments. I am defending biblical arguments. And God has said He places the POTUS. And to spare you a long post Go find Kim’s post where I take the time to lay this out and in another post where I speak about “weakly” actualizing and “Strongly” actualizing, because there are some assumptions that I expound on in those posts so you can see my thought here. At any rate, God places the POTUS through us voting directly for a person, who can actually win. And if I do not cast my vote for a viable option then I am not participating in that which He let me know in Scripture I am to be a part, namely that He places the POTUS. It seems to me we vote for one of the two who can actually take the job ALL THE WHILE campaigning against the very person we may have voted for. I am not saying well we have these two choices and well we cant do anything but vote. No! Vote, be part of the process God ordained by placing a president in office, by faith! Again, you have a great political point and God will use that of course, but I do not think throwing your vote away can be backed up by scripture. I think voting for a viable option is the only option and we do it by faith believing that God took 17 men and women and reduced it to 1 in the GOP and he took basically 2 and reduced it to 1 in the DEMS. I offer two more thoughts: I told Dan, “Dan I stand before God and He says, “Why did you vote for person A? I say, “Because in your word you revealed you place all POTUS. And I believed by faith that you used the sin of man to give me the two viable options in which you wanted to bring about your greatest Glory.” Dan is asked, “Dan why did you throw your vote away on someone that could not win?” Dan responds, “Lord, I could not bring myself to vote for someone who is so set against you and so I made a political statement and voted for my sister.” God may respond, “But Dan I told you in my word I set those in power, but I use Godly men and women to discern who that was, and your sister was not on the list.” Again, I can not say it any better than John Piper, side note: Not one person has ever said he was wrong in my discussing this, only me. Which one might ask, “How does Piper ground what he said?” I don’t know the answer to that, I have not spoken to him. To be fair to Piper he made that comment when Romney was running. But, Dan said he thinks Piper would see it exactly as I have laid it out, I would be curious his thoughts as I don’t want to misrepresent him, perhaps I will find out in the near future by an article that he writes. Thanks again Randall!
Randall I forgot to address your 1st objection. Look at what I said in the comments section to Kimberly. I think the take on Saul is helpful.
No candidate has ever represented God. EVER. You can’t vote his will because they don’t reflect it. Both are pro choice, Trump is not a practicing Christian, he curses like a sailor and it troubles me for Christians to try to justify him. If you want to vote, than vote but leave God out of man made politics. He doesn’t follow and is not guided by such foolish things.
Thanks Marty for the comments. However, I will have to disagree. The bible can be hardly clearer that God establishes all governments and those in authority over them. Now, if you do not believe Scripture is authoritative then I understand where you are coming from. I however believe this is from God himself: All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:16-17 And therefore His word being true reveals He indeed places all those in the white house and every nation in the world!
I am sorry but I do not agree. Trump and Clinton are evil, they do not care about our country, our constitution or our welfare as citizens. My one vote will not get either one of them elected, but if I vote for either one of them I will have compromised my values, conspired with liars and thieves on purpose and given up on the hope of God saving our country. Maybe this is God’s will, maybe we deserve one of these leaders but if I vote my soul will suffer. This is where I take my stand.
I appreciate your thoughts. I think if you are going to vote you should have good biblical grounds and that is what I tried to provide. Also, to not vote should have good biblical grounds and of course I do not think how you “feel” should influence that over what God’s word says. I of course think it is clear God’s word calls us to vote for a person who has the chance to sit in the oval office. As always I cannot say it any better than John Piper! Thanks Debbie!
It seems to me that all of sudden people are “so concerned” about the prospect of Trump getting elected…where was the concern and outrage 8 and 4 years ago when Obama was elected and re-elected??? Why “so holy” now???
I agree with this piece. GOD is the only one who is ultimately in control. I am praying for this once great nation, I pray GOD will give “eyes to see and ears to hear”, I am beseeching GOD to work it out, I will vote for the Republican candidate because I believe he is the only one of the three (right now) who has the best interests of this country, then I will continue to trust GOD and leave it to HIM.
A divided house cannot stand…Americans need to unite, now more than ever.
GOD, please continue to bless America. Amen!
I am grateful for the many thoughtful and biblically-informed rebuttals to the article’s line of thinking already expressed in other comments. It appears to me stubbornness to not admit the sound reasoning behind them.
In addition, I believe it is precisely this narrow-minded two-party approach on the part of many Christians in the last forty years or so that is largely responsible for leading us to the place we are at now. American evangelicals have lost credibility and the moral political agenda has failed time after time because we have been all to willing to dance to the tune of the Republican pied pipers. In the end, trusting in God’s sovereignty means placing voting with integrity over choosing between so-called viable candidates.
Thanks David. Oddly enough not one person has rebutted anything I have said through argument. There have been lots of opinions but surprisingly no one has shown by argument where I have erred. In fact not one person has said anything about John Piper being wrong, except one person on FB. I welcome an argument as to why mine fails. Simple responses like “In the end, trusting in God’s sovereignty means placing voting with integrity over choosing between so-called viable candidates.” Is a pithy comment but alas that is all. We would need to see an argument as to why that is true. Finally, I will end on what a man who literally lived this out said, “Not to cast a vote for the two majors IS to cast a vote for one of them.” Friedrich Bonhoeffer — Ethics, pp. 265-66
We might want to consider that Bonhoeffer knew a little more about this than we do. Thanks again!
Why cannot I find that quote from Bonhoeffer in any of the online editions of his Ethics? What edition is that from?
It seems that Eric Metaxas has not provided the correct source or I dare say, simply made it up. I have tweeted Eric with no response. I have also had dialogue with some who are Bonhoeffer experts who also cannot find it. You can see here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2016/07/28/is-this-eric-metaxas-tweet-a-real-bonhoeffer-quote/
Christians need to think. It is our obligation to vote. We should vote for the most moral person that would please GOD. Someone who promises to stop abortion for example or someone who doesn’t take bribes. Someone who believes in maintaining our Constitution as it was written by our forefathers and not try to change it. This would please GOD. This should narrow down the field as to who to vote for. Yours truly,
The Voice of Reason.
Firstly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer ended up participating in a plot to assassinate Hitler, because he came to believe that God was calling, in his particular situation, the faithful to participate in the downfall of an evil ruler. That’s also biblical.
What is absolutely not biblical, literally, however, is your repeated assertion that God places the POTUS. You admit this, by saying that in the time the scriptures were written, unelected rulers were the norm. Hence, literally, the only rulers to appear in the Bible are judges, Kings, Queens, and, as you say, the Caesar.
It seems to me, however, that you take the government of the United States of America but to be legitimate.
Question: How do you justify, theologically, a government established by people who broke ties with and wages war against the forces of a God-annointed sovereign, the King of England, etc.?
We don’t have to get into that specifically, unless I have misjudged where you fall on the legitimacy of our Government. I, for the moment, do think it was and is legitimate, and also assert that in the biblical narrative, we see God placing and deposing rulers, using people who were, in effect, acting against those rulers. Also, I think we must be careful of not extrapolating too far from the original context of the scriptures, especially if what we are reading is not a straightforward command or pastoral exhortation. But onward, because I find fault mostly with your treatment of the historical political process than I do with your appeals to scripture.
Basically, my point is that that the two party system in America, though very entrenched in our culture, is not actually the only way to get a president elected, Constitutionally speaking. And it seems to me, in an increasingly pluralistic society, where the platforms of the two main parties are becoming increasingly incoherent, as well as a growing dissatisfaction with the two major candidates, that a real choice is materializing (under God’s Sovereignty?) That would lead us to a multiparty system, or at least towards the creation of a new party to meet our current need. But, theoretically, this will not happen if the false dichotomy is held onto.
What would happen IF we all voted our Christian consciences? Not for one’s sister (I think that is a straw man fallacy…), but for a third party candidate, etc.? What if a record number of people did not vote for the two main parties’ candidates? It would be, in effect, a vote of no confidence, which they would be forced to listen to, and we could actually see, in numbers, and Trump and Hillary, could actually be presented with the fact that many, many Americans do not support their candidacy.
In effect, real political change, which will, in fact, affect the placing of future PsOTUS.
This will not happen if, election after election, Christians continue to vote for “the lesser of two evils”. Which brings me back to your main position. Let me see if I get this straight:
God places the POTUS.
The American people vote in the POTUS in the USA form of government.
We are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
Therefore, we must vote for one of the two major parties’ candidates in the general election of the President.
I think the flaw in your argument lies somewhere in between your premises and your conclusion. Is that a non sequitur?
I am not decided I n what I will do in this election, but more and more, I think I will throw in my lot with a candidate that is neither Hillary nor Donald.
As well, I will try and become more involved in my local government and more actively involved in monitoring and contacting my elected representatives in Congress.
That’s another thing I think is missing in your analogy of King or Ruler to President. Arguably, in our system of governance, the President of the US does not (or should not) function as a King (“no king but Jesus!” was a revolutionary cry, right? Or is that a myth? Not sure.). Rather, together, our three branches of government share equally in the governance of the nation.
That brings me back to main criticism…I think you have too narrowly defined how an American citizen can be said to have responsibly fulfilled their duty as a citizen in relationship to our system of governance. The Parties have changed over the course of our history, and that would not have happened had all citizens been content to continually vote between the two sides of the same coin…of the status quo.
In brief, the process by which the POTUS is placed is more complex than you are making it out to be, I think. And if the Spirit of God moved to establish this nation in anti-establishment ways once, perhaps the Sovereignty of God can encompass the faithful witness of refusing to condone those who participate in evil…which is a direct, literal exhortation we DO find in Scripture.
Sorry if my path of reasoning was a bit circuitous, but I do think I have outlined a serious critique of your argument.
In all Charity,
Thank you for your post. It is one of the most thoughtful I have seen because you have an actual argument. I am sorry it has taken me so long to respond, so let’s get to it.
First let me say I agree with you on Bonheffer. I think what you will see in the biblical pattern is if Govt forbids the worship of the one true God then dissent is permitted. We are to fight against evil, like going to war and plotting to kill Hitler. I am not understanding your position that what isn’t biblical is that God places the POTUS. Unelected rulers are the norm in Scripture. I am not saying that God HAS to use voters to place the POTUS I am saying he chose to. All rulers are placed into power by God. That is my position, the how He does that is through many different ways. So we would not agree that it isn’t biblical that God places all POTUS. That is exactly what scripture says He does. I am simply saying now he does that in this country by votes, back then through birth usually. But both are in accordance to His plan 100% of the time.
As to your question about braking ties with the King of England. This would be an instance where govt is not allowing the worship of the one true God. Let me be clear. I am not saying that every leader is who God wants in the sense of His will of morality, but in His will of sovereignty. There are evil people God places into power, like Pharaoh. God told Moses for this purpose I raised Pharaoh up! God did it, He placed him there. So again the biblical model says suffer persecution for my name but do not sin against God to obey man rather obey God, which may mean fighting against the King of England.
In regards to my treatment of the historical political process. I am not advocating for a two-party system. I am all for a third party IF, and only IF, that third party has a real chance of sitting in the white house. My friend Dan who I mention at the start of the blog also asked me this. He basically said throwing your vote away is a form of changing the political system. And I agree! But as I told him that is a political calculation which I am unwilling to speak on. I am only concerned with what Scripture says. And all I know from Scripture is the next POTUS is there because God placed them there. My point is theological not political, though it is a political issue. I am not comfortable throwing my vote away to prove a political point because Scripture doesn’t allow me to do that. Scripture says I have to trust that God does set the POTUS. And the voting for my sister which you said was a straw man isn’t a straw man. It is a real option to many people that will vote. And my point with using the sister was simply to illustrate that anyone that isn’t viable to sit in the oval office should not be voted for. If Ted Cruz was on the ballot and there was no viable way he could win I am saying Scripture says don’t vote for him because God gave you the two options that have a chance. I think you seem to think I am saying well this is what we have so roll over and don’t fight it. No way! Fight! Vote for righteousness in the primaries. Campaign for just men and women to represent this country. But if after all the fighting is over and you have done all you can do look to see who is left. Like the plot to kill Hitler. It was not God’s will that Hitler die that day, because God is in control of his life and all things! But you still try to do the right thing! You still fight against evil.
In short, I am not saying hold on to the two-party system. I am saying fight against it. Raise up 5 parties and fight for them if that is how God is leading you, but, if there are two parties in the end don’t vote for someone that cannot win. For God has told you that He will place who He wants!
There are many who seem to think that they cannot both dissent and vote for a viable candidate. But make no mistake change isn’t going to happen every 4 years in the ballot box. Change will happen when men and women who love God stand up and say we are going to raise up people who love the Lord and we will fight with our political tools to place people in office who are honorable. And all the while voting for someone that really has a chance to sit in the Oval Office. It isn’t an either I don’t vote or I do vote. It is I vote on my faith in God being true in His Word that the options I have before me are viable and I have fought for others but alas this is what I am faced with. And then get out there like you said and interact with your congressman and your local officials.
Again, thank you for your thoughtful comment it was great!
Not sure you are still responding but have been having discussions with many Christian friends and they are using verse Romans 1:32 to vote 3rd party or not vote for fear of giving approval to evil. I understand where they are coming from and many pastors are set on this verse only for guidance; however I agree with you. If Christians had voted in 2012 for Romney under the Biblical principle you share we would not have had a lot of the evil things of the last 4 years. Realize this is an assumption. But these same people do not use Romans 1:32 when for instance they choose a medical Dr, vote on the local level, etc. You are right to say fight but by election time when these are the people God has allowed before us we should vote in faith of God’s sovereignty . I am not good in expressing myself in written word but I am really concerned so many will not understand this and our Supreme Court and country hangs in the balance. Thanks for your sharing of this Godly principle.
Hello Shirley, I appreciate the comment. In regards to Romans 1:32 here is what it says, “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” It is always dangerous to take scripture out of context, which is what your friends are doing. If you read this entire passage Paul is speaking to those that are not believers. With that as the context there is nothing to discuss. One must never take scripture out of context to make an argument. This is of course what they are doing. I have addressed the 3rd party vote or voting for your sister as I put it in the comments section. They would have a great point politically. I am not making political arguments as to why we should vote. I am making biblical arguments as to why we should vote. If God did not let us know in scripture that ALL authority is set up by Him, my argument would be conjecture at best. But this is not a fatalistic approach to say, “Well God will do what He does and we do nothing.” God has made it as such that we are the agents to bring His kingdom to this world. In summary, approving of evil isn’t the issue in voting when God has told us explicitly that He sets the POTUS. And voting for a non-viable option isn’t a biblical position because God said He sets the authorities. No, voting for a third option is a political position not a biblical one. Thanks again for your thoughts!
Consider Evan McMullin for President.
To choose between an “immoral” and an “untrustworthy”option to govern our nation has left me with an unrest in my spirit. With prayers for guidance, I’m reading scripture for answers to these questions pulling at my heart; “how can I possibly vote, Father?” “How is it possible to vote in favor of policies without endorsing the behaviors of the person?
With this intentional plea I am lead to Rom. 14:22 “Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.”, and therefore I’m feeling lead to not vote.