How Then Should We Vote? :: by Gene Lawley

That is the troubling question that many believers struggle with during every election period. Often, it seems, the conclusion is that since none of the candidates are likable, the voter just stays home. Yet, there has never been a candidate in my memory who could walk on water. So what is the scriptural answer to the problem? We Christians are often brought back to that promise of God to the Israelites recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Some might want to say that those words were directed to the Jews and not Christians, but it is my opinion that words spoken from eternity by the God of eternity also transcend all time. As Jesus, who was from eternity, said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means not pass away” (Mark 13:31).

I am thinking of those principles of God’s character and His relationship with those who belong to Him as those principles are revealed in His promises to Old Testament as well as New Testament believers.

Since that Old Testament promise was given to “My people,” then what do we expect to see as the “healing of the land” if we pray and believe He will answer the prayer?

Are we expecting to see Sunday School classes in the White House? Or perhaps mandatory closure of stores on Sundays? Or the re-institution of Prohibition? Or a “litmus test” requirement for political candidates on their beliefs?

Probably, our expectations have not been clarified in our own minds to that extent, but those concepts have never worked in a land inhabited by believers and non-believers who are under  the authority of the same Constitution. The Founding Fathers wrestled much with those issues, no doubt.

However, the promise was for both spiritual and physical needs—forgiveness of sins and healing of the land. The latter, in the case of the United States currently, would be the restoration of a faltering and diminishing economy in every area of endeavor—agriculture, manufacturing, energy production, medicine, education—everywhere!

When we pray that prayer, do we think of those things? When we think of voting, do we think of those things as desirable from a Christian viewpoint? If our physical bodies hurt, we generally seek out medical help, perhaps getting a second opinion, even, but it is to someone with the insight, the actual experience of doing things right, and who has the confidence to tackle the problem.

How is it, then, with a Christian? The Christian is in a dual role while living in this world. As a Christian, he belongs to Christ and his citizenship is in heaven from where he is an ambassador for Christ to this world. He carries that identity into his physical life as a citizen of his earthly country, where he is subject to his respective government. God has ordained it to be so. Look at this Scripture:

“Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).

What was that line in the Declaration of Independence about “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?” Is there not a hint of that in that Scripture?

Is there any one candidate who has made a commitment to those principles of freedom for citizens of this nation and the healing of its land?

In Chapter 13 of his letter to the Roman believers, Paul also wrote of submission to the authority of government and its leaders, for they are put in place by God to make a stand against evil. Peter, likewise, wrote of the same thing, submission to civil rulers and maintaining good works as a testimony to the non-believers (1 Peter 2:13–17).

One other issue is important, and Acts 4 is the source of that matter. Peter and John were arrested and put in custody for having healed a man and for preaching of Jesus and the resurrection from the dead, which was a “no-no” in the beliefs of the Sadducees there. The questioning began:

“And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, ‘By what power or by what name have you done this?’

“Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, ‘Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: ‘If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

“Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it” (Acts 4:8-14).

Then the religious leaders, including many of the family of the high priest, conferred on what to do:

“What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name. So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:16-18).

The response of Peter and John shows the courage of a Spirit-filled believer who is fully committed to “earnestly contending for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3):

“But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge, for we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

Now, you are asking, what does all this have to do with voting in the 2016 election in America?

It ties in with the reasoning which Paul made in that quote above, from 1 Timothy 2:1-4, where he exhorts us to pray and give thanks for all who are in authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence, for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

The issue of “political correctness” has been challenging the provisions of our first amendment to the Constitution, which says, in regard to the rights of individual citizens, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech…”

There is a problem, however, for if what we know of the core beliefs of Islam were to be freely expressed, all Christians, Jews, even all people, would be subject to their idea of conversion, or “death to the infidels!” Thus, any vote we cast that also allows that directly or indirectly advances their agenda would certainly not be favorable in God’s sight.

The conclusion of this line of thinking is this: If one candidate promises to lead and rule favorably in respect to those desired principles of godliness and wellbeing that Paul urges us to pray for, and another candidate’s proposals and historical record indicate otherwise, it would seem unwise  in the sight of God to cast a vote that would not support those favorable principles that Christians should hold dear to their commitment to Christ.

Or, to cast a vote that is meaningless in its potential effect on the outcome, or, not to vote at all for “reason of conscience.” Remember, we are not calling a pastor to the oval office, nor selecting a leader for our Bible study group. We are electing a civil leader for our civil government, yet we do desire one whose integrity of character is worthy of that office, as much as is possible.

I have voted in the presidential elections since the one of 1956, General Ike’s final one, and as I wrote above, not one of the candidates on either side could walk on water, and some could not even have come near it. Looking back, and knowing now how the inner core of the establishment has toyed with the American people to perpetuate their private agenda, it may be that my vote only went to delay that agenda slightly while allowing freedom of expression for Christian principles and giving more time to share the gospel.

Given the obvious trends in contrast to that freedom in our culture today, the choice in this election should be obvious if we think clearly and honestly about it.

God may have plans for judgment ahead, but that is His job. I do not want to be a tool in His judgment but a tool for righteousness, if at all possible—and hopefully my vote will have been counted in that category.

One more thing. Jesus identified the two sides of the issue when He said this, in John 10:10:

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Which side will get your endorsement at the ballot box, even if you consider these two sides in a totally civil and moral light—like thievery, murder and destruction, or life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

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