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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Is it scriptural for Christians to vote?

During my career (?) as an editorialist I've seen a few articles, always
around election time, that asked a question such as "Should Christians
vote?" Or, also asked in this way: "Is it scriptural for Christians to
vote?" Since next Tuesday is "Election Day" I'd like to tread on what some
may say is "shaky ground" and offer some thoughts brought to fore by the
above two questions.
Let me start by saying that it's my personal feeling that it's the duty and
responsibility of all eligible Christians to vote. And, to vote for leaders
who will keep us the closest to God's principles as possible.

As a scriptural reference to my opinions here I'd like to direct your
attention to some words of Paul to Timothy and they're found in 1 Tim.
2:1-4. In order to save editorial space I'm going to paraphrase Paul's
writings here, but I'd appreciate it if you turn your Bible there and read
that passage.

In his letter to Timothy here, Paul says: (1) We're exhorted to petition, to
pray for and to give thanks for all people, especially our leaders and those
in authority. (2) For what reason are we admonished to do these things? So
that we can lead quiet and peaceful lives "in godliness and reverence."

Then (3) Paul says doing these things and having peace in our lives "is good
and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior." And number (4) he sums his
words up with the reason for doing and having these things: because this
fits with God's desire that all will be saved. Will come to know Him and the
truth.

Okay, let's break these verses down and look at them in the light of our
subject matter today. First off, if Christians are encouraged to "pray for,"
make "intercessions to" and "give thanks for" our leaders, shouldn't one of
the things we can pray and be thankful for is leaders who are able to bring
us "quiet and peaceful lives?" (That's a rhetorical question in that it
basically answers itself)
You know, as well as I do, that still today, in many parts of the world,
Christians are harassed by their own governments. To the extent that, in
some areas, their very lives are endangered simply by being Christians. I
think it would be very hard to pray for the leaders in places where
opposition to Christianity is supported by the government, don't you?

I believe that because our nation was established on Christian principles,
even though they seem much-diluted at this time, we can still be thankful
for leaders who do promote Christian principles. Be thankful that all our
citizens are guaranteed by the Constitution to have the right and the
privilege and the responsibility to vote. To have a say in who governs us.

Thus, in having that privilege, I see it as my duty towards the goals of God
(IE: "all men to be saved") to cast my vote for the person whom I believe
will be the most useful and effective to that end. And I fully realize that
it lies within the purview of the individual Christian to decide from among
the candidates who best fits the ultimate goal of God.

Let me advance my opinion this way: I believe that Christians have a duty to
do all they can to further the cause of Christ. That's exactly why the
church exists. (See Eph. 3:10-11) Therefore, I further believe that being
able to vote, to have a say in who leads our government, which can directly
or indirectly effect a Christian's ability to spread the Gospel, is a duty
we must perform.
I read an article about recent elections and some statistics reported in it
saddened me. It said that, among those professing to be Christians, 2 of
every 5 did not vote. And another statistic reported that, of that same
"professed" group, 1 in every 5 are not even registered to vote. Do you find
that as sadly interesting as I do?

One of the things that ancient Israel furnishes us is a lot of examples.
Both godly and ungodly. I think we can look at them as a fitting example of
our subject today. Ancient Israel had a history of choosing leaders that
were not approved by God. One good reference of this can be found in Hosea
8:4-5. Please take the time to read that passage.

In my humble opinion, I'm quite sure that God doesn't approve of all the
leaders in our world today just as He didn't approve of all the leaders that
Israel chose for themselves. But, He didn't stop them from choosing them. He
just warned them of the consequences of their choosing. Dare I say "who they
elected?"

Speaking of consequences: don't we know and recognize that much of the
suffering here on earth is the result (or consequence) of having godless
leadership? That was certainly the results to Israel.

Solomon sort of touched on this principle in the words of Prov. 28:12 where
he says: "When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the
wicked rise, people hide themselves." That's saying in effect, when we have
righteous leaders, it brings glory and honor to the land. But, if the
leaders are wicked, it causes others to seek cover. I ask you, isn't that
just the opposite of "quiet and peaceful lives?" Rather more like lives of
oppression which is not conducive to the cause of Christ and God's goal of
saving all men.
In closing my thoughts today, I'll stick with wise old Solomon for some very
pertinent words, plus offer some words of my own.
First, my words: As Christians I think that we should do our best, as our
duty, to choose leaders who best promote "quiet and peaceful lives" and
thereby promote the principles and goals of God. And, understood in this
opinion of mine is, that we should not choose or elect anyone to lead us
that contradicts God and His principles.

And now, the words of Solomon:

"Righteous exalts a nation, but sin is a
reproach to any people."

Proverbs 14:34

Ron Covey

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