Election 2016: Should Christians Vote?

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“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)

As we near the end of the current presidential term, it might be helpful to remember how these words written by the apostle Paul establish the Christian belief of God’s involvement in the politics of this world.

As we prepare to vote and brace ourselves for the results of the presidential election, it has become more and more difficult to understand how we can best make our vote count. Some might want to oversimplify this by asking, “How would Jesus vote?” or “Should Christians vote during this election?”

Given the two main presidential candidates on the 2016 ballot, it is not an easy choice. For evangelicals, it truly has become an election of selecting the least worst candidate. Even if one makes the argument for a third party candidate, the sad reality is that the Republican and the Democratic candidates stand the best chance at winning. At most a third party vote will merely serve to measure the increased pessimism over the two party system.

After what seems like the most exhausting and hotly debated political contest for the U.S. presidency in our history, we are all ready to know the results and move on. The media and the political machinery of both parties will make one final push for getting our vote.

But at this point, we have all made our choices. In our heart of hearts, with a Christian conscience and with biblical principles in mind, we have sent in our mail-in ballots or will go vote on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

But then what?

The most pressing issue will be how we all join together as Americans to accept the results of the election. As Christians, we can lead the way by approaching this transition from the current presidency to the next by understanding God’s involvement in the affairs of our world.

We cannot miss the fact that when the apostle Paul asked Christians to be “subject to the governing authorities,” those in power were truly the worst of the worst. The Roman emperor was not a God-fearing, humble servant, who sought the welfare of the Roman populace. The Roman emperor was a vicious, ruthless, conniving, arrogant, sinful man who was ultimately responsible for the persecution and death of thousands of Christians.

And yet, the apostle Paul would accept that the emperor was appointed by God.

Despite our objections to the current candidates and what we might call the broken electoral system, in the spirit of thanksgiving, we must be grateful for being part of the greatest democracy the world has known. We have the freedom to vote and enjoy religious liberty, which other nations long for desperately.

So whatever the outcome and no matter whether we personally or collectively win or lose as a Christian community, we must regroup and consider God is still on His throne. Instead of adding fuel to the political fire that may be ignited should either major candidate be elected, we must lead the way in seeking the unity of the nation through prayerful civic responsibility. More than ever we need to be reminded of the apostle Paul’s urgent call for prayer on behalf of those in political positions.

“I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

While the defeated presidential candidate has the civic obligation to concede and help guide the nation to a smooth transfer of power, as Christians we have a spiritual obligation to accept the election results and be subject to the incoming president’s authority, understanding this as God’s will. As difficult as that might be for all of us one way or another, we are called to include the elected president in our prayer list and to honor all elected officials as placed there by God (1 Peter 2:13-17).

So go out and vote prayerfully, but remember this is only the beginning of our continued intercession on behalf of our next president.

God bless America!

The College of Theology at Grand Canyon University holds the conviction that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God. To learn more about us, visit our website or contact us today using the Request More Information button at the top of the page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.