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Former vice president Joe Biden (left) and President Donald Trump (right).NEW YORK TIMES (CUSTOM CREDIT)/ASSOCIATED PRESS (LEFT)

So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

  • Acts 14:23

They’re almost here.  The most fraught elections in living memory.  Maybe in the history of our nation.

With so much at stake, it seemed good to me to set in order my thoughts on Tuesday’s elections.

Should Christians Vote?   

“If voting made any difference, it would be illegal.”  One hears this quote from time to time.  In my case, it pops up occasionally in Libertarian authors whose works I’ve read.  But this is not a Christian idea.  It seems to contain the idea that no matter whom you vote for, you’re going to get the exact same result.  Admittedly, there is at least some truth to this.  But to dismiss all voting as a useless exercise is, in my opinion, a major mistake.  Voting is the Christian way of choosing men to fill government offices.  This is true in both church government and civil government.

In Acts 14:23 we read, “So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”  The Greek word translated “appointed” is kīrotonēsantes, which means to vote or to approve by show of hands.  Commentator Simon Kistemaker notes,

In Greek, the term to appoint actually means to approve by a show of hands in a congregation meeting. With the approval of an assembly, individuals were appointed to serve in a particular office.  In other words, the showing of hands was equivalent to choosing officials, in this case to serve in the government of the local church (New Testament Commentary, Acts, 525).

John Gill, commenting on this passage wrote that the election of elders and deacons was done by the members of the local congregation, “who by joint suffrages declared their choice of them by the stretching out, or lifting up of their hands, as the word [kīrotonēsantes] here used signifies, and not the imposition of them.”

Now both church government and civil government are creatures of God – as Paul notes in Romans 13, civil magistrates are “appointed by God” and are said to be his ministers – and as God has seen fit to establish republican government in both church and state, it seems a good and necessary inference to conclude that, not only does the Bible permit Christians to vote in the election of civil magistrates, but perhaps even that it is their civic duty to do so.  For if God has established a means of selecting officers, whether in the church or in the state, he has done so for the good of his people.  If we ignore God’s provision, we ignore it at our own peril. 

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