Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Let Every Soul Be Subject Unto the Higher Powers

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on November 30, 2011 at 7:59 am

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God…  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil….  do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Romans 12:1-4

With the upcoming elections, Christians are once again facing the issue: for whom should I vote?

I submit to you that you are not at liberty to vote for whoever you wish. The reason, is that voting is a moral act, and all moral acts are regulated by the Law of God. Furthermore, as one who is under the Lordship of Jesus Christ, you must submit every decision to His will, including the decision for whom you should vote.

So the question that every Christian must ask is this: For whom does God want me to vote? The answer to that question is clear: I must vote for the man who will best function as a Minister of God in the civil government.

If, as our text above states twice, civil authorities are Ministers of God, and that as Ministers of God their duty is to praise moral goodness and to punish moral evil, then I am obligated by divine mandate to select for office such men as will best fulfill that duty.

We are not agnostic voters. We are not Libertarians, Republicans, or Democrats. We are Christian moralists, and since the civil government’s duty as a Minister of God is to uphold and enforce public morality according to the Law of God, then it is incumbent upon us to vote for those men who will do so.

If civil government is a Minister of God, then it certainly must regulate public moral behavior according to the Law of God, just at churches and parents ought to do in their respective realms.

Therefore, any candidate that denies that civil government should regulate public morality; who says that it should not prohibit behaviors that are clearly contrary to the Law of God, is not fit to be a Minister of God, and therefore is not fit to receive the vote of a Christian.

Furthermore, any candidate who says that civil government should not uphold and promote behaviors that are clearly mandated in the Law of God, is also not fit to be a Minister of God, and is also not fit to receive the vote of a Christian.

It is the duty of the civil government to punish moral evil and to promote moral good as the Minister of God. It is the duty of Christians to vote for such men who will do so.

Pastor Max Doner
Sovereign Grace Bible Church
Foster, Oregon


  1. Very good. The only thing I wish you had addressed is the scenario where all of the candidates deny civil government should uphold, promote and regulate public morality. Good post.

  2. Max, a good post on ROMANS 13. There is much there with which I agree (and therefore am out of step with many) and have taught on this subject of the Christian and Government several times.

    When you say
    “Furthermore, any candidate who says that civil government should not uphold and promote behaviors that are clearly mandated in the Law of God, is also not fit to be a Minister of God, and is also not fit to receive the vote of a Christian” I would further say that the magistrate is no less God’s minister when he denies the reality of his position. God has sovereignly placed every king, prime minister, despot, governor etc, in power.

    The ruler, whether he obtained his position by vote, conquest, rebellion or inheritance, is (once the dust has settled) God’s minister over that realm. This is true even in utterly pagan lands where the gospel is unknown.

    Having said this I would assert that knowing who to vote for (where voting is allowed) can be a difficult thing to sort out.

  3. “We are Christian moralists, and since the civil government’s duty as a Minister of God is to uphold and enforce public morality according to the Law of God, then it is incumbent upon us to vote for those men who will do so.”

    So the conclusion we would have to come to is that we can’t vote. At least not according to the current political landscape. Enforcing public morality according to the Law of God means enforcing the moral law (10 commandments). There is obviously disagreement on which table the magistrate is responsible for upholding. Even if it is only the second table, how many candidates will enforce the moral law in office? None. Abortion continues to be legal (6th commandment), adultery is legal (7th commandment), and the 9th & 10th commandments are unknown to politicians.

    If you do include the first table with the second to be enforced by the magistrate, how many candidates prohibit false religions, idolatry, and taking the Lord’s name in vain? Lastly, Sabbath keeping would have to be an ordinance. In the least, this would entail the cessation of commerce on the Lord’s Day.

    I am not saying that I disagree with the author’s conclusion that I quoted. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with him. However, few take this conclusion to its required end. The Presbyterians saw where this led (see Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 23, Paragraph 3).

  4. To the best of my knowledge there is no candidate currently running for elected office who could honestly be said that he or she would enforce the moral law of God .Granted that there will probably always be differences of opinion on exactly what role the moral law should play in the life of a nation I still am of the opnion that anyone who even attempted to enforce it would stand little or no chance in the current political climate.

    Having said that I would also say that I fully agree with John’s answer and am of the opinion that no one should vote without much prayer and dependence on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and leading. May His grace lead each of us in every area of our lives including voting.

  5. So what would happen if the most moral candidate was a woman?

  6. Ronda – I would not vote for a woman candidate under any circumstance irrespective of her qualifications, because I believe that no woman is ever fit to lead a nation; it is outside her God given role. See Isaiah 3:12, among other passages.

    That is why I intentionally used the word “man” when speaking of political candidates in my blog post.

  7. Thanks for the Reply,
    What about someone like Mitt Romney? He is certainly out of all the candidates the most likely to uphold the law of God even though he is not a Christian?

  8. Ronda – I will not be commenting on particular candidates on this blog. I wanted to talk about principles here, not politicians. I do think that as a matter of reality that it is sometimes the case that non-Christians do have more of a biblical world view and positions than some professing “christians” who by their positions and policies do all they can to undermine Christian morality.

    Christian rulers are always to be preferred over-non Christian rulers all things being equal, but sometimes the policies of the professing Christian politician reflect nothing of Christian morality (indicating he is not really a Christian at all) and then the non-Christian may be the better choice, if his policies are closer to that of Christian morality.

    Please do not interpret any thing I just said as an endorsement of Mitt Romney.

  9. Thanks again for the response. So if it is Obama versus Gingrich, who does one vote for? Or does she/he just not vote at all? Obama supports abortion and Gingrich has been married three times? These two candidates are the only two that could win, so am I better off not voting or putting in a vote for someone who can’t win, even though that would just be a waste of a vote?

  10. Ronda – I do not think that we should withhold our vote just because we do not have an ideal candidate. In the case of two men running against each other, I would vote for the man who would act most like a minister of God should act, even if he would fall short of doing all a minister of God should do.

    However, some men are so evil as to preclude the possibility of ever voting for them under any circumstances. I would not vote for either candidate if both were pro abortion, or pro sodomite marriage. Such men are not fit to rule under any circumstances, and I would never cast an affirmative vote to have them rule over me. I would in that case withhold my vote, or else vote for a write in candidate who I would desire to rule over me as a Minister of God.

    Votes are never “wasted” when cast for a righteous candidate, even though he has no humanly reasonable chance of winning. The reason the vote is not “wasted,” is because voting is not about whether your candidate can win, voting is about obeying God and His will as to who he would have you vote for.

    If God is pleased with my vote and it is cast in submission to His will, it is never “wasted” even if the candidate never wins. You have obeyed and honored God; He will reward you obedience and submission to Him, and therefore there is not only no “waste” of the vote, there is a reward from God for having cast it as we did, in submission to His will.

    So – we vote on principle, not on pragmatism; we are concerned with obeying and pleasing God, not with winning.

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