Thursday, February 14, 2008

Should Christians Vote?

Should we as Christians, vote? Should we be involved in politics, on any level? -Gordon

Whether we vote or not is up to our own faith. Some insist that we must vote in order to be good citizens. I deeply question that on a number of levels, but I just want to talk about what the Bible says.

When we commit to the Lord, we commit to Jesus as our Lord, meaning, we are citizens of His kingdom and He is our only emperor, our only King (Phil 1). But the fact is, we have dual citizenship, just as Paul was able to use his rights as a Roman citizen, a Jewish citizen (member of the Temple) and a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom (Acts). He used all of these responsibilities to build up the kingdom of Jesus—remaining completely focused on who his real Lord was, and his secondary citizenships took a back seat to what the demands of the kingdom were. In fact, one could easily say that he abused his privileges as a citizen of Rome and of Judea in order to accomplish his goals in Jesus. Thus, we could use the privileges we have in the kingdoms of this age, which are soon passing away, to build up God’s kingdom.

However, I question the idea that voting is a good way to build up the kingdom. First of all, we vote on what others propose, the candidates that are pushed forward to us. There is not a single candidate that lives up to Jesus’ standard of leadership—a person who does not promote himself or his agenda, but only serves others. Every proposition is a form of the world’s answers to problems, not God’s, whether we are talking about preventing gay marriage or the latest bond. This doesn’t mean that we can’t vote, I am just saying that it doesn’t do anything for God’s kingdom if we do or if we don’t.

But politics, that is a different situation.

Jesus was deeply involved in politics. Entering Jerusalem on a colt was a political move. “Cleansing the temple” was a political move. His quote of Psalm 110 was a political love. The early church was deeply political. Even healings done in Jesus’ name was political.

We need to be political by warning the world, including the governments, that they will be judged according to their mercy and their merciless judging (James 2:13). They need to know that they will be destroyed if they don’t give justice to the poor (Psalm 82). They need to be informed that Jesus is Lord and they had better submit to Him (Psalm 2), thus not persecute the church.

And the church needs to be an example of what the kingdom of God will look like. A new kind of administration that emphasizes service. A new kind of economy that emphasizes charity. A new kind of sentencing that encourages repentance. A new kind of militia that emphasizes spiritual warfare. If we demonstrate God’s way, and we proclaim that this is how the whole world will soon be living, we will be clearly political. And clearly revolutionary. And just as clearly rejected.

Because martyrdom is the most powerful form of biblical political force. If we—innocents who have just said what the government doesn’t like— are killed by the government, then God will set aside that government. To be persecuted is the strongest spiritual and political statement. It is the primary one that God listens to.

Besides prayer, which is another political act. To pray the Lord’s prayer is a revolutionary prayer. To pray for God’s will changes the political landscape.

So, yes, we are certainly to be involved in politics. But voting? That’s a weak form of political action—the weakest in my opinion. I think that the government and media focuses on voting because it is easy, and makes everyone feel involved without actually making any changes. In my opinion.

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