Should I Only Vote FOR a Christian Candidate?
When it comes to a federal election our hopes at the National House of Prayer is that Canadian Christians will not only vote, but will vote intelligently. One question we often hear from evangelical Christians is: “Should I only vote for a Christian candidate?” (I devote an entire chapter to this question in my book, WE HAVE A VOICE.) When this question is asked, most often the individual frames their question as an obvious “Yes”, but, let’s flesh this out a little.
Generally speaking, Christians should be glad that God has called a fellow-believer to run for office and serve our nation. It is naturally assumed that they will bring their values of God’s Kingdom to bear on the decisions they make. As well, other Christian Members of Parliament see this as a positive in the hopes of bolstering a righteous voice in the House of Commons and at various government committees. There are numerous pressures and expectations which come upon anyone serving as a Member of Parliament in our nation. Now, add the extra expectations of serving as a Christian leader, for example: operating not solely under a ‘political spirit’ or mindset, but maintaining the influence of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, and we soon can see the absolute importance of holding these individuals up with much prayer.
With a Christian serving in government, there is a value added in that he or she should also have a greater accountability to the God they serve and in how that affects everyday decision making. The hope is that a Christian’s character would be seen in their integrity and other traits, like humility, to counter the very real lure of power that is associated with their position.
...our main concern should always be whether or not they can do their job well.
Back in 2015 I asked various Christian MPs the question: “Should I only vote for a Christian candidate?” and most of their answers were similar saying, that while it is a good thing to have another Christian leader in government, our main concern should always be whether or not they can do their job well. One MP said that to only vote for a Christian candidate is to choose the easy way out. His thoughts are that regardless of whether a candidate is a Christian or not, we should undertake due diligence and find out what the character and competency of this person is. We would also do well to remember that just because an individual may be a Christian, he or she may not have the right skill-mix to serve in this position and therefore would not be the best choice. I recall a phone call from a minister’s association regarding a born-again Christian candidate where the pastors expressed their concern that this candidate was not competent for the task, and even his character was in question. So just because an individual is a Christian does not automatically guarantee that they are skilled to serve at the federal level of government, nor does it automatically guarantee that they will walk with a high degree of integrity.
As voters, we need to do our best to become informed as to who is running in our riding and what do they stand for. You may be surprised to find that even a non-believer may also walk in a high degree of integrity. We should also note that some individual Christian MPs may decide not to allow their religious convictions to have a bearing in the decisions they make.
Look how Moses was instructed to find capable leaders.
"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."
“Consider a good analogy. A few weeks ago, I had to have surgery, and I would have been overjoyed to find someone in my church to perform the operation. But that wasn’t my first concern. My first concern was to find the most competent surgeon available. And the same rule applies in politics: What we need are people who will do the best job.”
(Charles Colson, Colson, Charles, Break Point Online, 4872 Competent Turks, Voting for Christians, October 26, 1998).
Keeping God on the Throne, Not Government
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God."
Some believe that all we need is a born-again Christian Prime Minister, then we would have a good nation. Without repeating some of the above, let me ask the question: Living within a democracy such as ours, would such a leader then be able to impose their Christian beliefs on the nation? The answer is that if he or she tried to do so, there would be riots in the streets and civil disobedience.
Would a born-again Prime Minister be able to impose their Christian beliefs on the nation?
We have had Christian Prime Ministers who in my mind have governed well. Under Stephen Harper’s leadership, for example, he rightly put the question of abortion back onto the people of the nation. And this poses another important factor. Are we primarily looking to government to have a good nation, or, in spite of whichever government we have, are we seeing the important need for a robust local church to bring the transforming message of the gospel to have an impact on our own local communities. Personal witness of local Christians, is the one way we will see lasting change in our nation. (see 1Peter 2:15; 3:15). In saying that, I do not want to minimize the importance of Christians in leadership or local Christians having a voice through voting in our nation. But let’s do so prayerfully,
"looking to Christ as the author and perfecter of our faith,"
Different MPs have said that it’s a huge mistake to think that simply electing a Christian to office will solve all our nation’s problems. Let me state clearly that, without question, I celebrate when a Christian is elected to serve in our government. My main reason is that I do believe a Christian, with a combination of good leadership abilities, can make an excellent leader. But as voters, we do have a responsibility to find the most competent people to do justice, restrain evil and preserve order (see the context of Romans 13:1-5).
Some Prayer Points
Pray for government leaders who are full of wisdom and have characters of humility, courage, honesty and integrity.
Pray that Canada will continue to see Christians making a positive contribution as politicians in our nation.
Continue to ask God that our governmental leaders will not hesitate to ask God for the necessary grace and wisdom to fulfil their role as a servant of our nation. (James 1:5)