November and Everything After: A Christian Reflection on American Elections
“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:13-14
One day, my Lord Jesus will return and make all things new. There will be no more pain, poverty, suffering, defeat, or death. There won’t be any voting, either. There will be no need to worry about the government because the government will rest on the Lord’s perfect shoulders. His government won’t have any solutions to the various maladies that society is today faced with but rather it will be the solution and to that the government there will be no end. All of God’s people, my fellow Christians, will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We’ll be quite happy in that day. That day is not yet here. We live awaiting our Lord’s return. We are called to be evangelists (Eph. 4:12), salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16), and ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). We are called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). As exiles waiting to go home, we seek the welfare of the city we are in. In a republic, we can seek that welfare by casting our vote for government officials who represent us, not just as Americans but as the people of God. Unfortunately, in the 2016 presidential election, there are no viable candidates who can do that.
The Crumbling Difference Between Wrong and Right
At the outset of election season, if not before, popular evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Robert Jeffress recognized that a presidential candidate who was representative of Kingdom values was not viable. They backed Donald Trump, whose brash and aggressive nationalistic demeanor appealed to many of the same nominal evangelicals with whom their preaching resonated. Intellectual evangelical leaders such as Albert Mohler and Russell Moore backed Marco Rubio, a morally conservative Roman Catholic with liberal socioeconomic leanings. In Rubio, they had a more electable candidate who could appeal to minorities and moderates while not compromising on abortion and marriage. In either case, a utilitarian ethic seemed more applied than a biblical one. Trump pretended to be a Christian but didn’t act like one. Rubio walked the walk, but straight into the Roman Catholic Church. Neither of these men was friends of God but they could supposedly be expected to be friends to Christians. Thus, Christians backed them. This sort of compromise was nothing new. Just four years ago, many Christians backed Mitt Romney, a man who so blasphemes God that he believes he has the potential to be his equal.
Get Right to the Heart of Matters; it’s the Heart that Matters More
The Lord Jesus once said that the mouth spoke out of the abundance of the heart. The things that have been spoken out of Donald Trump’s mouth indicate that his heart is no less dark than that of his primary opponent Hilary Clinton. Hilary Clinton publicly supports abortion and “homosexual” marriage. Trump, as a matter of political policy, does not. It should be plain that he doesn’t do so as a matter of moral policy. After all, God told the prophet, Jeremiah, that the heart is both sick and deceitful. When it was politically expedient, Hilary Clinton in her own sick heart was against “gay marriage”. Now she’s changed course. No one should reasonably expect Trump to act any differently. Somehow, Christians are under the impression that a wicked man will be righteous if only God’s people vote for him. What folly. These Christians should seriously consider the words of the departed Theologian, John Calvin who wrote, “They who rule unjustly and incompetently have been raised up by (God) to punish the wickedness of the people.” These are alarming words when we consider that America is a representative Republic. We rule ourselves. That the President of the United States will almost certainly be Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton is actually an indictment on the hearts of the country’s people. Many of these people claim Christ. How can support for Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton come out of a Christian Heart?
I Wanna be Someone to Believe
Since its inception, social media has been rife with charges of hypocrisy which are leveled by non-believers against Christians. Sadly, these charges are often the result of one group of people, who don’t understand the Bible and don’t believe it, demonstrating disdain for another group of people, who don’t understand the Bible but do believe it. In the case of Christian support for Donald Trump, the charges leveled against Christians by non-believers demonstrate rare cases of justified disgust. Christians are being inconsistent to claim Christ on the one hand and support Donald Trump on the other. Even those Christians who claim that they will “hold their nose” and vote for Trump only out of concern for the Supreme Court demonstrate a tragic lack of faith and baffling ignorance of history. Prominent evangelical theologians Paige Patterson and Wayne Grudem have both condoned voting for Trump out of concern with keeping a Supreme Court nomination out of the hands of Hilary Clinton. Theologians like Patterson and Grudem should be as aware as anyone that only God is omniscient. We simply can’t know what kind of person Trump will put on the court. Given his character and dark heart, we shouldn’t expect a Trump nominee to be someone with laudable moral virtues, much less a Christian worldview. Additionally, history shows that the Supreme Court is no place to go for justice, as Dred Scott and every aborted baby since the Roe v Wade decision was handed down could testify…if they weren’t dead. Personally, I want to maintain consistently as a part of my Christian witness. Demonstrating a lack of faith in God by voting for Trump destroys that consistency and that witness.
It’s 4:30 A.M. on a Tuesday; It Doesn’t Get Much Worse Than This
An entire generation of aging American Christians was raised by parents who fought in World War II. Their parents sacrificed and struggled to preserve freedom. They celebrated America’s bicentennial in 1976 when their country was the world’s greatest bulwark against the totalitarian threat of the USSR. These people cherish voting. They have been rightly taught that their right to vote was preserved by the blood of their forbearers. In their churches, two flags are displayed to either side of the pulpit: one Christian and one American. At their churches, on patriotic days, veterans stand to be honored. They feel that not only must they vote but that they must vote for a “viable candidate.” For a long time, they’ve danced to the tune of “patriotic gospel” adherents such as David Barton and the Falwells. Some of them believe that America is God’s “chosen nation.” It’s hard to tell where their patriotism ends and their Christianity begins. Yet, they know voting for a man like Donald Trump will make them feel dirty. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, November 8th, they will feel obligated to get up, go to their polling places, and choose between two evils…even though they don’t have to do so.
My friend implores me: “For one time only make an exception” – I am not worried
There are those Christians who plan to pull the lever for Trump but don’t feel like they are voting for him. In defiance of logical and mathematical laws, they understand their vote to be cast, not for the candidate whose name they mark on the ballot, but against Hilary Clinton. By keeping the Presidency away from Hilary, they feel, they are preserving the country for a future day when a truly favorable candidate will be provided. Like Chicago Cubs St Louis Blues fans they think, “There’s always next year.” To preserve that future day, they have to compromise their principles just this once. The visible Christian church has seen a lot of compromise over the years. None of it, it seems, has been for the better.
You Dig Yourself So Deep You Resist to Resist
The election is, sadly, a concept that many American evangelicals don’t seem to grasp. Humans are born in such a depraved state that they can’t come to be reconciled to God on their own. They are dug down so deep in their sin that only God can reach down to bring them up. Despite having been brought to penitent faith by a merciful God, many American Christians want to somehow retain for themselves some kind of credit for their salvation. It’s an insidious form of idolatry, that of self-determinism, which manifests itself in their lives in many ways. One of these is election time. Rather than trust in God by only voting for a candidate who meets His standards, they trust in their own wisdom to elect a candidate they think they can best control. Somewhere between the sovereignty of God and the machinations of the god of this world, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton have been made available to American voters as viable candidates. Christians don’t have a righteous choice between the two, yet the idolatry of self-determination will lead them to attempt to beat the square peg that is Donald Trump into round hole that is the Kingdom of God.
When I Think of Heaven
I certainly don’t want to be so heavenly-minded that I’m of no earthly good. Yet, as an ambassador of Christ, there are just some things I can’t do. The truth of the matter is, in my flesh, Donald Trump appeals to me. He’s strong and he tells it like it is. As President, he arguably would make American better, by some worldly standard, than Clinton would. Unfortunately, my Sovereign is his enemy. Before anything else, I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s true that sometimes God has used pagan rulers to bring about his plans. God could do that with Trump or Clinton. He doesn’t need my help to do so. When God’s judgment comes, and it will (and perhaps it will come through Trump or Clinton), I want to be found faithfully awaiting my King’s return rather than using my flesh to influence this world to my sinful nature’s liking.
I’m Down on My Knees
After the Obergefell v. Hodges decision legalized “gay marriage” in the USA, John MacArthur famously preached a sermon entitled “We Will Not Bow”. Whatever the American culture demands of Christians, I know, will be quite different than what God demands. I simply will not bow to the idols of this world or this country, no matter what the perceived threat to my liberty may be. Like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego before me I will fix my hopes upon the Lord, to whom I will gladly bow upon His coming. In the meantime, I will pray that His will be done. Even if His will is that Donald Trump be elected, I know that it is not His will that I vote him in.
Here They Come to Steal My Soul
There is a very real threat that if people like Hilary Clinton continue to be elected and that public school students continue to be conditioned to vote for those like her, the government will come and steal my property. It may first steal my guns. It may then steal my daughters through a draft and make them fight in its wars. It may steal my money as well. Who knows? It can’t steal my soul. Only I can give that away. Looking for salvation from persecution by voting for Donald Trump would be the first step to doing so. My Lord said that it does not benefit a man to gain the whole world but forfeit his soul. I believe Him.
The Big Top is Crumbling Down
American political theater has become something of a circus, something of a show. I perceive a dearth of any substantial, nonpartisan news reporting. I also perceive a dearth of the demand for such. Presidential debates seem to be little more than a dressed up Jerry Springer Show. John Adams famously said that the American Government was designed for a religious and moral people. The American populace is neither. When I think of my vote and of the dismal future of the United States, I want to be able to look at and say “I’m not the father” of that. I can’t tell my children and grandchildren that I voted for Donald Trump. As long as there are items on the ballot that will allow me to vote my conscience, I will. At the same time, I see that politics is becoming more and more of a show that I don’t want to watch. America has passed the tipping point, in my opinion. I hope the church won’t tip over along with it.
We Were Perfect When We Started
Humankind was without sin in the Garden of Eden. There is coming a time when this world will again be without sin. I so want to walk with my Savior in an Eden restored. My trust is there even though its land I don’t yet see. It’s a land I long for. That land is my land but it may not be yours. For those people reading this who haven’t trusted Jesus Christ as their savior, I want to urge you to do so. Chariots and Horses eventually break down. So do governments. So do people. You are seeing a lot of Christians depending on the wrong things right now. If you don’t know Jesus, you are, too. I want to tell you that you can cast your cares upon him. When you do, the things of this world will grow strangely dim…and your heart and mind will grow strangely bright. Repenting of your sins will free you. I hope you will join me in the booth to vote for someone other than Trump and Clinton. What I really hope, though, is that you’ll join me in the Kingdom under the Lordship of Christ. I hope His love and mercy will overcome you. A lot of times, like this one, we don’t have the option to vote for “love” and “mercy” in the voting booth. It’s always available for Jesus. It is He who has elected to show it to us.
[Contributed by Seth Dunn]
*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.