Voting in Light of God's Sovereignty
God’s sovereignty is often a sticky discussion among Christians. In fact, arguments about what the sovereignty of God means in relation to humans are among the most divisive intramural squabbles within the Church. However, there are categories in reference to God’s sovereignty with which the majority of Christians agree. I believe that those points of agreement in Christendom about God’s sovereignty provide useful parameters for how Christians should approach voting.
Most Christians willfully subscribe to the Bible’s statement in Philippians 3:20 that a Christian's "citizenship is in heaven.” As subjects of King Jesus, we understand that our main allegiance is to God; we are called to live lives that reflect His character and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. God is sovereign over the lives of His people.
Throughout history, the Christian's primary allegiance to God has created tension, and Church history is written in the blood of faithful martyrs who refused to allow their Christian identity to be subjugated by the rulers of this earth. When faced with the decision to obey God or to obey man, most Christians applaud the choice by brothers and sisters in Christ to sacrifice their body for the sake of their soul. I’m afraid, however, that many Christians don’t earn that same applause when inside of a voting booth. For many Christians, material concerns take precedence over voting in a way that reflects the character of God and that glorifies Him.
With the understanding that no human being is perfect, navigating through the maze of candidates’ issues of integrity is possibly a Sisyphean task for believers who desire to vote in a manner that brings God glory. However, followers of Jesus are urged to pray, “For kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” Participating in the election process by voting with the desire to promote to positions of power men and women who will enable us to live peaceful lives with the freedom to worship God is a good and just thing. It could be argued that voting is a responsibility that shouldn’t be shirked.
Unfortunately, the perfect candidate is never going to be on the ballot. Like all humans, politicians are sinners and their opinions and positions are going to reflect that reality. If Christians vote, and Christians should vote, we will, by necessity, be voting for sinners. There are some issues, however, that should be non-negotiable for subjects of King Jesus. This is in large part because, as strangers in a strange land, Christians represent their King. By pulling the lever for a candidate, Christians are doing so in proxy for Jesus. This is why, for example, I don’t believe that a Christian can legitimately vote for any candidate who even partially defends abortion.