The purpose of this article is to make handy for voters, a quick reference of biblical principles should that voter want to align their voting with the Bible. This article endorses no candidate or party. In our representative republic, as we go into an election year, we will look at a field of imperfect candidates and hopefully vote for the ones that most closely align with our values. If we are Bible-believing and Christian, this should require a thoughtful process of looking at how the Bible instructs our values, and match up that instruction with the field of candidates. Bible-believing Christians should vote their values if their values are important to the government they want.
In virtually every decision, we have the “two greats” to serve as the broad, over-arching guide for how we conduct our lives. Reviewing the two greats, Jesus commands:
The Greatest Commandment: Matthew 22:36-39 (NLT)
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Simply put, to vote as Jesus would have us vote, “Great” considerations about a candidate should:
1. Elevate life in their priorities. As Christians demonstrate their love, evil will always fight to block our demonstration of love. A history of hostility and antagonizing life and liberty should be a deal-breaker. Support for abortion is a deal-breaker. Loving people engaged in hostile slaughter of innocents is a commandment, but making it as hard as possible for them to engage in their monstrous sin is an even greater display of loving an enemy. Without life, no other rights exist.
2. Hold free speech and religious freedom as a bedrock principles for the candidate. Having religious liberty as a core value and a high priority, so as little as possible stands in the way of carrying out the Great Commission.
a. Pro religious liberty is not necessarily pro Christian. The freedom to choose is an absolute requirement to accept the Christian faith. Thus, a history of supporting religious liberty, and the “free exercise thereof” is more important that supporting a Christian candidate.
b. A history of supporting religious suppression and oppression is a deal-breaker as well. Forcing business owners to participate in activities that violate their faith, oppresses First Amendment rights in a number of ways. Candidates who support and allow monuments that represent the faith of fallen veterans, or the faith of communities suppress the free exercise of religion.
Expecting industriousness in biblical policy positions that should be important to the voting believer. Candidates who exchange votes for gifts to a population, or a free-ride on the backs of workers, are acting contrary to the Bible’s instruction. The Apostle Paul reminded the church in Thessalonica about industry,
2 Thessalonians 3:8-10 (NLT)
“We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
It is obvious that God expects His people to be industrious, investing their time and effort in helping themselves and helping the community prosper. Leaders who ignore this requirement for financial budgeting create a social structure that the Bible does not sustain. God gave everyone some type of energy, skills and talents, and voters should elect leaders that govern with the ideal that everyone in the community who can work, should work.
Life happens, illnesses, deaths in the family, disability and aging… all of these issues and more have always caused people to become poor, often through no fault of their own. As for communal stewardship of the resources that God has provided, generously giving charity for those who need it is a biblical requirement. Levites and priests collected stores of 1/10 (the tithe) of everyone’s productivity to keep the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. The Levites were religious authority, and sustained many of the poor from the tithe. Beyond the tithe, God instructed the individual Israelites to also help the poor.
Deuteronomy 15:10-11 (NLT)
“Give generously to the poor, not grudgingly, for the LORD your God will bless you in everything you do. There will always be some in the land who are poor. That is why I am commanding you to share freely with the poor and with other Israelites in need.”
There are limits to what the Bible would endorse as charity. Moses speaks to loaning to those without (Deuteronomy 15:7-9), so they could get on their feet and work in society. Forgiveness of those debts was commanded every 7th year. As one considers who to vote for, leaders who incline toward helping people engage in the industriousness of society are leading biblically.
The question of socialism is often visited when types of government are bandied about. As mentioned earlier, there is an accusation of socialism regarding the early church. As we examine the source text, we find that is not really civil government, but rather acting as a family. Let’s look at how Luke describes this setting:
Acts 2:43-47 (NLT)
“A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved.”
The church acted as a family as the Holy Spirit came upon them. They shared, as a family, the love of Christ and worship of Him. Their fellowship was added to by the fellowship of converts from the Temple, but the government was in no way socialistic. Churches often share potluck meals today, and many members sell or bequeath their property that is given to the church. What is in view today, as then, was family, not socialism.
We should also mention stewardship as relates to picking leaders. The Bible makes clear that we own nothing on this earth and God has given us the earth over which to be stewards. This is mentioned in the earliest parts of the Bible,
Genesis 2:15 (NLT)
The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
Tending and watching over is not “owning”. A biblical leader will demonstrate that they know what is given them to watch over is a trust given by God and affirmed by the people. Moses instructed the Israelites of this,
Deuteronomy 8:15-17 (NLT)
“Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness with its poisonous snakes and scorpions, where it was so hot and dry. He gave you water from the rock! He fed you with manna in the wilderness, a food unknown to your ancestors. He did this to humble you and test you for your own good. He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’”
Biblical voters will pick candidates who know that resources are given by God, and they are going to be held to account for them. God blesses the people of our representative republic, and in turn expects the people to elect leaders who demonstrate honesty and good stewardship.
Some may find the stewardship section of this article to be a strange place to put community policing and national defense. This is also management of resources. There are known evil-doers in the world. Allowing evil-doers to injure and kill people and to pilfer the resources of the community with force is bad stewardship. A strong defense and protecting the community are good stewardship.
Lastly, Bible-believing Christians should vote based on the moral fiber demonstrated by the candidate. Flagrantly disregarding and violating the Ten Commandments should disqualify a candidate. Exodus 20 informs us the commandments, which are briefly: