Q&A: Wicked Leaders

Q: The Bible presents many narratives in which God has chosen wicked people to accomplish His purposes. Would these examples commend and justify voting for a candidate who is likewise wicked?

A: It is absolutely true that God has many times used wicked people to accomplish His purposes; the Assyrians, Nebuchadnezzar, and Pontius Pilate come to mind (Isaiah 10:5, Jeremiah 27:1-7, Acts 2:23). Whether they knew they were accomplishing the will of YHWH or not is immaterial; likewise, the fact God chose and used them to accomplish His purposes neither justified their wickedness nor necessarily led to their cleansing and redemption. God’s ways are much higher than our ways, and there is much we cannot understand (Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33-36).

It is also true that anyone for whom a person might vote will be a sinner and have done some things of which they should be ashamed; such is true of all of us as sinners before God (Romans 3:23, 6:20-23). Jesus of Nazareth is not on the ballot anywhere; even if He were and elected, we have no basis upon which to believe He would accept such offices, for they are far beneath His standing as Lord of lords and King of kings (John 6:15, 18:36, Revelation 19:15-16).

Nevertheless, there remains a vast difference between God actively using a particular wicked person to humble and judge a nation and for Christians to actively commend, endorse for, and/or vote to elect such a wicked person into office. It would be wrong to expect any candidate to be sinless; it is not wrong to expect a candidate to live up to the standards of basic human decency and to have a moral compass worthy of the name (Romans 12:17, 13:1-7).

If one has no choice but to accept that a given candidate is truly wicked, then there is no ground or standing a Christian would have to vote for him or her. If God is using that person to humble and judge a nation (for such wicked rulers were never used to lift up, but only tear down, the nations under judgment), then it shall be done as His will. It would not at all be God’s will for His people to commend the evildoer or to seek refuge among the wicked (e.g. Psalm 1)!

Do you have questions about the Bible or Christianity? We’d love to discuss them!

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