No one understands the internal struggle of Christians in this election better than theologian Dr. Wayne Grudem. Like many of us as evangelicals who have sought to integrate our faith with our public walk, he’s wrestled with the question about the difficulty of choosing between two morally undesirable candidates for president. In a string of published pieces, he’s expressed his frustrations at Donald Trump’s past behavior and addressed the concerns so many of us share about the lack of character on display in both campaigns.
This week, in perhaps his most compelling column yet, he hopes to reach more Americans with the message that in this election in particular, Americans are not voting for a person — they’re voting for the person’s policies. Outlining 12 of the most common objections Christians raise on Trump, Grudem brings the conversation back to the most fundamental question of all: “Since I find both candidates morally objectionable, I am back to the old-fashioned basis on which I have usually decided how to vote for my entire life: Whose policies are better? Do I agree more with Trump’s policies or with Clinton’s? It isn’t even close. I overwhelmingly support Trump’s policies and believe that Clinton’s policies will seriously damage the nation, perhaps forever.”
This week on “Washington Watch,” Dr. Grudem reiterated that on multiple issues — the Supreme Court, abortion, religious liberty, sexual orientation regulations, taxes, economic growth, the minimum wage, school choice, Obamacare, protection from terrorists, immigration, the military, energy, and safety in our cities — he agrees with Trump’s stance over Clinton’s. “So my argument is, sadly, reluctantly, it isn’t the candidate we wanted, but I think we have no choice as Christians but to vote for Trump.” But what about people who say, “My conscience won’t let me vote for Trump?” Dr. Grudem has a potent answer for that too: “I fail to see how your conscience lets you help Hillary Clinton get elected, for that is the result of withholding your vote from Trump. Does it not trouble your conscience to help advance the terrible harm that she will bring to the nation?”
On the character issue, as he and I discussed, the candidates cancel each other out. The two areas where they don’t are their agendas and the party platform. But wait, Christians say. If you vote for Trump, you’ll never again have credibility when you say character matters in the election. Of course character matters, Dr. Grudem replies. Evangelicals and non-evangelicals alike have condemned Donald Trump’s crassness toward women. “But, if you don’t vote for Trump, how can ever you say the issues matter? Or the protection of the unborn matter? Or the biblical standards on sexuality matter? The argument goes that way too.”
He may not be a morally good person, Dr. Grudem acknowledges, but what most Christians need to realize is that Trump “may be the most moral choice.” What about sending a message to Republican leaders about the kind of candidate they’ve put forward? “Is it worth turning the country over to a corrupt Clinton political machine that is hostile to Christian values, just to ‘send a message’ that the party leaders already agree with?” Dr. Grudem asks. “That’s a steep price to pay. And why not vote to help defeat Clinton and send the entire nation the message that a candidate like Clinton is even more unacceptable?” If you haven’t read Dr. Grudem’s column, I encourage you to, especially as you engage others on the importance of this election.
“Some people urge me not to be so concerned about politics. I admit it would be easy just to teach my seminary classes and write academic articles and books. But the apostle Peter says Christians are “exiles” on this earth (1 Peter 1:1). Therefore I take seriously the prophet Jeremiah’s exhortation to the Jewish people living in exile in Babylon: “Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). By way of modern application, I think Christians today have a similar obligation to vote in such a way that will “seek the welfare” of the United States. The overriding question in deciding how to vote is, Which vote is most likely to bring the best results for the nation?”
Check out the rest of his column here: “If You Don’t Like Either Candidate, Then Vote for Trump’s Policies.” Also, don’t miss our conversation on “Washington Watch” from earlier this week.
DISCLAIMER: Tony Perkins is supporting a candidate in his individual and personal capacity only, and it should not be construed or interpreted in any way as the endorsement of FRC, FRC Action, or any affiliated entity.
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