What Will It Take? Donald Trump and His “Evangelical” Supporters

trump

What will it take to convince “evangelical” promoters, defenders, and supporters of Donald Trump that their ongoing support for a wicked, perverse, arrogant, scandalized, Christ-professing man is systematically dismantling their current integrity and their future witness?

I almost never blog or tweet about politics or political candidates. But with the candidacy of Donald Trump, far more than politics is at stake. Our Christian witness is at stake.

Why? Because Trump has claimed to be a Christian, because many self-professed “evangelicals” have supported him, because “evangelicals” have long been an identifiable voting bloc, and because this voting bloc has spoken strongly and rightly in the past for character, honesty, morality, and marriage. If character, honesty, morality, and marriage mattered then, they matter now. And if they don’t matter now, they didn’t really matter then, and the “character matters” thing was just a thing — a convenient narrative, an easy trope, and ultimately a weaponized lie crafted to earn a little political leverage.

Now, I get it: Real Christians will find Trump’s profession of faith laughable. But that’s just the point. This man has made a mockery of the Christian faith, and so many “evangelicals” are gladly lining up to be part of the punch line. But the problem with this laughable profession is that real Christians aren’t the only ones laughing. Non-Christians throughout the U.S. and around the world are also finding Trump’s circus-inside-a-carnival utterly laughable, as well. And Christ is being dishonored.

If you’re a professing Christian and you’ve promoted, defended, or supported Donald Trump, does that matter to you? Does our collective Christian witness matter more to you than a last-ditch flail to grasp at the moral majority our forefathers enjoyed? Or have we even begun to learn the lesson God is teaching the church in our day? That the way the kingdom grows is always upside-down: last first, poor rich, humble exalted, and servants greatest. The way of the kingdom is the way of the cross, and while Christians in democratic societies should take full advantage of our citizenry and our rights, we should use these rights (like voting) to advance the gospel’s cause, not undermine it.

These issues matter because Scripture clearly shows that identifying with godlessness, selfishness, and greed always earns the culture’s disdain not only for our opinions but for our gospel. In 2 Corinthians 10-13 and 1 Thessalonians 2 (and elsewhere), Paul launches full-scale defenses of his character and apostleship, because he knows that if his character and integrity can be questioned, the gospel will face untold friction on the way to people’s hearts. God has so ordered the world that our lives authenticate, or dilute, our message.

And this message — that is, our witness for the gospel — is the most important thing we should care about in this election.

The church is an embassy of the kingdom of God, an outpost of the new creation. We have been called out of the world to testify to the world about the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the forgiveness of sins offered in his name. We are heralds of the king, calling the nations to repentance and faith. We are inviting all men to turn away from their wickedness, to trust God’s Messiah and his exclusive way of salvation, and to join Christian communities filled with truth and love as we sow harvests of Christian character and await Christ’s coming reign.

But how can we testify to this gospel, call sinners to repentance, and claim the kind of character and integrity Paul claimed if we’re simultaneously advocating for the candidacy of a godless man whose scandalously immoral life has earned the widespread scorn of even pagans who passionately disagree with our Christian principles?

I recognize the moral dumpster fire of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton. I recognize that her character, her record, her views, and her policies are serpentine in so many ways. Although she has served our country for decades and possesses the kind of public-office experience I wish were supportable, I cannot and do not promote, defend, or support her, nor will I vote for her, for reasons most conservatives and “evangelicals” don’t need explained to them.

I also recognize that we’re not voting for a pastor-in-chief but a commander-in-chief. I understand the difference between church and state. And I stand first in line to announce that America is far, far, far from a “Christian nation.” Voting is a great privilege, there is no perfect candidate, and there are rarely Christian candidates, and so we must cast our vote for a fellow sinner who is always flawed and almost always unchristian.

But these realities don’t nullify the importance of our voting decisions this coming November. Why not? Because the mosaic of our Christian witness is constructed by every choice we make, including our advocacy of a given presidential candidate during an election cycle. And I believe that Christians who advocate for Donald Trump are diluting the power of their current integrity and eroding the foundation of their future witness.

There are some proverbs so important they need to be said twice. Like this one: “The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it” (Proverbs 22:3 and 27:12). There’s coming a day, whether next week or next year, when any thoughtful Christian who cares about the testimony of Christ will wish he could say he’d opposed Donald Trump. The days are coming, and are already here, when it will be an unmitigated embarrassment to have supported a man whose arrogance, boastfulness, perversity, lewdness, hatred, malice, and greed — all as a professing Christian, as ridiculous as it sounds — have always been publicized, always been known, and always been ridiculed. And I grieve to draw what should be an obvious conclusion: The days are coming, and are already here, when the Christian church will suffer untold embarrassment because many who profess to know Christ are promoting, defending, supporting — or just staying silent about — a godless womanizing philanderer, one who has enjoyed their “evangelical” support while making an utter mockery of the highest electoral process in our republic.

Now, to be fair and realistic, I realize that many don’t like Trump but see no other option to accomplish the political purposes they want to accomplish. With this in mind, I would distinguish between four levels of advocacy. We can (1) promote, (2) defend, (3) support, or (4) vote for a candidate. In an ideal world, with an ideal candidate — neither of which exists — we would do all four. But in the real world, with real candidates, we will often fall somewhere on this spectrum of advocacy. So for “evangelicals” committed to Donald Trump, if nothing (no matter how scandalous) will change that commitment, I pray and plead that you’ll still speak out clearly and publicly against his wickedness, perversity, arrogance, and greed, all the way to the voting booth. I hope you’ll at least do something to guard the witness of the broader church in this election process.

This summer I sat at a kitchen table with five relatives, in a striking arrangement: three committed Christians with strongly conservative views on one side, and three committed non-Christians with strongly liberal views on the other. We love each other, but we know where everyone stands. The three on the other side know I’m a Christian and largely conservative, and I know they’re neither. We rarely talk politics or religion (though I wish we did more), because most folks don’t like that kind of argument. But as we sat there, one of my relatives suddenly asked if we Christians were supporting Donald Trump. He assumed we were, because we were raised together in a politically conservative home, he knows I still hold traditionally conservative views on many issues, and he knows Trump is running as a Republican. But this relative was surprised and relieved when he heard I was not supporting Trump, because I saw in Trump the same code-red concerns he did. It gave me the clear opportunity to express my Christian commitments in a way that had weight and credibility.

But what could I have said about sin or repentance or the gospel or character if I had promoted, defended, or supported Trump in that moment? What witness would I have had? What would my relatives, whom I love, have concluded about the depth of my convictions, or about the believability of the Christian faith?

I’m sure there are some logical and political gymnastics I could’ve performed to explain how I was supporting a presidential candidate but not his blatantly and dangerously godless character. But those kinds of gymnastics have a way of distracting from the pure and simple gospel, and that’s putting it lightly.

And so I say again: I understand that most “evangelicals” will not promote, defend, support, or even vote for Hillary Clinton in this election. But do you realize what you’re surrendering if you turn to Trump? How many vulgar frat-boy boasts, how much blatant greed, how many patent lies, how much unrepentant sin, how much bullying behavior, how many severed marriages, how much explicit racism, how much obvious power-lust, how many false professions of faith, and how much more of a rising moral landfill will it take — how much will it take — for those who profess the name of Christ to value Christ’s name and Christ’s gospel above what they hope to gain from a presidential election?

 


55 thoughts on “What Will It Take? Donald Trump and His “Evangelical” Supporters

  1. I could be wrong but I think it was Jerry Falwell Jr. who said “the big mistake the Hillary camp made was that they believed the driving dynamic of the evangelistic community was judgment. They didn’t realize that it was forgiveness.”

    Unfortunately at your family table discussion you expressed that judgement that the ungodly think motivates Christians. How much more powerful would it have been to have said that you had heard that Trump had put all that behind him. That he was lost but now he’s found, was blind but now he sees.

    James Dobson said in a radio interview la … “I know the person who led him to Christ, and that’s fairly recent.” I think that most of Trumps offenses are at least 10 years old. If a man come to Christ
    he is a new creature …. old things are passed away right! Unless the sins we are talking about
    are simply political in nature.

    You said

    “And I believe that Christians who advocate for Donald Trump are diluting the power of their current integrity and eroding the foundation of their future witness.”

    Brother I would willingly take your theoretical testimonial hit If It might help stop the baby butchery that systematically cuts up unborn children for the purpose of the retail market. Any day of the week.
    What good is your “witness” if it fails to rescue when it has the opportunity.

    I did not vote for Trump in our primary. I was a Cruz supporter. In this election cycle for all intense and purposes there was only Hillary or Trump … or don’t vote. I voted for Trump …. how about you?

    Thank you for letting me post my response.

    RM

    1. Rustin,

      Thanks for your comment. I stand by what I wrote. Months ago I responded quite thoroughly to many objections and arguments similar to the ones you’re now making post-election. You’re welcome to read those responses if you wish.

      We now join together in praying for all who will lead our country over the next four years, praying for their salvation and for wisdom to lead in God-honoring ways.

      Gunner

  2. This is a wonderfully written piece that sums up precisely my thoughts about this election. I’ve read it, re-read it, shared it and keep coming back to it. We had some really great choices this time last year and I’m still so saddened that these are the people we have left to choose from.

  3. Gunner, thank you so much for you thoughtful post and especially for your gracious responses to comments. I’m having to formulate some responses myself, and that’s just for re-tweeting this post!

    1. Dear friends in Christ
      When you build a house the foundation is of utmost importance. In politics each party has a platform upon which that party will always function. Through a study of these platforms, it is clear, for instance, that democrats will always abort babies and republicans will always be against such vicious murder.
      I have been through many elections through my 62 years and as has been stated within this blog, the greater the technology, the more heinous the appearance of the candidates.
      My advice is to compare the platforms and determine which one most closely matches your beliefs. This is the only way I am able to hear the Lord’s voice in my selection of the President. Then, as is the case with each and every one of us, the Lord must build the house.

      1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Will. You’re correct that each party has a platform, but misled to assume that every candidate who claims that party will operate upon that platform. The determinative influence of party platforms has waned over the years for various reasons. See below:

        http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/07/party-platform-national-convention/491147/

        I do stand firmly with you against abortion and for the sanctity of life from womb to tomb. This is where God would have all of his people stand, because his Word is clear. But your statement that “republicans will always be against such vicious murder” is untrue precisely in the case of Donald Trump, who is running on the Republican ticket but has clearly stated his support for abortion over the years. If you believe he’s truly changed (as he’s claimed), the burden of proof is upon you to demonstrate why a man who’s on his third Mrs. Trump and who’s supported Hillary Clinton and who’s a fact-checking nightmare has earned that trust. In addition, consider Trump’s remarks from the first debate from 2015, addressing how he allegedly changed his mind on abortion: “[W]hat happened is friends of mine years ago were going to have a child, and it was going to be aborted. And it wasn’t aborted. And that child today is a total superstar, a great, great child. And I saw that. And I saw other instances.” Will, that’s not “sanctity of life,” which I believe in. That’s “sanctity of superstars,” which Donald Trump believes in.

        Finally, I would agree with you that technology allows us to know more about our candidates than in the past. And to whom much is given, much will be required.

        Thanks again for chiming in. We need your experience and your voice.

  4. Dear Gunner,
    Reading all this dialogue, I am still not sure of what you and others are advocating as followers of Christ . I assume that you and those who agree with you are not voting.

    You sound like a very intellectual young man , who prides yourself in your intellectual prowess. You are presenting a great academic argument , but after a very lengthy discussion , have not stated clearly what you personally will chose to do with your precious right to cast a vote .

    Just to clarify who I am, I am a senior citizen of this great country that believes that I have been redeemed by the precious blood of my Lord and Savior , Jesus Christ , and am looking forward to His return and spending eternity in His glorious presence.

    I and you and others who have commented are blessed to have been born or migrated to a country where we are free to express our beliefs and thoughts and to vote.

    Based on your intellectualizing of the scriptures, I should have abstained from voting quite often during my lifetime. I will definitely agree that the choices we have in this election cycle seemingly are the worse candidates that have ever been on the ballot. That being said , I pray fully ask my Lord to guide me in how I should proceed with my precious right that He has seen fit to bestow upon me and the American people. I fully realize , maybe even more so than yourself having been on this earth much longer, that America has changed drastically from the America I experienced as a child and young adult.
    That change has been due mostly to the politics in Washington, the Hollywood Elite, the left wing leaning
    media and last but not least the sinful nature of man.
    Needless to say the onslaught of the internet into our society that is throwing out constant info true and false,
    has also contributed to the demise of not only our nation , but of the world. It is a wonderful invention that has made tremendous contributions , but has also been greatly responsible for the rapid deterioration of our Christian values which is impacting our precious children.

    There is an overwhelming amount of information available at the touch of a button. This is relevant to this conversation because it can exposes us all to an onslaught of truth and untruths and bias that we have to filter through each day to arrive at opinions about people and events. The political world has used this media to it’s advantage to uphold or destroy others. Had this been available to the voting public throughout our history , we would most have found many candidates and previous presidents “unfit to serve” in our judgement. Fortunately or unfortunately most of the unfavorable facts about those who have served came out after their term in office.

    In my lifetime alone, at least 4 presidents have committed adulatory while in office and possibly more who were spared the embarrassment of their sins being exposed.

    This all being said , I will prayfully exercise my right to vote , while we are still blessed with this awesome privilege . When I view a world with such violence against believers , I am ever so humbled and thankful to a gracious God who has seen fit to continue to bless myself and my fellow Americans with the right to vote even when that vote is a choice between two very unfavorable candidates. I will trust my Lord and Savior to touch the heart and mind of the person in office to lead this country in restoring our government to moral standards and the constitutional rights of us all. Who of us knows the mind of God and His plan for our country. I just encourage every believer to be on their knees daily asking for God’s intervention to bless us and to restore us to the shining nation on the hill.

    1. It’s a joy to hear from you, Joan. I have great respect for you as a senior saint, and I agree with most of what you’ve said. You seem very humble, kind, convictional, and thoughtful, and your experience in many prior elections gives you wisdom beyond mine. So I am eager to learn from you, and thankful you’ve commented.

      I do wonder, though, why you’ve accused me of being someone “who prides yourself in your intellectual prowess.” I am open to the evidence, but you’ve presented none. I do seek to study Scripture, think carefully, and communicate clearly and fairly in order to serve the church. I assume you’re seeking to do the same — you’ve certainly served me well by sharing your experiences and insights from past elections. With all that in mind, it seems unsafe and unfair for you to assume that I’m taking pride in my “intellectual prowess,” just as it would be unsafe and unfair for me to assume that you’re taking pride in your age and experience, both of which you’ve highlighted (gently and humbly, from what I can tell). Point me to specific comments that reveal pride and I am glad to consider your charges. I’m not explaining all of this for my own self-defense — I have far more important things to do with my time. I’m raising the issue because I have seen this pattern constantly in the dialogue surrounding my blogpost — Christians making uncharitable assumptions about each other without evidence or straightforward exhortation. I want to point to a better way.

      I also wonder why you’ve assumed that I’m not voting, or why you’ve held me accountable for not announcing my preferred candidate. You might consider the fact that in your own lengthy comment, you didn’t identify a candidate, either, which is fine with me. I actually do plan to vote, but my post was not about that. I think we can agree that it was long enough as it is!

      Finally, I have to disagree that I’m “intellectualizing” the Scriptures. Certainly someone who’s spent decades walking with Jesus (like yourself) knows that one of the worst plights of the church in generation after generation is her loss of attention to holy Scripture. Biblical illiteracy is so dangerous, because when we lose our full-orbed understanding of the Bible, we cease to hear the full voice of God speaking to us through his Word. So I’m not ashamed to speak in biblical and theological terms, even if it’s different than what someone typically reads or enjoys. We all have our stewardships, and over the years I have learned to identify mine, as I’m sure you have yours.

      Once again, I appreciate your thoughts and the spirit in which you communicated. I can tell I’d have much to learn from you if we could fellowship in person.

      1. Study American history, and why our forefathers established this form of government to begin with.
        Start with John Locke’s, 2nd treatise on government.
        Then Baron D’Monstisquie’s, Spirit of Laws.
        We’re given the opportunity to have a say in our elected officials because tyranny has wrought havoc and ruin on nations the world over.
        A simple observation of history, and our modern news can corroborate this.

      2. Steve: Thanks for the recommendations. But I already agree (generally) with your sentiment, and its logical application, which is why I plan to vote. I’m not sure where you or others are getting the idea that I would refuse to vote, but I do appreciate the sources. Thanks, Steve.

  5. EXCERCISE YOUR VALUABLE RIGHT TO VOTE!
    What a privilege it is in this country to vote.! We should never expect any leader in this country to meet the same qualifications of be an elder or pastor. If you think that we must demand purity (or feigned purity) in a secular government, then you will never vote. Never. Your holier than thou
    Blog does nothing but lead the Christian to be marginalized and irrelevant in influencing government policies. You may think you’re too good to vote, but you do a great disservice wirh your blog . We are on the cusp of losing any Christian influence in the government atleast one generation. Your job you hold now has no influence on government policies and you are encouraging others to also take a back seat to those who hate Christian values. What a shame

    1. I’ve found that it does little good to offer thoughtful responses to hyperventilated comments filled with anger, fear, and accusation, so I hope you’ll learn to engage with others more respectfully so we might all have more fruitful dialogues. I actually do plan to vote, contrary to your assumptions. Perhaps the lesson there is that we shouldn’t assume what we haven’t yet asked about (Proverbs 18:2; James 1:19). I do, however, appreciate anyone who cares about these issues and takes the time to engage them, so I do thank you for chiming in, and I join you in seeking the good of our republic.

    2. Gunner, I just found your blog through FB and as a non-US Christian watching your election from afar, I have been often grieved and confused by the Church’s support for Donald Trump. Virtually every criticism that politically conservative Christians have launched at Obama and Hillary applies to Trump in spades, and yet somehow in his case (because he is running as a Republican) these things are excused, diminished, ignored or denied – even when they are incontrovertibly true. It is deeply upsetting to watch some of the largest Christian names, and the most globally publicized arm of the Church (US Christians) cynically trading their faith and integrity for some perceived political advantage. I cannot understand, cannot fathom, what influence Christians think they will gain with a Trump presidency – the man serves only himself, not the nation, not the GOP, and certainly not God. Truly I am grieved to watch people whom i want to admire prove that their highest allegiance is to the Republican Party, conservative politics, their interpretation of the US constitution, gun ownership, small government, capitalism, and a host of other things completely unrelated to the Kingdom of God, over God himself. I challenge any Christian to imagine Jesus (the Middle Eastern pacifist, who self-sacrificially loved the outcasts of society) voting for Donald Trump. Furthermore, try to imagine Donald Trump taking direction from that man, let alone making himself subservient to him.

      Vote Trump if you must, but please, for (quite literally) the love of God, don’t dress your politics up as Christianity – it’s putting us all, and Christ, to shame.

      1. No masquerading Trump up as a Christian but then God’s review of Trump’s sincerity of heart is the only opinion that matters. Many of us who rely on Christ’s sacrifice may not be, in all instances viewed as sincere Christians by others. I must remain out of that debate. You will know them by their fruit but leave the gavel in the Lord’s more than capable hand.
        Your suggestion that the only reason Christians might be voting for him is because he is a Republican. Frankly I for one do not FULLY believe he is THAT either. Once again, Supreme Court appointments is the one and only issue at hand for me at this point. And… I can’t say what he might do in that arena, I can only see clearly what she promises to do. And that is enough to place a vote for one deplorable over the other.

  6. Hello David,

    I was excited to see someone of my namesake on a friend’s Facebook page, and proceeded to read your post, as well as every comment in response. I cannot say I agree in every way, but it’s always enlightening and fulfilling to see Christians take a strong seat at the political table. I have had similar conversations with friends of this subject matter, and unfortunately it is a vicious circle between Republicans supporting Trump. I say this because no matter if your opinion is one of support of Trump in light of the path we should take as Christians, or if your opinion is one of a question of qualification of Trump as a Christian, neither argument is a glowing impression of Christians to others that do not yet understand their path with the Lord.

    On one hand, we are told to walk through our lives with God’s word and be forever enlightened by the sacrifice Jesus took for our sins in God’s will. When we apply this to our lives, we surrounded ourselves with people that do as well. It only makes sense then, to apply this same qualification to the highest office of the land, one we hold so special and sacred. I understand this. I’ve struggled with this as well. Unfortunately, this unbridled love of scripture and the way we profess that another is not following the word of God correctly, comes off as highly judgmental. It is seen as the hypocritical judgments of Christians onto others. I’m not judging you as such, but your message is very close to one of “you’re not worthy of my vote.” On the other hand, we have the argument of supporting Trump no matter what, ceasing the opportunity to stand up for our Christian values, and being blind for political reasons… Not placing God’s word as priority. Neither are necessarily appropriate for our casting decision.

    Look, we all know the stakes of this election– the Supreme Court Justice nominations, the severity of current events, and the vastly opposite plans each candidate has for approaching them. This cannot be something that pits Christians against each other though. There is a middle, more constructive ground, where we take a stance for the candidate (between the two front runners) that will make the decisions with which we most closely align. We live in a republic, therefore we cast our vote for the person whose position we would take in government. Often, we Christians equate this to casting our vote for the person whose decisions in daily, personal life, are aligned with what we’d hope to choose ourselves. This is not the case though.

    I highly encourage my fellow Christians to compare and only allow themselves to judge the jobs of each candidate- the way they will make decisions for our government. When we evaluate Hillary Clinton’s past with policy decisions and strategy, it’s plain to see she isn’t aligned with the American office of President we value. Doing the same for Trump, we don’t have the same job history to compare, but we can see the children he has raised, his friends’ opinions of him, and his long history of interest in helping America become fiscally stable and safe. He has a lengthy line of interviews for decades, considering running for office only because he wants to see America prosper again.

    This comment was lengthy, I know, but it bothers me to the core to see my fellow Christians pass judgment- that’s not our job. I don’t want to argue or cast you as wrong. I hope to show a perspective that is humbling. As children of God, we are to follow his word and trust his plan, but most importantly, not take his position as the almighty. When we measure what we think are Trump’s values, (based upon not knowing him and only knowing him as much as the media chooses to show us), we are not following Christ. An evangelical is one who spreads the word of God, not one who takes the position.

    Sincerely written by your cousin. :)

    1. Thanks for engaging in the conversation, Dori. You’ve written thoughtfully, which I appreciate. I’ll try to respond with equal thoughtfulness.

      First, I did not argue that our president must be a Christian. My full position, laid out in the article, is much more robust and textured than that. I won’t repeat it here, because it can be reviewed above. The first way to further accurate dialogue is to ensure that we understand one another’s actual position.

      Second, you said you are “bothered to the core” not only by the *content* of my criticisms but the very *act* of criticism. You’ve suggested that I’m being “highly judgmental,” making “hypocritical judgments,” speaking out of pride, “taking God’s position as the almighty” (!), and even “not following Christ” because I’ve dared to “measure Trump’s values.” But have you reckoned with Scripture here? God’s wisdom, and not yours or mine, must hold the day. God tells us, “Let love be genuine (ἀνυπόκριτος). Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good” (Romans 12:9). “Unhypocritical love,” which is precisely the phrase Paul uses, requires godly abhorrence of all that is evil. This apostolic teaching directly reverses your insinuations of hypocrisy: It’s actually just a “mask” of love that refuses to call evil “evil.” It’s actually “hypocritical” not to call sin “sin.”

      Third, you wrote that it’s prideful, judgmental, and hypocritical to say “you’re not worthy of my vote” to a candidate. But your view here is non-sensical democratically, electorally, politically, and most of all, biblically. The electoral process is all about determining whether someone is “worthy of my vote,” and God’s revealed will should be the measurement we use for that worthiness. This doesn’t mean that we only vote for Christians, but it does mean that “worthiness” is exactly what we’re looking for. Scripture, nature, experience, and democratic politics all tell us that. Thus anyone who votes is making a statement about their preferred candidate’s relative “worthiness,” and the other candidates’ relative “unworthiness.” Evangelicals have been weighing and criticizing Hillary Clinton’s character for decades — and I’m one of them. When will we do the same with Donald Trump rather than promoting him, defending him, and minimizing his egregious faults?

      Fourth, you wrote, “Look, we all know the stakes of this election– the Supreme Court Justice nominations, the severity of current events, and the vastly opposite plans each candidate has for approaching them.” This sentence illustrates my point perfectly. We *don’t* all know the stakes in this election. Your sentence included the things most conservatives are *talking about*, but I am pointing out in the article that there are other stakes we need to consider. For example, the “stakes” you mentioned include nothing about the testimony of Christ and the integrity and effectiveness of the church’s witness to the gospel, both of which are being undermined and diluted by public evangelical promotion and defense of Donald Trump and his indefensible character.

      Fifth, you wrote that this election “cannot be something that pits Christians against each other.” I agree, Dori, which is why I’ve sought to engage each commenter, both here and on Facebook, with personal respect, Christian charity, and truth-speaking. I don’t know if I’ve been successful, but that’s been my aim. But I don’t take your Christian challenge to me as “pitting us against each other.” I just think you’re trying to sharpen me, and I appreciate that. Why can’t you take the same view of my blogpost? Why am I seen as “pitting Christians against each other,” but you’re presenting yourself as offering a kind word of exhortation? I ask these questions not mainly to you, but to others who will read this comment. We need to cultivate a less trigger-happy response to fellow Christians who seek to thoughtfully engage us in challenging discussions about admittedly difficult issues.

      Sixth, you clarified your view when you said, “There is a middle, more constructive ground, where we take a stance for the candidate (between the two front runners) that will make the decisions with which we most closely align.” I understand this viewpoint, and I respect it. But you’ve unnecessarily limited yourself to two options: “the two front runners.” Then you’ve claimed that your view is the wise middle ground. I don’t mind your claim at all, and I respect its immediate and principled practicality. Many other Christians are taking this “middle ground,” as well, and I understand their reasons. What I’m suggesting is that there’s another middle ground, and in my opinion, a better middle ground. That middle ground prioritizes the church’s purity and our gospel witness on the grounds that the way we best serve our nation and protect the unborn and advance a biblical view of marriage and champion religious liberty (etc., etc., etc.) is by maintaining our Christian integrity and our public witness in this election and beyond. There is far more to our influence than a single vote, and I’m praying that Christians everywhere start remembering that.

  7. While both candidates have shown themselves as “deplorable” in different ways, I still feel compelled to vote. Neither should be held up as honorable by any means. I can at this point only
    focus on the future Supreme Court and the lives (or lack of life), that THEY affect.

    God is in control and will use evil leaders at this point in history as He has in the past to further His purpose and plan. He will bring us to our knees one way or another. I pray our nation’s people will turn, seek His face, and pray.

    I appreciate your well-considered confrontation on this topic. It was needed and received by this sister in Christ.

    To God be the glory.

  8. It is unfortunately true that we only have two people to choose from. The others will only waste our votes. No man is perfect and only God knows the hearts. As Christians we have no real choice but to forgive so we can be forgiven. Seven times? Jesus said 70 times 7 so choose the person who stands for Christian values like sanctity of life, religious freedoms and a strong America. We are all in God’s hands and He can use any person to do his will just as he put evil men in power in the past he can do it again with who ever he puts in office.

    1. Thanks, Trula, for joining the discussion. I agree that our main two options in this election are “unfortunate,” to say it lightly. In response to your other points: Yes, Scripture affirms that “no man is perfect,” but Scripture never offers this as an excuse for anyone’s wickedness, especially the wickedness of rulers who are held to a stricter account. You also mentioned that “only God knows the hearts.” This is true in an absolute sense, but the Bible also tells us that we will know people by their fruits (Matthew 7:16-20), and that people’s words reveal what’s in their hearts (Luke 6:45). So we actually can know people’s hearts (in a limited sense) not through assumption or speculation, but through objectively observing their habits and actions and words.

      You also referenced Jesus’ command to forgive (repeatedly) those who sin against us. I agree that we must repent of all self-righteousness, and we should be eager to forgive — repeatedly. But notice that most of Donald Trump’s atrocious character traits are not sins against me or you personally (some — like lying to voters — certainly are). Thus, this election is not mainly about interpersonal forgiveness between Clinton and us or Trump and us, but what kind of moral standards we should promote and support in those who would have our vote for public office. In sum, we must be careful to interpret Scripture accurately and apply it rightly to our contemporary situations.

      You finished with this: “We are all in God’s hands and He can use any person to do his will just as he put evil men in power in the past he can do it again with who ever he puts in office.” I agree completely, and I’m glad that you recognize the evil of both candidates as well as the sovereign hand of God. Yet God does not call us in a democratic society to dilute our Christian integrity and undermine our Christian witness by promoting, defending, or supporting the wicked leaders that he in his mysterious plan is providentially using (often to judge the nations and discipline his people). He actually calls us to speak against evil and wickedness, and he exemplifies that approach through his prophets and apostles and Christ himself.

      Thanks for caring about these issues and desiring to leave judgment to God, forgive as we’ve been forgiven, and trust the Lord of history.

    2. “…choose the person who stands for Christian values like sanctity of life, religious freedoms and a strong America.”

      I would deny that Trump stands for any of these, but I particularly want to know how ‘a strong America’ is a ‘Christian value’.

  9. Gunner… great article. Very convicting. While I don’t think we see completely eye to eye on this I’m glad my wife told me to check out your blog(I’m on a facebook hiatus to preserve some level of witness and my sanity). Because I know you, I respect what you are saying and realize it has come from a well thought out and informed perspective. Here is an honest question: at what level do you think that every sincere, truly evangelical Christian going forward should avoid voting? I’m not saying that in a snarky way, but asking because even the GOP will have pro-LBGT, pro-abortion candidates starting now and going forward. I ask because in regards to Trump, I have been super up front that he is in NO way a Christian and he is an awful, proud, power-hungry person. No Bible verse will defend his actions. I guess I’m trying to engage you to ask if every single person who will vote for Trump will have their witness destroyed long term? I struggle to believe one vote will be that big of a deal, if a person can explain our hope is in Christ and we don’t put our eggs in the GOP basket, or the USA basket. I think more than the vote itself, the harm comes from the public promotion, and borderline idolatry that has come about in supporting Trump, whether that is a person defending his actions on facebook, or Jerry Falwell Jr. making himself the total fool in front of the world.

    1. Great to hear from you, Brian. I almost never post about or digitally discuss these things, but if I did regularly, I can see how it might challenge my sanctification if not my sanity!

      I understand your first question, and its relevance. If all viable candidates (i.e., electable candidates) in the future hold to large clusters of seriously anti-Christian views, I don’t think Christians across the board need to abstain from voting. But what we’ll have to rethink is the way we approach political influence. The impossible choices before us in this election (Trump or Clinton) are exposing the fact that we Christians put an incredible amount of stock in our presidential votes. Voting rights are an extreme privilege, to be sure, and Christians should wield that power wisely and gratefully. But we also need to expand our vision of political engagement and cultural influence and the way God’s kingdom grows so that we’re not left just shaking our heads and slumping our shoulders when it seems that our vote can’t do any good in a future election (i.e., when we see that our vote will support a doer of evil no matter which way we cast it). That’s part of my assumption behind the post itself: I believe there are so, so, so many ways Christians and other social conservatives can influence the world around us apart from a presidential election (see David Daleidin and the Planned Parenthood videos; whether he’s a Christian is not my point; what he did outside of an election is my point). Once we embrace this reality, we no longer have to put all our eggs in the election basket.

      Your second question was equally good: “I guess I’m trying to engage you to ask if every single person who will vote for Trump will have their witness destroyed long term?” No, I don’t believe that, because every person is different, votes for their own reasons, and discusses their Christian beliefs and political values in different ways. I do believe, though, that those who feel that they have to defend Donald Trump or promote him in this election in order to defeat Hillary Clinton are making a gross miscalculation that will leave all of us in a far more difficult place with regard to our Christian witness down the line. And my greater concern is the church at large, which is currently being seen (and rightly so) as enablers of the Trump phenomenon. Now, in my SBC circles, I have been so grateful to see our leaders outspokenly against Trump from the beginning (and of course outspokenly against Clinton for her entire career). But I don’t want to pretend that Russell Moore and Albert Mohler and other conservative SBC leaders are the norm when it comes to the “evangelical” voting bloc. I believe that a faithful and mature Christian can vote for Donald Trump for pragmatic reasons of policy and legislative hopes, but if they do, I pray and plead with them to ardently disagree with and never defend his character.

      Thanks again for the great questions. I think these conversations are held best when people actually know and respect one another, and that’s certainly the case when I think about you.

  10. Let me remind you of Isaiah 55, 8-14 or do you remember Cyrus who our Lord said in Isaiah that he did not know Him but he would use him for his Glory.
    Show me any Christian who currently can walk on water and I will take his advise. We are all sinners and I pray that Gods will be done not mine or yours. So fill yourself with God’s wisdom and not yours.
    I am in anguish and I pray that Hillary does not get to choose the Supreme Court and re-energize Planned Parenthood.
    May YHWH’ will be done, I pray in Yeshua’s name

    1. Thanks for engaging, Carmine. I don’t know of “any Christian who currently can walk on water,” so it looks like you’re completely on your own in terms of getting advice! If that’s your standard for the kind of fellow Christian you’re willing to learn from, then you’ll end up very lonely with a bunch of untested personal opinions. But I would suggest that the Bible paints an entirely different vision about how we’re supposed to operate together as Christians. We ought to speak humbly and respectfully and honestly with each other, sharing “truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) so that we might grow together. I hope you’ll reconsider what the Bible actually says about giving and taking advice. I think that, like all of us, you’d grow immensely (along with me) if you’d be willing to do that. Thanks again for your comment, and for seeking to be faithful in a difficult season.

    1. You said so much about Trump. What of Hilary that is perverse and immoral? Is it because she is a woman that you won’t vote for her? Tell us Minister why you are not voting for her. We see Trump’s wickedness and lack of experience. Tell us of Hillary. What is your judgment of her character, ability or lack there of. What would make her the perfect candidate?

      1. Thanks for your questions, Renae. This post was about Trump, not Clinton, though I referenced Clinton briefly to clarify where I stand. In this post, I’m speaking to a particular issue among the “evangelical” voting bloc in this election, and emphasizing that our ultimate priority as Christians should be Christ’s testimony and our gospel witness. I’m not against Hillary because she’s a woman any more than I’m against my wife or daughters because they’re women. But I focused on one particular issue involving Trump, because trying to say too many detailed things at once about too many issues at once usually makes the conversation hazy. Thanks again for engaging.

      2. Thanks for your kind response. However, it’s still not clear the reason you are not voting for Clinton?

      3. Renae: I’m not voting for Clinton for reasons in three primary categories: character, policies, and worldview.

        Character: She too claims to be a Christian but her character and her most fundamental policies are anti-Christian (see below). She is a consistent liar (polls show that the American people in general see this), she covers her tracks with constant evasions, and she refuses to answer hard questions when her misdeeds are investigated. She is the classic dirty politician. I do believe she lied about Benghazi, and she truly and seriously compromised our national security with her inexcusable conduct with her personal email server, which she has subsequently gone to great and obvious lengths to hide. Any soldier who took the same approach and later destroyed evidence would have been condemned, put on trial, and paraded in the national headlines. Simply put: I don’t trust her, at all. I’m sure she’s not guilty of everything conservatives accuse her of, and I’m also sure she’s hidden far more than we know.

        Policies & Worldview (always related): Clinton’s worldview prioritizes erotic liberty over religious liberty, values parental convenience over unborn human life, and champions progressive morality over biblical morality. Her policies will allow, encourage, sanction, and praise abortion, homosexual “marriage,” the transgender agenda, and many other damaging views. She will nominate liberal Supreme Court justices who will continue legislating from the bench and denying an originalist approach to constitutional interpretation and application. This interpretive approach leaves our justices untethered to key principles, making decisions according to the spirit of the age. I also believe her commitment to a big and controlling government, represented in her economic and taxation policies, will do great damage to our country’s infrastructure and sense of individual responsibility.

        I am grateful for Clinton’s decades of public service, and I do not disagree with all of her overarching views. For example, I believe she would have a far more compassionate immigration approach than Trump, even if I would want to know its procedural details and limitations in light of the radical jihadism afoot. She would also care about racial issues more than he would, I believe, even though I think the policies she would enact would not be as helpful as what I think is needed.

        That all being said, I hope this helps explain why I’m convictionally against voting for her.

    2. Great to hear from you, Diana. Don’t give up the faith! Christ is Lord, he’s raised from the dead, and forgiveness of our sins and a new regenerated life are only offered in his name. I know you know that, and while I don’t know why you’re struggling with your faith, I do know that my heart is filled with hope when I embrace God’s promises about a kingdom that can never be defeated, even when that kingdom is advanced by people who must carry crosses and act as servants until the day we’re raised from the dead. So keep the faith!

  11. I respect your out look and conviction about this matter from a Christian perspective. I find myself a little confused as too who you are promoting or saying you’d vote for? Or If it’s just a neutral perspective type of thing? If you could explain more on that.

    And so If your not voting for Trump for his unarguable lack of ethics and sinful nature he protrays. It’s understandable coming from a Christian view point. We shouldn’t condone the sin. Or how he carries himself and at the same time claims to represent to be a Christian. That makes real professing christians look bad. Putting that a aside for a moment. We only have now two to pick from unfortunately. So we have to pick one or the other. Weigh what they both are for and against closest to what us christians support and make a choice. Of course after prayer and using our logic and doing our research.
    Sad thing is the other candidate that is running. It’s pretty appearent to see Hillary’s sinful character at the same time. I’ve watched both sides pretty closely. A women from the words of her vp candidate, claims she represents to be a Methodist and holds strong moral convictions if I heard correctly in that debate. We all know sin is sin and to be very watchful of putting levels on them from a personal level. Hillary is well known for her not so loveable character in how we’d expect a person of faith to care themselves. Although she is a well polished politician at the same time compared to Trump. Hillary has arguably as many character issues plus has a proven record of very bad mistakes she clearly tried to cover up that most well know what they are. Not trying to get into conspiracy theories here. But Hillary has lots of skeletons in her closet that are known now. The Clintons elegitly have killed people that could of blown the whistle on them and it’s not just happened once. I’m not saying it’s true. I’m saying that once you can say, ok and dismiss. But twice, three times that begs you need to reevaluate and take a double look at things. If we are to take everything we know about Trump and the same about Hillary. Put that on a scale and use our learned logic with knowledge of our Christian ways. The volume hands down shows Hillary is the worst pick. This is my oppion of course after looking at the full picture over time.

    In conclusion I agree that we shouldnt stand for what Trump has done and what he is known for. I also in a way understand the liberal media paints anyone in the worst way. That their agendas doesn’t support more so today then before. Using my logic and using the diserment given by the lord. My personal stands is to vote for Trump. Just for the fact that he supports more of what I agree with. He supports many more common things that us Christians support compared to Hillary. For me if I’m looking at character and that alone it’s hard to want to pick either one for that matter. But we have to pick and trust that God as a plan in all this. In the end God is always in control no matter what.

    1. I appreciate your careful reasoning here, Matt, especially that you’re able to see the serious issues with both candidates and their character. You said, “I find myself a little confused as to who you are promoting or saying you’d vote for? Or If it’s just a neutral perspective type of thing? If you could explain more on that.”

      The perspective I’m trying to promote is not a “neutral” perspective per se, but an ordering of our priorities. Our top priority is the pure testimony of Christ, a clear gospel witness, a church that has integrity before, during, and after the election season, and a generation of Christians who aren’t so controlled by visions of political and legislative power that we dilute our integrity to make that vision reality.

      There are so many other ways we influence our culture and promote biblical values than mere voting. Voting for president is significant, and a wonderful privilege. But it’s not the only way, or even the main way, that we influence our nation. If anything, this election season is showing us (if we’ll have eyes to see) just how many other ways we’re called to be the salt of the earth.

  12. “I also recognize that we’re not voting for a pastor-in-chief but a commander-in-chief. I understand the difference between church and state. And I stand first in line to announce that America is far, far, far from a “Christian nation.” Voting is a great privilege, there is no perfect candidate, and there are rarely Christian candidates, and so we must cast our vote for a fellow sinner who is always flawed and almost always unchristian.”

    But I’ll address this as well,

    “And so I say again: I understand that most “evangelicals” will not promote, defend, support, or even vote for Hillary Clinton in this election. But do you realize what you’re surrendering if you turn to Trump? How many vulgar frat-boy boasts, how much blatant greed, how many patent lies, how much unrepentant sin, how much bullying behavior, how many severed marriages, how much explicit racism, how much obvious power-lust, how many false professions of faith, and how much more of a rising moral landfill will it take — how much will it take — for those who profess the name of Christ to value Christ’s name and Christ’s gospel above what they hope to gain from a presidential election?

    There’s a lot of assumptions being thrown out there in this statement and judgments to which we are called not to make.

    1, Unprecedented sin. Well, we are all sinners and all sin is the same so we all sin unprecedentedly. Remove the log from your eye before talking about the splinter in his.

    2, Bullying behavior. Stop it. Saying it like it is the s not bullying. It’s honesty and today with political correctness, honest is seen as bullying.

    3, Severed marriages. Do you have record of who left who, who cheated on who, who lied to who? No, diverse is not something I condone but being a person who’s had one and knowing. Many who have had several and knowing the society we live in, it’s something o know we have to accept as a reality. Especially in the celebrity world.

    4, Explicit racism. LOL!!! Stop with the crying RACIST! every time the obvious problem with ILLEGAL immigration and the so called “refugees” are addressed. Mexicans are welcome here legally just like any other race. Refugees need to be held off until we can effectively vet them and make sure, (to the best of our ability) that terrorist jihadists aren’t entering. Simple as that. No racism. Just stop.

    5, Power lust. This is the land of opportunity. We are free to peruse wealth. In doing so, we end up providing for many beyond ourselves in employment and services rendered. Don’t villanize the drive to succeed and actually doing so. Is Dave Ramsey a power luster with all his wealth and enterprises? No.

    6, False professions of faith. Excuse me but who are you to say that? Are you God? Because last I read it’s only God who knows a mans heart. Watch your step brother!

    7, How much of a rising moral landfill will it take? Let any one if the other candidates win the election, (which by not voting Trump, your opening the door and welcoming Hillary) and you’ll see the moral landfill rise up to be a mountain of sharia law and atheists suppressing the christian way to oblivion where we WILL ABSOLUTELY BE persecuted, beaten and killed before there’s an uprising revival of the faith that will be able to reinstate Christian values back into society. It’s much easier to build upon those values while they’re still here though, weakened but present rather than trying to establish them from basically scratch.

    I profess Christ’s name, love and forgiveness for my sins. I also vote in line with my Christian convictions. So Mr. David …you go ahead and withhold your vote for Trump. A vote that would be a voice for the unborn. A vote that would be a voice for traditional Christian values. A vote that would be a voice for traditional, biblical defined marriage. A vote that would be a voice for resisting the Muslim movement that is responsible for killing innocents who don’t believe in it. A vote that would be a voice for freedoms this country allows in yes religion even though the Muslim Faith is seen as the enemy’s army. A vote that would be a voice for a balanced Supreme Court that otherwise will be lost for at least one generation. A vote that would be a voice for racial tolerance and healing that is so badly needed. A vote that is not just a vote for Trump, but a vote for a conservative cabinet that he will bring. A host of other conservative leaders to replace every criminal Obama has appointed and the ones Hillary plans to appoint.

    You do that. You withhold that vote and explain to your children, grandchildren and ancestors, (should Trump lose) why you let your judgmental pride and hatred for a man who really wanted to restore this country to its former glory, stand in the way of supporting that greater good. That’s all on you brother. I personally won’t have that guilt. I love what this country was and hope for restoration of it and understand we can’t vote in Jesus because he ain’t on the ballot.

    1. It is clear niether Hillary or Donald are Evangelical Christians. I can vote 3rd party but have you examined the 3rd Party Platform? I will not throw my vote away thus in effect giving my vote to Hillary Clinton. Shame on you for trying to deposit guilt. I am looking at supreme court justices that need to be appointed.

    2. Thanks for your comments, Dan. I have responses to your objections, but a number of elements in your response make clear that we would not be able to have a productive dialogue. I wish you the best.

    3. Brother,

      You missed his entire point. Have you considered that America is perhaps due some Israel-like judgment for its national idolatry, paganism, and the cowardly, Pharisaical hypocrisy of its “western” church. I’m an active duty Marine Officer and combat veteran of 28 years and can tell you that America lost her way long time ago, and this poor, tortured soul Trump needs to focus on his own sporitual relationship with the Lord, and I pray he does just that. He’s not fit to lead and lacks the integrity to do so by anyone who knows leadership. Hillary is no better, but she’s going to win by a landslide, in the most embarrasing Republican showing is as many elections as I’ve seen. Once this equally morally bankrupt politician rises to power, then the real body of Christ, without national identity, will remember that we are citizens of the Kingdom of God first, called to spiritual warfare in a fallen world in sore need of redemption. When Anerican Christians begin to experience what our brethren in the oppressed nations of the world endured for decades while we slept at the wheel enjoying our “prosperity gospel”, and “national idolatry”, then Anerica will see the sort of underground revival seen in Russia, Moscow, Cuba, and throughout Eastern Europe and everywhere else where the adversary has attempted to hinder the Kingdom.

      Jesus warned such things must come to pass, and we do well to remember the church flourishes under the persecution of pagans. Revival will come only when America hits rock bottom and its getting their fast in our lifetime. But we’re Kingdom people first, and to be honest, we are not Israel, and this fiction of “favored nation” status that once, temporarily belonged to Israel does not apply to our country. Never did.

  13. Gunner, the last comment you made about twisting the words of Christ gave me chills. That was the most in depth and thought out response I have read to that statement.
    The funny and unintential outcome I received from your article is that I am a Christian man, but due to the way the term evangelical has been used, I quit identifying with that term. When thinking of “evangelicals” I started picturing Hillsboro Baptist. All of this was unintentional. But if that happened to me, a Christian man, how are those who are not Christian viewing that term? Who are they identifying with that term? Can we afford to just ignore how terms representing our faith are being used to push political agendas? How should we react when these term are being used in a way we don’t see fit?
    Anyways you got me thinking about this in a different way. It’s refreshing to hear a new and intelligent perspective. Thank you.

  14. Yes, Trump has been and can be a vulgar man.  How about you? How about me?
    What man in modern America has not been vulgar in his own time. No excuses, just asking.
    At this time, we only have 2 choices: Trump or Hillary. Please, I ask you to show me where
    Hillary,s wings are. One of the most conniving, deceitful, politicians of our time.
    Perhaps, she has not made vulgar remarks in public, but it did not bother her
    too much that she did nothing to try to rescue those in Benghazi. But that’s okay,
    right? After all she loves the people. For 8 years, the American public has had
    crap handed to them by a far left socialist President and Secretary of State, Hillary
    Clinton (Democrat).
    An open mike evidently did not catch Franklin Roosevelt (Democrat), and the public
    at large did not realize he had a mistress while President. They only found out when
    he died at her home in Warm Springs, Georgia. But he gets a pass, being a democrat.
    Looks like Truman stayed true to his wife, but if you investigate him closely, he did not
    mind using rough language. But he gets a pass for that. He was a Democrat.
    Next is John Kennedy. Best looking President ever. And surely could wax eloquently.
    His wife was not happy with the affairs he had while in the White House. But he gets
    a pass. He was a Democrat. I’m willing to believe he used vulgar language, before,
    during, and after his presidency.
    Then we have Lyndon Johnson who had his affair prior to entering the White House.
    But he gets a pass. He too was a Democrat. You are naïve if you think that Johnson was not vulgar prior, during, and after his presidency.
    Last, but not last, we have Hillary’s husband, Bill. Now, there’s a peach. Just ask Monica.
    But hey give him a pass. After all, he too was a Democrat. I suspect when Hillary found out about his indiscretions, there was a lot of vulgarity passed back and forth between the two. You can be sure Bill used vulgarities before, during, and after his presidency.
    We basically have two major political parties:  The socialist party and the go along party.
    They have been here since Franklin Roosevelt permanently installed the Washington gravy trains of the income tax and the social security tax. If Trump is elected, the trains might be slowed down for a little while, but they will never be abolished. Too much money and too many perks for those in office.  Bill Morgan

    1. Bill, you sound really, really angry, and virtually hopeless. I’m sorry to hear that. My heart is filled with so much more hope, because Christ is faithful to his people. Bashing every other politician who’s ever served our country does not change who Donald Trump is, and doesn’t change what our Christian convictions should be. I hope you’ll reconsider, and prioritize the church’s witness above political power.

  15. That’s a bold accusation, Ryan. If you’d like to use your last name and identify yourself, I’d be glad to hear from you. But I’m not interested in engaging anonymous comments. Either way, I would encourage you, if you profess to know Christ, to not make such bold accusations against a brother or assume his reasons for removing your comment.

  16. For anyone who asks me what I think about the 2005 statement of Donald Trump, let me quote the teaching of Christ on this – John 8:7, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone…”
    I saw the beggest sinner in the world today, when I woke up and looked in the mirror, if I dare to believe that God has forgiven me, then what right do I have and what an utterly despicable hypoctite I would be to dare to cast a stone at another.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Michael. There are numerous problems with your response, however. I’m disappointed to see that it’s one of the most common reactions from Christians who seem to be in a hasty search for verses to try to defend the indefensible.

      First, John 8:7 is not “the teaching of Christ on this,” if by “this” you mean presidential candidates in a 2016 democratic election. We must accurately interpret and wisely apply Jesus’ statements, not just quote verses severed from their context.

      Second, it’s incredibly dangerous and manipulative to suggest that anyone is wanting to execute Donald Trump for his behaviors. I assume you know what “stoning” refers to in Jewish law, and I assume you know that no one is suggesting that. I certainly didn’t in my post.

      Third, it’s terribly ironic that the account in John 8 is a story in which Jesus seeks to protect a vulnerable woman from manipulative male hypocrites seeking to exert their malicious, domineering wills upon her. But you have so twisted his words that you’re now using them to defend the exact kind of man that Jesus was confronting, and you’re using his words to justify Trump’s behaviors towards the very women you should be protecting, just like Jesus did.

      Fourth, you mentioned that you would be “an utterly despicable hypocrite” if you dared “cast a stone at another.” Despite my comments above, I assume you don’t mean a literal stone, but a strong criticism. But if that’s the case, why have you criticized my criticism of Trump? Aren’t you casting a stone at me by criticizing the way I’m speaking about Trump? If so, then when does this circular logic end? If no one is allowed to critique another person or their views because all criticism is “stone-throwing,” then what should we make of God’s many calls to judge, to discern, to evaluate, and to abhor what is evil and hold to what is good (Romans 12:9). The biblical fact is this: Simply telling people “you can’t judge” and “stop throwing stones” and “you’re not allowed to criticize someone I’m supporting” is a shallow and undiscerning way to approach difficult issues. We must read every verse of Scripture in its immediate and broader contexts, seeking to understand the full harmony of what the Bible says, and not just one isolated note.

      Michael, I completely agree with your sentiment that each of us ought to see ourselves as the chief of sinners, as the apostle Paul did. I commend you for this humility. But I would urge you to stop twisting Scripture by using it to defend the kind of man that Jesus was confronting with the words you’re quoting.

      1. Not to mention that the same facile arguments apply just as well to supporting Clinton (or indeed, any human being). It’s essentially a strawman — any criticism of Trump gets answered by saying ‘nobody’s perfect’, ‘we’re not electing a pastor/saint/apostle/pope/messiah’, etc.

        1.) Nobody was claiming that we are, and
        2.) these people would never accept this as a valid defense of Clinton’s evil behavior.

        And they know it.

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