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Why does the General Election matter?

Author: Paul Woolley, 15 May 2017

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As we draw closer to the General Election, Paul Woolley asks: why does it matter and what does the Bible have to say about it?

The General Election campaign has begun and the outcome really matters. It matters because matter matters. It's not only invisible reality that God is concerned about, but the whole of life and all of creation.

Governing creation rightly is a core part of being human. What's the basis for this claim?

1. God has created human beings to look after all of creation 

In the creation story (Genesis 1.28), God commands human beings to be 'fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.' In short, our human task is to look after, not exploit, the world. In fulfilling this task, the glory of God is seen. 

2. The greatest of the commandments is to love

Jesus said that the two most important commandments are 'love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind' (Matthew 22.37) and 'love your neighbour as yourself' (Matthew 22.39).

Indeed, on these two commands depend all the law and the prophets. In Jeremiah 29.7, God's people in exile were commanded to 'seek the peace [welfare] of the city [Babylon]'. Influencing government is a very practical way in which we can demonstrate love of God and neighbour, and seek the welfare of our communities.

Dealing with disillusionment

Perhaps you’re already convinced of the importance of governing creation rightly, but you’re feeling disillusioned about the difference your vote will make, the integrity of the people campaigning for power and, on top of that, you’re all too aware of the impact circumstances outside of our control can have.  

It’s true: politicians are flawed human beings like the rest of us, and there are high profile scandals to prove it; institutions we long to rely on sometimes fail; we want to set and pursue an agenda, but a virus can infect people around the globe and blow our plans off course. Wars can break out and shake our sense of humanity, peace and security.

What's the connection between all of this and the forthcoming General Election?

Just this: the election is about choosing between political leaders and parties with different visions of what governing society looks like and how best to promote the welfare of communities, nationally and globally.

The need for good governance couldn’t be clearer. This is the time to step up in whatever way we can: to choose the leaders who will be responsible for our future and the common good. And, no matter the outcome on election day, to commit to supporting and encouraging all politicians to work effectively, whether in government or opposition.

The word 'politics' is derived from a Greek word (politika) meaning 'affairs of the cities'. If we are to take seriously our responsibility to look after the earth, seek the welfare of communities, and love God and neighbour (anyone in need), then influencing the institutions and decision-making processes that impact the lives of our neighbours is an absolute non-negotiable, and, in a democracy, that means praying for those in political leadership and voting – as a minimum.


•  Pray for those seeking political office

•  Make sure that you have registered to vote

•  Consider encouraging your church to host a hustings with the candidates for the local constituency

•  After the election, thank all of your local candidates for standing for public office

•  Write to (or visit) your newly elected MP to express your thanks and your commitment to praying for them

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