Monday, January 16, 2012

Should Christians Vote Part 2: Aren't All Leaders Appointed by God Anyway?

One of the arguments against Christians getting involved in the political process is that God is the one who appoints our leaders. This idea comes from Romans 13:1, which says that there is no ruler that was not established by God.

While I certainly agree with that verse 100%, that doesn’t mean that God is in favor of each ruler. Let’s revisit a dark time in Israel’s history.

Israel never had a king before because their king reigned from heaven. God had established the priesthood and His prophets, as well as the judges, to lead His people, and the last of these judges was Samuel. When Samuel was getting old and near the end of his life, the Israelites began to ask for a king.

They wanted to be just like everyone else.

Samuel asked them if they would jump off a cliff if everyone did (not quite, but it was a similar exchange), but they insisted on having a king. God told Samuel to tell them what a king would be like, and here is the description that Samuel relayed to the people:

He will take your sons and put them in his army and make them drive his chariots; he will harvest your fields for his food; he will take your daughters and make them cook for him; he will take your cattle and put them to work and use them to feed his entourage.

But the people still wanted a king. Samuel went back to the Lord, who acknowledged that the people were rejecting Him, and God told Samuel to give the people what they wanted. Even though the Lord was going to establish a king, He was going to wait for David, who was a man after God’s heart. Instead, Israel got Saul, who was a terrible king that was soon rejected by God.

So did God appoint Saul? Yes, but does that mean that Saul was God’s plan? No.

Sometimes God steps back and says, “If you want it so badly, just do it.” Just as Romans 1 records God releasing people to follow their own sinful passions, so I Samuel 8 records God giving the people the king they wanted.

If a candidate is elected with a majority vote, then the people are getting what they ask for. We can’t blame God for the poor job that Saul did, and we can’t blame Him if we elect an ungodly leader. In God’s sovereignty He allows rulers to come to the throne, but that doesn’t mean they are there with His blessing.

So get out there and vote, and realize that your vote makes a difference. 
(Read Part 1 here)


Tommy Mann said...

The next blogs will begin to look at the issues.

Philip said...

Good point Tommy Mann.. Thanks for these blogs

Tommy Mann said...

Thank you Philip. I enjoy doing it. On Thursday I will put up Part 3 on abortion and stem cell research, and the next one will be on war and the death penalty.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you might consider an alternative view? There's much that you've overlooked in your series on Christians and voting. Check out: "Blood Guilt: Christian Responses to America's War on Terror" (New Covenant Press, 2011)

Tommy Mann said...


Thank you for your comment. I won’t be getting around to reading that book you suggested in the near future (although I will check it out), so if there is something that I have “overlooked” would you mind telling me here?

And yes, I would consider an alternate view. Anonymous commenters here frequently suggest that I have never read a dissenting viewpoint from my own, but they fail to realize that my viewpoint is shaped by reading many differing opinions. By the book title you suggested I’m assuming that you are referring to war, but as I stated in the blog Should Christians Vote for War or Capital Punishment (, I believe in just wars. However, I have read Compollo (, Claiborne, McClaren, Miller, and others who believe that there is never a cause for war.

Brian McClaren has rightly pointed out that countries expand their borders through “bullets and bombs,” and I am opposed to that; the war on terror is not about America’s Manifest Destiny, but about being peacemakers to the victims of evil despots (Hussein, for example, murdered millions before he was brought to justice through this just war, and he would have murdered hundreds of thousands more).

Anti-war Christians like to talk about being peacemakers, but holding up images of the peace symbol doesn’t bring peace to Afghanistan; bombs and bullets have. If the anti-war movement prevailed then bin Laden and Hussein would be alive today murdering a dozen people per day over another few decades; where is the peacemaking and the social justice there?

So yes, I would be open to hearing an alternate opinion, but that doesn’t mean that I will change by belief.