Q. I have a friend who thinks it doesn’t matter who gets elected as President because God has already predetermined it so it won’t make any difference. BTW, this person is a Christian and also a very intelligent and educated person who thinks this is a correct analysis. I personally do not go along with this philosophy but don’t know how to counter it adequately. I know in my heart what I think, but find it hard to put it all into words that make sense. Can you add some reality to this thinking?
A. First of all, voting is a patriotic duty, not a religious duty. Second, I don’t think Paul was talking about specific leaders in Romans 13:1-7. I think a case could be made that his intent was to say that human governments and the rule of law are things God instituted for the benefit of society, and as Christians we’re bound to submit to them. If everyone took matters into our own hands, then we’d be back to the time of the judges when “Israel had no king and everyone did as he saw fit” (Judges 17:6). I don’t think anyone wants that.
It’s a fact that all through history evil men have subverted the rule of law to put themselves into positions of authority for reasons that were decidedly not a benefit to society. To say that God orchestrated those events is to make Him a co-conspirator with evil men, and that has not been the case. For example, when Israel’s kings became so bad that God could no longer tolerate it, He cursed the royal line and abolished the kingship until the Messiah comes to restore it (Jeremiah 22:30, Ezekiel 21:23-27). Therefore I’m not convinced that God personally chooses every leader.