Matthew J. Brescia
The following is a brief outline of ministry given in our own local assembly, which may be a help to others as we approach another election year. I am not trying to dictate to another's conscience, but would seek to be faithful to the Lord and to pass along truth as we have been taught. 2 Timothy 2:2. 1 should also state that while we do not participate in the politics of the world, this does not in any way give license to neglect our plain duty to love our country, respect and obey its laws in the Lord, and pray earnestly for our President, the Congress, Governors and leaders right down to our local magistrates. "Fear God. Honour the king," (in that order) still holds true (1 Peter 2:17).
The following then are seven reason we should not as Christians be involved in voting and politics.
1. The Example of Our Lord (I Peter 2:13-23)
In following His steps we should understand that partisan politics were present in His day. There were Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians etc., Liberals and Conservatives, if you will. Our Blessed Lord never took part in any political movement of His day. NEVER. He was neither Pharisee nor Sadducee and though they joined together to try to entrap Him into being involved, His plain reply as they showed Him the penny, was "render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." He ever remained "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners."
2. The Expressions in His prayer (John 17:14-18)
In praying to the Father, He said of His own, "they are in the world, but they are not of the world." They are different, they are… separate, and the world hates them because they are associated. and linked to Me in My pilgrim sojourn through it, "Sanctify them (set them apart) through Thy truth ... as Thou hast sent Me ... even so have I sent them into the world." He meant that they should be a: testimony and a witness for God, to bear His reproach and to share in His rejection, for He "wandered as a homeless stranger in the world His hands had made."
3. The Experience of the apostle Paul (Acts 23: 6,7 with Acts 24:19-2)
I am not throwing stones at this beloved servant of Christ, but this seems to be the only time in his experiences that he stooped to politics. He saw that his accusers were politically divided in the Sanhedren (the ruling body) and he took sides. "I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee" he cries and uses it to his advantage. But Paul, did you not later write that you counted those things "loss for Christ?" Yes, and in referring back to the incident, before Felix, it would seem that he recalls it with this significant word, "except" (Read it in the passage; Acts 24). In Philippians 3: 20 he has thrown off all his past, and says simply and sublimely from his heart and by the Spirit of God to all of us as Christians, "our conversation (POLITICS - the only time it is used in the NT) ... our politics is in heaven." Thank God, OUR MAN IS IN!
4. The Exhortation of the Scriptures (Romans 13: 1-7 and 1 Timothy 2: 1,2)
While we don't take part in politics, we do firmly believe in government as an institution set up by God for social and not selfish reasons. These and other scriptures teach plainly that we should PAY taxes, tribute, dues, customs, and PRAY for all in authority-for their salvation from everlasting punishment, and their preservation from evil and lawless men. We as Christians should NEVER take part in any movement or uprising against the Government of our land, wherever we find ourselves or whoever is in power. Keep in mind that NERO was on the throne when these exhortations were given. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself "witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate the Governor" when He said, "thou couldest have no power at all against Me, except it were given thee from above." Remember that the Living God ALWAYS has His "watchers" over even the basest kingdoms of men, Daniel 4:17. Much more could be said, but James reminds us "the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." NOT the effectual, fervent pull of a lever (James 5:16).
5. The Experience of the Patriarchs (Genesis 18-19 with Hebrews 11:9, 10)
Briefly let me remind you that Abraham, "the friend of God," sat in the door of his tent and prayed, while Lot, the "fellow" of the world, sat in the gate at Sodom, involved in its politics. Which one was effective for God?
6. The Effect on the Unity (Ephesians 4:3)
To introduce partisan politics into an assembly of God would kill, not keep the unity of the Spirit and spread disastrous chaos among the harmony of the saints. It would lead to unequal yokes and worldly associations.
7. The Exasperation of the Guides (Overseers) (Hebrews 13:17)
Suffice it to say, in closing, that the shepherds would be hard pressed to advise the flock who to vote for in any election. The might even be going against the mind of God to pick a man, for sometimes in His sovereignty "He setteth up over it (the kingdom) the basest of men" (Daniel 4:17) "THE HEAVENS DO RULE" (verse 26).