Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Free will voting?

Today marks the Texas election primary, in which we may have the sad distinction of providing Mitt Romney enough votes to push him over the top in delegates garnered for the Republican Convention. 

A few days back I posted on the general subject of voting, and want to make a few comments here. There are many principles we should look at in determining how as Christians we should relate to our government. Our God to whom we are responsible has ordained the principle of human government/governments (Rom 13:1-6) and is sovereign over the events of the world (Ps 75:6-7; 103:19; Dan 2:21; Ezek 30:20-26; Rom 9:17). God who has ordained government, also establishes our obedience to law/government (Rom 13:1-6). This includes paying tribute/taxes, praying for and honoring those in authority (1 Tim 2:1-2; 1 Pet 2:17). Christians ought to use what freedoms they have to do good, and so lead others to glorify God (1 Pet 2:11-17). The Christians’ allegiance is to God. The government’s power ends when it conflicts with God’s commands to His people (Acts 4:18-20).

Within these principles one must determine whether to vote, and if so, for whom to vote. I guess I came to that position by default, coming from a background where voting was considered both a duty and a privilege. Though I have increased in much skepticism, so far I have not decided that it is unbiblical to vote for human government.

As far as the biblical basis of choosing to vote for a particular person, platform or issue, I would say it is mainly informed by three main points — that God is sovereign over the events of the world, that the purpose of government is to promote good and punish evil, and that Christians ought to use what freedom they have to do good& to lead others to glorify God. 

Because I believe God is sovereign, I do not worry that it is my responsibility to “raise up” or “put down” the next “ruler”. God can do that with or without my vote. As a Christian under the rule of God and commanded to do good, I should vote for what or who I think will do good and punish evil. Mine is to vote; God's is to raise up and put down. As I thought about this, it occurred to me that many of us are very "free will" and "anti-sovereignty" in our voting. We worry that if we do not vote that God will not be able to raise up the right ruler or rulers. Perhaps we never consider that our vote or lack therefore is already part of God's determined means of accomplishing His will?


Jonathan Melton said...

It says in Romans 13:7 to "Render unto all their DUES." So does this mean that we are to follow illegal governments such as those that violate the Constitution or rights guaranteed by the Constitution?

R. L. Vaughn said...

An interesting text: 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Brother Melton, I think "dues" is explained in the rest of the text of verse 7 and 8 -- tax/tribute/custom, respect/fear/honour, and debt/owing. I'm not sure how much difference there is between tribute and custom -- different kinds of taxes I think. Matthew is described as receiving the latter kind of taxes.

To your question, I'm not sure what you mean by "illegal governments". Do you mean the people in our government doing things that are unconstitutional? If so, I would say yes to the extent that it does not violate our obedience to God. For example, I think one could make a case that a federal income tax in oppressive and contrary to the spirit of the constitution, but I wouldn't withhold paying it based on such reasoning. Within our system, we have the right to try to get these things changed. But until we do so, we should follow government regulations that do not violate our obedience to God. So I can despise the concept of the government telling me that I must wear a seatbelt, but still wear one because it doesn't cause me to violate anything in the spiritual realm regarding obedience to God.

Hope I'm addressing what you asking.

R. L. Vaughn said...

I think it is ironic that a few months back we Texans were complaining that this redistricting issue delaying our primaries was knocking us out of being a decisive factor in the Republican primary. But yesterday we had the distinct "honor" of "deciding" who would get enough delegates at the Republican convention. (How do you do a surprised and embarrassed "smiley face"??)

Jonathan Melton said...

I think what the argument is that because our primary was pushed so far back, that we had no chance to be a factor in getting a CONSERVATIVE candidate.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Yes, I agree. I was just making light of us Texans. But on the serious side, if the primary had been much earlier I would be very surprised if Mitt Romney would have won. Many people have just resigned themselves to Mitt as the way to vote against Barack Obama.