Yesterday I wrote to address some thoughts about the political process in America and how I’ve come to approach it. You can read that article here.
Today I’d like to continue the conversation with a few thoughts about voting and Christianity. There is no place in the Bible where we are out rightly commanded to vote. I voiced my opinion yesterday to say that I will be voting and have decided against withholding my vote in this coming election. In fact, I have become more convinced of the goodness of casting my ballot even in times such as these.
There is an inherent goodness in the office of government. It has been established by God and thus the office and office holder is to be held in honor. Sitting out seems easy, participating is the hard work. But…
Voting isn’t the most noble and important responsibility of the Christian citizen. Unfortunately it’s sometimes been viewed as that. I only say that because that’s often been the case for me. I’ve boasted about how seriously I take my God-given obligation to vote while ignoring (or at least minimizing) the clear command to pray for earthly authorities. The present hullabaloo of banter going back and forth between Christian brothers strikes one as being misdirected even if well intentioned. Perhaps it would at least appear more timely if there would’ve been a genuine and established practice of taking the preeminent charge of praying more seriously. Frankly, I know that the present facade of apparent political interest amongst professing believers will fade as soon as Walmart’s Black Friday sale on flat screens is advertised.
A few months ago I sat listening to Jonathan Leeman preach. He asked the question: what’s the most powerful thing the church can do politically? He quickly provided the answer: be the church! Being the church means many things, but when the Apostle Paul wrote about how we are to conduct ourselves in the church of the living God he said that of first importance is that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” and he included kings and those in authority in that command (1 Tim. 2:1-2).
As agitated as I get in the midst of this election season, I am challenged by my own disobedience to this primary calling of being the church.
Oh, I will vote, to be sure. Yet not as the primary duty of a Christian citizen but as an extension of and fruit from my God-given primary labor.