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Secret of the Strength
Sermons by Eli Hofer
The Writings of Ulrich Stadler
The Church and
the Narrow Path
To Vote or not to Vote
Way of the Lord
To Vote or Not To Vote
by Frank J. Desparrois, Jr.
There is apparently some confusion as to whether or
not any Christian can or should become involved in politics; be it running for
office, campaigning, or anything else connected with the political process. The
purpose of this article is to examine whether we, as Christians, may have any
part in this worldly function.
There is a lack of Scriptural precedence to support our
taking up of the political sword to accomplish objectives that are better left
in Godís hands (Romans 13). Yet there is abundant evidence to support the
conclusion that Christians are not to engage in this activity.
After Gideon led Israel to victory over the Midianites,
the Israelites asked Gideon to be king over all of Israel. Gideonís reply was
"I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD
shall rule over you." (Judges 8:23). Gideon makes it clear that there
should be no divided loyalty from Israel.
In 1 Samuel chapter 8, Israel again asks for a king
"to judge us like all the nations" (vs. 5). The Lord relents and
finally promises Israel a king and tells the prophet Samuel "Hearken unto
the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not
rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over
them" (vs. 7). As a result, Samuel tells them what manner of king they
shall have as a consequence of their rejection (vs. 11-18).
God wanted Israel as a "peculiar people unto
himself" (Deut.14:2) but instead Israel wanted to be "like all the
nations" (vs. 5). In their desire to be so, Samuel replied "And ye
have this day rejected your God, who himself saved you out of all your
adversities and your tribulations; and ye have said unto him, Nay, but set a
king over us" (1 Samuel 10:19). Not until later did Israel realize
"for we have added unto all our sins this evil, to ask us a king" (1
Israel openly asked for a king knowing full well that
this was against the will of God but, nevertheless, desired one anyway. Was this
any different than what is being done today by the active participation of
numerous Christians in allying themselves with and joining political
organizations, attending political rallies, canvassing neighborhoods on behalf
of a office seeker, voting, and whatever else is done in seeking to get their
candidate elected? Jesus said, "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles
exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon
them. But it shall not be so among you" (Matt. 20:25,26). See also Mark
10:42,43 and Luke 22:25,26.
When Peter was thrown in jail, the Christians made no
appeal to the authorities but replied in a rather unique way many of us would
not consider. "Prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for
him" (Acts 12:5). Where he was soon released from jail with the help of
"the angel of the Lord" (vs. 7).
The Old Testament saints considered themselves nothing
more than "strangers and pilgrims" (Hebrews 11:13) who looked for a
city whose "builder and maker is God" (vs. 10). Even the apostle Peter
implores us to be "strangers and pilgrims" (1 Peter 2:11). Any
Christian committed to working in the political arena must ask themselves what
government would let foreigners ("strangers and pilgrims") participate
in itís governmental processes? Involving ourselves in a system that is only
temporary, and almost certain to invite compromise, could never accomplish what
the gospel can and already has. And that is freedom from sin for countless
numbers of those who have, and do, and have yet to believe in Jesus Christ as
their Lord and Savior. And it is only He that can provide that salvation and
freedom. No amount of legislation can give such assurance.
Much has been said about the faith of the founding
fathers. An example being that they were active in their respective churches.
Other examples could be given, but for now let this suffice. If the founders
were intent that this should be a Christian nation, then why does the first
amendment of the Constitution state that "Congress shall make no law
respecting an establishment of religion"? Also, article 6 of the
Constitution states that "No religious test shall ever be required as a
qualification to any office or public trust under the United States". It
would be reasonable to assume that if Christianity were to occupy such a
dominant position in American government and culture, these clauses would not
have seen the light of day.
Also, these men may have been of Christian conduct and
conviction but they did not set up a system of government based on Christian
thought and/or principles because the New Testament gives no design for the
establishment of a Christian, or any other, government.
The Christianís proper relationship to government is
to pray for those in office: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all,
supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all
men; for kings, and for all that are in authorityÖ For this is good and
acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (1 Tim. 2:1-3). And to obey
them: "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey
magistrates" (Titus 3:10). This includes paying taxes: "Render
therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesarís" (Matt. 22:21).
"Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due"
(Romans 13:7). If an impasse is ever reached when we must decide whom to obey,
God or man. The apostle Peter makes it clear "We ought to obey God rather
than man" (Acts 5:29).
Today, unlike Israel, Christians have no national
homeland or "continuing city" instead, we seek one to come (Hebrews
Justification for involving ourselves in manís
affairs is misleading at best. However, justification for not interfering in
worldly matters is abundant, "No man in the army entangles himself with the
affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a
soldier" (2 Tim. 2:4).
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war
after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty
through God to the pulling down of strong holds)" (2 Cor. 10:3,4). Any
questions as to what the weapons of our warfare are, see Ephesians 6:13-17.
Particular attention should be given to Eph. 6:12.
According to Mark 16:15,16 we have been commissioned to
preach the gospel, not to champion a particular political ideology. We involve
ourselves with politics at the expense of those who have yet to hear the Gospel.
"For some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame."
(1 Cor. 15:34).
I would like to finish by saying that since we are in
the world (John 17:15), we are not of the world (John 17:14), and that our
affections should be directed accordingly. "Set your affections on things
above, not on things on the earth" (Col. 3:2).
(Last updated 08/24/00)
See also Whether Rulers can be
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