Biblical Reasons Why Christians Should Vote

Over the course of the last 3 days or so, I have heard from at least 3 different sources - Christian/Church sources - the opinion that Christians shouldn't vote or be involved in the political process in any form.

In this article I want to flesh out their Biblical arguments and also answer them Biblically to demonstrate why, as Christians, it is important not just to vote but to be very involved in our American political system.

First of all, let me state that one of the sources  is close to me and I am in no way intentionally showing any disrespect for this source or the other things that come from it. I am simply expressing my opinion which happens to be in opposition to this source on this topic. We as Christians do not have to agree on everything except one thing:" ...God gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life..."

So let's dive in. The sources will remain anonymous out of respect and I will address their arguments as a whole, but their talking points were all pretty much the same and can be found on the web by searching for "Why Christians Shouldn't Vote", the sites you will find present my sources in pretty much the same way.

The crux of this opinion is two-fold. First, Christians are not of this "earthly kingdom" and we should not put our trust in earthly leaders. The second, that God has ordained all earthly authority and therefore voting or not voting makes no difference because God places those who have authority in those positions.

We'll unpack the first: Christians are not of this world, our citizenship is in heaven.

This argument comes from this verse (and others like it). Here, Jesus is talking about his followers:

They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. - John 17:16 

And also:

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ - Philippians 3:20

And they are right. When we became Christians, we became part of the Kingdom of Heaven. That is our real home. We are no longer of this world.
Paul, in his letters such as the letter to the Philippians quoted above, tells us that our citizenship is in heaven. But when he needed to, he exercised his rights as a Roman citizen as well.
But when they had stretched him out for the whips, Paul said to the centurion who was standing by, “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”  - Acts 22:25

But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” - Acts 16:27
What does that tell us about what Paul believed? Some might argue that in those cases he was scared and lost faith for a moment and chickened out. Well, maybe. But considering he used the opportunities to preach the Gospel, I don't think so. I think he understood, as we do, that while our citizenship is in Heaven, we have to live on this earth and should use every opportunity to do good.

A tangent to this argument comes from Ephesians 6:12

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

And also 2 Timothy 2:3-4

Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.  No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

In other words, since our citizenship is not of this world, we are to fight the fight of the Kingdom of God and not worry about earthly battles, such as politics. We should speak only of Christ, sharing the gospel with everyone and not waste any energy on earthly pursuits.

And yes, as Christians we are to always fight the good fight and always aim to make disciples of all people. But does that mean we spend every waking moment doing just that?
The reality is we live in a world where we have to work to provide for ourselves and our families. If we as Christians were to just walk away from our earthly responsibilities, the results would be disastrous. Furthermore, should we give up TV and radio and movies and books and art and do nothing but preach Christ? I don't think so.
Paul understood that people had to work to meet their earthly needs.
[Paul] found a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. And he went to see them, and because he was of the same trade he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade. - Acts 18:2-3
Paul also talks about living in a secular world and dealing with unbelieving neighbors:
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. - I Corinthians 10:31
In this context I am reminded of the words often attributed to Francis of Assisi (though the exact source is not known):
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words."
My opinion is that THIS is how you preach the Gospel always and fight the good fight. Not always with your words, but with your example. In our day to day life of working and shopping and Internetting and so on we are always to be the highest example of Christ even when we cannot use words. 

How does this apply to voting and the political process? Well, first of all, I do feel that during the political season, that Christians should be above the ugliness of the process. Talk about it, express your opinion in polite company, certainly, but avoid malice and slander. Stick to facts. 
And then vote according to what you feel is the best example of Christ. The Bible tells us that we are salt and light in this world, we are a city on a hill. Our vote, as with every other aspect of our life should preach the gospel.

Part 2 of the 'Christians should be apolitical' argument come from Romans 13:1-2:

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.  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 

And 1 Peter 2:13-14:

Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.

And again, yes, this is true. And good. And right. But while the stations of authority are given by God, does that mean the men in those stations are chosen by God? Are we to obey no matter what?
I don't think so. Peter in Acts 5:28-29 gives us an example:

“We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he [the high priest] said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!"
Also, the early believers prayed in Acts 4:26:
‘Why did the Gentiles rage,    and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves,    and the rulers were gathered together,    against the Lord and against his Anointed
If they believed that the kings were God's authority, why would they be worried about them setting themselves against God?
The examples of Paul exercising his Roman citizenship given above apply here as well. If he were subject to the authority over him, why would he appeal to a higher authority?

The question of the early church presents itself here. There was much persecution. How did the church survive if the believers did not resist authority? If they had simply given in to the men that were seeking to kill them, they would have been wiped out. If those men were appointed by God, why would they want to wipe out the church?
Also if authority is from God to the man and not the station, why do we have examples of men choosing men to fill the stations ordained by God?
Therefore, brothers, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty.  But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”  And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. - Acts 6:3-5
And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed. - Acts 14:23
Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads.’ - Deuteronomy 1:13
Another point: The book of Revelation. There are too many references to cite here, but over and over again we are told the nations and the kings of the world will be destroyed. If God ordained those nations and kings, why do they have to be destroyed? The only explanation is that the men in the stations are not following God.

A tangent to this argument is that "Paul, an educated man, would have knows about democracy, yet he never mentioned it" and "Jesus never taught about democracy so why should we participate in one?"

And yes, democracy had existed prior to the time of Christ. And Paul, being highly educated, may have known of this form of government. The Roman Republic had only just dissolved recently, probably within the lifetime of Paul's parents or grandparents. However, at the time of his writings and ministry, no one he reached lived in a democracy. Rome, at the time, was run by the emperor. If anyone he had written to had be lived in a democratic society, he probably would have written about it.
It's also important to note that democracy as it existed prior to Paul's time and even during Paul's time in other parts of the world, was very different from our American republic. In most cases, only citizens could vote. To be a citizen you had to be a land owner. As a land owner you were also a farmer, a business man. So, in essence, only businesses could vote. Even within them there was a hierarchy of a ruling class and a subordinate classes, with the hierarchy having a larger vote than the lower classes.

And the question "What would Jesus do?" Some might say "Jesus wouldn't vote, why should we?"

Well, honestly, it's hard to know what Jesus would do since the gospels don't record any situation similar to casting a vote to hire a leader. This is a red-herring argument.

There are other arguments against voting and participating in politics that you may here:

There are other things God chooses, your parents, the country you live in, whether or not you are saved, whether there is gravity... so be thankful that He chooses your leaders too.

Well, OK, but then why doesn't God choose other things good for me, like only giving me a taste for vegetables, clean water from my city, immunity to all disease? How does God pick and choose some thing and not others? And how does he determine which He chooses and which I choose?
Another is "has government ever changed the world for the better? Why would you want to participate in that?"

This one is funny in light of the previous argument that God gives all authority. If all authority, government, is from God, and government hasn't changed the world for the better, then we're blaming God for the government?
And besides, there is the Emancipation Proclimation, Women's right to vote, freedom of speech and religion, traffic laws that keep people from dying... I would say there is much that the government has done that has made the world better. More than has harmed the world.

The final argument I will discuss: "people's lives aren't changed by law, only by the gospel".

And this is very true. People's lives are not changed by law. However, they are maintained and protected by the law. Yes, only the gospel can save a man's soul, but earthly law, when followed and exercised (as Paul did exercising his Roman citizenship) can protect a man's earthly life allowing him to continue doing much good.

So should Christians participate in politics or not? I believe my points above demonstrate that, if your heart so convicts you in your Christian walk, YES, PLEASE VOTE! It is one way to act as the salt and light in this world, in one small way it is preaching as you practice.

Further points to consider:

1. Voting publicly recognizes that we submit to the authority of the political system in our nation as established by God. Romans 13:1-7. (This expands on our argument from earlier. If God has established a democracy, then he means us to participate in it.)
2. Voting recognizes the equality of all people and their right to speak and be heard. James 2:1.
3. Voting is one way that we can obey God’s command to seek the good of those around us and our nation as a whole. Philippians 2:3.
4. Voting shows that we care deeply about who our leaders are as we are urged to offer prayer and intercession on their behalf. 1 Timothy 2:1, 2 . (Again, if God placed the people in the stations of authority, why do we need to pray for them?)
5. Voting is a simple yet significant way we can do something about politics in our nation. ‘All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, Edmund Burke. Psalms 34:14.
6. Voting makes a difference in the same way a grain of salt makes a difference, and that is how we are to influence our society for good. Matthew 5:13. (Another way of stating my salt and light argument...)
7. Voting is a privilege not to be taken for granted. Those of us who reap the benefits of living in a democracy should play a part in upholding democracy.
8. Not voting is a form of voting, as it will influence the outcome. We need to take responsibility for our actions, as well as our lack of actions. I Peter 1:13.
9. Voting is part of our stewardship to use all the resources we have been given in ways that honor God; to waste a vote is to squander a gift.
10. Voting is Biblical. Jesus commands us to fulfill our responsibility to the civil authority. Matthew 22:21. (Render unto Ceasar... our government asks us to vote, so shouldn't we render unto them our vote?)

All verses are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise specified.