This presidential election has certainly been one for the ages. No one expected Donald Trump to make it through the early primaries. Yet, he won the Republican nomination. No one expected Hillary Clinton to be challenged in a “cake walk” through the Democrat primaries. Yet she still tirelessly "CHEATED" in order to beat Socialist opponent Bernie Sanders. When it was all said and done, we had Donald Trump, a pariah to both the Republican and Democrat establishment. Versus Hillary, a pariah to anyone with a modicum of common sense and ethics. And while neither candidate is a “Christian’s dream” – we have seen many Christian leaders devote more time to trashing Trump than to telling the truth about Clinton. Hillary has been largely ignored by vast swaths of Christendom, so they can fix their sights on Trump. They consider him profane. Racist. Chauvinistic. And dangerous. Yet when pressed to give examples, they can point to nothing earlier than 2005 to justify their slander. His racism is apparently found in his questioning Obama’s birth in Hawaii. This is not racism, but a legitimate question. It creates a “head-scratcher” for lots of other Christians who wonder why the only pro-life candidate with any chance of winning would receive such abhorrent opposition from Christian leaders who typically treat other leaders with grace. His "chauvinism" is apparently tied to comments he made in 2005 (11 years ago); and while the illegitimate press continues to harp on this, a Christian might wonder why Christians leaders would harp on comments that Trump has since repudiated and sought forgiveness. Are they hopeless tools of the main stream media? Or simply unforgiving Christians? I guess Jesus's admonition to "Love your enemies" (Matt. 5:44) doesn't apply if it's Trump? Why should we love those who our Christian leaders have openly encouraged us to hate? Hillary gets a pass. But Trump gets crucified. So what’s going on?
In an earlier article I wrote about why some Southern Baptist leaders, including Albert Mohler and Russell Moore, have constantly spewed venom against Trump. My personal opinion is that they want Hillary to win. They would never come out and say this; and I doubt that they really think highly of Hillary. But they know that if Hillary wins, there will be another Republican candidate (presumable better than Trump) in four short years. Of course, by then Hillary may have already appointed up to five new Supreme Court justices. And America’s road to perdition will be largely set.
These leaders would have you believe that their opposition is due to the fact that they are so holy and pious, while Trump is so vulgar and profane. Yet, when other corrupt Republican candidates have emerged in other elections these leaders remain eerily silent. Or they express their open support for those who are outwardly pristine, yet inwardly ravenous wolves. Sadly, for many Christians, it’s the appearance that matters; not the substance. Many Christians long for someone who can hide their warts and be a good hypocrite. This makes the Christian feel better about themselves and justifies their support for a scoundrel. After all the candidate’s sleaziness is hidden behind a sweet veneer of sanctimony. Sadly, many Christians love the phonies and openly support them. And they roundly assault with countless verbal grenades any threat to the establishment. And Trump is a threat to the establishment. If Hillary wins, then Mohler and Moore are still in the good graces of the established Republican leadership to which they have sworn allegiance. If Trump wins, all bets are off. They’ve lost their evangelical influence and are no longer seen as tails that wag the dog. I doubt they wish to risk this threat to their power. And many other Christians leaders blindly follow suit; either out of unethical motive to gain political power, or out of pure naivety. In many cases it is naivety. Enter John Piper.
My respect for John Piper is near boundless. In the theological realm, none have influenced my understanding of God more than John Piper. While I am not a personal acquaintance of his, I have met him on occasion. And I thank God for how Piper opened my eyes to the sovereignty of God and the importance of glorifying God in one’s life. Piper is simply in a place by himself in my personal affections. But I fear he is sometimes duped when he delves into the greater political world. Piper oozes theological brilliance and genuine piety. But his discernment is sometimes lacking. He proved this in 2010 when he invited the worldly, pragmatic pastor Rick Warren to speak at his annual Bible conference. And, I fear, Piper is once again showing his lack of discernment in the political arena by his consistent opposition to Donald Trump. In a recent message, Piper said, “I am not saying we are bound not to vote. I am saying that the children of God are free to hear the voice of their Master about how to best witness to his supremacy. I will vote. But I have no intention of voting for either of these presidential candidates.” Piper gives his personal, political opinion in this sermon. But in so doing, he influences many malleable Christians who hang on his every word. He should be more careful.
Piper’s overall message is very good, in my opinion. I would encourage Christians to listen to his arguments that Christians should not seek a “Christianized” state and that we should vote for those candidates that most closely display our values. But I fear Piper tips his hand a little too much when he castigates both candidates as unworthy of support. And announces that he is voting for neither. This is his prerogative as an American and even more, as a Christian. But I think it unwise, considering his vast influence. He passionately reminds Christians that they do not have to vote! This is true and in one sense I rejoice in hearing a major Christian leader remind believers that their allegiance is not rendered to an earthly regime. But in another sense I know that God has ordained that we “carry on” for a season. And as such we should vote for candidates who most closely share our values. And who stand a legitimate opportunity to win. While I respect the Christian’s right to vote third party, or to not vote at all; I also respect the Christians who will vote Trump for the sake of the unborn. And I reject Piper’s apparent repudiation of their electoral logic.
Christians should also be wary of Wayne Grudem. While Grudem in an imminent theologian and has written one of the greatest systematic theologies of our day; he is not politically astute. As such he wrote a well-reasoned and logical defense of Trump as a legitimate Christian candidate. Then as soon as some dirt became public on Trump, Grudem recanted his endorsement. Then after a few days, he re-issued his endorsement. I love Wayne Grudem; but he should stay out of the political realm. He is easily swayed and as such he should stick to theology. The "political theological" world is a jungle and some should avoid it for their own good; and the good of Christianity at large. His on again off again on again support confuses people.
In some cases, Christians have sought to hold Trump accountable to the level of pastors in Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3. Most Christians aren't able to hold this level of accountability; which is why these standards are presented in the first place. Yet some Christians have said that a president must be held to these standards. Even most truly born again Christians aren't held to this standard (only pastors). So why would an unregenerate government leader be held to this standard? This is both unbiblical and illogical. We might long for perfect Christian leaders. But we would be fools to expect it, in this fallen world. We are not Israel. We are not under the Old Covenant. And we are not electing a King or Queen. Our world is fallen. Our nation is temporal. And our elected leader is supposed to be bound by congress and constitutional authority. He (or she) is not supposed to be a monarch. They are elected officials and should be thought of as such.
Hillary Clinton is adamantly pro-death, to the point of openly embracing partial birth abortion. Donald Trump is pro-life and has vowed to appoint only pro-life judges to the Supreme Court. Whatever his other faults may be, this should be taken into consideration. Piper’s view non-nonchalantly tosses aside Trump’s promise of protecting life, because Trump’s personality offends Piper. With all due respect to Dr. Piper, he might need to “get over it” for the sake of the unborn. No candidate is as pristine as Christians would like. Nor should we necessarily expect this. We live in a fallen world and America is not our home. Nor is America a “Christian nation.” Nor has it EVER been. Many of our founding fathers were Deistic, non-Christians. We can't always have devout Christian leaders, therefore we should (at the least) seek those who are committed to life and liberty. This is consistent with Christian teaching under the New Covenant. But many Christian leaders seem to abandon the New Covenant in favor of an Old Covenant mindset that would seek a “righteous” king for Israel. We are not Israel. We are not under the Old Covenant. And we do not elect kings. Our system of government is a constitutional republic, not a theocratic monarchy. And as such we should seek candidates who espouse liberty, rather than perfect Christian morality. If the latter is what we insist on, the former will never be attained. Our TRUE KING, is Jesus. And he has a kingdom that is “not of this world.” Therefore, we must understand that all earthly rulers will fall woefully short of our ideal. And every election involves the “lesser of two evils.”
In conclusion, I believe that Christians should always remember that their home is “not of this world.” Their rightful king is always Jesus, no matter who wins an election. And that they should vote for the candidate who will defend their liberty. Some Christians might consider that this candidate is Donald Trump. If so, they should not be ridiculed, especially by other Christians. Vote for Trump if you feel it is best for the cause of life and liberty. Vote for someone else if you feel so convicted to do so. Vote for Hillary, only if you have lost complete control over your senses. She is both pro-death, and historically corrupt. In the end, know that God is in control. You won’t be condemned for voting Trump. And you won’t be judged for refusing to do so. Trust in God and know that ALWAYS….. ALWAYS……. His will is done. None can thwart His perfect plan. No matter what transpires on Tuesday, we will praise the Lord. And in so doing He will be glorified. Vote for who you think it best. Then sleep soundly on November 8, knowing that God is in control. And beyond this. Nothing needs to be said. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this article reflect my own personal views and not necessarily the views of any organization to which I am affiliated.