In an army mess there are two subjects that you are to avoid: politics and religion. When I served as a military chaplain I certainly couldn’t avoid the latter! As contemporary Christians, while we ought to be respectful of the personal political decisions of fellow believers, politics is not a realm to which the Bible is silent, nor is it one we shouldn’t come openly to Scripture as a Church. In this mini-series for the Canadian election of 2019 I hope, not to instruct you how to vote, but to reflect on Biblical principles that might inform your civic awareness. In case you’re still not at ease as to my being neutral and therefore able to objectively write on the topic I’ll declare that I’m a-political, my kingdom is not of this world, it is spiritual and its benevolent King is Lord Jesus.
Many seek the face of a ruler, but justice comes from the LORD. (Prov 29:29)
Many Christians in the West still look to politics to solve or sort out society. They think politics can “save us.” They place a lot of hope in the political process or their party (is it any wonder they are never satisfied! C.f. Ps 121). Promises are broken, politicking trumps principles and at the end of the day little has changed. Indeed, the failure of mainstream politics in the West to deliver is why many groups on the extreme left and right are flourishing.
In ancient days a monarch, usually a king, was both the law maker and the judge. Many people, from the nobles to the commoner, would seek his face, or audience, in the hopes that their financial gift or earnest plea might bring them into favour with the ruler so that what they hoped for would be secured. Just like today, in ancient days many sought a ruler to find salvation.
The beauty of this verse is that is reminds us that salvation (“justice”), the thing we look for from politicians, can only be found in the Lord. Whether it be a moral, economic, social or justice matter, if we put out ultimate hope in politics we will be a hopeless person. Whilst we should seek to influence the government as Christians for good, to put our ultimate hope there is misguided. As Canada has entered into the era of “post-Christianity” many Christians have come to wake up and smell the coffee and notice that we are not in Kansas anymore. No political party represents a Christian worldview any longer. People no longer believe the very preface of our Charter- “Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law.” It is any wonder then that conservatism, liberalism, socialism, etc, do not wholly stand for truth, but only aspects of the values of Biblical Christianity. Conservatives seek to be sound fiscal stewards but no longer stand for moral issues nor care for the poor. Liberals may give invest in often misguided social projects but have godless ideological moral principles and are not prudent financially. The NDP are very much like the liberals, just more radical on some points. The Greens want to care for Creation (though they don’t use those words), which is good (Gen 2:15), but are like the Liberals and NDP on many other matters.
A recognition that all of the “isms” of politics won’t save us, prepares us to do at least two things that can make real change: prayer and evangelism. Seeking justice for our country from the Lord through prayer can be used by Him to make real change in society (1 Chr 7:14). Sharing the Gospel and transforming hearts, rather than a top down political approach, will be a bottom up grassroots transformation that will attune people with the Lord’s will, one heart at a time.
William Wilberforce came to this conclusion. He was frustrated as to why the British wouldn’t end slavery when everyone was “Christian.” It was because most were only nominally Christian. As an evangelical Anglican he became more and more involved in Christian affairs, even publishing the best-selling book Real Christianity (1797), which was such a challenge to nominal Christianity that the Lord saw fit to use it in the 18th Century revival, which saw the hearts of the masses changed for Christ. Then, and only then, was Wilberforce able to lead the British to end slavery in 1833. It took time and it took place from the bottom up. If we want to see real transformation in Canadian society it needs Jesus.
Want to really make a difference this election: prayer and share the Gospel.
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,
 You may enthusiastically support a mainstream political party, believing it holds the best solution to bettering the nation, but I hope this article may temper your enthusiasm; you may choose to vote for the lesser of the “evils”; you may vote on a single issue or for a local candidate and not a national party; or you may choose to register a vote of discontent (my default in post-Christian Canada). Because we live in a democracy, and because of passages such as Ro 13, 1 Ti 2:2, 1 Pe 2:13–14, I believe it is a Christians' civic duty to the Lord to vote and so I don’t see not voting as an option.
 That said, if I had to state my political leanings I would describe myself as a “red Tory”; someone who is morally and judicially conservative, fiscally sound and socially responsible. Such was William Wilberforce, but he had the luxury to sit as an independent and so vote with his conscience.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.