A Christian Approach to Voting

As we near the date of our national vote, we thought it would be helpful to examine what inspiration has to say of this patriotic act. Because there is very little in Scripture on this subject, we will  look to the two last prophets, Ellen White and Victor Houteff, for their inspired views that can guide us in this area.

We all have the human nature to have opinions on policies, national and local. The purpose, as we know, for our public voting is to effect rules and government that we deem right and fair. As a Christian we want to be in line with what our Lord has spoken through the prophets on any subject, including voting. Let us see what we should know about this. We’ll not only look at voting but the general practice of being involved in politics .

Our prophetess said the following ” Whatever the opinions you may entertain in regard to casting your vote in political questions, you are not to proclaim it by pen or voice…My brethren will you not remember that none of you have any burden laid upon you by the Lord to publish your political preferences in our papers, or to speak them in the congregation, when the people assemble to hear the word of the Lord..We are not as people to become mixed up with political questions…Keep your voting to yourself. Do not feel it is your duty to urge everyone to do as you do.” (Selected Messages, volume 2,p.336-337).

That’s quite specific in instructions. Let’s try to grasp its significance. In the first part , we “are not to proclaim it by pen or voice” would appear to guide us in not advocating  our own beliefs.   Next we see that our “publishing or speaking” of our political opinions is not a work that is given us by the Lord, and we should not take part in this.

So from a general viewpoint, we see that she is advocating that we keep our political views to ourselves. Activism in this regard is certainly to be refrained from.

As we mentioned we all have our human nature to want “our view” to be understood and followed. Even right now, at times I find myself sometimes speaking privately to people on my political views. But it would be wrong to post those views or even engage in a public dialogue with others over political views. The only exception would be when such views are connected with Biblical or moral issues, such as prophecies or breaking the Commandments, for example.

If a presidential candidate said “I want all grade school children to stop reading the Bible at home and start doing their homework instead”, you can be sure we would have free reign to discuss this “political” situation and our views.

This political issue came up in  a meeting in the early pioneer days of our church. Ellen White explains,  “Attended meeting in the eve. Had quite a free, interesting meeting. After it was time to close, the subject of voting was considered and dwelt upon. James first talked, then brother (J.N.) Andrews talked, and it was thought by them best to give their influence in favor of right against wrong. They think it right to vote in favor of temperance men being in office in our city instead of by their silence running the risk of having intemperate men put in office.

Brother (David) Hewitt tells his experience of a few days (since) and is settled that (it) is right to cast his vote. Brother (Josiah) Hart talks well. Brother (Henry) Lyon opposes. No others object to voting, but brother (J.P.) Kellogg begins to feel it is right. Pleasant feelings exist among all the brethren. O that they may all act in the fear of God.”(Selected Messages, Volume 2, P.337)

The above is quite significant. EGW basically records an obvious approval of voting.  The main concern being that “right” doing (by voting) is much preferred than allowing wrong doing into office. Sister White puts the final stamp of approval on this with her next comments.

“Men of intemperance have been in the office today in a flattering manner expressing their approbation of the course of the Sabbath keepers not voting and expressed hopes that they will stick to their course and, like the Quakers, not cast their vote. Satan and his evil angels are busy at this time, and he has workers upon the earth. may Satan be disappointed, is my prayer. (Selected Messages, Volume 2, P.337)

Clearly EGW confirms that our voting for the “right” in the political arena certainly is good to do, and that Satan would have us to not vote for the right, thereby helping him to sow wrongs among us.

In our studying the issues, obviously we as Christians stand with all issues that stand for good solid moral values. Anything that involves God’s creation such as the very hot topic on GMO foods. We shouldn’t be for man being allowed to tamper with God’s wholesome food. This would be one of the issues that sister White would obviously  not be including when she spoke of not “proclaiming” our opinion. Why?  Because we are standing up for our Lord and “His” creation (food), thus this is not a “political” issue in the real sense. It’s a moral and health issue (keeping our temples healthy).

Our last prophet, the Elijah prophet , brother Houteff, had this to say about this voting issue in The Answerer, question 145.  “Is voting becoming to a Christian?”  

“As the franchise is one of the inalienable rights of a free people, there cannot be any wrong in exercising it if thereby either the law or offices of the land can be better served. To cast a vote though, which will further such an end, requires conscientious study; failing that, one’s vote  can only be unintelligent guesswork, and thus adverse rather than conducive to good government.

Those, therefore, who are in no position to devote the time and study necessary to inform themselves on political issues sufficiently to qualify them to vote intelligently in them, cannot  conscientiously cast such a vote.

Being ministers of the gospel, with our time completely preoccupied  with the spiritual interests of the people, we  ourselves are not able to give attention to their political interests also, just as people’s political representatives  are not able to give proper attention to their spiritual needs also. And therefore rarely, if ever, do we see our way clear to vote.”

Here we see an approval of sorts. Brother Houteff let’s us know we should only vote if we are well informed on the issue or candidate, as is our right. But those of us who are too active in the work most likely won’t be up to speed on the issues due to our devoted work to save souls. Bottomline, if we vote we are to be very sure of that issue or candidate, no guess-work  should be involved.  This answer compliments EGW’s earlier statements well, by letting us know that the informed voter is the  correct voter, and conscientiously voicing his opinion for the right as opposed to the wrong.

I don’t know about you, but before I learned about VTH’s above statement, I would sometimes vote and just check (guess) which proposal or candidate sounded best, even if I was not familiar with it. This we see, is not to be practiced.

In closing, we must conclude that when voting for issues that we are well-informed on,and appear to be the “right” course ,  it is right before our Lord. But  we should not become an advocate of our views, unless as we stated, it’s a moral or Biblical  issue, which it then ceases to be only a political issue. But the  servants who are too busy doing the Lord’s work , and don’t know the issues at hand, are  justified by our Lord for not taking part. They have the eternal glory foremost in their minds. Let’s be sure to follow our prophetess’ words and not  “become mixed up in political questions”.

We have much more important issues to deal with now at this late hour, than to get involved in political issues. Are these issues going to stand for a long time? Of course not, they will stand for a fleeting moment, a mist of time. The Lord’s issues will stand  for eternity.

May the Lord be your strength and wisdom.

4 Responses to “A Christian Approach to Voting”

  1. Dr. Barr-Marinetti Says:

    Very informative article. I listened to a sermon given by Pastor Doug Batchelor about certain issues that we as Christians need to protect, as best as we could, when these matters come up at the voting booth. I believe that we are to stand up for God’s Word even though the Bible must be fulfilled. I too vote in correlation with my Christian Values. Happy Sabbath!

  2. Godsloveandlaw Says:

    Thanks for these well said comments. Bro. Batchelor has quite a few good sermons for sure. Happy Sabbath to you as well my brother.

  3. Teri Says:

    Very wise instruction from Ellen White. Politics is a very touchy subject and we must be careful what we say to others. What is more important is their soul, and if we offend them in what we say we have lost the most important battle. We always need to remember that we are ambassadors for Christ and that is our first duty. Thank you, that was helpful.

  4. Godsloveandlaw Says:

    Amen. I’m reminded of my Mother’s advice “Son, your grandfather told me (her dad), and it’s true, there are two things in life you can’t discuss, without getting into agruments–politics and religion.” Thanks sister.

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