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How Should A Christian Vote for the Governor? President?

Don’t you wish God made it more clear how you should vote?  Here are some biblical principles to consider before, during, and after you cast your ballot for Governor, President, or any politician.

Prayerfully.  Pray more, politick less.  Our nation and state are divided greatly with polarizing views between political parties.  What is a Christian to do?  Pray first.  Pray continually.  Pray consistently.  Pray equally for those leaders you agree with and also for those with whom you disagree.

1 Timothy 2:1–2 "First of all, then, 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.” (ESV)

Biblically. The Bible has a lot to say about Biblical issues.  God cares about the poor, immigrants, marriage, dignity of life at all stages (including unborn babies, terminally ill, and elderly), racial equity, religious liberty, sexual ethics, war, economics, international relations, women’s rights, children’s rights, education, housing, and criminal justice.

Which politicians, if any, model a genuine trust in Jesus?  Which party’s policies and platforms are most in line with God’s plan for humanity?  These questions are important in clarifying how to vote in complicated and contentious times.  Know what God says before you vote.

1 Samuel 12:14–15 “If you will fear the LORD and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the LORD, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the LORD your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the LORD, but rebel against the commandment of the LORD, then the hand of the LORD will be against you and your king.”

Privately.  Why advertise your vote?  Is pride tied to your partisan politics?  Do you honestly think that your social media posts make people change their votes?  Would you change your vote or position because of someone else’s yard sign, t-shirt, bumpersticker, hat, or social media post?

Many Christians have done great damage to their Christian witness through political bias, pride, snarkiness, mockery, and endorsement of ungodly characters.  Go private with your political persuasions during this polarized season.

Proverbs 10:19 “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.”

Wisely. Are you willing to reconsider your vote?  Would you reevaluate your opinions? Have you listened closely and considered the positions of all sides?  Do you understand the perspectives of those with a different political persuasion?  Do your homework before you cast your ballot and don’t just trust the sound bites and media moments.

Proverbs 11:14 “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”

Selflessly.  Do you vote only for what is in your best interest and agenda?  Or are you voting in the best interest of the common good? Vote in a way that benefits and prioritizes others more than yourself.

Philippians 2:3–4 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

Humbly & Respectfully. Your vote is important, but what changes a nation ultimately is the Gospel.  Are you more passionate and public about your politics or about your Jesus?  Do you put more hope in the next election cycle than you do in Jesus’ return?

Godly Christians often feel led to vote in different ways.  Some may vote Republican.  Others feel led to vote Democrat.  Still others choose to vote for a third party candidate that might never win.  Others Christians may feel called not to vote at all.  You may be right in the choice you make, but then again, you could be wrong.  Be humble.

People will view issues differently than you.  Be kind.  Friends, family, coworkers and neighbors will vote differently than you.  That’s their prerogative, stay calm. Don’t let discussions devolve into arguments.  Know where you stand but be respectful towards others.

Romans 14:1 “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.”

May these truths and principles guide us into, through, and beyond this election season.

Some helpful videos:

Is it possible for a Christian to lose salvation?

The short answer is “no.”  The deeper answers are found in understanding what God describes (through the Bible) as true salvation, how we can understand if we have been saved, and what biblical assurance and perseverance means.  Unfortunately, many of us have witnessed people who claim to be Christians but their lives and beliefs do not agree with God’s Word or they eventually “fall away” publicly from their previous confession.
“Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?— unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” (2 Corinthians 13:5, ESV)
We are each called to examine the genuineness of our faith.  True believers confess with their mouths publicly that inwardly they love, treasure and trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior, believing that Jesus is the Son of God and died on the cross and was resurrected from the grave (Romans 10:9-10).  When God justifies us by faith in Jesus, He gives us His Holy Spirit within us (Ephesians 1:13-14) that outwardly evidences the inward reality of a new, saved heart through the fruit of His Spirit (Galatians 5:16-24).
More here on how to become a Christian and how to be sure you are a Christian:
“Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” 1 Timothy 4:16
God wants us to keep watch on ourselves the teachings we receive and give to ensure a right understanding of who He is and His Gospel plan.  Once we are truly saved (justified), God continues His salvation through a process of change within us (sanctification), that continues until we meet Him in Heaven (glorification).  God promises that His children are no longer under condemnation (Romans 8:1), can never be separated from His love (Romans 8:31-39), and will never be put to shame (Romans 9:33).  God assures true converts that He keeps them in the faith (Jude 1:24-25) , finishes His saving work within us (Philippians 1:6), and promises their future resurrection (Romans 6:5) .
1 John is a great book to read that distinguishes true belief from false belief.  It is written to encourage Christians to know and have confidence in the genuineness of their salvation (1 John 5:13).  1 John also shows in various ways that there are others who have publicly claimed to be Christians, but evidence lostness through their words and actions.  Jesus’ parable of the soils is another place to see where there are some who have initially seemed to respond to the Gospel that eventual wither away or are choked out, evidencing their lostness by their fruitlessness (Luke 8:9-15).
“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” 1 John 2:19
More verses on biblical assurance here: and perseverance here: 
Although true Christians will go through highs and lows, stumbling at various places in life, they will endure in their faith, preserving to the end in an evident way of increasing fruitfulness through God’s Spirit within them.  If you are struggling with your own salvation, I encourage you to study these Scriptures to either confirm your faith or to expose your need to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  If you are asking this question out of concern for a friend or family member I encourage you to pray for God to open their heart to salvation and to use you to share His truth and show His love.
“But the one who endures to the end will be saved.” Matthew 24:13

"This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child, in accordance with the prophecies previously made about you, that by them you may wage the good warfare, holding faith and a good conscience. By rejecting this, some have made shipwreck of their faith, among whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme." 1 Timothy 1:18–20 (ESV)

Christians, We Must Stop Our Partisan Politics!

Dear Reverend Franklin Graham and Pastor Robert Jeffress (and many of us Christians),

I see that you love Jesus, but I’m concerned about your apparent love of partisan politics.  Please stop promoting the President and endorsing the Republican party, but choose instead to focus on promoting Jesus and endorsing His Word.  Love on and pray for both parties and endorse neither.  Each partisan political statement you make diminishes and dampens your Gospel reach and impact.  True and lasting change is not found in the power or influence of a politician or a party.  Gospel power transforms in ways that governments never can, so please stop compromising and limiting your Christian witness.  You can better use your platform to speak biblical truth and to show Jesus’ love across party lines if you communicate in a non-partisan manner.
  • Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (ESV)
Stop Politicking.  Most of us have gotten sucked into the drama of politics.  We need to be more biblical and less political.  I write this openly and publicly, because the message is not only to you, but for me and for every pastor.  This advice is not just for us pastors, but for all of us who identify as followers of Jesus.  Our partisan political involvement is having a negative gospel impact.  People are not hearing our spiritual Good News because they are deafened and distracted by the political news we are promoting with a self-righteous spirit.  Martin Lloyd-Jones explained it well that “a demonstration of great interest in political and social matters never succeed in attracting people to Christianity.”  We have a higher calling. Put the humble beauty of Jesus in front of us and move away from the ugly arrogance of modern politics.
  • 1 Peter 5:5 “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

Quit Playing Party Politics. I need this reminder about my ultimate allegiance. You should hear this.  We should not be partisan Republicans, Democrats, or any other political party.  As Tim Keller shares, “The historical Christian positions on social issues do not fit into contemporary political alignments.” We are called to talk about Jesus to both sides and not isolate our audience with our political dispositions and opinions.  We cannot present a distorted view of Christianity that identifies the Christian faith with a particular political party.  Christian nationalism in America is advertising that one must vote Republican or you are not really a Christian.  Republicans are now unlikely to hear about Jesus from Democrats and Democrats probably will not hear about Jesus from Republicans.  This compromise of our Gospel witness should disturb us.

Franklin, We all would do well to heed the sage advice of your parents. Your dad, Billy Graham, wisely shared that “evangelicals can’t be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left. I haven’t been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future.”  Your mom, Ruth Graham, responded to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s request for political advice from your dad with boldness and clarity saying, “Billy ought to limit his advice to you to religious and spiritual matters.”

We need to stop our public political flag waiving, skip political rallies, put down our posters, remove our campaign hats, and pull out our yard signs.  People don’t need our polarizing and biased opinions, they need the truth of our King Jesus.  Our hope, passions, resources, and focus should be prioritized on the return of the King of Kings and not on the next election cycle. Our identity is in Jesus not in our party affiliation.  Put the Kingdom of God in front of the kingdom of man.
  • 2 Timothy 2:4 “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.”

You Have Lost Perspective.  I’ve lost focus at times too.  We’ve put too much trust in manmade systems.  Partisan politics are man-created forms of pollution that cloud out the deeper and more urgent realities.  Governments offer nationalistic hope and purpose, and are God-ordained for our good, but can never fully deliver on their promises.  The world doesn’t need to hear about our party affiliation or our political endorsements, so don’t tweet and post like they do.  We can take a stand on issues in a biblically nonpartisan manner.  We must avoid being labeled by (or identifying as) a particular political party whenever possible. Put eternal hope in front of us instead of hope in the next set of polls.
  • Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”

Acknowledge Your Hypocrisy and Hatred.  We’ve all played the hypocrite and spoken unkindly towards those different than us. It may not be intentional but it is a reality nonetheless for all of us.  We are all more blind to our predispositions and biases than we realize.  We often sin similarly to those we critique.  The world doesn’t need our snarkiness or sarcasm.  They need our love.  We should be gentle and kind with our “opponents.”  

If we lend our public endorsement of a politician or party, then we should commit to consistently speak to the seriousness of their sin and future failures as well.  John Calvin, when teaching about John the Baptist’s confrontation of King Herod, explains that “John has thus, by his example, furnished an undoubted rule for pious teachers, not to wink at the faults of princes, so as to purchase their favor at this price, how advantageous soever that favor might appear to be to the public interests.” We must not overlook the sin of some while attacking the sin of others.  Moral inconsistency is hypocrisy.

Our countrymen need our meekness, love, and prayers.  We can engage those we disagree with compassionate conviction but we must be consistent across the political spectrum.  Put a humble peacemaking spirit in front of us in place of argumentative arrogance.
  • 1 Timothy 2:8 “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling”

You Are Being Manipulated.  I’ve been co-opted too. We all have been used. We may not realize it but while politicking we are frequently being maneuvered like a pawn by savvy press and powerful politicians.  When we publicly jump on a political band-wagon we will likely travel further than we ought to ride.  We need to dismount and follow Jesus more closely instead of getting visibly sidetracked by earthly matters. Put God’s platform in front of us and push away governmental partisanship.
  • Philippians 3:20 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ”

You Aren’t As Right As You Think You Are.  I am not either.  None of us are.  We often think too highly of ourselves.  The more we speak, the greater potential we have to sin.  In the complex day and age we live in, it is difficult to speak to all of the platforms, policies, and issues accurately and comprehensively.  We are typically misinformed, under-informed, imbalanced, partial, and overwhelmed.  We need to behold the biblical truth more than we notice the national news.  Very few of us have the ability and humility to speak well publicly to the many issues filling our feeds.  Put biblical truth in front of us in lieu of human opinions.
  • 1 Corinthians 3:7 “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

You Can’t Fix This Nation.  Neither can I.  None of us can. Only Jesus is able.  Often we think and talk like we are more important and capable than we actually are.  Partisan politics makes life about us when life is actually about God: Father, Son, & Holy Spirit.  We are His mouthpiece to the world.  We need to stick to His truth.  We need to be faithful to the time He has given us.  We need to prioritize Jesus in our lives, our love, and our hope.  We need to remember the primary need of our society is not a political victory, but a spiritual victory in Christ.
  • James 3:13–15 “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”

Christians, we need quit our partisan politicking but not our political engagement.  It’s not too late to change. We can do better.  There is a way to engage our culture without compromising our Gospel witness.  Tim Keller explains that “while believers can register under a party affiliation and be active in politics, they should not identify the Christian church or faith with a political party as the only Christian one.”  Here are some guidelines that may help us all in the future.

12 Rules of Political Engagement for Christians

1. God First - God’s truth is always above man’s opinions. Reevaluate your political positions with the Bible in hand.
2. Others Second - We must put the needs of others before our own agendas. We can better love our neighbors with tangible actions rather than just trusting in our cast ballot.
3. Self Less - We need humility in all our communications and attitudes.  Before we post or speak we should consider the tone and approach we choose.  Our daily decisions should demonstrate a care for those different than us.
4. Default to Non-Partisan - Unless our profession requires it, most Christians should strongly consider the wisdom of being publicly nonpartisan.  In these divisive times it may be best to stay away from partisan political posts, rallies, posters, yard signs, and headgear.
5. Your Vote Is Important - You have the responsibility and privilege to be politically informed and go to the polls whenever you have the opportunity.
6. Private Persuasion Is Often Better - Some issues deserve our public discussion and commentary. More may be gained through private, personal conversations without the rhetoric found in many public forums.
7. Humble & Respectful Disagreement - We are all created in the image of God.  We ought to speak kindly to all with the reminder that no-one is beyond the life-changing hope of Christ.  We must love our political “enemies.”
8. Avoid Absolutes - Recognize our temptation towards sound bites and the demonization of others.  Avoid over-simplifying situations and categorizing groups with stereotypes.  
9. Pray More than You Speak - We often fall into the trap of believing that our voices to mankind make a bigger difference than our prayers to the Creator of the Universe.  Prayer is our primary political calling.
10. Share the Gospel More than Your Political Persuasions - Elections and governments come and go.  True and lasting hope is only found in the Kingdom of God through Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.  Live and speak in light of these priorities.  Be more passionate about winning souls than winning arguments or elections.
11. Resist as a Last Resort - Rare biblical and historical examples exist to show and prepare us for times where courageous rebellion is called for in order to remain faithful to God.  The broad biblical guidance is to honor and submit to the authorities whenever possible.
12. The 1% Exception - Although 99-ish% of us should probably be nonpartisan monarchists (prioritizing the Kingdom of God), 1% of us may be called by God into service within a partisan political sphere.  If that is you, please stay faithful to God’s truths in your policies and platforms no matter the personal cost. Speak to the good, without flattery or partiality, in both parties.  Confront the bad, with love and humility, in both parties.  Practice the fruits of the Holy Spirit at all times towards your political opponents talking with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).

Christians, we can do better.  Let’s love on and pray for those we disagree with.

In Christ,
Jonathan Carl, A Monarchist Pastor Waiting for the King of Kings to Return and Make All Things New

1 Timothy 2:1–2 “First of all, then, 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.”
Helpful Perspectives on the Topic

US Capitol photo by Michele Orallo on Unsplash
White House photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash
Lincoln Memorial photo by Brian Kraus on Unsplash

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