David Lipscomb was a very influential leader within Churches of Christ in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Lipscomb served as a minister, an educator (a co-founder of the Nashville Bible School, which exists today as Lipscomb University), and an editor of the very influential Gospel Advocate.
Lipscomb was also a pacifist, and in some sense, a Christian anarchist: he believed that Christians had no business interacting with government, including voting in elections or serving on juries. My own views on government are not as extreme as Lipscomb’s, but I do think his thoughts serve as a helpful corrective to what I see from a lot of people.
It has been distressing to me during this election cycle to see so many Christians who (based on their comments on Facebook or Twitter) seem to be placing so much of their hope for the betterment of our world in political candidates (regardless of which party they happen to support). To these folks, Lipscomb offers some helpful words:
“Everyone who honors and serves the human government and relies upon it, for good, more than he does upon the Divine government, worships and serves the creature more than he does the Creator.”
On Civil Government, p. 50
With all due respect to Lipscomb, I believe that it is appropriate for Christians to vote, and that ideally, Christians should use their vote to reinforce the values of the Kingdom. And sometimes it can be easy to get pretty wrapped up in the political process, because those values can mean a lot to us.
But I think he is right on the money about this: let us never think that the president we elect or the government we put into place is the ultimate source to which we should look for guidance, protection, or good. Those things come from God, and He still sits firmly on His throne, in control of all the things we debate and worry about.