“And Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were amazed at Him.” – Mark 12:17
Jesus Christ lived under a totalitarian form of government and clearly did not have the right to vote. We, however, live in a Constitutional Republic and we have the freedom to exercise our opinions. A Constitutional Republic is a government in which the representatives elected by the people are not the sovereigns but are, instead, subject to a higher sovereign law—a written constitution.
A Democracy is a form of government in which the sovereign power lies with the people who exercise the lawmaking power through direct majority votes, rather than through elected representatives.
Interestingly, the founders of America had the opportunity to establish a democracy but deliberately chose not to. Why?
As John Adams said:
“Remember; democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”
Even though He is addressing the issue of paying taxes, in Mark 12 Christ clearly recognizes two separate jurisdictions of power. I believe if Jesus Christ paid the temple tax (Matthew 17:25-27) He probably paid the governments tax as well. Notice from Mark 12, that He says to render to Caesar “the things that are Caesar’s,” not simply, the general tax. I also believe that if Jesus Christ lived in America today He would not only have paid taxes He would have voted.
Did you know there is no biblical model whereby God explicitly demands His ministers to be silent or to separate themselves from civil leaders or issues? No matter what types of government God’s people were under, they were called to be responsible and courageous when it came to addressing good policy and bad policy.
In fact, I would argue that God expected His people to be active in the political affairs of a given country. Here are just a few individuals in Scripture who participated in the political process.
Godly people speaking against bad policies:
- Elijah confronted King Ahab and Queen Jezebel over issues, such as their unjust use of eminent domain and religious persecution (1 Kings 18:18; 21:1-24).
- Isaiah confronted King Hezekiah over national security failures and issues related to the treasury (2 Kings 20:12-19; Isaiah 39:1-8).
- John the Baptist confronted King Herod over his divorce and marriage (Matthew 14:1-4; Mark 6:17-18) and civil leaders for their hypocrisy (Matthew 3:7).
Godly people partnered with civil leaders to provide sound guidance in constructing good policies.
- Ezra gave counsel on marriage measures (Ezra 9:1-3; 10:2-12), and Governor Nehemiah implemented that counsel into public policy (Nehemiah 8; 13:23-31).
- Paul provided the centurion and soldiers with guidance during times of impending disaster and natural calamity (Acts 27:9-44).
- Jeremiah provided military guidance to King Zedekiah (Jeremiah 21:1-10).
As Charles Finney, a famous minister in the Second Great Awakening, warned:
“The Church must take ground in regard to politics…The time has come that Christians must vote… God cannot sustain this free and blessed country which we love and pray for unless the Church will take right ground. Politics are a part of a religion in such a country as this and Christians must do their duty to the country as a part of their duty to God.
As we approach the coming mid-terms please vote, and encourage others to vote according to their bible conscience!