If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. – 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)
This is a bit long but I wanted to include Anonymous’ full letter so that she had equal voice. I normally don’t respond to these types of things, but when I see a “biblical case” from a completely anonymous source (even the blog has no contact or identifying information) I have a hard time keeping quiet. Here is the conversation.
I don’t think you are an idiot or a heretic. I don’t consider myself to be, either. I also realize I’m not your primary audience, since I’m not a Cruz supporter. However, I do fall in the “Never Trump” category. I’m not normally a betting person, but I did accept your offer to read your article all the way. I hope it’s OK if I lend my voice to the dialogue.
To The “Never Trumper”- A Biblical Case For Trump
It is my estimation that 90% of the people who clicked on this link did so to openly mock and ridicule the redneck, Biblically illiterate, idiot who would dare to put the words, “Bible” and “Trump” in the same sentence. If this is you, congratulations to me for getting you to read this article, and congratulations to you because I am neither an idiot nor a heretic. The following is not some poorly-patched together, theological treatise that attempts to warp the Word of God in order to justify my political sacrilege.
But since I’ve got you reading, let’s make a wager shall we? You read this article all the way through and as Cruz said, allow your “conscience” to be swayed, or not swayed, by what I believe to be Biblical wisdom. You have the right to judge for yourself.
I fit the classic profile of a “Never Trumper.” I am a highly educated, staunchly theologically and politically conservative pastor’s wife, who plans to one day homeschool her children. I even want to be a “Never Trumper.” I really do. It sounds so principled, so brave, to be a political nonconformist who refuses to buckle under the weight of societal temptation, or fall under the spell of the big mouthed billionaire with his lofty promises for a better future. I CANNOT, however, allow myself ignore the principles laid out in the Word of God for situations such as the political debacle Americans have unfortunately found themselves in.
In Luke 9, we find the disciples recovering from a serious blow to their pride. Despite their best combined efforts, they had been unable to drive a demon out of a troubled young man, and had been reprimanded by Christ for their lack of faith. Just a few verses later, we find the dejected 12 incensed that another man, an outsider, was able to do what they had not. I believe Jesus’ surprising answer to their protests has great ramifications for today’s political conundrum.
Verses 49-50 read, “ ‘Master,‘ said John, ‘we saw a man driving out demons in Your name and we tried to stop him, because he is not one of us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus said, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’” (1)
It is the Holy Spirit who helps us interpret Scripture. I think I understand your interpretation; however, I don’t think it’s the strongest reading of Luke 9 based upon the context of Jesus’ statement and the progression of Luke 9.
Luke 9 opens with Jesus sending the 12 out giving “them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Therefore, John had already cast out demons before we get to verse 49.
In Luke 9:37-43, Jesus does indeed drive out a demon that the disciples were unable to. In response, the 12 go on to discuss which one of them is the greatest and get schooled by Jesus: “Then he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.’”
Jesus has just told the disciples about humbling themselves in order to follow Jesus. John, who has just seen Jesus transfigured, is the one who responds about stopping someone who has cast out demons in Jesus name. I think John was a little embarrassed and trying to deflect attention away from his lack of humility.
I agree that Jesus was telling John to step back and look at the big picture. I would liken this to a discussion I had a few years ago with a friend. She felt that it was wrong for Christians to work with Muslims on a clean water project in Africa. By not actively evangelizing the Muslim co-workers, the Christians were hiding (ashamed of?) their faith in Jesus.
I disagreed. I believe I witness my faith in Jesus by my actions as well as my words. When I serve with people who do not have the same beliefs as I do, I am still showing the love of Jesus in the actions we share. If they were to ask me about my faith or why I serve, I would tell them about Jesus. I don’t believe Jesus would consider it denying him as I work with a non-believer so that others can drink clean water or a full stomach.
All through Luke 9 Jesus is telling the disciples about the personal choice they must make. John’s concern about what others are doing in Jesus’ name even though he’s not one of “us” takes the focus off of John’s discipleship responsibilities. The person was doing Kingdom work by freeing people of bondage and giving Jesus the credit. If Jesus didn’t want the person using his name, I think he could have shut it down.
I can sense your hackles immediately rising from across the screen. “But Trump is NOT for us!” you object, “his essence oozes the opposite of Christian values!” I would first ask you to remember that we are NOT electing Trump to a sacred or ecclesiastical office. We are electing him to a political office. If this was a question of placing Trump in charge of my church or Christian organization, you would have to hogtie and hold me down in order to get me to vote for him. I am not arguing for Trump’s morality here.
I do agree with the writer that we are not electing a religious leader. We should have different criteria for these who serve in government and those who lead us spiritually.
I am simply stating that in this specific office, as President, he has gone to great lengths to demonstrate that he will protect and champion the rights of the American evangelical if he were to be elected, even if he does not personally embrace those values. I would think that his promise to appoint a conservative Supreme Court Justice should “Trump” (excuse the pun), our other hesitations. He has even organized a “faith advisory committee” comprised of some of the most respected Christian leaders in America. As a side note, I am appalled at the way the Body has treated the members of this committee and other evangelical heavy hitters who have endorsed Trump. We are willing to let Dr. Dobson dictate the way we raise our children, yet the instant he speaks out on a political issue, we mock him and call him a coward? We make Kirk Cameron our Hollywood hero, pay big bucks to go see his films, and then call him a sell out when he makes a comment about where we should place our vote? Maybe we should let our ruffled egos settle down for a moment and consider that we would willingly adhere to the wisdom of these men on any other issue. Even if you disagree with their political choice, please have the decency to treat them with the respect that their years of faithful service to the Kingdom have warranted.
I think this is where this letter goes off the rails. Because we are talking about a secular office, it’s not the President’s job to “champion the rights of the American evangelical.” It’s the President’s job to uphold the Constitution. The very first Amendment to the Constitution prohibits the establishment of a state religion and guarantees freedom of religion.
Forget other religions, what about Catholics and Pentecostals, is Trump going to be their champion as well or just Evangelicals’? I’m an evangelist but I’m not an “Evangelical.” What about my rights?
Secondly, not every Christian is willing to allow Dr. Dobson to “dictate the way we raise our children.” I don’t doubt that Dr. Dobson is a man of great faith; however, I do not agree with him on every aspect of Focus on the Family’s agenda. With respect to Kirk Cameron, he’s an actor (and a person of faith), but he’s not a (my) religious leader. He can say whatever he wants about politics. I’m willing to treat them both with respect, even though I do disagree with their political leanings and some of their interpretations of how we are to live out Scripture.
Speaking of wisdom, would you PLEASE stop saying that failing to vote for Trump is not a vote for Hillary…it is. No matter how much you attempt to pad your argument with mathematical or philosophical meanderings, the simple truth is that a third party NEVER has and NEVER will win the presidency. (Go ahead, quote your Abraham Lincoln story at me, but please don’t forget to add that he did not face 2 dominant parties in his election. He faced four weak and divided ones.) Some of you have offered a far fetched equation that would enable a third party to steal enough votes to give the House the right to choose the president from among the top contenders. I would think that this option would be repulsive to you since most Never Trumpers claim to be proponents of “small government,” and this outcome would completely subvert the will of the people. Never Trumpers also tend to be very intelligent former debaters. This means you love logic. Logically speaking, if only two people are in a contest, your failure to endorse one candidate is implicit endorsement of the other…and you know it. So just stop it. Your overthinking has caused you to forgo common sense. You are embarrassing yourself and Hillary Clinton is laughing herself to sleep.
I agree that failing to vote for Trump favors Clinton. I also agree that in 2016 no third-party can win enough votes to win the presidency. These are truths that result from the two-party system we cannot seem to evolve from as a country. However, choosing to vote in the election – for any candidate, any party – is a right and responsibility. If you can’t vote for the candidate of the party you normally vote for, then it’s OK to vote for another party. Across the board. If you can’t vote for Trump, that’s OK, but I don’t think it means you need to vote for Clinton (and vice versa).
The writer’s argument focuses on the political issue of “small government.” I guess we’ll see what the “will of the people” is with respect to small government (and other things) in November. But this argument doesn’t have anything to do with Christian decision-making. I’m not saying you should vote for Clinton, vote for whomever you want, but be clear that you are making your choice for political reasons, not reasons of faith.
For those of you who argue that, “A vote for the lesser of two evils is still a vote for evil,” I urge you to stop and think about the fallacious foundation of that statement as it applies to this circumstance. If abstaining from the vote entirely were a viable option in this election, then perhaps your pious sounding claim would hold its ground. As I have already demonstrated above, by not voting for one “evil” you ARE, like it or not, casting your vote for the other. Even if I accept your terms and define Hillary as the “big” evil and Trump as the “little” evil, you are going to be endorsing an “evil” no matter WHAT you do on Election Day. The difference is that one “evil” has promised to do his best to protect your right to worship freely, and one has promised to do everything within her power to suppress them. You may argue that Trump will turn tail and act against Christians once elected. You are absolutely right. He could. We can be CERTAIN, however, that Hillary will do her best to destroy what little sense of decency we have left.
I’m not totally sure what this argument is. Neither candidate – or party – is perfect. Yep, I’m a progressive but I will never defend the Democratic Party as virtuous, pure and unblemished. It’s a political party. While individuals (in either party) may align well to Christian beliefs, the parties as a whole never will. As a person who claims Jesus as Lord and Savior, I can only try my best to make decisions based on what I feel is the greater good.
I don’t agree with the statement that Clinton “will do her best to destroy what little decency we have left.” [Why not use her last name if you use’s Trump’s surname? Not doing so suggests a lack of respect; not to mention ignoring her experience as both a Senator and Secretary of State.] However, “decency” hasn’t been defined, so its beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I need more criteria.
“But, but..” I can hear your continued protests and growing disgust, “Trump is so, so…pompous, so brash, so unfit for office.” The disciples didn’t approve of the outsider who was doing their job either. Jesus helped to correct their perspective. This wasn’t about them. This was about the future of the Kingdom. (I can still feel your eyes rolling at me but please listen…)
We’re back to exegeting Luke 9. This other guy wasn’t running for either secular or religious office. He wasn’t try to lead anyone (although Scripture is silent to this, so we have to allow for the possibility that this may have been the case.) Again, he was just freeing people from the bondage and oppression of evil spirits – and giving Jesus the credit for it. Given what Jesus told the disciples to do in Luke 9:1, it seems like this guy is acting like a disciple. The writer is correct, “this was about the future of the Kingdom.” The future of the Kingdom not a kingdom (or empire).
I believe that a lot of the discontent over Trump is due to his brash nature, yes, but also because of the blow that was dealt to your pride when an outsider was able to come in and usurp the leadership of your party. This may not be true of you at all, but I am certain that it is a large part of the driving force behind the Never Trump movement. I am simply asking that you examine your motives. If you detect pride as a motivator factor, please pray to be released from it and follow the example of Ben Carson. If anyone had a bone to pick with Trump, it was Dr. Carson, but as he so wisely stated in a Fox interview when asked how he was able to get over the personal insults dealt him by Trump, “If this was about me, I could never get over it. This is about the future of our country.”
I agree that this isn’t about me (or any one of us). I’m not a Republican, so Trump isn’t an outsider to me. I guess I’m a “Never Trump”-er because I think he is a danger to the integrity and national security of the United States. I don’t even need to begin considering his history, views, tweets, or policy statements from a faith point-of-view to know I could not vote for him.
Never Trumper…get over yourself. This isn’t about your personal likes or dislikes. This is about the future of your children. If you aren’t willing to overcome your personal chagrin that an outsider could come in and do your job for you, then you have no one to blame but yourself when Mrs. Hillary Rodham Clinton is elected.
You will have lost the right to act as a martyr when she comes after your right to speak freely about issues such as homosexuality and the exclusivity of the Gospel because you had your chance to do something about it and you did NOTHING.
Back to the First Amendment, no President can take away our voice on homosexuality or the Gospel. There’s a reason it’s the First Amendment. It’s foundational to our country’s identity. I wish it were that easy because then we could do something about our gun epidemic and militarized culture. But no, we actually have to go through the Legislative Branch and be subject to review by the Judicial Branch. And we’d have to get 75% of the States to agree. I can’t see that happening. I think our Constitutional freedoms are safe (even if our streets and schools aren’t).
Some of you have chosen to avoid the conflict entirely, and have decided to abstain from voting because no matter the outcome, “God is in control.” I agree 100% that God is in control and that no matter who is president, Jesus Christ is King. This overarching fact that God reigns has NEVER been an excuse for inaction. In 1 Timothy 2:2 we are commanded to pray, “For kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” (2) If we are to pray for a political environment that fosters peaceful Gospel conversations, does it not logically follow that if given the opportunity to help make this a reality, we should act?
Yes, we should pray for our government leaders and candidates! All of them…whether we agree with them or not. You know, just like we pray for our enemies. I’m not sure what “Gospel conversations” are. Is this quoting John 3:16 or John 14:6? I consider a Gospel conversation one that is consistent with the example of Jesus and the witness of Scripture – even if I’m not talking explicitly about my faith. We should totally take every opportunity to do t.
I think it’s a theological leap, though, to say this passage means everyone should vote in secular elections. As a citizen of the United States, sure. But as a theological truth, no. There were no democracies in Biblical times. 1 Timothy 2:2 is a call to pray that our government officials would be guided by (God’s) wisdom and (Christ’s) peace. But Paul wasn’t calling the Church to be politically active. He was calling for the Church to pray for an environment where the Church could exist (and hopefully thrive).
This situation reminds of the parable of the drowning man who turned down three rescue attempts with the rationale that, “God would come and save him.” When he drowned, he questioned God about why He would allow him to die. God responded with, “I sent you three boats!”
Whether you like it or not, America is drowning and the Trump boat, though less than desirable, is the only viable option for rescue we have to keep us afloat for the time being.
In Cruz’s address to the Republican convention, he repeatedly acknowledged the fact that this may be America’s last chance to save herself. I beg you to consider the words of your own hero and make the only sensible choice.
Good parable, but I can’t agree with the interpretation. First, I need to know what “America is drowning” means. I have some concerns of my own: idolization of money and power, racism, gun culture (and the violence, but gun culture is driving that cart), failure to identify healthcare as a human right, willingness to cast aside those in need if we feel they haven’t tried “hard enough,” overall polarization and lack of dialogue, homophobia, increasing gap in wealth, and the idolization of the individual over the good of the community.
Second, because of my aforementioned concern for America’s integrity and national security, I don’t believe Trump will save us from these concerns. Sure, I’m worried about ISIS and terrorism in general, but my life on this earth is finite and so I don’t live in fear (because you know, Psalm 20:7; 27:1; 33:10-15, 16-22; 56:4; 62:1; 121; etc.). If this is how we’re drowning, Clinton’s tact, experience, and relationships with world leaders might come in handy.
If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, I do not want to hear you complain about the escalating murders of third trimester, unborn lives in America and the increasing span of The Parental Rights Organization, because you had your chance to do something and you did nothing.
If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, I do not want to hear you complain about future, liberal Supreme Court Rulings, because you had your chance to do something and you did nothing.
If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, then I don’t want to hear you complain when your pastor is imprisoned for hate speech crimes, because you had your chance to do something and you did nothing.
If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, then I don’t want to hear you complain when you lose your right to bear arms and fret over the safety of your family, because you had the chance to do something and you did nothing.
If you do not vote for Trump and therefore vote for Hillary, don’t tell me you were being self sacrificial and that you did it “for your country.” Because you didn’t. You did it for yourself.
I am not arguing that Trump is a great man.
I am not even arguing that Trump is a good man.
I am arguing that in the words of Christ Himself, God can use an individual that is “not one of us” to further His purposes and protect His people.
I am arguing that in this time, and in this particular circumstance as the only nominee for Republican Party, Trump is the RIGHT man to serve as President of the United States.
Unless something cataclysmic occurrs between then and now, he will be receiving my vote in November.
Ironically, though many Never Trumpers have claimed that they will not be “bullied” or “harrassed” into voting for Trump, I have been forced to publish this note anonymously to avoid the violent backlash that is certain to ensue. So go ahead, insult me, call me a heretic, say whatever you want. My conscience is clear before God because I have done all that I believe He has called me to. Can you say the same?
God can use anyone to further God’s hope for the world. Paul tells us he’s Exhibit A, and the Old Testament gives us the examples of Assyria and Babylon – evil and pagan. But they were used to discipline God’s people, not lead them. I believe God can use anybody, but usually if they are actually leading God’s people spiritually, they have already demonstrated the fruit of faith themselves.
I’m Presbyterian (yep, the type who marries same-gendered couples, but it’s not required and up to the pastor, so I’m fine if your husband chooses not to do so). We believe that we are always called to act according to conscience, keeping it “captive to the Word of God as interpreted in the standards of the church.” Therefore, I completely support Anonymous’ right to vote for Trump if that is what her conscience dictates.
While my vote in secular elections is not confined by the constitutional documents of my denomination, Jesus is Lord over all of my life. For me, even while executing my rights and responsibilities as a citizen of the United States, my actions in the voting booth remain captive to the Word of God.
As a result, I cannot vote for Donald Trump.
I won’t condemn anyone who does, although for both secular and faith reasons, I can’t understand it. I won’t argue that Clinton didn’t used poor judgment with respect to the email server or lied about it and deleting emails. My Word-captive conscience does not require me to vote for Hillary Clinton.
Anonymous, I’ve read your article to the end, but I’m not convinced. I’ve read the Bible several times from beginning to end. Based on my read of the first five books of Moses and the Gospels (and the prophets, but I’ll stick to the ones most people might read) I believe that a vote for Clinton most closely offers the United States an opportunity to be a country that may be able to live out what I see Jesus do and hear Jesus say. And if all I had was Luke 9, there’s probably still enough:
When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. – Luke 9:10-11 (NIV)
A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” – Luke 9:35 (NIV)
Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father. – Luke 9:42 (NIV)
Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” – Luke 9:48 (NIV)
I realize I’m voting for a secular official, and I believe that it is the Church’s responsibility to live into Jesus’ words – but we’re too busy arguing among ourselves. Maybe someday the Church will take this mantle up again, but until we do I intend to use the “boat” God has sent – a democratic process – to see if we can humble ourselves a little so that we may love better. And regardless of fallout, I’m not ashamed of what I believe, so I will sign my name.
Living in the light of undeserved grace of Jesus,
Reverend Michelle Henrichs
 Luke 9:1b-2, NIV
 Luke 9:48, NIV
 Luke 9:18-27
 Luke 9:28-36
 Matthew 5:43
 Romans 7:24-35; 1 Corinthians 15:9-10; Galatians 1:13; 1 Timothy 1:15-16