The question of Christians voting for the president in the 2016 election has become a polarizing topic in the Christian community. Some are saying they will not vote for either of the candidates, others are saying to vote for the lessor of two evils and often, but not always, identifying the lessor along party lines, while some may even be enthusiastic about the candidate of their choice.
No part of the Bible was written in a political setting such as we have today in the United States. The whole concept of the consent of the governed was generally alien to those times with some notable exceptions. In spite of that is it possible to find any guidance for this question of voting for president in the present circumstances?
Render Therefore Unto Caesar!
In Matthew 22:15-22 it is written:
15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
While this section had to do with paying taxes may we stretch things a little and apply it to other responsibilities even if they didn’t exist at the time the Bible was written? One of the basic responsibilities in a constitutional republic is the responsibility to vote, only by voting can the voice of the people be heard and the direction taken by the government be a true reflection of the will of the people, or so the theory goes.
Are we not then, by voting, rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s?
A Special Wrinkle
As a Christian man I am convinced the Bible is the word of God; it is written in Hebrews 4:12:
“12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
The Bible makes some fascinating observations when it comes to governments and rulers; two verses come immediately to mind:
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. Daniel 4:17
13 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. Romans 13:1
There are many other verses which show that national leadership is put in place by God and used by God in the accomplishment of His will. I believe it safe to say that whoever is elected will be there as God’s servant and be used by God according to divine plans formulated in eternity past. Do I think either of them would realize they are servants of the Almighty and the answer is of course they would not; neither of them would be prepared to admit they are being used as tools by God in the accomplishment of His will.
Regardless of who God selects His irresistible will shall be done! The future of the United States has been determined by God; the leaders of this country are nothing more than God’s servants chosen by God to serve as tools in the accomplishment of the will of Him “who works all things after the counsel of His own will.”
As Christians we must each determine whether we will render unto Caesar or not in the matter of voting; I suspect we are already rendering unto Caesar in the matter of taxes!