Every 4 years, the people elect a new king. Christians, Evangelicals in particular, look for their candidate to be a kind of King David archetype. Then there’s the neo-Apostolic-Prophetic camp and their so-called words of “prophecy” proclaiming God’s “anointed” choice, who will help stem the tide of sin, usher in revival and restore America to its constitutional and (ahem) Biblical roots. Often such “prophecies” carry with them a broad call for America to repent, for which “prayer warriors” and “intercessors” labor in prayer, while hedonistic Americans go right on living as if there were no God at all.
As often as America has managed instead to elect a King Saul rather than a King David, I see little point in voting for a man or woman to rule over the people. Certainly in my lifetime, every president has been a disappointment insofar as bringing peace and advancing the Kingdom of God is concerned. And yet every 4 years, regardless how poor the choices, Christians clamor to vote, admonishing one another to ignore the candidate and vote the issues or party platform, all the while claiming it is a Christian’s civic duty to vote. Frankly, I bristle at the notion that choosing between the “lesser of 2 evils” is my civic duty.
So what does scripture have to say about the matter? After all, believers assert that the Bible is the sole-basis for their faith, doctrine and covenant. Does scripture obligate us to vote (i.e., pick our poison)? Peter writes we are “a holy nation, a people of His own”. Paul writes we are a “new creation” and “citizens of heaven”. And while Paul was a free “citizen of Rome”, he only made use of his Roman citizenship to avert a religious scourging in Jerusalem and presumably pave the way to witness before Roman authorities, possibly even Caesar himself. So if scripture is indeed the rule and measure of my faith, how can I presume the responsibility, even my eligibility, to vote in man’s political elections when in fact, in Christ I am a citizen of His Kingdom and of His holy nation? Yes, I live in America, but in Christ, am I still an “American”? After all, the Father calls us to “come out from amongst them and be ye separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Accordingly, I see my responsibility to vote in man’s elections ONLY if my Father in heaven so leads me.
The way I see it, every Christian must answer for himself whether he is a “dual citizen” and thereby responsible (even eligible) to vote in man’s elections, while at the same time submitting to the government of the Son. Or should Christians refrain from voting in man’s elections, from fighting in man’s wars, from enforcing man’s laws, etc.? It does pique that cynical nerve of mine how strongly some Christians feel about their right to vote in man’s elections while at the same time, proclaiming the right to opt out of man’s wars on the basis of faith. What if the very man Christians elected declares war? Is it right when on the one hand, a believer claims the civic duty to vote, while on the other claims the Christian right to shirk their civic duty to defend their country? Such is a mighty convenient Christianity.
In considering these matters for myself, it is the words of Paul that most resonate with my Spirit:
Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you (1 Thessalonians 4:11 ESV).
As a follower of The Way, faced with the appalling choices put forth by the major parties this election year, do I really want to have a hand in electing what will surely be a King Saul, or worse yet, a Pontius Pilate?
Or shall I proclaim: “I have no king, but Yeshua!”