“I am not voting for the person, I am voting for the platform”.
This has become the new justification for supporting the GOP candidate in the upcoming election. I will admit, at first glance, it appears to be a compelling reason to hand the reigns of the presidency to a GOP candidate especially when the candidate cannot qualify under the simple and easily reached requirements of Exodus 18:21. I will also stipulate that the GOP platform may indeed be one of the strongest worded platforms written in recent memory that is incredibly sympathetic to a Christian Worldview. The GOP should be commended for that. The question which arises at this point however is…
“Is the platform enough of an incentive to elect Donald Trump?”
Let’s explore that…
I will instantly stipulate that there is probably no Christian alive (or dead for that matter) that hasn’t at some moment played fast and loose with the Scriptures with regards to its interpretation and application. We know that we all “see through a glass darkly” and tend to venerate our “private interpretations” as THE interpretation. Most of the time and for most honest students of the Word, this is done unconsciously. We are not willfully twisting the Word. We may be unskilled or immature in rightly dividing the Word, but we are honestly wrestling with its contents. Unless you are a fully deceived cult leader my hope would be that for the vast majority of Christians a humility would exist that could say, “I had never thought of that before”, or, “I have never seen that in Scripture just like that”. I will be the first to confess that in my 38 years of following Jesus and my 32 years of preaching the Gospel, I have stood up on several occasions and changed my views based on the Scripture. What I believed those early years preaching are not exactly in line with what I uphold in these later years. And let me be crystal clear on this point…my “morphing” has happened because of the Scripture, the Holy Spirit’s enlightening, and the discipling of other ministers who helped me connect many dots. I suspect my journey is not unlike many other sincere Christians.
(Things you were never taught in Seminary)
The following is a “tongue-n-cheek” attempt at codifying the numerous theological statements I have read through this election cycle. It is meant to provoke your thinking, not offend your feelings. However, this election season has been fertile ground for offense. None the less….. Here we go…
It is no secret to readers of this blog or my social media that I am highly skeptical of anything Trump. I have no plans at this point to vote for him and I will give my vote to a qualified 3rd party candidate. However, the question concerning the direction of this nation and Trump’s general acceptability is not without merit. I have watched this election debacle play out with no small degree of sadness and, believe it or not, compassion for Donald. He is absolutely clueless to some extent as to the can he has opened with the released tape. While my compassion will not override my obedience to Scripture, it has made me ask the question, “Is there anything Donald can say to make this all go away?”
Like many of you, I watched over these last months, well-respected and notable Christian pastors, professors, ethicists, university presidents, and lobbyists endorse (sometimes reluctantly) Donald Trump for president. I grimaced and groaned as I listened to the reasoning which mostly entailed unprecedented theological acrobatics to reach such a conclusion. Many even admitted that they did not like the conclusion they reached, but the “times” demanded unusual measures so therefore, foundational Scriptural precepts were suspended for the greater cause (or hope) of “conservative values”. I don’t question these people’s motives. I do believe for most (if not all) of them they have a genuine concern about our country and the direction it is headed. However, the time has come to reevaluate this endorsement and defense of Donald Trump. It was a prophetic long-shot in the beginning to imagine such a man carrying the banner of evangelical concerns and values. It has now become a prophetic mandate to rebuke him by distancing ourselves from his candidacy. Contrary to what some will claim in the comment section below, this is not judgmental or pharisaical. This is about conviction, credibility, and consistency.