To Vote, or not to Vote?

It is quite clear that the command to "come out and be separate" involves upon all true followers of Christ the obligation to stand clear of all earthly political attachments. If a brother votes for any political candidate he becomes a party to the policy of that man. If the candidate be successful and his party forms the government of the country, then the brother is a supporter of the government and an active agent in its operations. He cannot then plead "conscientious objection" to carrying out any of its behests. If he desires to set up the plea of conscience at any stage of such government's call upon him, he starts too late if he does not start at the first.

Those who counsel otherwise, and those who would leave the matter "open" to personal conviction are traitors to the faith for they undermine the very foundations of the Household.

To say that "the matter is one for private judgment" is exactly equivalent to saying that to join the army or the police force "is a matter for private judgment". There is no essential difference. The making compulsory by law upon all citizens to vote at elections does not affect the matter. What you cannot do voluntarily under Christ's law you cannot do under compulsion.

But there is one country where voting is compulsory, i.e., Australia, and it is interesting to see how the affair works out there.

We were glad to hear from bro. R. G. Walker, of Melbourne, while visiting London in May, that the brethren of his ecclesia resolutely set their face against voting under compulsion. Here is their position, clear and straightforward, from which it will be seen they strike the right note:

"We are convinced that the law of Christ does not allow believers to take part in politics while his "Kingdom is not of this world". To vote would seriously compromise our position, therefore we cannot attend the polling booth at election times."

The amended Act provides that every elector who has not voted shall be notified after each election by the Divisional Returning Officer, and called upon 'to give a valid, truthful, and sufficient reason why he failed to vote. A form is to be sent attached to the notice, which must be sent back to the Returning Officer within a specified time.

"We can show our willingness to submit to the statutes enacted by the powers that be (Rom. xiii. 1-7), except when such statutes conflict with divine laws (Acts v. 29; Mark xii. 17) by promptly returning the form sent us, on which we shall briefly state our reasons for not voting. The following lines (not necessarily the same words, of course) are suggested:

"I am a Christadelphian (meaning Brother of Christ), and while I consider it a duty to submit to the statutes enacted by the powers that be (Rom. xiii. 1-7), except when such statutes conflict with divine laws (Acts v. 29; Mark xii. 17), I believe that it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible for me to take any part in the politics of the world (Jas. iv. 4; 1 John ii. 15; 2 Cor. vi. 14-18) during the absence of the Lord Jesus Christ, the divinely appointed future King of the whole earth (Luke i 32, 33; Zech. xiv. 9; Rev. xi. 15).

"NOTE. It is not necessary to attend the polling booth or to call for papers, as the Act provides that it shall be the duty of each Divisional Returning Officer at the close of the election to send them 'by post'."

It may be noted that true brethren have carried out the suggestion therein, and the Government have accepted the reasons set forth on the paper of explanation asked for. God made this way of escape, of course, and we cannot really understand the mentality of a man professing to be a brother who would "in all faith and reverence draw lots" to see which man to vote for, when to vote at all is a crime against God and Christ.

Brethren, let us exhort you to stand clear in this matter. What does it matter what we may lose now in comfort and prestige? Our Kingdom is not of this world, else would its servants vote. "Pain of fine and imprisonment" had and has no terrors at any time for faithful brethren. This is our "tone", so gravely objected to by the latitudinarians who play with fire.


From 1926 Berean Christadelphian Magazine pp. 227-228.