Pastors sometimes struggle to balance the role of church leadership with responsible citizenship. They have mistakenly been told that the pulpit is to be silent on issues of politics. “Don’t mix politics and religion” is an oft repeated refrain in media and from some whose positions are at odds with biblical Christianity.
Church leaders also want to be sure to “keep the main thing the main thing.” They have a limited amount of time each week for the work of the ministry, for teaching and preaching. How are they supposed to speak to the issues facing the country and evangelize the lost and dying, minister to the saints and lead ministries?
The answer is to simply obey the truth of what God’s Word says. A careful examination of the scriptures teaches us that it is the biblical duty and responsibility of every Christian to vote and to vote for leaders who promote Christian principles. God is certainly in control of everything in this world, but that does not mean we should do nothing to further His will. At the very least, we are commanded to pray for our leaders. Paul instructed Timothy the young pastor:
1 Timothy 2:1-4 1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
In terms of politics and leadership, there are accounts in Scripture where God has been displeased with choices made by men of to promote certain ones into places of leadership at times (Hosea 8:4 They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.).
To some it might be less clear today, but a look at recent history reveals that much of the suffering on earth is because of godless leadership. Consider the atrocities of Hitler, Pol Pot or Saddam Hussein. The evidence of sin’s grip on this world is everywhere. (Proverbs 29:2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.).
Scripture gives Christians instructions to obey legitimate authority unless it contradicts the Lord’s commands (Acts 5:27-29 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Also see for reference Romans 13:1-7)
As born-again believers, we ought to strive to choose leaders who will be themselves led by our Creator (1 Samuel 12:13-25). Candidates or proposals that violate the Bible’s commands for life, family, marriage, or faith should never be supported. Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
Christians should vote as led through prayer and study of both God’s Word and the realities of the choices on the ballot. At the very least, pastors and church leaders have an obligation to equip and encourage those under their ministry.