Christians Voting In Government Elections

Recently, I voted in the New Zealand elections.

…reluctantly, I might add. My parents had to drag me to the voting booth, kicking and screaming. I don’t even think I filled out the form correctly. I only read later that you were strictly supposed to tick the box, not colour it in–I will never know if my vote was valid or not. The whole idea seems ridiculous to me, that my vote could be opposed by someone else who had no idea and choose the funniest name.

Democracy to me, is largely the ability to give the greatest illusion of power to the people, while the top tier of government stays about the same.

There are great many obstacles in my mind that don’t really match up in my mind. To summarise:

(1) I think Shane Claiborne says it best when he argues that the world we engage in is at odds with the Kingdom we live in:

“Today the logic goes something like this: ‘Calling a ruler Son of God is out of style. No one really does that nowadays. We can support a president while also worshiping Jesus as the Son of God.’ But how is this possible? For one says that we must love our enemies, and the other says we must kill them; one promotes the economics of competition, while the other admonishes the forgiveness of debts. To which do we pledge allegiance?”

Where do the two binaries interact, is there a dialectic between the two? The Bible does affirm that while we are here on this earth, we are under the leadership of this land we live in. But does voting for the leader of this country have an overlap with the Kingdom of heaven and how we engage with it? I can understand paying taxes, and obeying the law in the country. But even when Daniel was prohibited from praying, the law of God overruled the law of man. There is a hierachy, and finding the point where the two come together, I am going to contend, is not defined well enough.

(2) The second point is rather related to the first. Granted, I get past the barrier of the two Kingdoms fighting each other–if I was to vote, who would I vote for?

“What Would Jesus Do?” is an oft used phrase. While not applicable in all situations, is there a party that Jesus would vote for? I am going to argue that Jesus wasn’t a socialist, nor was He a capitalist–with those options taken away, where is there left? I’m left standing in the polling booth, and just wondering.

I am not Jesus, I don’t know whether we should save money to weather the economic crisis or to decrease the Official Cash Rate to increase small businesses. I don’t know whether God needs me to continue His will within this world, but He can work completely without me in it.

A lot of questions. I’m open to any answers.


About JN
what happened to dignity / never see it on MTV.

2 Responses to Christians Voting In Government Elections

  1. closetcalvinist says:

    I am still struggling with this.

    The only argument I’ve seen that holds any weight is Jeremiah 29 and the book of Daniel. These two, while being specifically to Jews in Babylonian exile seem to relate to us. We are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, and in that sense not citizens of the nations we live in. Jeremiah is told to prophesy to the people to build houses, plant gardens,, etc. Then in verse 7 to “seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

    If we believe we have a better understanding of the world than the world does, then ought we to tell them how to run their government if asked? That would be seeking the best for the nation.

    That said, we aren’t Israel so even this argument may be problematic.

    Also, if this is the case, can we support the death penalty? Must we support it because Genesis says that a murderers blood should be shed by man? And, what do we do about war? Do we adopt Augustine’s “just war theory?” Do we oppose all war? Can we vote for a leader that is likely going to lead the nation into war?

    Voddie Baucham’s sermons on Romans 13 gave me more to think about regarding this. I recommend them.

  2. David says:

    I believe in the gospel as God’s power of salvation for all man. That gospel has been entrusted to the Church, those blessed brethren who believe in Jesus according to the faith that He authored; it has not been entrusted to governments.

    I think this post raises valid questions that we need to come to grips with: especially regarding who we pledge allegiance to. That in particular is something I personally cannot do.

    Of course, I want to be clear that I do not view government or the participation in government with contempt or as inherently sinful either: God established government to rule over the nations (Romans 13:1-7). In my view, the course of punishing nations is in the hand of God, not mine, and those nations who commit atrocities and sins in the sight of God will answer to Him, not me. So I submit to the laws and consequences of whatever nation I preside in.

    Having lived in countries of opposite political ideologies, I can say that I now have a greater respect for a balanced for of democratic-republics (there is no pure democracy in the world today), and I believe that governments which extend certain levels of freedom to their people often accomplish the tasks that God has established governments to accomplish better than those who rule brutally, nonetheless, the fundamental issue still remains that we are part of The Kingdom of God, not any earthly kingdom. So what is our standing on earth compared to The Kingdom? It is to be counted as nothing but rubbish.

    Anyway, my comment is a bit long, but it is an issue that I think you did well articulating and deserves good thought!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: