Pastoral Perspectives

A Christian Perspective On Voting

  The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them. . . . Christians have been exceedingly guilty in this matter. But the time has come when they must act differently. . . . Christians seem to act as if they thought God did not see what they do in politics. But I tell you He does see it – and He will bless or curse this nation according to the course they [Christians] take [in politics]. [Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revivals of Religion (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1868), Lecture XV, pp. 281-282.]

            In the heat of the General Election and now with the cooling period, it is also appropriate for us as believers to refresh our views in light of our voting in this congregational meeting. In this upcoming election, the question that ought to be on the hearts of all baptized members is this, “How should I approach my voting decision?” The Apostle Paul said: “But our citizenship is in heaven” (Philippians 3:20-21). In other words, our primary identity is not as True Wayians or Singaporeans. We Christians are, first and foremost, citizens of the kingdom of God.

            John Calvin, the great Protestant Reformer and author of The Institutes of Christian Religion, said that we Christians look at the world through “Bible spectacles.” In other words, everyone looks at life through a set of lenses based upon our culture, our life experiences, our self-interests, etc. Calvin suggested that for Christians, the Bible serves as the God-given set of lenses profoundly shaping our vision of life.

            So how do we cast our votes? Reviewing what took place in our GE, The majority of Singaporeans (including Christians) vote by:

·        Voting by Heritage – My parents always voted XXX party, therefore, I will vote as they did.

·        Voting by Constituents – My constituency always votes a certain way, so I will vote that way.

·        Voting by Rally – I attended all the rallies and will vote for what they wants you to.

·        Voting by Media Interpretation – Do you think that Facebook, Twitter, internet are wearing Bible spectacles as they interpret issues and candidates?

·        Voting by Purely Secular Concerns – Secular concerns may include cost of living, housing, pandering to fears and prejudices, appeals to self-interests, etc.

Most of these things have nothing to do with looking at life through biblical lenses and yet they do influence and determine the way our votes are cast.  Let’s investigate if the Bible sanctions or admonishes voting (or similar selection process). Consider the following passages:

·        Deuteronomy 1:13: Choose some wise, understanding and respected men from each of your tribes, and I will set them over you

·        Exodus 18:21: But select capable men from all the people–men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain–and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens.

·        Acts 6:3: Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them.

            From the above scriptures, it is clear that God gave the people a mandate to choose their leaders by themselves. However, there was no clear definition as to how this will be achieved. God must have left the people to choose in a way that they consider fair and good. It is also enshrined in our constitution that all adults have the civic responsibility to vote and as Christians, we are supposed to perform our civic responsibility – voting inclusive.

            Christians are supposed to be agents of change. You can effect that change through the ballot. Your vote may be all that will trigger the much-desired change. In truth, we loose our right to complain when we refuse to vote.  The system may be plagued with imperfections, no doubt, but do your bit. We Christians are to look at the world through the spectacles that God has provided for us – the lenses of biblical thinking. In this election, vote for one whose loyalty is first and foremost to the kingdom of God.

Ps Cheng Huat

May 15, 2011