To vote or not to vote?

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I can readily identify with those former Labour MPs who have come out strongly against a Jeremy Corbyn premiership. They must have found it a heart wrenching process.

I have been a Tory supporter all my life, and that is quite surprising to many given my roots in the industrial valleys of South Wales. But I have reluctantly reached the conclusion that I cannot entertain voting Conservative while Boris Johnson is party leader.

That decision has created problems for me because, on reflection, I find that I am unable to support any of the other parties either. And that is extremely challenging for someone who grew up in what was a Chartist heartland. I am only too well aware how difficult it was to obtain universal suffrage. The right to vote is precious indeed. And to further complicate things I have always believed that it would be an abdication of my Christian responsibility not to vote.

I have thought long and hard about what I should do but much to my surprise, I have reached the conclusion that I can and should abstain. Let me explain why.

To begin with, I believe the Scriptures teach me that I shouldn't do anything unless I can do so with a clear conscience. I find that I cannot endorse any party - for a variety of reasons - which means it would be wrong give any of them my personal backing.

Secondly, I am convinced that ultimately God is in control of our destiny and I can trust Him to overrule our futures. The apostle Paul said it much better than I ever could when he wrote, "My task is to bring out in the open and make plain what God, who created all this in the first place, has been doing in secret and behind the scenes all along."

Unfortunately our English translations fail to bring out the really helpful picture that Paul uses in the original Greek. Many of us will remember P G Wodehouse's famous valet Jeeves, that unique personal servant who never failed to ensure sure that things always worked out for the best. I think it helps to think of Jeeves when we read those words of Paul because they point to the familiar image of a household servant, the one who was charged to ensure that everything went to plan.

I believe God is in control of events, however confusing or scary they might appear at the time. Winston Churchill believed this too, according to his great grandson Jonathan Sandys. He has said, "Churchill believed in 'divine destiny' and that's why in 1940, though severely outnumbered, like the Israelites in the book of Deuteronomy facing the overwhelmingly strong armies across the Jordon, he stepped forward and accepted the responsibility of leadership, while others, equally ambitious, refused the honour due to their lack of faith in the possibility of a general victory."

I believe in a God who has the future in hand too, which is why I was so encouraged to read Sandys' other assertion that almost fifty years before Britain went to war, Churchill told fellow Harrovian Murland de Grasse Evans that, "This country will be subjected somehow to a tremendous invasion...and I shall save London and England from disaster."

I will not vote - or at least at this moment in time, I have no plans to vote. But I will pray and I will encourage everyone else to pray too. We need God to intervene on our behalf so that we might experience His overruling and blessing. And I will continue to pray for those who have authority over us and I will respect them whatever the result on December 12.

But I will reserve the right to challenge their policies as well as their personal behaviour. After all, this is what the Holy Spirit expects the British Church to do.

Rob James is a Baptist minister, writer and church and media consultant to the Evangelical Alliance Wales. He is the author of Little Thoughts About a Big God.