Does Jesus Want You to Vote?

I may be a citizen of the Kingdom of God, but the precinct where God has me live and vote is here in Virginia.

Because of my citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom…

Because the Lord rose triumphantly from the grave and declared that “all authority on heaven and earth has been given to me”…

And because of His concurrent command in Matt. 28 to therefore go transform all “nations” (the Greek word is “ethne”, which actually means cultures)…

I take the time to understand the issues and the candidates – and then vote.

Christian Isolationists

Unfortunately, there are those within the Christian community who discourage us from extending the blessing of Christ’s Kingdom into in the civic life of our nation.

Vote Your Values, Vote Your Faith

They have embraced post-modern isolationism, and think the Kingdom of God is some insular enclave of believers who should just focus on “spiritual” matters and each other.

Some have even gone so far as to rebuke us if we don’t join in their retreat from Christ’s command that we become transformationally engaged in our nation and culture.

I don’t know about them, but the Jesus I know and love – and whose passion courses through my veins – is big enough to embrace all of life. He calls me to bring illuminating light to my culture and flavoring salt to my nation.

In essence, the Christian isolationists of our day deny Christ’s comprehensive Lordship over all creation and all spheres of human endeavor.

Lord of All

In contrast, Scripture makes it clear that the institution of civil government – as imperfect as it may be today and as imperfect as it was when the Roman Empire ruled the Mediterranean world of the New Testament – is ordained by God.

That doesn’t mean God ordains the evil of abusive government power, but it does mean that civil government nonetheless is an essential component of God’s intended order – and, when it operates properly as He intended, it is a good thing and becomes blessing.

Likewise, the Lord says that governing officials – even those who were part of Roman’s domination – are to be “ministers of God“. (See, e.g., Rom. 13:1-7)

In that same passage, He tells us that government and government officials have a proper role to play in His providence: To uphold justice, protect the innocent, and restrain evil.

I want to see justice upheld, the innocent protected, and evil restrained – and therefore refuse to surrender my delegated authority as a citizen of God’s Kingdom those who want to use government for other agendas.

And so I vote.

The Lord also admonishes us that: “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” (Prov. 29:2)

I want to see people rejoice by supporting righteous (even if not perfect) governance, and I care enough to want to stop the burden of wicked rule.

And so I vote.

Transforming Love

Regardless of who you support, and regardless of the fact that there are never perfect choices, it is time to stop groaning and to start bringing the blessings of God into the civic life of our nation by caring enough to vote.

If your Jesus is fractured and thus not Lord of all…

If He is indifferent to government and its proper function, despite saying otherwise in scripture…

If He has called you to retreat into post-modern isolationism…

If your faith is too small to believe that God can impact civil government as He people affirm His providence even there…

Then by all means, don’t vote. That just means my vote will count all the more.

But for me, I affirm the fundamental proclamation of His Lordship over all things – including civil government.

And I love Him and those around me enough to want His intended blessings of righteousness even in the civil arena.

As an act of love, I therefore will do my part by voting even when our choices are imperfect (as they always will be short of His return) – and trust God for the rest.

My Jesus is yet sovereign over history and the course of nations!

If that’s the Jesus you know, love and serve, then please join me – as a citizen of God’s Kingdom in the precinct where He’s placed you – by voting your values and voting your faith.

~ Jim Wright

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17 responses

  1. My money is Ceaser’s, the vote is Ceaser’s, and my civic involvement is Ceaser’s as well, but that doesnt mean I just throw my money away, throw rocks at the people coming and going from the poles, or ignore my neighbor’s cry. I share Jesus with the person behinid the cash register, look to vote for the candidate that looks like they will most do the work of The Kingdom in office, and often go next store to love my neighbor. I know, all these good works are going to burn one day, sure, but as long as there are souls on the other side of Ceaser’s coin, I’ll stay involved.

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  2. Jim, interesting article:) The only thing that I would like to add here is a comment that was left on my recent blog post about the presidential election of 2012. I think this comment sums everything up:

    “I believe that every gov’t of man will end up being a lesson in man’s futility to govern himself, and is all part of our Lord’s lesson in this life/age to provoke faith for the now (partially manifested) and future (fully manifested) rule of our King.

    I’m very thankful that “the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord, and He steers it like watercourse, where ever He chooses”.

    Kings/presidents/governments/countries are the Lord’s pawns in His great game of chess, and it matters little which man/woman gets the title.

    All hail King Jesus!” (Trevor Honeycutt)

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    • If we make perfection the measure by which we evaluate engagement in any sphere of life, culture or society – and pull back because anything less than perfection is “futility” – then there would be no basis for self government, the church, family life, or anything else.

      God is sovereign even in the midst of imperfection. In fact, that’s sometimes where He does His best work!

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    • I agree with the article that we should avoid rancorous partisanship, although I also accept that God can call people to work within the different political parties. That’s not my thing at this time in my life, but I would never tell someone not to. Also, sometimes we may need to speak truth to power by takings positions that are principled but very unpopular – even if they mean bringing the wrath and scorn of a secular establishment down upon us despite maintaining gracious discourse.

      Regardless, we can all vote.

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  3. As an American I hold citizenship in this country. It’s so far from perfect that I whince when things go wrong, because it reflects on every citizen. Like the garbage going on in Iraq right now. Many have died over religious ideas gone bad from the start.

    My dad served as did my uncles as conscientious objectors in WW2, they never once said why? I still don’t know, but it had religious underpinnings I’m certain. My dad never voted, but he did serve in the military, they all did.

    So, I’ve always voted, the second in my family to get a college education. It makes sense to me that I’m special, I have the Spirit of God tabernacled and templed up in me. Why he chooses to do that is still a mystery, but I hold that in a clear conscience. Like I said I’ve always voted, it just seems right to me. Not to do it would be putting my light under a bushel, such as it is.

    Do I like my choices, absolutely not. Will it be the Mormon, the Catholic, the triple-timing former speaker? And the others all fell by the wayside for one reason or another. These figureheads may be totally manipulated behind the scenes. Even Obama’s ideas were thwarted, many he’s done just the opposite once in office. We don’t truly know.

    I don’t think God will hold us responsible for their actions. We get confused sometimes thinking America is a democracy, it is not. Our country is a representative republic. Those representatives are not even sworn to vote their campaign promises or even the party line, some are outright mavericks and are celebrated for it.

    I vote. But my confidence is not in any candidate. If God can influence a prophet using a donkey, maybe he can use our elected representatives. May God Bless America, the clock is ticking. History tells us about 200 years is the max on this government thing, we’re about 40 years past due for a reshuffling of the cards. God will take care of his own, we are tops on his list, and thank God for dual citizenship. Have mercy upon us amen. Work like it all depends on us. Pray like it all depends on God. Somewhere in there is an admirable target. bd

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  4. I am truly encouraged by this article. I pray that the church should awake to this truth. Christ mandated us to go into the world and restore His Kingdom
    Amen

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  5. It may be true that in a democracy, being a good citizen and voting is a healthy activity for one who loves God. However, there can be no denying that politics is seductive and many of those who love the Lord have been distracted and even consumed by its temptations. To say that it is more important who presides in our hearts than who presides over the country is not ipso facto a retreat from society. It’s just a statement to keep our priorities in order.

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      • The question that leaves for you is which of these pursuits relates to the chewing of gum and which relates to the walking – that is, which consumes the better part of your thinking.

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        • Mike, there was a season in my life where God called me to work in the civic arena. When you are doing what God has gifted you and called you to do, there is no dichotomy or competition between the chewing and the walking.

          My problem is with those who maybe are not called or gifted by the Lord in a particular sphere of life and human endeavor, and so they make the mistake of telling the rest of the Body of Christ that they too should not be involved in or “distracted” by this and that.

          My focus now in the Lord is elsewhere, but I will never tell other brothers and sisters what they can’t do, based on my own lack of calling or gifting.

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  6. It is really sad that there are Christians judging each other whether to vote or not to vote. I respect your stance Jim, but I think that in Christ we are free, which means that if my conscience does not permit me to vote, I sin against my conscience. But, if your conscience does permit you to vote then go for it!

    I think it comes down to honoring each other. It’s all about living in my freedom within Christ but not allowing my freedom to be a stumbling block to others in my humble opinion.

    Thank you for your posts, I really enjoy reading them.:)

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    • John, although I think these are issues worth discussing and even openly disagreeing over, I view them in the context of those scriptures that talk of our freedom of conscience.

      My motivation in writing this blog is not to condemn those who choose not to vote, even though I think they are wrong, but rather to counter the voices out there which say no Christian should vote or engage the culture.

      Please be assured I would vigorously defend and affirm your right in Christ not to vote, while also disagreeing with you! :-)

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  7. Please be assured I would vigorously defend and affirm your right in Christ not to vote, while also disagreeing with you!

    Jim, you are such a diplomatic Christian Lawyer. It’s one of the reasons I like you. I have a few points where we disagree, but I see we are headed in the same direction, so keeping good company is a good thing. Let’s see Romney or Obama? Are those real choices?

    Cheers. bd

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  8. Pingback: Election Postmortem | Crossroad Junction

  9. Pingback: Murder by Presidential Decree and Other Tyranny « Crossroad Junction

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