Updated: Nov 3, 2020
What is really expected of us? What is the right thing to do in regard to voting and politics? Many of our young people may be asking themselves these questions. It is true that our society expects its citizens to take part in the political process, telling us: “After all, isn’t the right to vote an important part of life in any democratic society and isn’t democracy the best political system for a country? Shouldn’t we be doing our part by supporting and voting for candidates that share our ideals and views?”
It is true that millions of respectable citizens vote and there are many sincere Christians who are active in politics; and it is argued that it’s part of a Christian's duty to see that their country is run as close to their ideals and beliefs as possible. We might even hear that it is “un-Christian” not to vote.
Slogans like the above are the mantra of the society in which we live. But, should we exercise our right to vote? Is it really our chance to help improve society and even “change the world”? The answer is simply: As Christadelphians, we believe that we are not to vote for anyone in public office or to participate in politics in any way. This has been the stance taken from the beginning of Christadelphia. Brothers and sisters have believed now for six generations that the Bible teaching on this subject is very clear. So, what does the Bible teach us as believers in the wholly-inspired Word of God? What are its instructions and what are the teachings of Christ on this subject? We must turn to the Bible to read what God and His Son have to say about our relationship with the society in which we live and the people that govern it.
Three Bible Principles
There are three principles that are vital to our understanding on this subject. They will help us in our conviction that we are doing right in God’s sight by not voting and avoiding any involvement in politics. They will also help us to explain our beliefs and position to those who question our stance or try to convince us otherwise.
1. It is God that places men and women in positions of political leadership. The fact that God is in control of those who rule over the nations of this world is emphatically declared multiple times in the Old Testament:
And he [God] changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings (Daniel 2:21).
the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will (Daniel 4:17).
For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another (Psalm 75:6-7).
The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will (Proverbs 21:1).
By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth (Proverbs 8:15-16).
The nations’ leaders can promise to effect national sovereignty or peace. The fact is: the President (or any man) does not know what the next moment will bring, let alone the future. God alone knows the future and has control and influence over world affairs. God has and will continue to “run the world” according to His plan regardless of the efforts of fallen mankind. It is not uncommon for God to set a “base” or dishonorable ruler in the highest position of a nation to accomplish a purpose (Daniel 4:17) but we are to remain subject to “the higher powers” regardless (Romans 13:1). If His servants attempt to oppose or thwart the effort of a ruler, they could find themselves in direct opposition to God’s plan and purpose. Even King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged, His [God’s] dominion is an everlasting dominion (Daniel 4:34). God never changes: this first Bible principle still applies today as much as it did over 2000 years ago.
How are we to know which of our leaders is the one God wants to be in power? How shall we be sure, if we cast our vote, that we are voting for the person who is the right one in God’s eyes? Any vote we might cast is subject to our own fallible political decisions. We are forced to make up our own minds as best we may on the basis of what we see and hear in the very deceitful world around us. It is sufficient to know, and to be certain that God’s will shall be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
2. The Kingdom of Jesus was/is not of this world.
Jesus provided a powerful message in John 18:28-36 regarding his relationship to the kingdoms of men, and thus what our relationship should be. We note in particular two things he said in verse 36:
My Kingdom is not of this world
Are we to act as ambassadors for the temporal kingdoms of men, which are to be broken into pieces by the Almighty (Daniel 2:44), or should believers conduct themselves as ambassadors of the coming Kingdom of God? Do we want our allegiance to be with the Kingdom that is to last forever, or the one that is to be destroyed?
If my Kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight.
We understand from this that it is only under the direct command of God (or His Son) that His servants fight. We, as servants of Christ, do not fight for this world, and certainly not in support of a political candidate by campaigning or voting; but rather we follow our Master’s orders [commandments]. The great theme of the Bible is focused on the future 1000-year reign of Jesus Christ upon the earth. In the process of establishing that Kingdom, the servants of the Lord will fight. We must not fight in this present world in defense of such things as democracy, capitalism or any political issue.
The following is from the pamphlet, Why Christadelphians Should Not Vote:
“One who participates in a human effort to establish a government not only betrays a lack of trust in God’s ability to handle things, but it may put us in the position of opposing God. It would be awkward for the believer to find himself politically opposed to the One who can save him.”
3. Believers are to be “sojourners, pilgrims and strangers” upon the earth.
The principle of being a sojourner is taught throughout Scripture (see Genesis 37:1; 47:8-9; Exodus 6:4; Leviticus 25:23; 1 Chronicles 29:15; Psalm 39:12; 119:17-19; and Hebrews 11:9-14). And we know where the Apostle Paul placed his allegiance, For our citizenship is in heaven, from whence also we wait for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20, RV).
The Apostle Peter also associated righteousness with the concept of strangers and pilgrims, Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (our complete conduct); And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear (1 Peter 1:15,17).
If we are not citizens of this world, we should not participate in its politics. We must recognize that there are serious consequences, particularly for our young people, if they register to vote. Any male at the age of 18 must register for the draft. If one has declared their conscientious objection to serving in the military and then registers to vote, they are putting their CO status in grave danger.
Scripture teaches that God is working out His Divine plan for mankind upon this earth. God has chosen not to reveal every detail by which He will accomplish His glorious purpose. Believers are sufficiently instructed, however, to know that God does rule in the affairs of man and his governing bodies. No politician can influence God’s immutable plan. He will accomplish all His purpose at His appointed time. Believers are instructed to be patient, even endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3), and remain true to our Master, awaiting his return, at which time he will put down all rule and authority and set up the Kingdom of his Father.
Throughout the Bible, we are shown how the tangled web of local, national, and international politics – so many aspects of which are hidden even from those directly involved – is all in God’s good hands, both in past history and in the contemporary world. Servants of Jesus Christ are not to become entangled with the affairs of this life (2 Timothy 2:4). Instead, we are to daily seek the Kingdom of God that will be established upon this earth as truly as Jesus Christ taught us to pray, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).
We as Christadelphians believe differently from the citizens of this world. We accept fully the authority of the Bible and believe that it tells us of the unchanging and everlasting rule of God throughout human history. To unbelievers, a position of complete non-involvement in political affairs seems to be a negative attitude to the challenges of the world and nation. However, true Christians believe that such non-involvement is a positive and deliberate statement of allegiance to God, as well as a complete subjection to His will. Convinced that God is in control and not man, such people take no part at all in politics or cast a vote in a public election.
The Christadelphian Advocate Committee