WHY SHOULD CHRISTIAN AMERICANS VOTE?
Christians in general feel as if they should vote but what are the real reasons why Christian Americans should vote? The requirement in America is that informed biblical people vote in every election available. Why?
Many pastors would like to give their congregations basic biblical understanding of American government and politics but aren’t sure where to begin. This post will be helpful as a starting point for that discussion.
AMERICA’S ORIGIN IN THE REFORMATION
The American philosophy of government came from a spiritual movement in Europe called the Protestant Reformation, which started in the early 15th century.
Some professors teach (in accordance with their presuppositions) that America comes from a movement in Europe called the Enlightenment, but actually this is not the case. Although both movements shared some similar values – such as their emphasis on the importance of the individual over the state – there were basic and significant differences.
The Enlightenment brought about the French Revolution because as a whole it did not see God as ultimate value, but man. In France, the Huguenots – the French Protestant Christian middle class – was murdered or driven out starting in 1572, as part of a grand plan to “dechristianize” France. Catholic clergy and adherents were executed and churches were closed and their property destroyed. Ultimately, the Enlightenment there brought about a violent anarchy with a Reign of Terror and resulting tyranny.
This was in stark contrast to the results of the American Revolution. Rather than anarchy motivated by rebellion, the revolution here was in fact a war of self-defense against an increasingly oppressive king. Its result was true liberty that has lasted almost two and a half centuries.
Since then, this American style of liberty has spread to many places on earth, even as it has been diminishing here at home. Still, many Americans don’t understand where their liberty originally came from. Please view The Third Alternative video summary of these American presuppositions (ten minutes in length).
A NEW CONCEPT OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
The philosophy of government propounded by the American Founding Father generation is often known as Christian Self-government. This concept explains that every individual is to control himself under God’s authority as opposed to having an absolute freedom – anarchy – on one hand or being under absolute civil control – tyranny – on the other.
America at its founding was unique. Christians believe that God ultimately decides the boundaries of nations and that He began something new in America. Americans could choose their leaders. They were not stuck with whomever happened to be in line for the throne and their opinions and whims. This was a new and radical concept on earth.
Therefore we could potentially choose those whom we saw as the best people in the land to govern us. In other words, we could govern ourselves under God in the sphere of civil government.
We must recognize that the only thing civil government does is legislate morality – turn personal morality into law – and then enforce that morality. The question is, “Whose morality is being turned into law?”
The Bible tells us that the institution of civil government – man over man authority – was given by God. It therefore has proper purposes, functions and boundaries, also given by God.
The trick is to keep civil government within its proper functions and boundaries. Therefore we must vote for individuals who can and will do that. Those who believe that there are no limits to civil government should not be voted into office, or should be voted out if they are already in power. This is our challenge today.
RULE OF LAW REPLACES RULE OF MAN
The American founders used the Bible as their “government textbook.” They learned that the people and their representatives must as their first priority govern the government and keep it restrained to its proper functions and boundaries.
The people are the ones to tell the civil government what it can and cannot do. This is called the consent of the governed. This is accomplished by a constitution. Representatives are to “uphold the constitution.”
The constitution is the law that governs the government and is top civil authority. This is called the Rule of Law. This change in the basis of civil government from the Rule of Man where a king or some other grouping of men is the top and final authority to the Rule of Law was historic.
The founders had suffered much under the Rule of Man concept of authority and finally had to protect themselves and their families from future abuses. Though they were reluctant to do it, they finally decided they must separate themselves from England’s king and declared their independence from his government in 1776.
The American founders understood from the Bible that the proper purpose of civil government is to serve its citizens with protection (Matt. 20:20-28).
The English king’s view of his civil government was to rule and control the people. He believed the colonists were his subjects and their lives and property ultimately belonged to him. He could grant or retract the right for them to use that property whenever he so desired, if it fit his purposes of control.
Preceding America’s separation from England was a pervasive supernatural spiritual awakening throughout the colonies that historians call the First Great Awakening, approximately 1740-1780. One result of this awakening was the colonists believed that they were God’s servants not the king’s or, significantly, the church’s. They believed that God was ultimately sovereign in their lives, not the king or the church. They basically loved their king and their church but understood that each institution had proper boundaries given by God Himself in the Bible.
In America, elections ultimately gave the people the ability to renew the civil government’s purpose of protection and service continuously. For that to happen, the requirement is that informed biblical people vote in every election available.
PRAY STUDY VOTE SERVE