September 7, 2016

Christians Trumping Clintons–Christian unity in politics

by Jesse Johnson

Image result for lesser of two evils

This American presidential election cycle has downsides too numerous to list, but it does offer Christians a few blessings in disguise: namely, it allows us to clarify what kind of unity the church should be expected to demonstrate in regards to politics.

The last election didn’t necessarily lend itself to that discussion. Four years ago we had, in one corner, a man who was obviously pro-abortion and pro-same sex marriage, and in the other corner someone who was not. Concerning religious liberty, this was about as clear-cut of an election as it comes. Of course there were those who said things like, “Christians shouldn’t vote for a Mormon,” but those arguments were flimsy and didn’t lend themselves to substantial ethical thinking.

This election, on the other hand, presents us something much more complicated. We—as Americans—get to choose between a woman who literally had the president of Planned Parenthood speak at her nomination, and a man whose sole political conviction seems to be racial division. We have two serial liars, either one of which would be the richest president the US has ever had, neither of whom made their money ethically. “God bless America,” as they say.  

So how are Christians supposed to have unity with these as our choices? The answer, quite simply, is that we are not. There is no “right” answer as to how Christians are supposed to view this election. Instead, Christians should respect political diversity as individuals seek to apply biblical principles to our current choices.

Don’t get me wrong; there are some political issues on which Christians should be unified. All Christians should agree that abortion is immoral, and that funding it with tax money is perhaps the greatest moral evil of our generation. Abortion is an affront to the image of God, and cultural acceptance of it is the most widely accepted form of violence against women still tolerated today. Legalized abortion presents not just an attack on society’s most vulnerable, but also a dereliction of the government’s duty to even do the bare-minimum required—to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Christians should also expect unity on the identification of racism as a sin. Defining people’s legal status based on a presumed racial categorizations (which themselves have no basis in science) is America’s besetting sin.  Christians should all agree that racism is destructive, an attack against the historical accounts of the Bible, and should have no place in our nation’s leadership.

And when I say “Christians should expect unity,” what I mean by that is that if a member of your church thinks abortion is morally good, or that racism is acceptable, then that person should be lovingly confronted in their sin, and encouraged to repent.

True Christian unity is seen in how Christians from diverse backgrounds are united in gospel convictions, gospel witness, and gospel community. We aren’t co-belligerent for a candidate, but instead united around holy living and evangelism. We don’t elevate political solutions, but instead amplify the gospel.

That kind of unity does not trickle over into how Christians should vote. Reasonable people with biblical convictions can make different political judgements about what is best for our country. Here are three examples:

Vote Clinton!

A Christian could look at Donald Trump and see a potent combination of vice, arrogance, and love for personal power, and say “having this man as president would be dangerous and possibly spell the ruin of our country, so I’m voting for Clinton” (here is an example of a pastor making that argument).

Vote Trump!

A Christian could look at the shameless antics of Hillary Clinton and decide that her truthlessness and graft combine to make her entirely unfit to be president. Her wanton aggrandizement of Planned Parenthood simply make the concept of her choosing Supreme Court justices unconscionable. Therefore, this argument goes, we should vote for Trump (here is an example of this argument).

Vote anyone else/don’t vote!

A Christian could also astutely note that the arguments put forward in favor of the other two candidates are both based on the “not-quite-as-bad-as-the-other-really-bad-one” form of logic, and thus are not convincing. A Christian could make a compelling case that the best thing for our nation in the long-term would be Trump loss in the short-term, allowing Republicans to nominate someone who would fight for religious freedom and against abortion, albeit four years from now. This argument is essentially that a Trump victory gives us at least eight years of appalling leadership, while a Trump loss would limit that to four (here is that argument).

Notice that all three of those views are reasonable (to varying degrees). While you may disagree with any of them, none of them cross the lines into violating biblical principles, or would any of them do long-term harm to the church.

At the same time, let me note a few things that would violate biblical principles. A pastor who wants Trump to win so calls his character Christ-like, or who says that you don’t need to repent from sins to be a Christian—that kind of teaching would do more harm to the church than a presidential election ever could. If Christians find themselves defending gambling, pornography, sexual immorality, abortion, or lying for the sake of politics, then they are seeking unity by being for a politician, rather than by being against sin.

I encourage you to celebrate the unity in Christ that transcends political diversity, while remaining steadfast in opposing the deeds of darkness, and making no provision for the flesh. If Matthew and Simeon can share a table with Jesus, then you can share fellowship with someone who will vote for Trump. And when either Trump or Clinton wins, the church’s unity will still stand. If the gates of hell cannot prevail against her, neither can a Super PAC.

Christians have power in our world not because we are king makers, but because we are the King’s slaves, and if that task gets eclipsed for flawed political expediency, then we are poor slaves indeed.

There are some things worse than losing an election.

Jesse Johnson

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Jesse is the Teaching Pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, VA. He also leads The Master's Seminary Washington DC location.
  • robertetozier

    “…a man whose sole political conviction seems to be racial division”? “Sole”? “Seems”? Surprised.

  • Ira Pistos

    That was well and wisely said.

  • Lulu

    Have we redefined “racist” and “racism” to mean tolerating lawlessness,criminality,and anarchy? Before promoting the media and Democrat party’s false narrative of “Trump’s a racist”,please do one simple thing:Listen to the portion of Bill Clinton’s 1995 ”State of the Union” speech, where he very articulately states what Trump has so blunderingly attempted to relate:”…we are a country of immigrants,but we are also a country of laws.We must stop illegal immigration…”. Truth will divide,but nevertheless,it is still Truth.

    • More a reference to him making his political entrance by questioning how American a person can possibly be if they have an African parent. To take the most obvious example that comes immediately to mind.
      Look, I’m all for legal immigration, and I get that country can’t check evil if it doesn’t control its boarders. Our government has obviously failed to do that. I’m in. But that is worlds apart from calling a judge from Indiana “Mexican” and saying he can’t possibly be a fair judge for that reason, to take the second example that comes immediately to mind.

      • 4Commencefiring4

        I don’t believe Trump questioned Obama’s citizenship because he had “an African parent.” That was never the issue. After all, he never questioned the citizenship of Condi Rice, Allen West, Jesse Jackson, Herman Cain, or even Al Sharpton (whose credentials are tainted, but whose history is well known.)

        Rather, it was that from the beginning of his career in politics, Obama’s personal history was nebulous on many fronts. His radical parents aside, we’d never seen his academic records, SS records, passport records, law review writings, legal practice records. Nothing was available. He was one giant blank slate, plus there were reports of his own aunt claiming she was there when he was born…in Kenya. And his own book publisher said the same. So Trump was hardly alone in questioning his origins.

        As to the “Mexican” judge, that remark wasn’t made in a vacuum. It was that Trump had insulted many Mexicans when he announced his run, implying that many from Mexico who crossed illegally into the U.S. were criminals who were not “their [Mexico’s] best.” And so, with the judge overseeing his legal case who might very well have been among those he insulted previously, he made reference to the fact that his impartiality might be legitimately questioned. Obviously, absent that prior remark, any citation of his Mexican heritage would have been racist. But if he already had put off many Hispanics when he spoke of illegals, it’s not surprising that he might not wish to have someone from that universe judging his case.

        If I had made a public–and much ballyhooed–remark about the “cowardice of the French”, I’m not sure having my bench trial heard in a court where a judge named Francois Jubert is presiding would be my preference. N’est pas?

        • Those people you listed…their parents were American, not African. President Obama’s dad was from Kenya. If you really don’t think his dad being from Kenya is why Trump questioned the birth certificate…well, I’m at a loss of how to respond. He never demanded Jesse Jackson’s birth certificate because his parents were not from Africa. And as for the judge comment…how about Francis? And then declaring that Francis, who was born in Indiana, couldn’t be impartial because the French are cowards, and that’s whats wrong with our country, that there are too many cowardly French running around, like Judge Francis…yeah, that would be bad too.

      • Kent

        Jesse,

        You say many, many truths in the article, and I can understand how that you would want to see church unity through a divided presidential election. However, unity must be based on what is true. A Christian worldview comes out of the one story and there is just one. Lies cause the disunity. This could be the opportunity for a church to have true unity and not the kind at the family reunion.

        Part of a lie is forming moral equivalence that is not equivalent. We can judge Trump not to be a biblical Christian, truly converted like we see in the Bible, as judged by his actions and his words. However, Trump and Clinton are not equal. Let’s say you are not saying that, even though that is how your article reads, but they are not equal. Clinton is at a low that is unparalleled in the history of this country. Moral equivalence here is a horrible lie.

        You are judging Trump’s question of the legitimacy of the Obama presidency as proceeding from racism. He also questioned Ted Cruz’s legitimacy because Cruz was born in Canada. Trump’s concern, like many, isn’t over Obama’s dad being African? Who has said that? Really. I’ve never read that anywhere. If you read Dsouza’s book, there is a question of Obama’s loyalty, that doesn’t relate to race as much as it does to colonialism and the Moslem religion. Do you really not think that Obama came on the national scene in a way that is different than any other president, ever? In so many ways, he was given a pass, and if it was questioned, people are challenged like your racist claim here. This seems to be a lie itself that buys into the lie that is political correctness. Come on, Jesse.

        The other issue, the judge who was assigned to the Trump University case, again it seems you are making a moral equivalence here. It was bad politics for Trump to do what he did with that judge and with the Moslem speakers at the DNC. However, you are falling right into the trap from the left, essentially lapping it up. He thinks the judge is biased because of his Mexican heritage. You don’t think that can be questioned in light of some of the associations the judge kept? What world are you living in? It doesn’t seem it is one where someone knows you can judge these things. Trump failed in stating what to many would be obvious. He could receive a biased judgment from this man.

        You really understate Clinton errors and even Obama errors. When President Obama was a State Senator, among the little that he accomplished, one was to lead the support of infanticide, essentially legalizing the killing of babies who survived botched abortions. You don’t do people well to practice moral equivalence.

        • Did you not see the graphic at the top of the post?

    • Alex

      If I may, I think the concern here isn’t whether or not Donald Trump has political or legal precedent for the position he is taking on illegal immigration (he does). Jesse’s argument is that Donald Trump is scoring his political points by the exploitation of racial division.

      For example, stemming illegal immigration from Central America is, in my opinion, a laudable goal for the federal government. But, Donald Trump articulates his goal by routinely describing illegal immigrants as “job stealers, rapists, and drug dealers.” I’m not even arguing against whether or not that’s true, but he is making the argument by arguing against a “type” of person, not a position.

      Or when Donald Trump, again taking a reasonable position regarding the vetting of refugees, but makes his case by describing them as potential terrorists hiding in the crowd. He’s not making a case of merit, but rather recasting an entire group of people (Muslim refugees) as dangerous.

      Or when Donald Trump describes trade inequality with China as “raping our country.” And in so doing takes what could be a helpful conversation about economic strength and global trade, and turns it into an “us vs. them” argument.

      This is political gamesmanship based on racial division.

      I appreciate that Jesse is calling us as Christians not to leave our critical thinking caps outside the political arena, and to consider what a candidate’s tactics say about a candidate’s character. And then, having considered that, Jesse acknowledges that Christians can reach different conclusions honestly and sincerely. And furthermore, that such different conclusions do not merit division within the body of Christ.

      • Christina

        What a wonderfully worded response. Thank you for sharing that viewpoint.

      • scatcatpdx

        As a former republican this attitude of using racial division was part of populist republican believes sense 1997. http://www.vdare.com/articles/electing-a-new-people
        The problem they did not have a candidate till now.

  • RockyRaccoon

    Second dumb political article that has come out of the Immanuel Bible Church crew. You guys have a problem.

  • Dave

    Jesse,
    Thanks for the post. I noticed that you had a third heading “Vote anyone else/don’t vote!” yet that aspect didn’t seem to be expounded upon. I think there is a great deal to be said for conscientiously voting for a write-in candidate that more reflects Presidential temperament and ethical leadership values. Now, this person most likely will not win the election, but the Christian is able to both fulfill his/her civic duty while not having to compromise their Christian witness by supporting either of the two main candidates. I think it would be very hard for me to have a DT or HC bumper sticker and be able to share Christ’s love for my fellow man. In my mind, although America would therefore not be led by an ethical, righteous President in January, the gospel going forth is not dependent on this election, but rather on the election pre-ordained by God and shared by the means he ordained.
    Two points from Scripture (plus one additional point) guide my sanity this fall.
    1. There is no New Testament call for a Christian nation, and nowhere in those 27 books do we see formal call for a Christian-based nation/state/society. Our mandate, like that of the apostles during Nero and other Roman emperors, is the Great Commission.
    2. The Old Testament reminds us that it is God that raises up governments. Perhaps the nation of the United States is getting the President it has earned. Regardless, I go back to point 1 above.
    3. “In God We Trust” must have real meaning (now and in the future) apart from “In Politics We Rely (to somehow show that in God we trust)”.
    Again, thanks for the great post.

    • Great points Dave. Obviously one of them is going to win. And honestly, one of them is going to win regardless of who Christians vote for. I mean seriously, Christians don’t control the election, but we do control our conscience.

    • karolekay

      Not just the OT. Romans 13:1, “For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” While there is not a call for a “Christian-based nation/state/society in Scripture,” God graciously allowed this country to be established by men who understood the nature of God and man. It has never been perfect, but it has been the best the world has had to offer on many levels, including freely exercising the Great Commission within and without. The thing that has given us the opportunity to do that is the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of speech which is already subjugated to laws against hate speech – which includes anything and everything Biblical. There is no hope for the appointment of any conservative, constitutionalist justices under a Clinton administration.
      My hope is not in elected officials, national boundaries, the economy or military strength: my hope is in the Lord. That said, I still want to be a good steward of this country that God has given us and the and freedom and opportunities we still have. Regardless of how this election turns out, we all know it is part of God’s plan. Maranatha.

      • Yep. I love Douglas Wilson’s line: this election is obviously a judgement by God, and you can’t game judgement.

  • jim doyle

    Darrell Castle, no chance for him unless God moves. But I will be voting for him!

    • Jim: Nice to see you in the comment thread! Hope all is well brother. Thanks for reading.

      • jim doyle

        Thank you bro.! Keep up the good fight!

  • Christina

    The Office of the President, while important, is not the only thing we should be thinking about this election. State and local offices are much more important to the average persons daily life but many people focus solely on the Presidential election. Presidents hold power and have influence but Congress ultimately is responsible for the passage of the laws we love to hate.

    I also feel we need to remember that our elected leaders are not our spiritual guides and cannot be expected to uphold our values. This is especially true considering that all Christians do not always share exactly the same values. Lets take modesty as a non-political example. Most Christians feel modesty is important but what is modesty? To me, it is fine to wear high-heeled shoes and skirts above the knee as long as nothing is too form fitting…..others may feel differently about that and it is okay. Politics is the same way. I am not speaking of hot button issues like abortion or gay marriage…..but there are many more issues of importance than just those and to pick a politician because of their views on a couple of hot button issues makes no sense to me. Political corruption is a huge problem for me and that happens on both sides of the aisle….even among those who claim to be Christian anti-abortion advocates. I am less concerned about a stance about abortion and more concerned about integrity….which makes this election so depressing.

    Neither major candidate is my choice…..but I am not shocked we are in this position……this has been a long time coming. I will vote and I will pray that whoever wins, God will use them to lead the country wisely. I am also praying that people will begin to see that the divide we are currently facing is a symptom of much greater problems in this country. The conversations I have had with people who are shocked at the level of hatred and bigotry they are seeing amuse me. These bigoted attitudes are not new…..they are just out in the open now and it is offending peoples sensibilities. Lying politicians are not new either but somehow it is more noticeable and upsetting now. Maybe this will help us start to work toward a better future….but I am not holding my breath.

    • Thanks Christina. You are right: maybe there is silver lining that *at least* people are offended by what used to be commonly accepted.

  • Jason

    People can argue the finer points made about the candidates in this article, but the topic of the article is dead on. We need to focus on renewing our own minds, and then vote for the person we believe will be the best choice for president (our responsibility as citizens).

    There’s been a lot of talk about who/what pastors can and cannot endorse and I think it’s all pointless. The kingdom of God and his righteousness ought to be our focus. Many times this focus will influence our voting, in cases where it’s still a toss up, it’s just that.

    • Thanks Jason.

      • Jason

        Thank you!

    • karolekay

      Just curious, Jason, but what does “the kingdom of God and his righteousness” look to you, Jason? There are those who believe and teach that it’s all about social justice, and helping the poor through governments programs that tax some to provide for others. Please clarify.

  • jbdollar

    I as a pastor would have a real problem advising anybody to do number one. Voting for Hillary Puts a stamp of approval on the abortion industry and makes one complicit with the legalized murder of millions. At least with Trump there is a chance of salvaging the rule of law.

    • Christina

      Here is a different perspective. I don’t want my pastor advising me about anything political. His job is to teach me the Bible, to teach me the words of Jesus…..words that I can then use to make my own political decision.

      Also, your comment makes me think that you would not have a problem telling someone to vote for Trump and his decidedly racist beliefs (not to mention his marital history). Sin is sin….I hope you are not implying that the sin of legalized abortion is greater than the sin of legalized racism.

      • Alex

        Hi Christina! I appreciate your priorities, most especially that a pastor’s job is concerned with teaching the congregation from God’s word, and not about espousing personal, political platforms. But, certainly we agree that it is too far to say, “I don’t want my pastor advising me about anything political.” Especially when we are using the word “advising” instead of “directing” or “demanding.”

        Or, let me ask my question this way, would we agree that a pastor’s responsibility includes both teaching what God’s word says about the sin of gossip, and admonishing us with regard to real word incidents in our lives where the temptation to gossip exists? I’m confident you would agree. So, why would we find it appropriate to limit a pastor’s input regarding our civic responsibilities (like voting or obeying the law) to general exhortations from Scripture without direct guidance as it relates to things like voting or obeying the law?

        I think Jesse’s post here is an excellent example of how pastors can navigate the line in a way that takes seriously their responsibility to lead, exhort, and encourage, without laying on their people an extra-biblical burden of political affiliation.

        God bless!

        • Christina

          I agree that Jesse’s post is an excellent example of a pastor guiding us to use our morality to decide our political decision making. He didn’t, however, tell us who to vote for while the person who I penned the response to expressly told us who to vote for. There is the difference.

          • Alex

            Gotcha. And that difference is huge. And, I respect that Jesse is continuing to exposit the book of Revelation from the pulpit on Sunday mornings instead of presenting five reasons why to vote for (fill in the blank). And reserving these discussions for a forum like TheCripplegate.

            But, if I may, I would quibble with your term “use our morality” to decide. I think/hope that Jesse is attempting to use Scriptural truth, which informs our morality, as the basis for our decision making. It sounds nitpicky (even to me as I write it), but I think it is important to observe the difference. As Christians our obligation is to ensure that our decision making (whether it is how we vote, or how we worship, or how we live) is directed by Scripture, and not simply our personal convictions.

            We know that we are all sinners, and the Holy Spirit is at work within us to shape our wills, and our moralities, in line with God’s. So, we have the mandate from Paul in 2 Corinthians 10 to “take every thought captive.” And to hold, even our own morality as suspect until it is measured against God’s word.

            And I trust, based on the high esteem you have placed in your comments on following Christ, that you agree with a loud “amen!”

          • Christina

            I agree my use of the word morality could be misconstrued. I am not sure if you saw my post from earlier when I used the concept of modest dress as an example. While the Bible may not expressly tell us what modest dress entails in 2016, my sense of morality does. This is what I mean by morality…Christian morals guided by Biblical principals, since the Bible does not expressly answer every question we have.

          • Alex

            Sure, that makes sense. Definitions are key to dialogue. As long as we are using morality to mean moral convictions directed by Scripture, then I’m 100% on board with you.

            The only point I was trying to make is that so often the surreptitious lie of the world is to “trust your gut.” As Darth Vader said, “search your heart…you know it to be true.” I would respond to the sith lord’s statement with, “The heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9). What’s he gonna do, cut my hand off?

            But for the record, I wouldn’t place the length of skirts and high heels under the heading of “morality” as much as I would “modesty.” Let me put it this way: drawing the line of how much leg to let show is a question of modesty; deciding whether or not to cross that line intentionally is a question of morality. The Bible doesn’t exhaustively answer all of the former questions, but it does answer all of the latter questions – and I submit both to God’s word. And I’m grateful for pastors that help me make God-honoring decisions in both categories. (So, I hereby grant to Jesse the authority to tell me to quit wearing high heels and short skirts to church, both for reasons of immodesty and immorality.)

            I think we are in agreement, Christina. Thanks.

      • jbdollar

        1. The teachings of the Bible give us principles to follow in our politics.

        2. Please point out exactly where Trump is a racist. it is dangerous to Simply repeat and believe what we are taught by the ungodly media.

        3. Yes, abortion is a greater sin then racism. A racist may be obnoxious, but he or she is not leaving a trail of torn up bloody bodies behind him or her.

        • Christina

          1. I agree but that still does not qualify a pastor to tell me who to vote for.
          2. Let’s see…..when Trump implied that Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge who was presiding over the Trump University case wouldn’t rule fairly because of his Mexican heritage. Or maybe when he continually calls Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. Or when he states that he will ban all Muslims from entering the USA (because all non US citizen Muslims are terrorists). Or the fact that he has a long track record of hiring and rental discrimination against Black people and has been fined for it (google it….the list is too numerous to put here). Or how about when he told a room full of Jewish people “You’re not going to support me, because I don’t want your money, you want to control your own politician.” Is that enough examples?
          3. So God said in the Bible that abortion is the greater sin? And you are a pastor?

          As a Black woman who has seen my people killed through racism, your comment about racists offends me.

          • SeekandYeShallFind

            Please research the number of black babies being killed by abortion. This should offend everyone.

          • karolekay

            Please explain what is wrong with Trump telling anyone he can’t be bought? To say it’s only racist because he was talking to Jews is racist.

            God has spoken out clearly against the shedding of innocent blood throughout Scripture beginning in Genesis 4:10 when Cain murdered Abel. It was the first specific law given under the Noahic Covenant in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.” So, yes, abortion is the greater sin, because it murders the most innocent of those created in God’s image.

            I am sorry over the loss of any black life through racism, but abortions done to blacks ARE based in racism.

  • Creighton Ring

    Truly a great summary of a situation that has taken the church to its knees regarding how to clearly apply biblical truth. Two wanna-be emperors with no clothes. Thanks for providing clarity Jesse!

  • Rick

    Whomever is elected will be God’s will. Eph. 1:11 Should we 1) recognize and be satisfied with God’s will, and 2) trust and rest in His sovereign decrees? Whomever you vote for or don’t vote for will be secondary to God’s decree. Don’t fret over this.

    • Dave

      Rick, great double-meaning!
      “Whomever is elected will be God’s will. Eph. 1:11”

    • Totally. And, as Dave already pointed out: good use of “elected.”
      The blessing and the curse of democracy is that it takes the middleman out of God’s judgement. He used to providentially have to raise the leader that would fit his judgement on his people (like finding Saul and his donkey). But now, the people can just get exactly what the deserve directly.

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  • Karl Heitman

    Has your view/opinion about Thabiti Anyabwile changed?

    • I respect him tremendously. I don’t agree with his article about Clinton (and notice I didn’t link to his article, but his co-pastor’s), but I do agree with him on many other issues, chiefly a biblical perspective on “race.” I loved his book “The Life of God in the Soul of Man,” as it serves as a bridge between the Puritans/Edwards and us. And his sermon on Romans 5 from T4G was powerful, and I’m still reminded of the truths in that passage from it.

  • Lars B

    Thanks for the article, Jesse. You said one thing here in passing that was not very charitable, and not thought through very well, in my opinion.

    You said in regards to the last election with Romney, that Christians who didn’t vote for him because he was Mormon used arguments that were “flimsy and didn’t lend themselves to substantial ethical thinking.”

    As someone who has a background in reaching the cults, I think this perspective does not take into account the vast spiritual harm that a Mormon in the White House would have created. I will just mention two ways to keep it brief.

    Joseph Smith prophesied that a Mormon would save the Constitution when it was left hanging by a thread. A Romney victory would have solidified Mormons even deeper into following this false prophet, and this would be a Mormon apologetic point used for centuries into the future, thus leading many people astray.

    Secondly, a Mormon president would have global implications by legitimizing their message. Imagine two Mormon missionaries in Brazil (or elsewhere), trying to persuade a person at the door, and then saying, “The President of the FREE WORLD is a Mormon!” This would have lended credibility to this anti-Christian cult worldwide, that same conversation happening 10’s of thousands of times over, and given the LDS a platform that a million hours of knocking on doors couldn’t do. It would have been spiritually devastating on many other levels as well.

    I understood the point you were making, but I think you gravely missed the spiritual implications of what Romney could have done to the kingdom of Satan, and why many of us refused to vote for him.

    Respectfully,
    Lars

    • The rio

      Very well said. I didn’t vote for Romney because he is a member of a cult. He was serving Satan. So many pastors overlooked that. However, they have issue with Trump?
      I’m sure Christians will sit by as they always have and do nothing during this election. When my pastor gets arrested for hate speech for preaching God’s Word. I’ll thank those Christians who sat at home, or voted third party. That’s a vote for Hillary. Yes! God is Sovereign!!! This election thing of sitting at home and letting God take care of it cracks me up. According to some Christians I can get in my car and accelerate, let go of the wheel and let Jesus take the wheel. I won’t wreck. God has his will.
      GODS WILL IS TO USE THE BRAIN HE BLESSED YOU WITH!
      When our religious freedom is under attack like it is right now. You better be heading to the polls. God used unclean things in the Bible.
      I’m a little surprised this man is affiliated with The Master’s Seminary. Yet his church has much to do with so many false teachers. That’s disconcerting.

      • Clint Clifton

        The Rio, you speak of protecting religious freedom however you seem to speak of only protecting your own religious freedom. Mormons accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Yet you are so quick to judge them on being followers of satan? This is Gods judgment to make and not your own. We should be embracing our fellow Christians with Love not casting them out. We should be embracing members of all religions and hoping to learn similarities to connect over and not focusing on our divisions.

        • Alex

          Clint, not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord, Lord” is a believer (Luke 6:46).

          The presence of false teachers/prophets are the very reason that Christians have been commanded to actively “test the spirits to see whether they are from God” (1 John 4:1).

          More so, we are called to declare such false teachers for what they are, and warn others (Galatians 1:8, Eph 5:11, 1 Timothy 1:3-4).

          And we warn and correct, in the hope that we can be used to save unbelievers from hell, and deceived believers from God’s chastisement (James 5:19-20).

          I will gladly embrace fellow Christians with love. The Mormon religion preaches a false gospel, and as such, we cannot embrace them as brothers in the faith. Rather we reach them with love and the gospel.

          • Clint Clifton

            Alex it is disappointing to me that you interpret God’s Love with so much Hate. I will pray for you.

          • Alex

            Thank you for your prayer. But where Scripture is clear, we must also be clear. While I certainly have no desire to be a disappointment to you, I am much more concerned with disappointing Christ by marrying his gospel to a false one.

          • Lars B

            Clint, Jesus spoke often about discerning the false prophets from the true. Read Matthew 7. It is not unloving to point out when a faith is leading people away from Jesus and into Hell. I would encourage you to read what he said on the matter. Since Mormons have a different Jesus and a different gospel, they are not genuine Christians, as nice as they might be. We must use the words of God as our guide, and not our senses (also called “faith). Respectfully, Lars.

      • Alex

        The Rio, I think that you are correct in stating that a view of God’s sovereignty that practices passivity and willful “steering wheel-chucking” is wrong and without biblical warrant.

        But there is no point in Jesse’s article that he makes such a position tenable; or even attractive. Jesse is trying to say that Christians have a higher priority than ensuring political victories: maintaining our Christian witness. And that we have no right or authority to toss out our moral high ground for the sake of political expediency. And that we can reject such a dichotomy because our knowledge of God’s sovereignty ensures that we trust election results to the God who “removes and establishes kings” (Daniel 2:21).

        The argument that God uses “unclean things” would have more weight if I saw the passage that encouraged the Israelites to put their trust in the Philistines because it was their last hope against the Amalekites. I haven’t come across that passage yet. As far as I can tell, God has always commanded his people to continue to place their trust in him, commit their ways to him, and trust him with deliverance.

        Finally, I would ask that you refrain for casting aspersions on the church where Jesse is pastoring. It’s disconcerting.

      • I can’t understand this comment.
        1. I didn’t vote for Romney.
        2. Romney losing the election cost Christians their religious freedom
        3. Christians will sit back and do nothing this election like always.
        Huh? You can believe any two of those things, but unless I’m missing something, all three of them present a pretty basic logical contradiction.

    • Thanks for your kind response Lars. And you are right–I didn’t word it that charitably. In fact, I have a good friend who made that same argument to me four years ago, and while I didn’t agree then, it probably was more than “flimsy.”

  • Ranger Turner

    I would recommend voting for an alternate candidate over abstaining. By abstaining, your political voice is not documented. Alternatively, if there is a significant, third party vote, the main parties may try for these votes in the next election. By voting for Trump or Clinton, your goal is to affect this election’s outcome. However, third party votes record a stance opposed to current options. (I’m not saying this is necessarily a better choice, for Christians, than focusing on the current election’s results. That said, I believe a third party vote is strictly better than abstaining.)

  • Nancy Tyler

    Ahhh, Jesse, thank you. I have been hassled and brow-beaten from all sides on this issue this past week. I feel as if you’ve opened the door and let a whole lot of fresh air into a really stuffy discussion!

    I’ve served under four presidents so far, and whenever someone asks this low level bureaucrat which administration was the best experience, my answer is always “none of them.” For both parties, in total there were maybe two or three standout appointees, and the rest were ok to awful.

    That has been a disappointment for the girl who came to DC 30 years ago as a journalism and government student and who stayed around for a career in public service. But it’s been a comfort too. As each year wore away more and more of the shine of my idealism, I’ve been able to absorb more and more the reality of God’s grace, patience, and control. It has left me in awe of Him daily for keeping this country and its system together and keeping itchy trigger fingers around the world from starting a nuclear war. Whatever happens in November, I’m going to do my best to continue trusting the only One truly worth trusting.

    • Thanks for the comment Nancy, and I’m grateful the Lord has used your experience (albeit sometimes disappointing) to help you grow in grace. I too am thankful for how the Lord, in his providence has used our country to check evil. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • Adam

    Romans 13:1-4 comes to mind concerning government; in particular v.14 – “For he is a minister of God to thee for good.” Keep in mind that this is given in context of a corrupt and pagan Roman government; nevertheless, the truth remains – “he is a minister OF GOD to thee for good.” This was not inspired by the Holy Spirit with a perfect and or Christian government in mind but against the backdrop of idolatrous emperors who considered worship and allegiance to Jesus Christ as a violation of civil law; hence, the eventual outbreak of persecution. But once again – “he is a minister of God to thee for good.” The point being, evil would increase to an even greater degree without these pagan emperors. This being the case, you are not violating any moral precept if you exercise your right to vote .Whether Trump or Clinton, evil will be advanced but some good as well. Yet the truth remains that evil would exist to an even greater degree without either. In the end I believe this is a matter of conscience and therefore “Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” (Rom. 14:5)

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  • Maranatha

    Hi. Cannot find any response here re. John 18,36 i.e. the Lord’s own words. Did I miss something?

  • So…that just about covers things here. If you want to keep the convesation going, head over to today’s post:
    http://thecripplegate.com/3-forms-of-gospel-unity/