By Erick Erickson
I notice a lot of Christians who vote for Trump have such courage in their convictions that they are anonymous.
One point I see a lot of Christians make about supporting Trump that I find to be unbelievably shallow is this one:
I would first ask you to remember that we are NOT electing Trump to a sacred or ecclesiastical office. We are electing him to a political office. If this was a question of placing Trump in charge of my church or Christian organization, you would have to hogtie and hold me down in order to get me to vote for him. I am not arguing for Trump’s morality here.
We see it here too.
“Is Donald Trump able to lead anyone’s congregation? Absolutely not,” said Pastor Mark Burns, a South Carolina-based minister who delivered a prayer at last month’s Republican convention. “Is Donald Trump the Bible-totin’, scripture-quotin’ Christian? To me, that’s irrelevant. We’re not voting for the next pastor of the United States, we’re voting for the next president … [Trump] himself knows that he has not been the churchgoing choirboy, and he admits to his former lifestyle.”
Now read Paul in 1 Corinthians 5:9-11.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.
Compare what Paul wrote to what Wayne Grudem writes about Trump.
He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.
Paul specifically tells us that if someone holds himself out as a Christian, but “is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler” we are to disassociate from such a person until that person repents. Trump has said repeatedly he has never had a need to repent.
So the rationalization that this pastor’s wife makes along with people like Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns and others is that we’re talking about the Presidency, not the church.
But Christians are Christians seven days a week inside and outside the church. These Christians are arguing that we should put our American citizenship ahead of our citizenship in the kingdom, or that we can bifurcate them and firewall ourselves between being American and being Christian. Frankly, we find ourselves in moral collapse as a country because a lot of well meaning Christians have behaved like a Christian on Sunday and then a non-Christian for the other six days.
For a Christian to say, “I know this guy is a really terrible person, but he’s not running for church office,” is a cop out to license immorality.
If Trump is really God’s chosen candidate, God can put Trump in office without Christians advocating for him. There is not an instance in the Bible where God, his prophets, or Christ Jesus himself encourages the faithful to support an immoral person to advance the kingdom. No one was encouraged to hold open the gates of Jerusalem for Nebuchadnezzar. No one was encouraged to cheer on Judas to accomplish God’s redemptive plan. And no one was encouraged to cheer on Herod as he slaughtered the children. In all ways, these people accomplished God’s will, but God did not ask his people to support them.
What this pastor’s wife, Wayne Grudem, Ralph Reed, Mark Burns, and others are asking us to do is be a little less holy and principled to “make America great again.” We make America great again by being better Christians, not telling Christians to get off their high horse and support someone who is “egotistical, bombastic, and brash [who] lacks nuance in his statements … sometimes blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon [and who] insults people [and who] can be vindictive when people attack him [and who] has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters [and who] has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages.”
Just read the conclusion of this pastor’s wife:
If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, don’t tell me you were being self sacrificial and that you did it “for your country.” Because you didn’t. You did it for yourself.
I am not arguing that Trump is a great man.
I am not even arguing that Trump is a good man.
I am arguing that in the words of Christ Himself, God can use an individual that is “not one of us” to further His purposes and protect His people.
So she is not arguing that Trump is great or good, but that God can use Trump. So let God do it. God never asked his people to support the evil and wicked even when God used them to accomplish his purpose.
And I’m not doing this “for [my] country.” I’m doing this because my God tells me that I should not associate with any unrepentant person who claims to be a Christian but is guilty of Trump’s sins. And God is not just talking about on Sunday, but everyday.
This pastor’s wife and the others want to be a Christian on Sunday and an American every other day. I’m a Christian first. So I cannot vote for what I think is immoral. If God wants Trump in office, God is big enough to do it without me. He does not need you or me or the church to be an instrument to prop up an immoral man.
How then can we witness in faith and truth telling others we supported an unrepentant adulterer who swindled the old and single mothers out of money because he wasn’t running for preacher, just President of the United States of America?
This pastor’s wife has a shallow faith and is worshiping the idol America.
Let God’s will be done. But don’t collaborate in immorality thinking you’re helping God. You aren’t.