Lipscomb on Legislating Morality

To the claim that a Christian is bound to vote, when he has the privilege, for that which promotes morality, and to fail to vote for the restriction and suppression of evil is to vote for it, we have determined that, to vote or use the civil power is to use force and carnal weapons. Christians cannot use these. To do so is to do evil that good may come. This is specially forbidden to Christians. To do so is to fight God’s battles with the weapons of the evil one. To do so is to distrust God. (145)

The effective way for Christians to promote morality in a community, is, to stand aloof from the political strifes and conflicts, and maintain a pure and true faith in God, which is the only basis of true morality, and is as a leaven in society, to keep alive an active sense of right. To go into political strife is to admit the leaven of evil into the church.…God has told his children to use the spiritual weapons, has warned them against appealing to the sword or force to maintain his kingdom or to promote the honor of God and the good of man. (145)


-David Lipscomb

Civil Government, 1889


4 thoughts on “Lipscomb on Legislating Morality

  1. Curious about your title. The quote seems to be about the morality of voting, not legislating. And it is an odd argument, also. If voting is a civil and carnal power, what is using the internet to share the gospel? Why is voting using “force?”

  2. i may have been looking at another quote where he talks more specifically about voting against sinful stuff. read his book someday, interesting stuff. I don’t agree 100% with, but feel it needs to be heard in today’s church.

    I don’t see the connection between voting and internet, altho who knows what DL would have thought or said…

  3. All government is, fundametally, the threat of force no matter how righteous or unrighteous it may be at the time. While I wouldn’t necessarily agree that NOT voting is sinful, I can’t imagine a more civil way for Christians to participate in the betterment of the laws which govern them than by voting (and encouraging others to vote). It seems as though Lipscomb’s ideal scenario is that everyone in a community is converted to Christianity which then disqualifies them all from voting – the end result of which could very well mean a very unrighteous form of government. He also seems to be saying that all use of any weapon is sinful. Would he maintain that using a weapon to defend the life of another is sinful? I have not read any of his books.

  4. I don’t believe voting is sinful, either, but I just don’t place the same emphasis/importance on it as many christians do, or maybe I could say “expectations”.
    not sure about the degree of Lipscomb’s non-aggression, if I come across it , I will share. I would def do whatever (right or wrong) to protect my family, adn don’t judge you guys who serve, altho I don’t think I would/could.

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