Should Christians Get Involved in Politics?

by Jack Wellman on March 8, 2012 · Print Print · Email Email

Should Christians get involved in politics?  Should Christians vote or express their political opinions about who to vote for?  Should Christians run for political office?  What would Jesus have us do?

Should Christians Get Involved in Politics

If our civic duty exists as a Christian, and it definitely does (Rom 13:1-3), then it is also our civic duty to vote.

Should Christians Vote?

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day wanted to trap Him constantly and one day tempting Him with the question over whether He and the Jews should pay taxes or not.  The story is recorded here:

Mark 12:13-17,Later they sent some of the Pharisees and Herodians to Jesus to catch him in his words. They came to him and said, “Teacher, we know that you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by others, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay the imperial tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” But Jesus knew their hypocrisy. “Why are you trying to trap me?” he asked. “Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”  “Caesar’s,” they replied.  Then Jesus said to them, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

Clearly they wanted Jesus to make an either/or decision.  Should the Jews and Jesus pay taxes to Caesar or should they not?  If Jesus refused, then they could turn him into the authorities as a tax delinquent and law breaker.  If He did pay taxes to Caesar, they could accuse Him of paying taxes to a ruler that was a self-declared god who demanded worship.  Jesus knew they were trying to trap Him and said something that astonished them and is a benchmark for Christian believers today.  He said, Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s (Mark 12:17).  By Jesus saying this, He declared that we are expected to pay our taxes and follow the laws of the land.  If our civic duty exists as a Christian, and it definitely does (Rom 13:1-3), then it is also our civic duty to vote.  We are thus rendering unto the government what the government allows us to do – and that is to vote.  Christians should not keep out of politics by not voting but must be participants in the culture in which they live.  They should not only vote, but they should vote their conscious.

Should Christians Run for Political Office?

Jesus not only ate with tax collectors and sought them out as in the case of Zacchaeus but tax collectors became believers in Jesus Christ for salvation (Luke 19:1-10).   One of the gospel writers, Matthew, was a tax collector.  Jesus did not discriminate but neither did He avoid paying taxes as we see from Matthew 17:24-27: “After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma temple tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own children or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered.  “Then the children are exempt,” Jesus said to him.  “But so that we may not cause offense, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.

Paul also believed that Christians should pay taxes, stating in:

Romans 13:5-7, “Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.  Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

Here we see the tax collector asking Peter if Jesus, Who is God in the flesh at this time, paid taxes.  Peter says, “Yes, He does.”  In fact, Peter was told to pay the taxes for himself and for Jesus.  Since Jesus clearly followed the civic laws to pay taxes, we can participate in the political system of the day and vote which is within the law for us to do.  We don’t sin if we choose not too vote, but neither do we sin if we choose to vote.  Throughout U.S. history, the vast majority of American presidents, governors, senators, congressman, mayors, and city officials were Christians and they saw no conflict in running for political office.  There is nothing in the Bible that would prohibit or prevent the Christian for running for political office.  In fact, in Romans 13, Paul tells us that we are to be model citizens.  Romans 12 is how the Christian should live within the Body of Christ (the church) but Romans 13 is how the Christians should live within society.

Romans 13:1-2, 4 says, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Paul says in this chapter that God has established the governing authorities and they are servants of God so we can reasonably expect that some of these authorities will be Christians.  There is nothing in the Bible that I can see where it prohibits a believer from running for and holding a political office.  America and Europe has a long history of Christian’s in positions of authority and offices.

Should Christians Express Their Political Opinions?

If a believer feels that one candidate is better equipped to be in office than another, then they should most certainly express their opinion to other people about them.  Since they have the freedom and legal right to vote, they certainly have the right to say who they prefer to see in office.  What if one candidate is pro-choice or pro-abortion but the other candidate is pro-life?  What is wrong with telling others that you are supporting and voting for the candidate that is pro-life?  Absolutely nothing.  You have every right to express your opinion.  This is what is called freedom of speech and you have the God-ordained and government-supported right to express your views over political candidates.

Moses father-in-law once told him that he “must be the people’s representative before God and bring their disputes to him.  Teach them his decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave. But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens” (Exodus 17:19-21).  I truly believe that God would also have Christians “select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials.”  It is not only our legal right to vote, but it is our civic duty to do so.  Since God ordains those in authority and has established the governmental authorities, God has also ordained that Christians have the right to vote.  We have that right and I believe that we have the responsibility as light as salt in a darkened world.

Resources:

New International Version Bible
THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Image: taoty / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Share this post:  |  |  |  | Twitter

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Dereck March 9, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Hi Jack,

I think this was a great article. I have talked to many Christians who thought that it was no big deal to vote or that they should not vote because we as Christians should not be involved in politics.

When I became eligable to vote, I did not. Because I was young and dumb and did not possess the wisdom to think about how many people died and were hurt or mamed just to be able to cast a vote. When I became older, I thought about how foolish I was to not cast a vote.

When you study the scriptures and see how we as believers should be good citizens and be involved in the political process, we should get involved. If you think about how we have to live in this nation, we should be involved in the political process so that the laws that we want passed, are passed. I am sure that God does not want us to live life under the thumb of someone such as a Caesar, or, unjust laws, or, some other governmental program that is not fair to the people if we do not get involved in this process.

At the beginning of this article, I thought about the account you had stated about Jesus saying “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s”. It seems though that even with some of the candidates that we like, there is something about them that we may not agree with.

How should we handle that?

Reply

Jack Wellman March 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I would say to vote your conscience and for those who have biblical values. It is almost like choosing the lesser of two or more evils in a way. For example, I am pro-life and I tend to make this belief a strong factor in whom I vote for Dereck. Great question my friend. Thank you sir for your comment. Well said. I hope this answered your question. Please come back again my friend.

Reply

Dereck July 15, 2012 at 10:03 pm

Hey Jack,

I remember writing this. I know that I have to pray to come to a place where I can feel good about the vote I cast.

Thanks Brother

Dereck

Reply

Yashia October 24, 2012 at 11:57 am

As a young voter…I personally like Barack Obama for many reasons… when i think about taking my responsibility in voting I had to do some research on his views on Pro-life/choice (after seeing this article).
So while researching I got a thought in my head…God gave us free will. Seems contradicting that we as Christians look at “is he pro-life/choice?”.. When it really is our choice-God gave that to us so why should our president-an authority put in by God… take that free will away from us…Anyway im not sure if this makes sense…just a thought.

Reply

Jack Wellman October 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Thank you Yashia for your comment. Your comment does make good sense my friend. The decision to vote (I do vote) works together with God’s free will to place into office the man of His choosing. Beyond that, I am mystified by how God giving us freewill but it fitting into His purpose. I suppose this is what makes God, God! He can never be fully understood because the finite (we) can not ever understand the infinite (God).

Reply

Dereck October 24, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Hello Yashia,

I have read your message and Jack, I read yours also. I think both oif your messages hear make great sense and should be thought about!!

Another thing to take under consideration, I myself do not believe God would want His children (believers) to have to be under a political leader that will lead us down the wrong road.

That is why we have to try and do the best we can wirh our vote, but, we have to keep in mind that we must keep God first because a person will be the president.

A person who has all of the failings that comes with being a human. We are not electing a god. That is the thing we have to keep in mind.

Keep who ever wins in your prayers.

Peace and Love

Dereck

Reply

Mati Spencer November 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

Hello,

I liked the article! I just wanted to let you know that in the last paragraph you referenced Exodus 17:19-21, but I think you meant to reference Exodus 18:19-21.

Thanks,
Mati

Reply

Leave a Comment

Powered by sweetCaptcha






Previous post:

Next post: