*Also featured on New City Times*
“They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but I knew it not. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction.” (Hosea 8:4)
Given the fact that Trump-euphoria has swept the nation (where it’s going is TBD), I thought I’d opine for a moment. Keep in mind a couple of things before your blood pressure elevates: 1) You came here. I didn’t make you continue reading or stay. If you’re going to comment, do so with at least some sort of courtly behavior. I’m fine with the delete button here, and on Facebook, btw. 2) Contrary to everyone’s constant butt-hurt online, you can ignore this and go about your day with smiles and sunshine. And coffee. 3) I’m fine with some interaction on the matter, but I ask that you respect my conscience as I will respect yours. There are Christians on all sides of the debate wrestling with the issues. Here we go.
It’s true that some men want to watch the world burn. It’s also true that some men want to light the match. In other words, when God brings judgment in history by raising up tyrants (Daniel 2:21; cf. Prov. 16:12), we will all see it, and some of us will be more culpable for it than others. But judgment for the people of God is restorative. Judgment for the unbeliever is punitive. They don’t have a substitutionary atonement. We do. The problem comes in when we want to help mete out the retribution (knowingly or unknowingly). I’ll come back to this point in a minute or two.
I’ve had some interactions lately regarding Trump and whether or not conservatives (Republican or not) should vote for him. At this point, he simply does not have my vote. Neither does Clinton. Both are unqualified for various reasons. But thankfully it’s only June, and a lot can happen. (There’s a lot of time to think through this and pray for wisdom.) Something that has concerned me in these conversations has been the charge leveled against me for opposing Trump. I’m told two things: 1) I’m helping Clinton get elected, and 2) I’m compromising. I can’t even…but I’m going to try.
Claim from the Trumpsters–”A non-vote or third-party vote is a vote for Clinton.” Look, I went to public school, but I had a great math teacher. Clearly you don’t understand how basic arithmetic works; or logic for that matter. Is voting for someone who “has no chance to win” a waste? Of course not. Nor is it a vote for someone else. If I refuse to vote for persons A or B because they are stupendously unqualified, and I cast a vote for person C, I’m voting for person C, not persons A or B. End of story. At best this type of argument is a fallacy. At worst it’s a futile exercise in pragmatic scare-tactics with a clear misunderstanding of the perennial problem of collectivism. “You’re voting for the truly evil person by throwing away your vote!” Let me help you translate this: “I’m willing to compromise biblical principles, why aren’t you?” Casting a vote is validating a candidate. You are attaching your moral culpability to a person. But casting a vote for one person is not both a vote for the one, and a (passive) vote for another. That’d be a non-sequitur, but I realize colleges aren’t requiring Logic 101 anymore. Just because you are willing to go to the booth with a clothespin over your nose doesn’t mean I have to. Besides, those things hurt anyway.
Claim from the Trumper-Tantrums–”You are compromising your conservatism by refusing to back the only conservative party in the fight who has a chance to win!” Who’s the compromiser? The one who casts his vote looking the other way? Or the one who sticks to biblical principles and trusts the sovereign judgment of God? If you want to vote for Trump, fine. But don’t call me the compromiser. And do answer me this: just what are you “conserving,” Mr. Conservative? Big government? Trillions of dollars of debt? Unjust wars that come from meddling and blowback? Excessive taxation that our forebears would have an aneurism over? True conservatism is dead in the Republican party. Both parties are full of big-government monkeyshines who want power and prestige. They don’t care about you, how could they?
But let’s get back to the charge of compromising. The biblical principle is this: “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it” (James 2:10). In other words, when you compromise on just one of the major biblical principles for who is qualified to rule over us, you’ve compromised on all of them. Never has this been more clear in recent history. The fact that Trump has gotten this far is an indictment on our Nation, and the Church. If Hillary wins, it will be judgment. If Sanders wins, it will be judgment. If Trump wins, it will be judgment. How does judgment work? It draws out the sin in the church in hopes of restorative discipline. The true compromisers are the evangellyfish Osteen-lovers who actually think he’s a decent preacher. The compromisers are the ones who look the other way on pretty basic principles because they fear someone else might do worse. Better the devil that you know, than the devil that you don’t know, right? Wrong. He’s still the devil whether you close your eyes or not. The compromisers are the ones who would much rather forget about God’s Word on qualifications and instead put someone in office for political expediency. “But the system is what it is, and we’re forced to pick the lesser of two evils!” First, they are both equally evil. Second, put down the gasoline and matches, ma’am, you’re gonna hurt someone. The system keeps going because you’re willing to compromise the Bible, and when we compromise the Bible, well, we get the king we deserve (1 Sam. 8). It’s never wrong to obey the Bible, not matter what Caesar says. Anyone who says these sorts of things is saying, “Your obedience to biblical principles in this way isn’t helping us.” Actually, I would argue, the church’s blatant disobedience of biblical principles is what’s getting us where we are. Welcome to the judgment of God. Please keep your arms and legs inside at all times.
Our responsibility is obedience to God. The consequences belong to God’s judicial governance of man. When the Church obeys the covenant, blessings come. When the Church decides to go a different way? We get a Trump vs. Clinton election. This is pretty basic stuff, actually.
“We’re not electing a pastor!” True. But we are electing a deacon (‘διάκονός’ –Romans 13:4). If you wouldn’t want this person on your Deacon board, you surely don’t want him ruling over you.
“We’re not a Christian nation in covenant with God!” 1) Yes, we are. We are a defiant nation who’s broken covenant with God. (See the Mayflower Compact to start). 2) So what! The Church is heaven’s garrison on earth. Let’s work towards it anyway, unless you’re more concerned about the Rapture. On this point I can’t help you.
I’ve heard the argument that the bus is going over the cliff, so if we elect Clinton, it’s just going to go towards the cliff at 100MPH. If we elect Trump, I’m told, it’ll only be going 55MPH. Whew! Isn’t that better! You know what we should really do? Get off the bus and steal the tires. Seriously though, if the bus is going to crash, let it. That’s right, let it. This is the judgment of God, and I’m not going to have a hand in pushing the dumb thing over the cliff. Remember the world burning? Yea, it burns under God’s wrath all the time (Rom. 1:18). He doesn’t need your match. We’re supposed to flee from unrighteousness, not bring a flashlight to show it to everyone.
“But what about the SCOTUS appointee!?” Really? That’s your 30-pieces of silver? You want us to believe that if we can just get Hitler in power, perhaps his secretary of whatever will let us keep our guns? They cannot and will not take our guns. And the 2nd Amendment? How about the federal government and her executive-branch appointed black robes do NOT govern the States. It’s called civil disobedience, and Colorado defied the feds with marijuana; I’m pretty sure we can do it with guns. Well, I’m pretty sure Texas can. California is too busy trying to find new ways to fornicate. Regardless, go here and learn, my friends.
Church: We must repent, not feed the machine. Resistance to tyrants, is obedience to God. We’re supposed to obey God not cuddle up with the tyrants and hope that maybe he’ll give us a lollipop. When this judgment comes–and it has come in part already–the Church shouldn’t be caught with matches in her hand. Our job isn’t to help mete out the judgment by staining our hands with political culpability. Our job is to repent and proclaim that our King is running the joint, scepter and all.