I recently posted something on my Facebook that led to some questions:
“For what shall it profit a man, if he gain conservative supreme court nominees, and lose his own soul?”
This led to people asking me to elaborate what I meant by that, so I jotted down a few thoughts. I haven’t had much time to blog lately, and I have been wanting to write something like this for awhile. So, these are the best I can do for now; kind of a rough draft list of ideas for a more detailed post:
Here are a few quick thoughts, all of which deserve more explaining than I can currently give at the moment, but maybe the Lord will provide some time later to go further in depth, or answer questions:
- If Christians try to excuse or dismiss Trump’s damning comments and deeds, they are forfeiting any future right to use moral standards for vetting a political candidate.
- If Christians turn a blind eye to Trump’s reprehensible comments and deeds, but then call out Hillary for being a liar, or say Bill was a womanizer, the world will call us out (rightly) as hypocrites.
- If the world sees Christians primarily as hypocrites, we will lose credibility to share the gospel. And this comes at a time during the sexual revolution in America when Christians who want to be faithful to the Bible will have things to say that will deeply offend the world’s sensibilities. So needlessly chipping away at our reputation for something like Trump isn’t worth the sacrifice. We will be discredited before we even open our mouths.
- I speak more critically and vocally against Trump rather than Clinton because Clinton isn’t being projected as having a voting block of Evangelicals supporting her, nor are numerous Evangelical leaders endorsing her, or trying to justify her past and present sins. (I’m sure there are some outliers).
- I strongly resist Hillary Clinton’s policies and worldview. I think her presidency would not be helpful to our country, nor do I think she has the moral clarity fit to lead our country, therefore I will not vote for her.
- I strongly resist Donald Trump because I believe that his conservative policies are just a dog-and-pony show to get elected, not his convictions, and because I believe character matters in a presidency, Trump’s racist, sexist, and belligerent comments have disqualified him from the office, therefore I will not vote for him.
- Because God is sovereign over all space and time, including the kingdoms of men, I think our choices, and our votes, are more about being faithful than being pragmatic. We do not change the world, God does – we aren’t looking for what is merely expedient, but what is honoring to the Lord. So, if I don’t vote for a GOP candidate, God isn’t wringing His hands, fretting over how He is going to – dare I say it – make America great again. God could raise up a good presidential candidate tomorrow – or He could sink America like Atlantis. Either way, He is in charge of that, not us. So, is our life, and our voting record, evidence that we have full confidence in a sovereign God? Are we okay with trusting God with the outcome of our party, politics, and country?
- This is why any appeal to dooms-day, fear-mongering motivations to vote Republican “or else” seems like an unChristian thing to me. “Fear not” is one of the most repeated commands in the Bible, yet fear seems to be one of the great motivating forces behind this election.
- At the same time, we DO have a moral responsibility to fulfill Christ’s command to love our neighbor. Normally, in a democracy, one small way you can obey that is through electing a president that you believe has views that will lead to the flourishing of humanity. However, if there is no candidate that will do that, then there are innumerable other ways you can still fulfill this command. Plus, this moral responsibility also takes the form of what you approve. Scripture teaches us that it is not only those who do immoral things, but also those who “approve” of them that are held guilty (Rom. 1:32). While I don’t think every Christian who is voting for either Trump or Hillary is approving of their sin, I do think that any attempt to soften, excuse, justify, glamorize, or minimize sin for what it really is, is a form of approval.
- The “moral majority” of the 80’s that attempted to wed political power with the church was a failure and should not be attempted again. It muddled the Great Commission with a mythical moral nostalgia of the “good old days” and failed to accomplish either. It obscured the gospel, distracted the church, alienated the world, further ingrained an “us vs. them” mentality in America, and dishonored God by trying to accomplish His divine mission by human means.
- When I wrote, “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain conservative Supreme Court nominees, and lose his own soul?” it had all of these thoughts sitting behind it. I was not hinting at the idea that one could lose their salvation by voting for Trump, but was hinting at its overwhelming cost. The dog-whistle of SCOTUS nominees is understandable for why someone might pull the Trump lever. But again, if in doing so I violate my conscience, approve of sin, damage my gospel-witness, and needlessly alienate unbelievers by standing by a man who repudiates, grossly repudiates, the very fundamentals of our Christian faith – while he claims to be a Christian himself – then it is not worth it. Is the Supreme Court important? Yes. But it is not eternal. Neither is America. But the souls of people and the Church of Jesus Christ is, so let’s not sacrifice what is eternal for what is temporary.
- Saying all of this, I still think that it is possible for a Christian, in good conscience, to vote for either Trump or Clinton. I am no political genius and perhaps there are hidden mechanisms that could lead to a change that I am not aware of. But from where I stand, from what I see in Scripture, in the news, and what I hear from the mouth of the candidates, I simply cannot vote for either candidate. I cannot one day tell my children that I put my name on either of these candidates. To do so would be to endorse policies, character, and worldviews – on both sides – that are antithetical to what Scripture tells me to pursue as a Christian. So I will abstain, and perhaps vote for a third party candidate, and continue to love and serve the King of Kings, who rules and reigns, forever and ever, amen!