Are We Divided? Evangelicals and the Election

Original oil painting The Church in the forestHere are links to a few news articles that will be helpful in your prayers and thoughts about the upcoming election. I would encourage you to read the complete articles online. I’ve pulled out the most significant portions in my thinking.

Just a few moments ago, I read this passage in several versions and Peterson’s translation just seems to be spot on for the hour we are in.

Friends, this world is not your home, so don’t make yourselves cozy in it. Don’t indulge your ego at the expense of your soul. Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level; they are God’s emissaries for keeping order. It is God’s will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you’re a danger to society. Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules. Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.” (1 Peter 2:11–17, Message)

Let’s look at this verse through the lens of the times we live in, the challenges before us and our witness and lifestyle. Remember the sufferings of the early church and the pagan society within which the church flourished. The church will continue to flourish as long as we remain faithful to Christ and one another. Let’s also decide not to quarrel with one another over a President. (Difficult I know!) President’s come and go, but the Lord and His Church will remain steadfast forever!

The first is by Eric Metaxas, the author of Bonhoeffer, that I’ve recommended before. He addresses a question that I’ve been asked often by thoughtful people, “Should a Christian vote for Trump?” Here is the link http://www.wsj.com/articles/should-christians-vote-for-trump-1476294992?mod=trending_now_3

And some quotes from the article.

Over this past year many of Donald Trump ’s comments have made me almost literally hopping mad. … Can there be any question we should denounce them with flailing arms and screeching volume?

What if the other candidate also has deal breakers? Even a whole deplorable basketful?

What if not pulling the lever for Mr. Trump effectively means electing someone who has actively enabled sexual predation in her husband before—and while—he was president? …What if she defended a man who raped a 12-year-old and in recalling the case laughed about getting away with it? …What if she used her position as secretary of state to funnel hundreds of millions into her own foundation, much of it from nations that treat women and gay people worse than dogs?

Neither candidate is pure evil. They are human beings. … People in America and abroad depend on voters to make this very difficult choice.

Children in the Middle East are forced to watch their fathers drowned in cages by ISIS. Kids in inner-city America are condemned to lives of poverty, hopelessness and increasing violence.

William Wilberforce, who ended the slave trade in the British Empire, often worked with other parliamentarians he knew to be vile and immoral in their personal lives.

Why did he? First, because as a sincere Christian he knew he must extend grace and forgiveness to others, since he desperately needed them himself. Second, because he knew the main issue was not his moral purity, nor the moral impurity of his colleagues, but rather the injustices and horrors suffered by the African slaves whose cause he championed.

The anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer also did things most Christians of his day were disgusted by. He most infamously joined a plot to kill the head of his government. He was horrified by it, but he did it nonetheless because he knew that to stay “morally pure” would allow the murder of millions to continue.

If imperiously flouting the rules by having a private server endangered American lives and secrets and may lead to more deaths, if she cynically deleted thousands of emails, and if her foreign-policy judgment led to the rise of Islamic State, won’t refusing to vote make me responsible for those suffering as a result of these things?

We would be responsible for passively electing someone who champions the abomination of partial-birth abortion, someone who is celebrated by an organization that sells baby parts. We already live in a country where judges force bakers, florists and photographers to violate their consciences and faith—and Mrs. Clinton has zealously ratified this. If we believe this ends with bakers and photographers, we are horribly mistaken.

A vote for Donald Trump is not necessarily a vote for Donald Trump himself. It is a vote for those who will be affected by the results of this election.

Mr. Metaxas, host of the nationally syndicated “Eric Metaxas Show,” is the author of “If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty” (Viking, 2016).

_____________

Next is an editorial from World Magazine, “Unfit for Power.” It highlights the dilemma for many Christians comparing Trump to Clinton. However, it appropriately reminds us the stand that evangelicals took over Bill Clinton’s adultery and lies. The link https://world.wng.org/2016/10/unfit_for_power

Eighteen years ago, a WORLD cover pictured President Bill Clinton next to the headline, “Time to Resign.” Clinton had denied having a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but her stained blue dress bearing Clinton’s DNA was proof that he had used his power for adulterous purposes, and then lied about it.

This month a videotape showed Donald Trump making lewd remarks about groping women’s genitals. …It raised further questions about how Trump would act if elected to the most powerful office in the world.

The standards we applied to Bill Clinton in 1998 are relevant to Donald Trump in 2016. A Clinton resignation would have been good for America’s moral standards in 1998. A Trump step-aside would be good for America’s moral standards in 2016. …

For many, Hillary Clinton’s platform is reason enough to support Trump.

…if Hillary Clinton wins next month, her judicial appointments will turn federal courts much more aggressively to the left.

Our regular surveys of evangelical leaders during the primary season showed almost no support for Donald Trump. Only when Clinton became the alternative did Trump gain majority evangelical support in public opinion polls.

We’ve seen how the problems go beyond politics. Many corporations profit not by producing better products but by influencing regulators. Equality of law and opportunity disappears as protected groups have their way. Two-thirds of Americans have come to believe that our leaders are corrupt. Democrats may have chosen Bernie Sanders if their party leaders had played fair.

After the July Republican and Democratic conventions, I noted that “Trump is generally reckless and Clinton generally ruthless. … Trump is a proud adulterer. Clinton is a proud pro-abortionist. Since character counts, both will almost certainly be presidential failures.

Scholar Angelo Codevilla put it graphically concerning both Trump and Sanders voters: “Because this majority sees no one in the political mainstream who shares their concerns, because it lacks confidence that the system can be fixed, it is eager to empower whoever might flush the system and its denizens with something like an ungentle enema.”

WHAT’S CHANGED NOW? Ken Rizer, a military man serving in the Iowa House of Representatives, summarized the videotape’s impact: “Given this recent release, I have decided I can’t in good conscience vote for [Trump]. As a base commander, I aggressively prosecuted Airmen who sexually assaulted women. As the father of two college-aged women, I know too well the challenges they’re facing daily in regards to groping, lewd conduct, etc. Trump’s comments reveal an arrogant lack of character.”

 

…to quote Mohler, we should not “allow a national disgrace to become the Great Evangelical Embarrassment.” We should not abandon our witness to the world that God is real: Glorifying God by honoring His standards is worth more than political gain.

___________________

The next article is by Andy Crouch of Christianity Today. Here is the link and a summary, http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2016/october-web-only/speak-truth-to-trump.html

 

The Democratic nominee has pursued unaccountable power through secrecy—most evidently in the form of an email server designed to shield her communications while in public service, but also in lavishly compensated speeches, whose transcripts she refuses to release, to some of the most powerful representatives of the world system. She exemplifies the path to power preferred by the global technocratic elite—rooted in a rigorous control of one’s image and calculated disregard for norms that restrain less powerful actors. Such concentration of power, which is meant to shield the powerful from the vulnerability of accountability, actually creates far greater vulnerabilities, putting both the leader and the community in greater danger.

But because several of the Democratic candidate’s policy positions are so manifestly incompatible with Christian reverence for the lives of the most vulnerable, and because her party is so demonstrably hostile to expressions of traditional Christian faith, there is plenty of critique and criticism of the Democratic candidate from Christians, including evangelical Christians.

What Trump is, everyone has known and has been able to see for decades, let alone the last few months. The revelations of the past week of his vile and crude boasting about sexual conquest—indeed, sexual assault—might have been shocking, but they should have surprised no one.

Indeed, there is hardly any public person in America today who has more exemplified the “earthly nature” (“flesh” in the King James and the literal Greek) that Paul urges the Colossians to shed: “sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry” (3:5). This is an incredibly apt summary of Trump’s life to date. Idolatry, greed, and sexual immorality are intertwined in individual lives and whole societies. Sexuality is designed to be properly ordered within marriage, a relationship marked by covenant faithfulness and profound self-giving and sacrifice. To indulge in sexual immorality is to make oneself and one’s desires an idol. That Trump has been, his whole adult life, an idolater of this sort, and a singularly unrepentant one, should have been clear to everyone.

Some have compared Trump to King David, who himself committed adultery and murder. But David’s story began with a profound reliance on God who called him from the sheepfold to the kingship, and by the grace of God it did not end with his exploitation of Bathsheba and Uriah. There is no parallel in Trump’s much more protracted career of exploitation. The Lord sent his word by the prophet Nathan to denounce David’s actions—alas, many Christian leaders who could have spoken such prophetic confrontation to him personally have failed to do so. David quickly and deeply repented, leaving behind the astonishing and universally applicable lament of his own sin in Psalm 51—we have no sign that Trump ever in his life has expressed such humility. And the biblical narrative leaves no doubt that David’s sin had vast and terrible consequences for his own family dynasty and for his nation. The equivalent legacy of a Trump presidency is grievous to imagine.

I’ve found one evangelical leader that supports Hillary Clinton, Thabiti Anyabwile, an African-American, pastor of Anacostia River Church, in Washington, D.C. He is a godly pastor and I enjoy his writings and listening to him. He has helped me to understand the systemic issues of racism that we continue to deal with in our nation. Here are two paragraphs of an article he wrote May 10 and the link https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/thabitianyabwile/2016/05/10/a-vote-to-check-unpredictable-evil-with-the-predictable/

Neither candidate represents any of my values. That’s just not on offer to any Christian of serious biblical intent. But Clinton represents the status quo, a steady state of affairs in that regard. Trump is the revolutionary, the rebel it seems without a clear cause. His prescriptions are not only draconian but also erratic. When I add the loathsome race-baiting, the misogynistic views of women, the isolationist foreign policy notions, the equivocating on abortion, the advocating of war crimes and escalation of conflict even with allies, I’m left looking at a revolutionary that would cast us in sentiment and law back to the 1940s at least.

Finally, a list of evangelical leaders who oppose and support Donald Trump. And the link to the article https://world.wng.org/2016/10/trump_faces_growing_evangelical_backlash

Some other well-known evangelicals who have stated their opposition to Trump:

  • Danny Akin, president, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • Joel Belz, founder of World News Group
  • Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, speaker, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert
  • Michael Cromartie, author, vice president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center
  • Andy Crouch, author, executive editor of Christianity Today
  • Steve Deace, author, host of The Steve Deace Show
  • Kevin DeYoung, pastor, author, The Gospel Coalition contributor
  • Erick Erickson, author at The Resurgent, host of Atlanta’s Evening News with Erick Erickson, former editor of RedState
  • Max Lucado, best-selling author, preaching pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas
  • Russell Moore, author, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
  • Karen Swallow Prior, author, Liberty University English professor
  • Julie Roys, Moody Radio host
  • Owen Strachan, author, associate professor of Christian theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, former president of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood
  • Ed Stetzer, author, pastor, Wheaton College professor
  • Jemar L. Tisby, president and co-founder of the Reformed African American Network
  • Mark Tooley, president, Institute on Religion and Democracy

Some prominent evangelicals who continue to support Trump:

  • James Dobson, founder, Focus on the Family
  • Jerry Falwell Jr., president, Liberty University
  • Jim Garlow, pastor, Skyline Church in San Diego
  • Harry Jackson, pastor, founder of High Impact Leadership Coalition
  • Robert Jeffress, pastor, First Baptist Church in Dallas
  • Eric Metaxas, author, radio host
  • Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council
  • Ralph Reed, chairman, Faith and Freedom Coalition
  • Tim Wildmon, president, American Family Association
  • Charmaine Yoest, former president, Americans United for Life

Peace!

 

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Are We Divided? Evangelicals and the Election

  1. A good informative read, although I still am a little confused. I will vote and hope my choice is the correct one, even though I feel either candidate is the correct one. The choices are the worst of two evils , which one. ” The standards we applied to Bill Clinton in 1998 are relevant to Donald Trump in 2016. A Clinton resignation would have been good for America’s moral standards in 1998. A Trump step-aside would be good for America’s moral standards in 2016. ”
    I just can’t morally vote for anyone with such vulgarity, I don’t want someone so crude representing my country.

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