Luke has a lot to say about this election in his two books of the Bible. These are some thoughts God prompted me in personally while praying about my voting choices this last February and March (I voted in the primary in early March). These thoughts aren’t organized clearly yet, but I wanted to get them out in the open in case they help others.
Like the Pharisees of old, many believers are making judgments about an election by looking at a man and not to God. We look to God for certain issues, but take care of others ourselves. Also, we are ignoring the real battle. Don’t fear he who says things you think others will find unnecessarily offensive, but he who seeks to take your life here and in the life to come.
In this message, I am addressing conservative Christians who have stated publicly that voting for Trump is morally evil, or at best a very bad idea. I’m not going to make a secular humanist argument, so if a Christian worldview is not your lenses on life at this moment, then some points here may not appeal to you. I am directly addressing, however, Christians whose faith I uphold and who are saying we must stop Trump from becoming president, whether applying the “decency test,” or “because he divides us,” “is not a Christian,” “demonstrates unbiblical character,” “exemplifies pride,” “resembles Hitler’s rise to power,” and so “we shouldn’t sacrifice integrity for mob rule principle.”
Expectedly, the anti-Christian crowd loves to publish Christian reasons why Christians shouldn’t vote for Trump and are working to unify Christian adherents against him. Ask, “When else has this website supported the public influence of Christian principles?” The answer: only when doing so diminishes the church. Watch out whenever those tearing down the church’s voice in the public square suddenly ally themselves with a cause of the church: in every instance where we latch on, the church loses.
Interpret the Present Time
He said to the crowd: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time? Why don’t you judge for yourselves what is right?” – Jesus (Luke 12:54-57)
While I’m assuming the reader knows the nature of the war we’re in (and it would take many words beyond the scope of this post to outline it), often we need reminders of the truth because the truth is so surprising.
Nobody wants WWII to repeat on American soil. Correction: most of “the powers that be” are systematically devoted to the genocide of Judeo-Christian people, organizations, and culture in the very nation – the first since ancient Israel – where the full freedom to worship the one true God was legally protected and covenanted. The war we’re in is not just over jobs, income inequality, social issues, but it’s over life and death itself.
“The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy…”
Last summer I spent a month in northern Uganda and South Sudan working with people recovering from decades of war up until 2006. You may have heard about Joseph Kony and the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA), in which a group devoted to open worship of Satan terrorized their people to usurp authority over a people for the sole purpose of exercising power and destroying lives. Politicians couldn’t make sense of it because the LRA had no clear political or territorial goals, and it wasn’t ethnically motivated because they attacked their own people. In this war, it was common for the LRA to invade a village or a school, chop the leaders and teachers in pieces, cook them, and force the children to eat them or be crucified. If the children accepted at gunpoint, then they were required to kill their parents if they still lived and march north to South Sudan (Sudan at that time) for military training, carrying the severed head of someone they knew or sleeping in their entrails to desensitize them to death. Many children died along the way, or died in battle, killing others along with them.
While meeting people each with horror stories of fighting on either side – all victims of a demonic war – it hit me that this part of the body of Christ, these ex-child soldiers, generals, and regular folk just trying to survive… these Ugandans have an insider’s view of the devil’s plans for all of humanity. The devil desires this brutality everywhere, whether in German gas chambers, Chinese prisons, Russian correction facilities, Cambodian killing fields, or US suburbs – there’s no limit to the devil’s willingness to bring the worst outcomes possible to the most people as possible.
The same forces behind the war in Uganda, the genocide in Rwanda in which at least 6 people were brutally killed every minute 24/7 for over three months by their neighbors and co-workers, and countless other mass murders… those same forces are attacking the US. America is not immune, or exceptional in this respect, and yet our distracted, self-focused actions betray our belief that somehow “all that” won’t come on our lands.
What the Africans in Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Congo, and Nigeria already know now, we need to know in America, and we need to know with conviction the stakes in this election and especially in our stewardship of our nation’s culture. We can’t tolerate the devil’s agenda for our individual homes, cities, and nation any longer, not only for the sakes of our families, but for the millions who don’t know Christ personally yet. Lives are on the line. Do you stand with God, or against Him? “Whoever does not gather with me scatters.”
I’m reading Luke at the moment, so many words of Jesus from this book are leaping off the page right now.
Take any accusation against Donald Trump’s candidacy – he’s narcissistic, he’s mean-spirited, he insults whole groups of people, he can’t work with others, he’s bankrupted people, he’s the next incarnation of Hitler, etc. – and try applying it honestly to Barack Obama, who has an actual record of using and abusing authority delegated by the people to protect and uphold the Constitution and the self-evident truths alluded by the Declaration of Independence. You will see that each moral outrage people attempt to apply onto Trump’s image fit perfectly with Obama’s actual actions. Trump may be the best or worst thing to happen to America depending on who you listen to, but even the worst possibility of what some predict from Trump pales in comparison to what Obama has actually done. We have every right and responsibility to speak against the agenda of Obama, which Clinton will continue to advance at greater speed if given the opportunity. Given a choice between eating food that might be expired and eating poison, I’ll take the potentially expired food, thank you very much. It might even turn out to be the best bites of the day.
Given a choice between eating food that might be expired and eating poison, I’ll take the potentially expired food, thank you very much. It might even turn out to be the best bites of the day.
It comes down to: are we looking at a man to discern the man, or are we looking at God to discern the man.
“You didn’t lead them to salvation, and you prevented those who were going.” – Jesus
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” – Jesus (Luke 13:34)
Is Trump a divider? Yes, and so is Jesus. God’s agenda is always to expose the hearts and minds of men. God is using Trump to openly disclose the rampant hypocrisy of the Republican Party elite – for instance, who say we all need to quiet down and unify around a wishy-washy McCain or Romney when their candidate of choice to maintain their profitable staus quo is ahead by single digits, but when in 2016 for the first time in a generation a bold opportunity to advance America’s interests wins by a landslide (considering either Trump or Cruz, but especially how both together squelch any of “the establishment’s” 10+ acceptable candidates), then, suddenly we’re supposed to fear the end of the GOP, become accustomed to an elite takeover at a brokered convention, and it’s suddenly “conservative” to undermine the process they’ve invented and managed for their own ends? In what world does that message make sense?
I can’t think of a time until this year when the nominee from the previous presidential election cycle gives a public speech to persuade everyone to not vote for his own party’s frontrunner. That was an insightful moment.
The Ends Never Justify the Means
I can reasonably hear someone saying, “Jared, it sounds like you’re advocating that the ends justify the means; that because the political stakes are so serious and broken, that we should justify Trump’s immorality to break the system working against us. Don’t you know the Bible says, ‘Do not overcome with evil, but overcome with good?'”
Yes, we should, especially each of us individually regardless of what our brother is doing or what we perceive him to be doing, act out of sincere love. The whole context of that verse should be our banner this election year.
Unfortunately, in our culture’s absence of genuine spiritual insight, I cannot honestly assume that those readers who have been quick to criticize Trump’s candidacy on moral grounds are keen observers of genuine good and evil when they see it. We as the church have a lot of teaching and mentoring to do in America, and it must be done.
There’s no favoritism for a specific party; I’m not rooting for “my team” to win. This isn’t sports, folks. I’ve only found one opportunity to vote for a Democrat (in one local election), and I’ve voted independent several times against the Republican candidate. But the candidates of best character and policy in my view have routinely called the Republican party home, and the moment they leave the GOP or the GOP leaves them, I’m headed out as well, wherever I think America’s interests are best represented.
As important as this election is, it is far more critical for us to have by first demonstrating our individual and corporate unity to God in our homes and churches.
If we as the church had not retired from our responsibilities to make disciples in our nation and in all spheres of our culture, then maybe America would be ready for a Ted Cruz presidency. In an ideal world, we would have a contest between viewpoints as minutely diverse as between, say, Cruz and his friend Mike Lee of Utah. All of our founding fathers would be considered radical right wingers today. They found enough difference for contentious debates.
“But if it is from God…”
A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. – Acts of the Apostles, 5:34-40
We need to hear this message for ourselves! Dear brothers, let us not fight against God. Let us rally to His causes and learn from Him directly in prayer. Let us not be self-righteous by human measurements of God’s law. Let us not be like those who persecuted and killed the prophets, and like those who crucified Jesus for not coming in a package they didn’t expect.
Let us be wholeheartedly devoted to God, and model and teach the fullness of Christ’s teaching in our very lives.
For these reasons and others, I believe it’s not evil to vote for Donald Trump.