In less than one month as this article is being written, if God wills (D.V.), the 2016 U.S. presidential election will be held. The two major parties have nominated in the case of the Democrats, a serial criminal, committer of treason, and enabler of her sexual predator husband and former U.S. president. The Republicans have nominated a boorish, arrogant, New York City thug businessman who is continually having to react to and defend pornographic, vulgar, bullying, and misogynistic utterances caught on videotape during his campaign and over at least the past decade. Facebook, Twitter, the blogosphere, and the Internet in general have various and vociferously-argued theories about how a Christian should vote on 8 November. It seems though, that the Word of God, appropriately-exegeted or even considered, is the aspect most lacking in these writings. This article will examine several relevant Scripture texts that, D.V., will, as “either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture” (WCF Chapter I, Section VI) help the Christian answer the question: “How Should a Christian Vote on 8 November 2016?”
Romans 13:1, 4 “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God…. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
Acts 4:18-20 “Then they [the Sanhedrin] called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
Romans 13 establishes that we are to be subject to the governors, and that the governors are 1) ordained by God, 2) the ministers of God to us for good, 3) and the ministers of God for wrath when we do evil. Acts 4 establishes (by good and necessary consequence) that our obedience to governors ends at the point they require disobedience to God and God’s Law.
The U.S. is a constitutional republic where, at least in theory, the powers of elected officials are limited to those expressly enumerated in the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. When an elected official takes his oath of office, he is sworn to heed the limits of his constitutionally enumerated powers. When an elected official exceeds these limits or refuses to carry out his sworn responsibilities, he is a liar for breaking his oath of office and he is a thief for stealing powers that are not his to wield. Thus, the Christian voter should vote for other than those who violate their oaths of office and/or promote the violation of one’s oath of office.
Some dismiss the U.S. Constitution as invalid because the founding fathers gave ultimate authority to “We the People” instead of to Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. While the major premise is correct that Jesus Christ should be the ultimate authority in the U.S., concluding that the U.S. Constitution is thus invalid is wrong, as it is the law of the land, as shown in the preceding paragraphs is to be supported insofar as it is in accord with the Law of God, and that those provisions not in accord with God’s Law are not to be supported.
In a constitutional republic, executive and legislative representatives are elected by those they represent. Voting in itself does not violate God’s Law, but God’s Law by good and necessary consequence says that the Christian is to vote for those that uphold God’s Law in their words and in their actions – which leads to the next Scripture texts:
Ephesians 1:11 “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”
Danial 4:17 “This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.”
Ephesians 1:11 tells us that God “hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.” (WCF SC Q&A 6). Danial 4:7 indicates that this includes the election of government officials. Several arguments about the November election popular in Christian circles say to the effect that “a refusal to vote for major party x in in actuality is a vote for major party y,” that a Christian has the responsibility to vote for the lesser of two evils of the “electable” candidates (i.e. the two major parties), and that God expects and holds accountable a Christian to vote for one of the two major party candidates or otherwise he is throwing away his vote and being a poor steward of his responsibility to “render unto Caesar” his vote. God’s Law and God’s Word in no way say that the ends justify the means, or that temporal pragmatism is necessary to help God carry out his Divine Providence. God expects in voting and in everything else that His Law and His Word be followed, and that worldly wisdom not be synthesized with Godly Wisdom.
So…back to the article title: “How Should a Christian Vote on 8 November 2016?” The ultimate answer is between each of you and God. The editor prays that this scriptural essay will help answer that question for the reader. In conclusion, the following Scripture and quotation are presented without comment:
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
“A wicked prince is the Lord’s scourge to punish the sins of the people.” Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 13:3-4
Bob Williams is the Managing Editor of the Christian Observer, and a minister and teaching elder in the Reformed Presbyterian Church – Hanover Presbytery
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