Saturday, November 5, 2016

Should A Christian Vote For Trump to Avoid a Hillary Clinton Presidency?



by John M. Otis


Let me say at the outset that many churches are having a similar debate over whether they are to vote for Trump or not so as to avoid what they perceive to be a national disaster if Hillary is elected.

I want to make this crystal clear from the outset. I consider this an “in house” debate. I will not deride anyone who may take the other side, although I will seek to persuade you to the perspective I believe most faithful to Scripture. The Scripture exhorts “iron sharpening iron” in our dealings with one another. The goal for us all is to honor the King of kings and Lord of lords. When I was a student of Greg Bahnsen in the late 1970’s at Reformed Theological Seminary, he once said that we all have some cobwebs in our brains that periodically need sweeping out. What he meant was that we all probably have some issues that we haven’t squared with Scripture.

The guiding principle for our question is this: What saith Scripture? We must maintain the absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture in all matters. When we differ as brothers, we need to seek to bring our thinking to the obedience of Christ.

Having said this, I do believe that how a Christian is to vote is no minor issue. My major thesis is: I believe the Scripture gives us the guiding principles to guide us on how to make godly decisions when we vote on civil rulers, and that the Christian should never adopt a pragmatic approach that justifies the choice of a “lesser of two evils.” I Cor. 10:13 tells us that God never presents to a Christian a moral dilemma whereby we must ever choose evil. There is always a way out.

I posted on my Facebook timeline what I called my election day sermon for Facebook. It was simply a reposting of what I wrote in 2012 when Christians were in a dilemma as to who to vote for.

Noah Webster, in the 19th Century gave some very godly advice. Yes, this is the same Noah Webster who first created his 1828 edition of Noah Webster’s dictionary.

The following are three great quotes from the renowned Noah Webster:
The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scripture ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evil men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.
In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. Regard not the particular sect or denomination of the candidate -- look at his character. It is alleged by men of loose principles, or defective views of the subject, that religion and morality are not necessary or important qualifications for political stations. But the scriptures teach a different doctrine. They direct that rulers should be men who rule in the fear of God, men of truth, hating covetousness. It is to the neglect of this rule that we must ascribe the multiplied frauds, breaches of trust, speculations and embezzlements of public property which astonish even ourselves; which tarnish the character of our country and which disgrace our government. When a citizen gives his vote to a man of known immorality, he abuses his civic responsibility; he not only sacrifices his own responsibility; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor; he betrays the interest of his country.
When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, 'just men who will rule in the fear of God.' The preservation of [our] government depends on the faithful discharge of this Duty; if the citizens neglect their Duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the Laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizen will be violated or disregarded. If [our] government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the Divine Commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the Laws.

Let’s consider some of the biblical arguments advanced by some men who I do respect but with whom I must respectfully disagree with.

One of the common approaches presented by those who think voting for Trump to avoid a disastrous Hillary Clinton presidency is to give various analogies from Scripture that supposedly justify voting for Trump while recognizing that he does not present a credible profession of faith and whose character is contemptible on multiple levels.

One of the common arguments to support voting for Trump is the use of analogy. Allow me to quote from a book I have in my library titled With Good Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies by S. Morris Engel. He has an excellent section of one such informal logic fallacy known as “false analogy.” Here is what he says: 
Few techniques of reasoning are so potentially useful- or so potentially dangerous- as analogy. When we reason by analogy we attempt to advance our position by likening an obscure or difficult set of facts to one that is already known and understood and to which it bears a significant resemblance. The fallacy of false analogy arises when the comparison is an erroneous one that distorts the facts in the case being argued. Drawing attention to likeness can be extremely useful so long as the two things being compared resemble each other in important respects and differ only in trifling ways. If, on the contrary, they are alike in unimportant ways, then there is no valid analogy between them and a fallacy of false analogy results. Merely to seize upon some slight similarity as a basis for concluding that what is true of one is also true of the other will usually lead one astray. 
I believe that any line of argument justifying the legitimacy of casting a vote for Trump commits the informal fallacy of false analogy. I recently read this attempt to use Scripture to justify voting for Trump.

Here were some of the arguments:

1. Scripture declares that because of God’s people sinning, they were exiled and had to submit to a wicked King, namely, Nebuchadnezzar.

2. Scripture teaches in Romans 13:1 ff that when Nero was the Caesar of Rome, we are called to submit to the civil magistrate as the Servant of God.

3. Because of God’s people sins, they were exiled and God called them to submit for 70 years to pagan kings as His chastening, Habakkuk, Daniel 1-6, Jeremiah 29:7, etc. It was not sinful for Daniel, and his friends to serve pagan kings in this time of exile. Surely it was not easy, but they were faithful to our Lord. This involved much closer contact and commitment of relationship than merely casting a vote for a pagan king. But we cannot say that 2 Chronicles 19:2 and 1 Samuel 2:27-30-36, and 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 means that God’s people may not have association with pagan civil rulers in light of Daniel 1-6, Romans 13:1-7, Paul appealing to Caesar etc.

4. We also see that our Lord God gave King David a choice in choosing the chastening that He would send in 2 Samuel 24:1-12-25 because of his sin. I believe that since we have no godly candidate, it is a plain sign from the Lord of His great displeasure against this nation and the churches that have become apostate for the Lord to judge this nation with the two major candidates that are before us! He in His providence, I believe is giving us the choice between which rod He will use to judge and chasten us further. Jesus is saying to us, take your pick of which rod I will use.

This false analogy is most glaring in this appeal to David choosing his punishment for having sinfully numbered the people. Using Engel’s fine definition we immediately notice that the story of David does not bear any significant resemblance to an appeal to voting for Trump. His analogy does differ in important respects. First, David sinned in numbering the people. He was not trusting in divine providence but in the strength of man. For this fact, God was very angry with David (II Sam.24:1). In fact, David did the numbering despite Joab and the captains of the host insistence not to do this. They obeyed David, and the Lord was angry with David. Here David failed to listen to a multitude of counselors and in so doing brought calamity upon the nation. We know that David realized he had sinned by this action. Verse 10 says, “And David’s heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done and now, I beseech thee, O lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly.” Note that the pestilence sent by God due to David’s sin led to the death of 70,000 men! (v.15). When David saw the calamity brought upon Israel, David says, “And David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people; and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father’s house (v.17).” The Lord in response to David’s plea instructs David to offer sacrifices for his sin. David does do this and the plague was stayed from Israel.

Where is the false analogy in using this to justify voting for Trump? First, they are very different on multiple levels. David sinned in his action. Even if there was any resemblance which there isn’t, consider the implication. So, if we are to choose our punishment by voting for the lesser evil, this implies that the Christian voter is acknowledging that he is already sinning by casting the vote. Why do I have to vote this way? I don’t. David acknowledges he greatly sinned in doing this. Hence, if the analogy were true, then the Christian is knowingly acting foolishly and sinfully as David. David pled with the Lord to turn from His anger with the plague. David had to do sacrifices for his foolish act. Are Christian voters to then go and beg God to forgive them for their act of voting in such a dishonorable way? The Christian is NEVER instructed to do something knowingly sinful. If we assume the analogy does apply, then we are led to these totally unacceptable positions. The reality is that the analogy is a true false analogy and does not apply. So, we could say to this line of argumentation of voting for Trump on the basis of II Sam. 24 that we are choosing to sin like David. I don’t think any of us want to go there!

The appeal to Daniel serving in Nebuchadnezzar’s court is likewise a false analogy. The significant difference? Daniel did not vote for Nebuchadnezzar. As I stated earlier, the biblical record shows that Daniel was put in that position by the king. To equate this action with voting for pagan kings is totally guilty of false analogy.

To argue that a Trump presidency is potentially better than a Clinton one based on what we think Trump will do is guilty of allowing the end to justify the means, which is pure pragmatism. First, Trump has demonstrated he is a flip flopper on issues. He is not as pro life as people think. Endorsing a man, which my vote does, on the basis that his administration is less damaging than the other is being pragmatic and adopting the notion that the perceived end does justify the means.

Then there is the regular argument that a non vote for Trump or for a third party candidate who has no chance of winning is a casting a vote for Clinton by default. The notion that a non vote for Trump is a vote for Clinton is a real example of a logical fallacy. As Engel brings out in his book, there is the fallacy of bifurcation which states – “this is an argument which presumes that a distinction or classification is exclusive and exhaustive, when other alternatives exist. Bifurcation is intimately bound up with confusion over the words either/or. Thinking in extremes can be appealing, unfortunately, for it requires less mental energy than exploring all aspects of a problem. Advertisers often try to cut off our critical thinking about a product by channeling our view of it into an either/or polarity that suits their aim.”

The following comments are a cursory analysis of the opposing line of argument. First, the kings in Israel were not directly chosen by the people. We live in a constitutional republic and have the privilege to choose our civil rulers, so we should allow the principles of Scripture to guide us in that choice.

Submitting to a pagan civil ruler should not be equated with voting for a pagan civil ruler. The analogy breaks down. Submitting to pagan civil rulers is not an absolute in Scripture by any means. John Knox and Samuel Rutherford gave sound biblical arguments for resisting tyrants by lesser magistrates. If we don’t believe this then our war for American independence was then ungodly, which I don’t believe it was ungodly.

One cannot equate Daniel’s rule in Babylon as an analogy for supporting pagan rulers. Daniel did not put Nebuchadnezzar into power. When Nebuchadnezzar asked the three Hebrew young men to violate their duty to Jehovah, all resisted peacefully and were willing to submit to whatever God’s will for their lives. In all these instances God spared the faithful men, not that God always does this per martyrdom by many faithful down through the ages.

Having association with pagan rulers are not principles for selecting biblically qualified civil rulers. Yes, I can by God’providence be sometimes in association with pagan rulers but this doesn’t mean I have a duty to put them in office. We must remember how Daniel came to a position of such power in Babylon. It was a position given to him by Nebuchadnezzar because Daniel, as a prophet, interpreted the king’s dream.

We cannot argue that Daniel being placed into this position by a pagan king equates with the notion of voting for a pagan king. The argument breaks down as a false analogy.

Regarding the typical line of us submitting to kings per Romans 13 such as Nero needs to be carefully scrutinized. The thrust of Romans 13 is that civil rulers are obligated to rule according to God’s law. Only as they do so are they “ministers of God” for good and as a terror to evil doers. Hence, how do we define what is good for a civil ruler? Paul quotes parts of the Ten Commandments (v.9). The thrust of Romans 13 is not a submission to kings no matter what but it is a setting forth of what are the duties of civil rulers. Their duty is to uphold God’s law as the standard for doing good and for punishing evil. Hence, Romans 13 cannot be used to support voting for pagan rulers.

Someone posted on the internet that our choice of candidates (major parties) is the result of decades of the church voting for the lesser of two evils. It is time for the visible church to repent of its unfaithfulness to the known principles of Scripture and beg God to forgive it and pray for His mercies.

What is my duty as a Christian, even in voting? It is to obey God’s revealed will in Scripture. And the Lord has given us direction in this matter. The problem is that we have, as Christians, the inclination to be pragmatic, that the end justifies the means. Let us be faithful to Scripture and let God orchestrate history and not usurp from God what is only His prerogative.

The position I have held to is one consistent with the great preachers of the 18th Century such as William Cooper that I mention in my book Preaching and the Victory of the Gospel. William Cooper’s sermon, The Honors of Christ Demanded of the Magistrate was a sermon preached in front of Governor Jonathan Belcher and the two branches of the Massachusetts legislature (the Council and House of Representatives on May 28, 1740). This sermon clearly set forth a biblical view of civil government. In today’s vernacular, this would be viewed as an avid “theonomic” and “postmillennial” sermon.

Several years ago I wrote a book titled Preaching and the Victory of the Gospel. In that I have an appendix titled "Historical Connection between the First Great Awakening and American Independence." In this appendix I have various quotes from William Cooper’s great sermon. By the way, this sermon was so well received that Massachusetts colony used their printing presses to distribute throughout the colony. Yes, this is Massachusetts, but a Massachusetts of 1740 not 2016.

For any who want my appendix to read this great sermon just email me at (jmotis51@gmail.com).

Nowhere in Scripture are we commanded to vote in the first place per se. Why must the Christian have to vote for pagans? He doesn’t. He can always choose another candidate. Of course the argument is that- this third party vote is a wasted vote or a vote for Clinton. No vote done out of a Christian’s sense of duty to be faithful to Scripture is a wasted vote! We are called to be faithful and leave the results to God.


Friday, November 4, 2016

Voting isn't the Only Option: 4 Biblical Alternatives to Supporting Donald Trump


by Steve C. Halbrook


Voting is not the only means of bringing about political change

Previously, we argued that Christians should not vote for Donald Trump, since he is not biblically qualified. And we didn't propose Hillary Clinton as an alternative 
 she is likewise not biblically qualified. And so by now some might be asking, “If I can’t vote for either candidate, then what can I do?”

There are indeed other options besides voting. But before we explore these, let us first note that even if there were no other options, we would still be required by God’s word to refrain from voting.

We must have the attitude of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who refused to submit to Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous decree  even under the sentence of death. As they told Nebuchadnezzar before he tried to execute them,
O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. (Daniel 3:16b-18)
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not political pragmatists. They could have “voted” for their political freedom by rationalizing that God’s righteous standards against idolatry didn’t exist. But instead, they were willing to undergo death for the sake of obedience to God. 

This is the same attitude that Christians should have. No matter what the perceived threat to our freedoms are, we should be willing to prefer the worst possible tyranny at the hands of civil rulers than to make an idol out of a biblically unqualified candidate by voting for him in order to prevent another biblically unqualified candidate from being elected.

Having said all this, there are other options besides voting that can change things politically. They at least include the following:

1. Raising up distinctively Christian candidates

Instead of advancing the pagan culture by helping non-Christian candidates (or even Christian candidates with an unbiblical view of civil government) get elected, Christians can work to raise up distinctively Christian candidates. Christians are to set the standard for civil rulers – not to promote non-Christian standards:
You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:13 – 16)
Christians then must be salt and light in the political arena by setting forth the biblical standard. If they refrain from doing so, how can they expect anything but darkness and tyranny? Remember: "Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket"; if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.”

Raising up distinctively Christian candidates requires time, energy, and patience, but if we expect political transformation, we must be willing to do this. All influential political movements begin as a minority.  They go from a minority to, if they prosper, gradually influencing the larger population.  So it is self-defeating to argue “we can’t run on a Christian platform because no one will vote for us!” 

And, as we have seen, rejecting the hard work of raising up distinctively Christian candidates  for the lazy, fast-food approach of backing cheap, already-established candidates that give vague lip-service to Christian values does not work. What has all these years of political pragmatism gotten us, but the choice of two of the most 
 if not the most  ungodly presidential candidates in U. S. history?

There is much wisdom in the following from Joe Morecraft III: 
I don’t expect many of our people to get elected – if they’re distinctively Christian in character and policy. 
But I don’t despise the days of small beginnings. We’ve got to be pioneers, is the point. We’ve got to cut the trails, politically, show them how to do it, how not to do it, for future generations to build on what we’ve done. 
I ran for Congress in 1986 as an overt Christian, obviously, self-consciously aware that I was a pioneer, praying that people would build on that. If we have political parties now that are overtly Christian it is a great training program for future days. …
And I think there’s another purpose for a political party, too, rather than running its own candidates, sort of like, you remember the old, [William] Buckley Conservative Party in New York, years ago? It was a restraint, for a while, on other political parties, and I think that if a Christian political party became strong enough — even though it couldn’t run a candidate, or elect a candidate in a certain area, it can began by being a clear restraint on candidates, who maybe wouldn’t run on their platform.[1]  
2. Prayer

Let us not forget the power of prayer itself for raising up qualified rulers and restraining unqualified rulers. First Timothy 2:1, 2 tells us:
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
Note that the text says to pray for rulers “that we”—that is, Christians— “may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” In terms of the civil sphere, such a life comes about when rulers enforce biblical civil law. (After all, when rulers enforce the unbiblical, unjust laws of men, peace and dignity are violated.) Thus Christians can pray that rulers enforce biblical law.
                                 
Christians should not underestimate the power of prayer to overturn unjust civil orders. On the power of prayer, James 5 says:
The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:16b-18)
(For more on how prayer, by God's grace, has great power to change a society's circumstances, we recommend Joe Morecraft's sermon Prayer and the Fire of God.) 

3. Repentance

In addition to prayer, let us not forget God’s blessing for repentance:
When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14)
God then may heal the land of its tyranny if His people repent. And one thing we Christians need repentance of is voting for biblically unqualified candidates. If we don’t repent of this, then why would we expect God to heal our land of its tyranny?

4. The Great Commission

Christians can lay foundations for future generations by disseminating principles of biblical civil government via scholarship, preaching, teaching, and think tanks. Ungodly rulers can be evangelized. Christian rulers without a biblical platform can be discipled. All of these can be means of employing the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18 - 20), which is designed to bring nations (their civil codes included) into submission to Christ.

Besides the Great Commission, pressure groups can be employed to restrain politicians with non-Christian platforms. 

Being in the minority is not necessarily a problem since God is sovereign

Scripture says, "Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23:2a, KJV) and “Thus says the LORD: ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD’” (Jeremiah 17:5). Thus we are never to seek the most “electable” candidates at the expense of biblical ruler qualifications because we trust in the strength of man (via “majority voters”) to determine our rulers.

Indeed, God – Who sovereignly determines our rulers – is not constrained by human numbers. God doesn’t need the majority to turn the political tide.  Whenever God pleases, He can raise up a King David, or turn the heart of a wicked ruler, such as a Nebuchadnezzar (cf. Daniel 3:26-30, 4:34-37). Whenever God pleases, He can put it in the heart of a pagan ruler, such as an Artaxerxes, to enforce biblical civil law (cf. Ezra 7:25-28).  And whenever God pleases, He can deliver His people from the slavery of a tyrannical Egypt.

Concluding thoughts: Christ sits on the throne, regardless

In conclusion, we will note this: the highest and most influential political authority in the land is neither Congress, nor the Supreme Court, nor even the U. S. President. Rather, it is Jesus Christ, Who is the King of kings. And since Jesus’ civil authority is immutable, we are never left without a just ruler simply because His enemies are in power.

By His providence, His justice is being enforced in this nation even now. Rulers are warned that they must serve Him, “lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled” (Psalm 2:12b). Nations themselves are warned: "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psalm 9:17) (KJV).

Let us then remember that Christ still sits on the throne, and not support His treasonous enemies, such as Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Rather, let us pray, repent, follow the Great Commission, and work to raise up distinctively Christian candidates.

Let us be salt and light, and press the crown rights of Jesus Christ, the King of kings  not the crown wrongs of His political enemies. Christ, not man, is king. Christ sits on the throne right now, and we could not ask for a better political ruler.


_________________________

[1] Joe Morecraft III, Exclusive Interview: Rev. Joe Morecraft III On The Usefulness (Or Not) Of Political Parties To Rebuild Our Christian Country, John Lofton, ed. (The American View, July 12, 2006).  Retrieved August 3, 2012.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Voting Ethics and Fearing God -- Not Hillary Clinton

Voting ethics should not be determined by fear of 
Hillary Clinton, but by the fear of the great God Almighty.
(image source, cropped from original)

by Steve C. Halbrook


"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)

"The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe." (Proverbs 29:25)

"You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)


Many Christians realize that Donald Trump is a bad –  even immoral – candidate, and yet choose to support him anyway. Their philosophy is "anyone but Hillary Clinton." While a more moral candidate in their eyes may be ideal, as long as a candidate  no matter how bad he may be  is not, in their judgment, as bad as Hillary, then that candidate should be supported if he appears to have a chance of beating Hillary in the presidential election.

The idea is that Hillary is so dangerous, that she must be defeated at just about any cost.

Why such a pragmatic approach? It seems too often to boil down to this: FEAR. And this fear has so paralyzed many Christian voters that they would be willing to put into power a horribly wicked man whom, as evidenced by his behavior, is flagrantly opposed to God. 

But rulers are not to be chosen on the basis of the fear of man, but the fear of God. And when considering the fear of God, voters must base their decisions on God’s requirements – which means candidates must be biblically qualified to rule.

(We realize at the outset that many Christians are more or less unaware of biblical ruler qualifications, and because of this, they may feel that choosing the lesser of two evils is their only option. We hope then, that readers will carefully consider what we have to say.)

Scripture requires us to "Choose … wise, understanding, and experienced men …" (Deuteronomy 1:13a); to "look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe …" (Exodus 18:21b). Thus, “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God” (2 Samuel 23:3b/KJV). Candidates must look to Christ, the King of kings, as the highest political authority:
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. (Psalm 2:10-12)
Important: if rulers who fail to Kiss the Son are rebelling against Christ's rule, does it not follow that those who knowingly vote for such rulers are likewise? Since God disapproves of rebellious rulers, then wouldn't He disapprove of voting for them? How can a Christian justify voting for a candidate who attempts to remove Christ from His throne (even though it is impossible)? 

More on ruler qualifications here.

As a non-Christian, Trump is not a man who is wise, just, fears God, and acknowledges the sovereign rule of Jesus Christ. Moreover, his belligerent, trash-talking, hate-filled tongue alone demonstrates that he is far from being biblically qualified.

Given then that the Bible requires choosing rulers who meet certain godly qualifications, the lesser-of-two evils philosophy that many Christians use to justify supporting Trump is unbiblical. 

(The lesser-of-two evils approach, when consistently applied, also leads to the absurdity of supporting Hitler in order to keep Stalin out of office. After all, Hitler would kill fewer people in comparison.)

Note that the Bible nowhere states that we are to choose rulers based on the other candidates' demerits, but on their own merits. The Bible requires choosing "men who fear God"  not "men who seem to hate God less than the other candidate." 

Moreover, the Bible does not tell us to "choose unwise men of wrath." Keeping in mind Trump's hate-filled tongue, note that Scripture reads, 
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24, 25)
And yet, Christians are willing to make the kind of man that we should not befriend nor go with as the chief representative of the country  with all the influence that it has. (As the Old Testament shows, rulers can have a significant influence on the people.) Moreover, the fruit of the man of wrath is strife and much transgression: 
A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. (Proverbs 29:22)
The solution to defeating evil is to do good, not evil. We are not to do evil that good may come (Romans 3:8). We must not violate God’s standards for choosing civil rulers, but adhere to them. Scripture says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Supporting Trump, however, is an attempt to overcome evil [that is, Hillary's evil influence] with evil [that is, Trump's evil influence and violating biblical ruler qualifications].


We do not need Donald Trump as a Savior -- there is already
Jesus Christ, the King of kings, Moreover, it is not about

making America great, but recognizing the
greatness of Christ 
by trusting and obeying Him.
(image source, cropped from original)

The approach to voting that says we must pragmatically choose the “lesser evil” assumes that the moral direction of civil government all depends on man, which, consequently, denies God’s sovereignty over rulers. And in denying biblical ruler qualifications, this approach denies the electorate’s moral responsibility before God. In short, choosing "lesser evils" denies God's sovereignty and man's responsibility.

To deny God's sovereignty and man's obligation to obey God is to consider God irrelevant. There is a word for considering God irrelevant: atheism. The lesser of two evils approach to voting that disregards God's sovereignty and man's responsibility, then, is based on atheism. 

Moreover, the fear inherent within the lesser-of-two-evils philosophy is contrary to the fear that should motivate one’s decisions. Scripture says,
“The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 118:6) 
“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” (Proverbs 29:25) 
“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
Christian voters should heed the warning given to the Israelites:
If you will fear the Lord and serve him and obey his voice and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, and if both you and the king who reigns over you will follow the Lord your God, it will be well. But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you and your king. (1 Samuel 12:14, 15)
Helping evil men in their political ambitions, such as Trump, is a very dangerous game. When Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, helped the wicked King Ahab, God’s wrath was upon him:
But Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord? Because of this, wrath has gone out against you from the Lord.” (2 Chronicles 19:2)
Just as many today are willing to be pragmatic to prevent the evil rule of Hillary Clinton, the Israelites were willing to be pragmatic to end the evil rule of Samuel's sons, who "took bribes and perverted justice" (1 Samuel 8:3b). And so when the Israelites insisted on a political leader on their terms, instead of God’s terms, they were warned that they would undergo tyranny as a result (1 Samuel 8). Pragmatism isn't so pragmatic after all.

This is all to say that Christians who adopt the lesser-of-two-evils strategy when supporting candidates need to seriously rethink their position. It is much worse to incur God’s wrath than Hillary Clinton's. And it is also self-defeating to attempt to gain liberty when the means employed can result in being judged with greater tyranny.

When no candidates are biblically qualified, fear of God should motivate one to not support any. One should not insult God's holy majesty by deeming oneself wiser than God by rejecting God's holy standards for candidates. To help God's enemies (such as Trump or Hillary) gain political power by voting for them is to share in the guilt of their wicked deeds while they are in office   just as one who helps someone else accomplish murder is a party to murder. 

The first question one should ask then before supporting a candidate is not "how can I control the outcome of the election?" (something only God can do), but rather, “what does God require?” God is in sovereign control, and has already predetermined the presidential outcome. As Nebuchadnezzar would realize after being humbled by God, "the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will" (Daniel 4:25b).

(Opposition to the truth that God "works all things according to the counsel of his will" [Ephesians 11b] comes naturally to sinful man. Man wants to believe that he can be the ultimate determiner of events; hence, the hostility in even Christian circles to the truth that God alone chooses certain people to salvation, but not others [Romans 9]. It should be to no surprise, then, if there would also be hostility to the truth that God alone decides on who our civil rulers will be.)

Our job then is merely to fear and obey God: "The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man" (Ecclesiastes 12:13). (The  lesser-of-two-evils approach, however, at best says that fearing God and keeping His commandments is the partial duty of man.)

Moreover, when Christian supporters of Trump refuse to take a stand based on ethical considerations, they are entrenching in our culture the idea that godly, moral leadership is not necessary  neglecting their duty to be salt and light. This approach paves the way to the very kind of rulers that Christians want to avoid  genocidal maniacs who persecute Christians. 

Political pragmatism is self-defeating; it breeds the very rulers that it is intended to oppose. Imagine if just for one election Republican voters refused to vote for a bad candidate  it might actually influence the party to raise its standards! On the other hand, there is no incentive for the party to raise the standards for its candidates when bad candidates are repeatedly supported.

The duty is ours, the results are God’s. To reject this approach is atheism. FEAR GOD – not Hillary Clinton. Hillary is not worth provoking God's wrath over. We should be less concerned with Hillary being in office and more concerned about what God may do to us for supporting ungodly candidates.

We must not behave as if “We have no king but Caesar” (Jn. 19:15c) in the civil realm (and we know what kind of wickedness such a philosophy breeds).

The greatest and most powerful ruler  Jesus Christ  is already on the throne. So what sense does it make to choose his enemies, such as Trump, as rulers? We do not need Trump as a Savior  we already have one. Moreover, it is not about making America great, but recognizing the greatness of Christ by trusting and obeying Him.

To vote for either Trump or Hillary is a vote against the rule of Christ; but to refrain from voting for either Trump or Hillary on biblical grounds is a vote for the rule of Christ. 

Christ, the King of kings, will bring about justice at the proper time  and there's nothing that anyone (including Hillary) can do to stop it. 


Appendix: On Voting and Working with Rulers Already in Office/Divine Sanction for Choosing Unqualified Rulers

One may see a way around biblical ruler qualifications by pointing to one or more passages in Scripture that either recognize or seem to recognize the authority of certain biblically unqualified rulers. Thus, one might say, qualifications are not really mandatory, but suggestions.

However, this categorical fallacy does not distinguish between voting for rulers and working with/for rulers. Logically, one can abstain from choosing unqualified rulers while working to positively influence unqualified rulers that God has already in His sovereignty placed in authority. Making the best of a bad situation (e.g., by working to positively influence bad rulers) differs radically from contributing to a bad situation (e.g., by putting bad rulers in office). 

We see in the Bible itself examples of things that are wrong to initially choose, but which require support once they are chosen. For instance, at least generally speaking, one should avoid debt; however, once one is in debt, he is morally obligated to fulfill his debt. He shouldn’t have chosen debt, but once he did, he must work with his debtor to pay it off.

We also see in the Bible that Christians should not marry non-Christians; however, once they have done so, they are morally obligated to fulfill their marriage vows.  They shouldn’t have chosen such a marriage, but once they did, they have to work with their spouses to make the best of the marriage. 

And so it is with voting. Nations should not choose unqualified rulers, but once they have done so, they should work with those rulers to make the best of the situation. We are to submit to whatever ruling authorities God has providentially given us (at least to the extent that submission is biblically authorized). 

In short, this article is about the Christian's approach to voting for rulers –  not whether they work with them after they are elected. If in fact a biblically unqualified candidate is elected to office, it doesn't necessarily follow that he should have been voted into that authority to begin with.

Another way that one may see getting around biblical ruler qualifications is to point to certain passages that are believed to have God's approval of choosing certain biblically unqualified rulers. However, there is a world of difference between choosing a particular unqualified candidate with Divine approval, and choosing a particular unqualified candidate without Divine approval. Only God can allow for exceptions to the rule; we cannot autonomously give ourselves the authority to disregard biblical ruler qualifications. And to my knowledge, there has been no Divine approval of voting for Donald Trump.


Photo credits
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Hillary Clinton (by Brett Weinstein) (we have cropped from the original)


Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore (we have cropped from the original)