The NEW Friday feature of the Worldly Saints blog is an opportunity for blogging about anything. Unlike the other days of prescribed themes, this day is for blogging about an issue that I couldn’t fit anywhere else or couldn’t wait until next week to write.
I don’t often get asked political questions, because I am not a fan or follower of politics. My understanding of politics is about as simplistic as a kindergartener learning his/her ABC’s.
However, as a pastor, I am used to being asked questions “outside of my comfort zone.”
I don’t know if it is because pastors are unfairly perceived as experts on everything. I don’t know if it is because people like to hear pastors say controversial things. I don’t know if it is an opportunity for that “questioner” to show they know more on a subject than a pastor. Whatever the reason, the questions come.
So recently I was asked the question, “Should a Christian always vote for a Christian candidate?”
In the upcoming Presidential election, we have some candidates that are professing Christians: Mike Huckabee (a former Southern Baptist minister), Ted Cruz (a Southern Baptist and outspoken supporter of religious rights), Rand Paul (a Presbyterian and married to a deacon in his church), and Scott Walker (the son of a Baptist minister and active member in his church) – to name a few.
The quick answer to the question asked above is, “No, I do not believe we have a biblical obligation to vote for Christians only.” And let me give you four reasons I believe this to be the case.
#1 – The Bible never says that a governmental authority needs to be a child of God. Plenty of non-Christian or non-religious leaders have been used of God – men like Pharaoh who helped raise Joseph to a position of authority (Gen 37-50), Nebuchadnezzar who protected Daniel (Dan 1-4), Cyrus who issued an edict sending the Israelites back home from captivity (II Chron 36; Ezra 1), or Ahasuerus to raise up Queen Esther.
#2 – When we are told to pray for our government leaders (I Tim 2:1-2), we are told to pray for their peace and dignity and the context (I Tim 2:3-4) even suggests these leaders are going to be unsaved more often than not.
#3 – No matter the position of authority, each ruler in government is a servant of God (Rom 13:1-4). Even the atheist President is being used in God’s sovereign plan.
#4 – How do we know who is really a genuine Christian, anyway? The Bible is clear that man looks at the outside appearance and God looks at the heart (I Sam 16:7). He is the One who searches the heart (Jer 17:10). To presume that we could know who is genuinely saved to begin with is to presume to be God, and we can’t do that.
A Christian candidate may be able to bring a moral compass or foundation to his office but it doesn’t mean he will have the best ideas about balancing a budget or making a decision whether to attack a country or not. God never promises any political candidate with wisdom in every area. He doesn’t promise to make him some kind of super-politician that does everything right, every time.
In conclusion, the Bible gives us the freedom to vote for the best or most qualified candidate, regardless of their belief in Christ in Lord and Savior or their convictions about the Gospel.