Who would Jesus vote for?


(Edgar Pollard) #1

Hi everyone,

We are coming up to elections in my country in a couple of months time and iv’e been thinking along the lines of the title. We profess to be a Christian country but are officially one of the most corrupt in the world. So I guess my questions are basically looking for some advice and wisdom here, what are the main scripture, values and principles that guide christians in voting? If Jesus was on the earth now would he even partake in voting/elections? As Christians how do we vote Christ-like based on the Gospel?

Happy to hear any thoughts on this, thanks.


(Caleb Troyer) #2

that is a good Question…this answer might sound like i am avoiding your Question of who would Jesus vote for? the thing that we have to keep in mind is we are humans and Jesus is part of the God head there for we have look at the things that he teaches,says and his character… just a little back ground i have never voted because of my beliefs of the bible and will probably never “but that shouldn’t hold you back if you think that is the right thing for you do”

the first Question that you could ask your self is : what are the principles differences of the kingdom that Jesus came to establish…John 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
So the question i have to ask myself is if i am a part of the kingdom then i should pursue the principles of that kingdom

Here are some differences that i can think of

  1. one kingdom is eternal and the other kingdom is temporal
  2. in one kingdom there often is the focus of the person of “jesus” and the other kingdom is often after the pursuit of material things …

just remember this is the way i think and how i look at things… this doesn’t mean its the right way for you:)


(Edgar Pollard) #3

Thanks Caleb,

That’s an interesting and useful perspective, I had not looked at it that way before, especially the kingdom perspective.

The challenge (or maybe falsehood) that some argue is that we need to elect good leaders to bring about positive change (eg. leaders that will fix the health system so that lives can be saved). Maybe the thought that we can fix a flawed system is in itself flawed.

Would that also mean that Christians shouldn’t run for elections then?

Good thoughts


(Kathleen) #4

Hi, @edgarjmp! These are very interesting questions. May I ask a clarifying question first? What exactly do you have in mind when you speak about voting ‘Christ-like’? Is that about having the same priorities as Jesus? :slight_smile:

I have several other thoughts…

  1. As voting wasn’t an option for Jesus, I think it’s a good idea for us to steer away from answering for Him in this regard. :smirk:
  2. I think a pretty strong Biblical case be made for the goodness of civic engagement. I’m thinking specifically of John 17 (in the world, but not of the world) and Matthew 5 (salt and light).
  3. However, there may be times when refraining from voting could be the right thing to do…esp. if the system is corrupt or there are no ‘good’ candidates (…that is, it would violate your conscience to vote for a certain person).

(Caleb Troyer) #5

Thanks for share your thoughts… you definitely have a good point of not answering for Jesus…there Definitely there are things that we don’t agree on regards to this subject, but that should not keep us from try to understand the other person’s perspective…first things i do want to clarify and it might help you to understand where i come from is i grew up in a Amish Mennonite back ground:)…and if you have more question about for me go ahead and ask away and i will do my best to give a answer

i do have one Question for you and that is you mentioned John 17, and Matthew 5 i would be interested in hearing more your perspective of the scripture you mentioned concerning the subject at hand…


(Edgar Pollard) #6

Hi Kathleen,

Thanks for your response. To answer your clarifying question about what exactly I have in mind regarding voting Christ-like: Yes it is about having the same priorities as Jesus, we Christians are called to love God and love our neighbors, so basically what I think i’m getting at is how do we decide who to vote for that pleases God and is best for our neighbors, if i’m making any sense.

Yes i understand, my title was coming from the angle of if Jesus was here on earth today, as imitators of Christ etc. Yes civic engagement makes sense and maybe in the case where there are 2 good candidates it is hard. There may not be a formula or black and white answer to what i’m looking for, maybe we should vote based on the fruits of that person?

Thanks


(Kathleen) #7

@caleb97! Thanks for reply. I’ll begin by expanding my thoughts, and then I’d be really curious to hear about your own experience! :slight_smile:

I mentioned part of the Sermon on the Mount (Mt. 5) and the High Priestly Prayer (Jn. 17) because this is where, off the top of my head, I see Jesus directly addressing His disciples about Kingdom engagement in this world. Three particular concepts stand out to me:

  1. ‘blessed are the peacemakers’ (Mt. 5:9)
  2. ‘You are the salt of the earth/light of the world…let your light shine before others’ (Mt. 5:13-16)
  3. In the world, but not of the world (Jn. 17:14-17)

I recognise that I cannot do each one of these concepts justice in such a short space, but I will try to summarise. And then y’all can let me know if my exegesis is off base!

What I see in both of these passages is Jesus recognising that the Kingdom is being established right in the middle of hostile territory. (See Augustine’s ‘Two Cities’ narrative). That is, the Kingdom of God exists and is expanding amidst the kingdom of the world. Therefore, how do we live our lives in this reality? Do we withdraw and create our own alternative communities and fight to keep them untainted by the world around us? (sort of like Old Testament Israel) Or do we engage (as much as we are able) with the systems and communities which surround us? And how much do we do so?

When I hear Jesus commend peace-making, I hear Him commending to us an active role in the striving for shalom in our communities and the spreading of the Kingdom.

When I hear Him say that we [Christians] are the salt of the earth, I hear Him telling us that we are to bring a certain Kingdom-flavour to all of our interactions, whether with other Christians or with those outside of our church communities. If we lose those interactions, (that is, if we lose our saltiness) then what good are we? Again, Jesus: ‘It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.’ (5:13)

Similarly with the light metaphor… our light is not to be hidden (which I believe we are in danger of if we withdraw and insulate ourselves too much); instead we are to ‘let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.’ (5:16) How can our light shine before them if we are not near to them?

Finally, just before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus prayed, ‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.’ (Jn 17:15) That is, ‘My prayer is not that they, who do not belong to the world (17:16), withdraw from the world, but that they remain in the world, and that you, Father, protect them from the one who rules this world.’ Jesus wanted them (and us) to remain engaged with the world and scatter the seed of the Gospel into its soil.

Now, what this actually looks like is very different depending on the culture and place in history you inhabit! As I live in a representative democracy in the western world, I see voting as one way of engagement. I don’t always vote in every race, but I do try to stay informed on local and national issues of governance so that I can at least have an informed vote/abstention. However, that will look differently for some of my friends across the world who live under more blatantly corrupt regimes that we do in the west!

With all that said, I have huge respect for the Amish/Mennonite communities, but I am unfamiliar with the theological thinking behind that particular way of life. I would love to know what your ear hears when you read those two passages. :slight_smile:


(Jon O) #8

Hi Edgar,

Democracies in their modern form did not exist during the time of Christ or the apostolic age, so the Bible doesn’t specifically address this issue, but I believe that as a Christian you have a responsibility to vote for the candidate whose policies and priorities most closely align with Christ’s. Or perhaps more importantly, you should not vote for a candidate who would clearly enact policies which contradict the will of God. By voting for a particular candidate you are not only signalling your approval for that person but also bear some responsibility for their actions and the affect that those actions will have on your country and perhaps the world. Are you as a Christian willing to endorse or promote their platform? It’s a tricky situation, because those of us living in democracies all have a responsibility, in one way or another, to participate in the government of our nation, and in doing so we must remain faithful to Christ.

Jon


(Geoffrey) #9

Hello Edgar,
Interesting questions you have posted. As always when considering the performance of politicians and government we will look at them through our world view and act accordingly. For a believer I would offer the following suggestions and in so doing, already acknowledge many variables when it comes to voting.
Anyway, I would look at which party upholds the main structures of society that God has given us.
That is: 1) Freedom 2) The institution marriage, 3) the family unit and 4) nationhood.
Any party that supports policies and upholds these four institutions is worth considering. Any that enacts policies and procedures that violates these would, in my mind, would/should not be supported.

Why? Basically it is under these four categories of human function that the plan of God functions best. A free society is able to learn and grow, to exercise the plan of marriage as ordained by God and then from them comes a family unit and then a nation.
Violate any of these and you break down the structures which uphold order and freedom.

Given that many people in the world and in previous times, voting was never allowed by the masses, it is a fairly new concept for humanity.

Al other matters are in my mind second to that. Remember that we are commanded to pray for government and may I suggest if you have the freedom to vote, you should exercise that right. So I hope this may offer some thoughts in a fairly short response.

Cheers Geoff


(Cameron Kufner) #10

Great question, Edgar.

If you don’t mind me asking, what country do you live in?

I think the best advice I could give you is to look at what the Word of God says and to see if your stances on the critical issues line up with the way God see’s it in His Word.

It’s hard to say if Jesus would have voted if he were alive today or not, I just don’t know. I know that we can know for sure that he doesn’t want us pledging allegiance to a politcal party, he only wants us pledging allegiance to him. God first.

I hope this answer helps. God bless.


(Edgar Pollard) #11

Thanks @j.obara Jon, I like how you’ve said align with Christ and I agree. The tricky thing is that politicians are also hard to trust so there is an element of faith and hope in it all. I guess thats why we are called to prayer for all authorities and in all situations.

Thanks for that @gnslaser Geoff, I like your 4 pillars of society and agree with you. One of the challenges where I come from is that the party system is weak so it’s really individual against individual, which in some ways can make it easier or harder.

Thanks @CamKufner, I am from the Solomon Islands, a little country in the Pacific Ocean, you probably never heard of. What do you believe are the critical issues, do you think the same as Geoff with “1) Freedom 2) The institution marriage, 3) the family unit and 4) nationhood” or other their other issues that we need to consider? Interesting point regarding political party, there are some people in my country who have formed “Christian parties” claiming allegiance to God, any biblical text to help shed light on “political involvement” as such?

Thanks


(Brittany Bowman) #13

Thanks for this question, @edgarjmp. Jumping in a bit late here, but I wanted to share some Connect resources you may find helpful as you study and ponder further. Max Jeganathan’s answer is especially applicable to your thoughts.


(Cameron Kufner) #14

Well, I live in the United States of America. I can only speak on the issues that we deal with here in my country. Here are some of the biggest issues debated in my country (For now)

  1. News Media (although freedom of the press is covered in our Constitution, Amendment 1. I invite you to check out the United States Constitution and our other writings (Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation) In my opinion, best pieces of writing behind The Bible.

  2. Institution of Marriage

  3. Immigration (This is the hottest issue right now)

  4. Trade

  5. Abortion

Also, in regards to Political Parties here in my country. We have two major ones, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Both parties have flaws and I don’t pledge allegiance to any one of them. Although the Republican Party has been labeled “The Christian Right” (the word ‘right’ is a reference to the fact that the party is right-wing) It’s not specifically a Christian party. That’s interesting though that your country does specifically have Christian parties. I encourage Christians to be involved in politcs, but i don’t know how I would feel about one specific party being all Christian in my country, though.

What is your country’s government like? (Republic, Democracy, Autocracy, Theocracy, etc.)


(Geoffrey) #15

Hi Edgar,

Its always difficult trying to reconcile who and how to vote, when, for the most part, we don’t like the candidates. I just think that if the Lord has placed you into a place that does offer you the right to vote, you should. The Lord knows the challenges and He knows the candidates better than you or I.

All you can do is make a decision on what you know. If what you know about a party or person lines up more or less with your Biblical View, then support them. If not, don’t.

The Apostle Paul was a Roman Citizen and he used that right at times so I see no reason for any Christian not to exercise their rights as citizens in a nation, especially if that nation provides that right.

Sincerely,

Geoff


(Edgar Pollard) #16

Thanks @Brittany_Bowman1 the shared resources are really helpful.

@CamKufner yes I have followed American politics a little bit, it does dominate world news at times and they are very challenging issues for Americans to grapple with especially Christians (bit of a side jump but would be interested in your thoughts or the Christian American response to immigration especially those classed as illegal?). The Solomon’s has a democratic system loosely based on the UK system as we were formally under British rule 40 years ago. Just over a 100 years ago most Solomon Islanders still lived in tribes and worshipped ancestors, missionaries arrived introduced the light of Jesus and basically today all villages have are focused around the church. The challenges for us Christians today getting that light to shine brightly again as we have somewhat backslidden over the years.

Thanks @gnslaser for your wisdom.


(Brittany Bowman) #17

Glad you found these resources helpful. @CamKufner and @edgarjmp, as we proceed further in this thread, can I share a word of caution? Associating political issues with religion can be dangerous in leading to the thought our fulfillment and security comes from earthly kingdoms.

I’m reminded of 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Although Paul is discussing how his weaknesses keep him from boasting in his revelation from God, I see a similar analogy to politics.

9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

In my tiny bit of experience in policy, I left in despair. It took years for me to realize I was idolizing a system never intended to solve our human problems. Only Christ does that, and we should proclaim this far louder than who we are voting for. (Although this is important in its own context.) If we as Christians use our religious beliefs to justify political systems, we can create a misperception that humanity can save itself or that human government is as good as it gets.

Instead, we can rejoice our broken governments are instead dim mirrors of the true justice we will have in heaven. I’m reminded of this thread based on a C.S. Lewis quote.

In the U.S., I find it very challenging to reach the unsaved on the liberal left because Christianity has been so public in supporting the conservative right. I’d rather start a conversation on the thoughts of someone’s heart than their political position, but unfortunately that has been a huge barrier that I’m still trying to overcome for someone close to me. Lest we be a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 8), I’d recommend setting this issue aside for a while.

Edit: I want to clarify that I would love to continue the discussion, and I ask forgiveness if my tone sounded harsh or condemning in any way. In fact, I plan to pursue a career in policy work. Government things are my fave! :smiley: However, I want to add the flavorbof confidence that we do not have to despair when our governments become controversial. Instead, we can rejoice in our shortcomjngs because better is yet to come. Looking forward to hearing from one another more!


(Johnathan Melneek James) #18

Thank you for the question, how do you interpret the following verses in light of your question,

Romans 13 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Be Subject to Government

13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God.2 Therefore whoever resists [governmental] authority resists the ordinance of God. And those who have resisted it will bring judgment (civil penalty) on themselves. 3 For [civil] authorities are not a source of fear for [people of] good behavior, but for [those who do] evil. Do you want to be unafraid of authority? Do what is good and you will receive approval and commendation. 4 For he is God’s servant to you for good. But if you do wrong, [you should] be afraid; for he does not carry the [executioner’s] sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an avenger who brings punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject [to civil authorities], not only to escape the punishment [that comes with wrongdoing], but also as a matter of principle [knowing what is right before God]. 6 For this same reason you pay taxes, for civil authorities are God’s servants, devoting themselves to governance. 7 Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due , customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor.


(David Whitaker) #19

This is a seriously difficult question. I personally hate the “Lesser of two evils” approach that has been argued for time and time again. I do believe God can even use ungodly leaders to achieve his purposes, but I find it difficult to take part in electing someone who is publicly amoral. That’s the reason I had to vote 3rd party in the 2016 U.S. elections. (I know some will accuse me of throwing away my vote, but it was a decision of conscience.)
Unfortunately, I don’t know that I can do this again in 2020 in light of recent politics. I feel my hands will now be tied to the lesser of 2 evils… As much as I hate that approach, I now see one political ideology in our nation pushing for the unrestricted slaughter of the unborn. I don’t trust either party to represent God or even basic morality anymore, but the abortion issue is a line in the sand that I can clearly see.


(Cameron Kufner) #20

David, I know the feeling all too well brother with the 2016 election. Like you said, picking between the two options was one of the toughest choices I have ever had to make. For the sake of being honest, I won’t say who, but I did choose one of the two available options, even though I felt guilt and knew I would still feel that guilt, regardless of who I picked. Thank you for making the point about God using ungoldy leaders to fulfill his purpose. Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus are just two great examples of that fact. I also agree with the statement of not trusting either one of the two parties. I made a point earlier in this thread that one party does seem to have a consciousness of the problem of sin, but I find both parties useless. George Washington nailed it right on the head when he said that political parties should not exist and only divide us. That is one reason why I hold him in such reverence, but I make sure I don’t break God’s command of idolatry in regards too holding our founding fathers in such reverence.


(Cameron Kufner) #21

No worries Brittany! That’s awesome that you have experience in policy. I’ve thought about giving politics a shot. I live in the south suburbs of Illinois, but I look at places like the inner cities and it breaks my heart. I want to help, but I don’t know how. I see a homeless person on the street and I say “That’s my brother/sister. I need to help him/her and I want to help him/her.” I just don’t even know how to get involved, but I love dialogue because we live in a polarizing time here in my country (I didn’t want to assume you’re from my country) and the only thing that will help is if we have a dialogue. Unfortunately, with the way it’s been, I feel as if civil discourse is either dead or that it’s just an illusion. I want it to be revived, that’s what it needs, but I try not to lose hope, but understand that if things don’t get better, it’s in the hands of God. Jesus is on his way back, whether we like it or not. What a glorious moment that will be, so I can’t complain if he’s coming back. The next life will be far better, obviously, lol.