From the Bible to the Ballot Box:
Why and How Should Christians Vote
Why Should Christians Vote?
From A Civic and Historical Perspective:
For many Christians, the responsibility to exercise our right and freedom to vote as American citizens may be self-evident. “Why should I vote?” is not a question, but rather a given: “Of course, I’ll vote!”
Historically speaking, however, the ability for free people to freely and fairly choose their leaders and their government is an anomaly. For most of human history, mankind has been subject to a monarchial rule, living as serfs or vassals — subjects, not citizens.
Yet for Americans, that all changed in 1776 when we fought — and won — the War of Independence against Britain. In their defense of the extreme action of separating from the rule of the King of England, the leaders of the American Revolution penned the Declaration of Independence, grounding their reasoning for the pursuit of equality in the status given to them not by a random social contract or the process of evolution, but by God. They wrote,
“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
Pay close attention to what our Founders anchored their right to pursue freedom: “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” Historian C. Bradley Thompson explains that “the Americans had done something…that no other people in history had ever achieved: They founded their new governments ‘on a moral theory…on the indefeasible, hereditary rights of man.’”
Inextricably bound up in what God, and our political inheritance, has given to us is the right to a representative government. One that is not gifted to a singular man simply because of the lineage of his birth but rather arises from the sovereign will of those who come together to rule themselves.
While voting is not compulsory in the United States, given the sacred solemnity of this inherited right, Christians should indeed view it as a duty — an exercise of a right secured by our Founding Fathers. We do so in recognition, first and foremost, of the fact that we, as those made in the image of God, are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” When Christians vote in America, we are proclaiming these truths — that mankind is made by God, whether the fallen, secular world realizes it or not.
We are also doing our part to perpetuate the public and civic morality our nation needs to function. Reflecting on the constitutional republic that the Founders created, John Adams, the second president of the United States, wrote, “Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other.” In our increasingly secular society, if Christians retreat from the public square or the ballot box, we are removing the necessary ingredient for our society to endure: religious and moral people, actively involved in the governing process.
The Apostle Paul understood that Christians, even though we are indeed citizens of a heavenly kingdom, can and should still use all rights afforded to us by our earthly governments to seek justice, both for ourselves and others. Paul appealed to his citizenship and subsequent rights as a Roman citizen in Acts 22:25 to avoid criminal mistreatment by Roman soldiers. Paul is an instructive example for us here. Christians should use their rights to vote, both for their own good and the good of others.
In summary, Christians should vote in America because, by voting, we 1) affirm mankind’s natural equality as being made in the image of God; 2) celebrate our status as citizens and remind ourselves that no one man has the right to rule over us as subjects; 3) work for the continuation of our nation as the religious and moral population needed to sustain our constitutional republic; and 4) exercise a right of earthly citizenship here in the United States that is a gift and stewardship from God.
While those are compelling reasons on their own, now let’s turn to what the Bible has to teach us about why we should vote.
From a Biblical Perspective:
Having addressed the question from an angle of our civic responsibilities and our historical inheritance, let us now consider reasons for voting drawn explicitly from Scripture. As Jonathan Leeman, author of How the Nations Rage: Rethinking Faith and Politics in a Divided Age, put it, “The Bible is the book by which all our political activity will be judged.” There are any number of good, biblical reasons why Christians should make the effort to participate in our government by voting. Before we cover some of the most important issues that Christians should vote for, here are three biblically-based arguments for why Christians should vote.
Out of Love for Self and Neighbor. In Matthew 22:37-39 Jesus summarizes the entirety of God’s Law into the two “Great Commandments,” calling His followers to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Voting for candidates who have pledged to enact, defend, and uphold righteous laws or policy positions that will allow you to serve the Lord freely, benefit fairly from the fruit of your labor, and raise a family in the fear of God is both an act of appropriate “love of self” and also, by extension, an act of “love for your neighbor.” Think of this: When you punch the ticket for a pro-life candidate, you are loving your unborn neighbor. When you make whatever sacrifices are necessary to get to the voting booth in order to vote against that resolution to legalize same-sex marriage, you are — whether they realize it or not — loving your neighbor. When you vote for a candidate who will defend the right to self-defense, because as an informed Christian motivated by a proper understanding of the fact that we are all made in the image of God and our lives have inherent value, you are…you guessed it…loving your neighbor and yourself.
As an Act of Stewardship Before God. The Bible is very clear about this point: Everything we have is a gift from God and He will hold us accountable for how we use — or fail to use — the gifts He gives us. This includes our freedom to participate in our government. And that freedom — that gift, for such a time as we have it — is most particularly manifest in the act of voting. This is the Christian concept of “stewardship” drawn from throughout the Bible, but it is perhaps most clearly illustrated by the Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:14-30. In this passage, two servants are given the responsibility to care for a portion of their Master’s (God) finances while he goes away on business. When the Master returns, one servant is rewarded for having invested his Master’s money wisely and turned a profit, while the other is judged, and punished, for simply burying his Master’s money in the ground. Christian, when you fail to make the effort to vote in our (still, largely) free and fair elections, that is the modern-day equivalent of burying in the dirt those talents that God has entrusted to you to steward on His behalf. Such neglect of the gift God has given us doesn’t honor Him or use that gift to good ends. Most Christians around the world do not have this same gift, this same stewardship, so we should be sure to be thankful for it and use it well. So be a “good and faithful servant” and go vote.
To Seek Justice. For Christians, seeking justice isn’t an option, it is a command from God. Micah 6:8 tells us, “He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” While commanded, justice is also, sadly, a matter of great confusion in our society, and even among many professing Christians. Understood properly, seeking justice means living in such a way as to fear God rightly and give each and every human being what they are due, before God, as fellow image-bearers. This means justice must be first and foremost defined — and constrained — by the moral and ethical principles found in God’s Word (Exodus 20:1-17). One of the most fundamental principles of biblical justice is the equal treatment of all before the law: “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly” (Leviticus 19:15). Therefore, one of the most significant ways that Christians can obey God in the pursuit of justice is to vote for candidates, causes, and policies that promise to create and ensure equal treatment of all people before the law, regardless of race, economic status, etc. This means voting against policies that promote inequality, like Critical Race Theory in our school systems, etc. What is true justice may have become a hotly debated and confusing topic in our day and age, but as Christians, we can find clarity in God’s Word and a clear call to concrete action: Go vote as a means to seek justice!
In summary, along with the civic and historical reasons to vote, Christians should also be motivated to vote by love, stewardship, and justice. These are worthy motivations. Considered together, and especially the point about stewardship, one could easily argue that Christians, in fact, have a duty to vote, to use a word that has fallen out of favor in our society. Duty can be defined as a “moral or legal obligation, a task that somebody is required to perform.” Voting in the United States, where the power is vested in the people, not the politicians, and secured by an abiding document, not the whims of a monarch, is just that: A duty to discharge to honor God and love our neighbor. But it is a privilege as well. This nation is a land of freedom worth fighting to preserve, because as Ronald Reagan once famously said, “If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.” So, Christians, cast your vote, motivated by love, as a faithful steward of this gift that God has given you, as a means of seeking justice, and as an act of duty, but always with the recognition that it is a great privilege.
How Should Christians Vote?
Six Critical Issues Christians Must Get Right
As Christian enter the public square, we must confidently remember: Christ is King. Just because the rulers of this world don’t all — or always — acknowledge Him as the one true sovereign doesn’t in any way threaten His throne. As Christians, as little Christs, our calling is to help further His rule and reign here on earth until His return. We do that by being part of local churches which herald the saving gospel of repentance and faith, seeking to enlarge the Kingdom of God by obeying the Great Commission and making disciples of all nations.
But as we seek the salvation of sinners, and remember that we are indeed strangers and aliens on this earth with heavenly citizenship (1 Peter 1), we also work for the good of those we live side-by-side with now. This is simply a faithful expression of “loving our neighbor as ourselves” (Mark 12:31). To love our neighbor is inherently a political act. It is more than politics, but it is certainly not less than politics. And the way we do this, most significantly, in America, is by voting.
Therefore, Christians should vote to exercise responsible citizenship, showing gratitude for the heritage of the American Revolution, and we should also vote because the biblical principles and commands for us to love our neighbor, exercise faithful stewardship, and seek justice compel us to vote.
When we vote, however, we must do so in a way that honors God and upholds His revealed moral standards and creation-order wisdom. This means Christians should vote to end abortion, protect religious liberty; protect freedom of speech and conscience; protect our Second Amendment right to self-defense; and ensure that righteous judges and justices are elected or appointed who will honor God’s standards of life and freedom. They should also vote in such a way as to ensure the educational system in our nation is teaching and training the next generation in paths of righteousness and moral formation, and not poisoning their minds with wicked, progressive propaganda. There are certainly more issues that Christians can and should care about, but these six are “foundational moral-order issues” that we cannot afford to overlook or get wrong.
On behalf of the Standing for Freedom Center, I hope and pray this defense of the “why” and “how” of Christian voting equips you to better uphold the Christian faith and defend America’s Constitution and to more faithfully serve God and love others here in the United States.
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