As we approach another election day, I have heard from some friends that they will definitely vote, and from others who say they won’t even bother. This brings up an important question: “Are we, as followers of Jesus, obligated to vote in public elections?”
The Bible does not directly address the question of voting, probably because voting as we know it was unheard of in biblical times. Nevertheless, some today would say that it is our obligation as Christians to vote since we live in a representative republic where voting is a civic duty, and so we must vote because God commands us to submit to our government leaders (Romans 13:1-2). Others would say that they feel free before God to abstain from voting, or maybe even a conviction to not participate in worldly government. Since there is no explicit biblical command regarding voting, and since our government makes it optional, I consider this decision to ultimately be a matter of personal conscience between each person and God.
At the same time, I believe it is foolish for us to not vote whenever we can. Here are six reasons:
First, God has blessed us with a unique and wonderful privilege. No people in history have had the opportunity to participate in their government as we can. Why would we neglect such a gift?
Second, the decisions our elected officials make can have an enormous impact on many people for good or for bad. Our vote is a way for us to uphold justice and righteousness, which God calls us to (Proverbs 21:3, Galatians 6:10).
Third, who in this world is in a better position to select good leaders than those who humbly and prayerfully submit to God and seek His wisdom (James 3:13-18)?
Fourth, for God’s people to abstain from voting is to invite tyranny, especially in a culture that seems to be increasingly hostile to people who follow Christ.
Fifth, just as Paul claimed his rights of Roman citizenship to avoid unjust punishment and advance the Gospel, so we would be wise to take advantage of all our rights to further God’s work in the world (Acts 16:35-40, Acts 22:25-29, Acts 25:6-12).
Finally, someone who does not vote does not have any right to ever complain about or criticize any decisions our elected officials make. This alone should be enough to drive many to the polling place!
What do you think? Can you think of any other reasons to vote … or not?
2 Replies to “Should Christians Vote?”
From a Charles Spurgeon sermon:
When Mr. [George] Whitfield was once applied to to use his influence at a general election, he returned answer to his lordship who requested him, that he knew very little about general elections, but that if his lordship took his advice he would make his own particular “calling and election sure;” which was a very proper remark. I would not, however, say to any persons here present, despise the privilege which you have as citizens. Far be it from me to do it. When we become Christians we do not leave off being Englishmen; when we become professors of religion we do not cease to have the rights and privileges which citizenship has bestowed on us. Let us, whenever we shall have the opportunity of using the right of voting, use it as in the sight of Almighty God, knowing that for everything we shall be brought into account, and for that amongst the rest, seeing that we are entrusted with it. And let us remember that we are our own governors, to a great degree, and that if at the next election we should choose wrong governors we shall have nobody to blame but ourselves, however wrongly they may afterwards act, unless we exercise all prudence and prayer to Almighty God to direct our hearts to a right choice in this matter. May God so help us, and may the result be for his glory, however unexpected that result may be to any of us!
Excellent quote Kevin! Thanks for sharing it. I hope you won’t mind if I post it elsewhere too.