Navigating a democratic republic is complex for Christians. Consider St. Paul’s instruction concerning government
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Romans 13: 1-7 NASB
This instruction would be simple (although not necessarily easy) to follow under the authority of a king or dictator. Whatever the King commanded, the Christian would be subject to unless it contradicted a command from God. In a democracy or republic, where the citizens themselves participate in authority, participation in the government becomes complex.
St. Paul would have been writing this around 57 AD when Rome was established as a republic. Male citizens voted for representatives who governed. There was a strong divide between the wealthy class and the poor class. The wealthy class controlled most of the power and the poor class dissented and eventually earned the power of the veto. By 57 AD, the Roman was contending with a power struggle with emperors. This form of government compared to the form of government in the United States is compatible enough that this instruction from St. Paul does not leave the Christian room for passivity. At a minimum, a Christian has a duty to vote.
If then, Christians are called to vote, they are called to establish Godly authority.
Here are the reasons why I plan to write-in Richard Stearns in 2020 for president of the United States:
- I don’t want to throw away my vote.
- Stearns was the president of World Vision United States for 20 years and therefore has the experience to run an international organization focused on the Christian way.
- Prior to World Vision, Stearns was the chief executive officer of successful for-profit companies.
- Stearns earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Stearns has experience dealing with the media.
- Stearns is the husband of one wife and the father of five children.
- Stearns has committed much of his adult life advocating and providing for the poor. Matthew 25
- Stearns has demonstrated integrity by aligning what he does with what he says.
- In his book The Hole in Our Gospel, Stearns lays out the need for organized action to address national or global challenges.