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Bible Q

Why do some Christians not vote?

The Christian has an unusual position in relation to the political world.

Fundamentally the Bible teaches that God controls who is in power (Romans 13:1) which means that in reality none of us can actually control who our leaders are: however we as individuals might vote, the candidate whom God needs to be in power will win.

‘The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
(Daniel 4:17)

As an aside this doesn’t mean that all world leaders are godly, upright people. It is clear that often the exact opposite is true. Rather the leaders are in place who will bring God’s plan into fruition (e.g. Pharaoh, Romans 9:17).

Alongside this is the problem that Christians have a very clear blueprint for life; in three words this is the example of Jesus. No politician, party or manifesto can ever come close to this pattern so voting for them would always involve a compromise on principles.

Finally, sometimes the call to follow Jesus may create a conflict with the call to serve the country. In these situations, such as taking up arms, the requirement to follow Jesus overrides any other duty. With this in mind many Christians will choose to withdraw completely from the political/national arena so that the distinction is clear:

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.┬áLive such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:11,12; NIV)

2 Replies to “Why do some Christians not vote?”

  1. I have been having this debate with a close friend. He contends that as Christians we are citizens of God’s kingdom but have no role in the kingdoms of men. I strongly disagree that it is an “either-or” but a “both-and.” Christians have dual citizenship in the kingdom of God and the earthly kingdoms. We are subject to both authorities.

    Even in Jesus’ assented to the dual citizenship of His followers: “And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar’s, and unto God the things which be God’s” (Luke 20:25). He expressly reinforced their responsibility unto Caeasar, the earthly ruler as well as unto God, their heavenly Father.

    The New Testament scriptures do not pit the believer against government, nor does it discourage participation in matters of the state. Again, the context of Jesus’ words above had to do with paying taxes. Believers must pay taxes just as do non-believers. So why should tax-paying believers deny themselves the right, privilege, and responsibility to vote?

    How can believers resist the evil that permeates society if they insulate themselves from participating in society even through a legitimate means of expression such as voting? Apart from voting, most Christians are absolutely silent about what is going on in society. Prayer is important, but is it all that a Christian should do?

    Besides, is casting a vote as a Christian a violation of conscience as would the taking of a life if that same Christian were called into law enforcement or military service? Why shun the vote? Why give unbelievers without Christian values that much more of a margin in the political processes to express their views?

  2. Hi Ino,
    I think you’ve made some good points there, and I agree that Christians are citizens of earthly kingdoms as well as the kingdom of God. I also think it is important that the Christian voice is heard in the political world, especially when it is asking politicians to consider the poor and downtrodden.

    Thanks for your comments