Dr. D. James Kennedy before his death televised a balanced Biblical message on the responsibilities of the Christian citizen, and concluded that every Christian is obligated by scripture and the commandments of Jesus to vote – in every election. Every Christian should watch and every church should play the video clip edited with thanks to Jerry Newcombe. Kennedy was the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church. His calm, scholarly sermons were brought into the living rooms of millions of Christians by television, but he was a teacher.
Are Christians in the United States spiritually required to vote in their local, state and national elections? Put another way: Are Christians the critics and judges of our country? Or are we stewards responsible for the state of our country?
Emphasizing school board and local elections, Pastor Kennedy proclaimed:
“Do you realize that if every Christian had voted we could have totally changed every election in the last 50 years? Christians have had it in their power to change all of these things that we lament and complain and grumble about constantly. And we just haven’t done it.”
Now, if we have power to influence the course of our society, and we fail to use it, how would we explain that to God when giving an account for our lives?
Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27), although accurately discerning God’s leading is a complex study, made worse if one habitually ignores God’s voice.
According to Barna, religious-oriented researchers and analysts, slightly under 59% of Christians in the U.S.A. (measured by their self-description) voted in 2012 and 2016. Evangelical Christians reached 61%, but basically all Christian types and other religious groups rated about the same.
An estimated 170 million Americans claim to be Christians. Clearly, if we read the news, many are not. Nobody needs to be anywhere close to perfect to be a Christian. Yet if any sizeable percentage of 170 million Christians were simply on their knees praying, no matter how wayward perhaps in our own lives, we would see revival breaking out all over from God’s response. An imperfect heart truly touched by Jesus should be in more fervent prayer.
Yet if only another 10% of self-described Christians were to vote – 17 million new votes – the Church would decide the future of our country. If only 5% more voted – 8.5 million votes – that would change results at the national, state, and local levels. Only 138 million people voted for president in 2016.
Can we find 100 righteous men? Are there 50? Are there 10? (Genesis 18)
As Christians, we understand the spiritual effects. We also declare to God that we actually care what happens in our country. There is a spiritual consequence to showing God “Yes, we care.” So then: “Will you, too, help heal our land?” Can God find 50 righteous men or women?
D. James Kennedy concludes that it is actually a sin not to vote. Reasoning from the commandment to “render under Caesar what is Caesar’s” (Matthew 22:20-21), Kennedy points out that we don’t live under a dictatorship. We are in a representative democracy (constitutional republic). Therefore, it is our civic duty to participate by voting, among other things. We are actually disobeying a direct command of Jesus Christ if we do not vote.
Reading the Bible, we see scenarios unlike the blessings we enjoy in this nation. Rarely did the people reported on in the past have any role in their government. The scriptures address how to endure and respond to what their government did.
Are we a steward of our country or its critic? Many prophets called out the sins of their nation, but they had no direct control.
But today, we are shareholders. This country is run by “We the People.” Just as the shareholders of a corporation elect a board of directors, who set policy and hire officers, our vote is the ultimate authority of our country. We face the frustration of being only one vote among 138 million, in a society constantly misled by discordant voices. But who is higher in power than the voter who chooses our leaders?
Will we answer before God for whether we voted and how we voted? Some will say Christians don’t face Judgment Day, but Jesus will evaluate our lives. (Matthew 25) Will Jesus tell us “Well done, you talked trash about your politicians and pointed out all their faults!” I don’t imagine that Jesus will praise us for our criticism, but rather for our deeds.
Jesus told us we will answer for every word during our lives (Matthew 12:36). Might God also be interested in whether we voted? Jesus told us that Christians are the salt of the Earth. (Matthew 5:13-16.) Salt, before refrigeration technology, is what preserved meat from rotting decay. But Jesus said that if Christians stop being salty, they become good for nothing but to be trod under men’s feet. Is the church feeling trod on lately?
No, George Washington is not on the ballot this year. Sorry to disappoint you. But we can nudge our society to one side or the other, within limits of choices available. Since many Christians did not vote in the primary elections to choose the candidates, can we complain about our choices?
Is God telling you to vote? Well, if God has to chase you down to tell you anything, that’s not good. We should be seeking God for wisdom and guidance, not making God try to tackle us at the intersection of the coffee machine and grabbing the car keys. For me, God gets my attention walking the aisles in the grocery store, because then I am not thinking about anything. Mea culpa.
Whom should you vote for? “Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:5.) “Whatever is not of faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23.) To his own master a servant stands or falls. (Romans 14:4) To please God, we must seek God for His views, not just do what someone tells you to do.
Does God side with a particular political party? Well, that’s silly. But God has an opinion about everything. God might never prefer the same party twice in a row. But God is apathetic about nothing.
Jonathon Moseley is a frequent writer of news analysis and political commentator, who is a leading member of the Northern Virginia Tea Party, and Executive Director of American Border Control. He has worked with dozens of election campaigns, including serving as campaign manager and treasurer for Christine O’Donnell’s 2008 nomination contest for the United States Senate from Delaware. He has a law degree from George Mason University.