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A photo by dan carlson. unsplash.com/photos/FgPGGFlY1gY“And why not do evil that good may come?”
-- Romans 3:8a

Or, to put it another way, “Do the ends justify the means?”

Or, to put it in more biblical terms, “Should we compromise what we know is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise if we think the result may be something good?”

Or, to be more specific, “Should we support a morally repugnant and unqualified person if we suspect some good may result from it?”

What is a Christian to do if casting a particular vote requires not just holding one’s nose but also closing one’s ears and covering one’s eyes and hurting one’s sisters and further fracturing relationships between races and violating other principles of Scripture related to keeping counsel of fools or hating our enemies? There are Supreme Court justices at stake, after all.

Perhaps there are better things than winning. Like an appeal to a good conscience before God (1 Pet. 3:21).

God used King David, an adulterer. (And, if we’re factoring in one’s views of abortion, also a murderer, by the way.) This is undoubtedly true. But the reality that God can use anybody and anything is not itself a commendation of endorsing anybody and anything. Biblically speaking, the truth is that the ends do not justify the means.

Let’s think about how the whole king of Israel thing happened. The people of God demanded a king (1 Samuel 8). A political messiah. Someone to solve their problems and mete out justice. Why did they do this? Fear, mainly. Envy of other nations, also. God gave them what they wanted. He can use anybody. But he makes it clear that this desire is not godly. It’s not always a good thing when God “gives us what we want.” It’s not always a good thing to get what we want, even if our motives are sincere. No, it’s never a good thing to compromise godliness and cast our lots with evil even if we suspect something good may result. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen to us is for God to give us what we want. "Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Samuel 8:7).

Evangelicals--ok, let’s be more specific: “old guard,” mostly white evangelicals--stand at a great precipice. They see the kingdoms of the world and they are afraid. They fear losing power. They fear losing control. They fear for their children’s safety and the future of their nation. They mostly desire something good. And here stands someone evil promising it to them. Just bow down a little bit. It’s not the end of the world. Everybody makes compromises. God can use anything.

God is sovereign over all. He appoints kings and princes. He rules over the rise of nations. And also the falls. God is even sovereign over the Devil! He is sovereign over the installation of wicked rulers. But he usually allows this to bring judgment, not peace.

Or maybe the position is not so grand. Maybe it’s humble, and we are just tired and hungry. We are starving for something good. In our anxious and famished state, the soup seems more immediately gratifying than the birthright.

In Romans 3:8, Paul addresses an accusation against him: “And why not do evil that good may come?” He calls this slander. And he says it leads to condemnation. Why? Not simply because it offends him. But because it offends the gospel and its divine Author.

If we truly trusted the sovereign Lord of all who can use anything, we would abstain from the endorsement of the morally disqualified--no matter their political party and no matter their promises--because God can use a non-vote as easily as a held-nose vote. And which, in fact, would display greater faith? I mean, if we’re using the Bible as our guide, does it appear to be a pattern that the Lord prefers to use the strong and the mighty and the big to accomplish his plans? Or does it seem like he seems to specialize in the people who can’t win?

Given the choice between a vote for a qualified underdog or a conscientious objection and a vote for the kind of leader the Bible calls wicked, which shows a greater faith? Which act of faith would display the clean hands without which no one can see the Lord?

The ends do not justify the means. And in our current quagmire, the ends are not even assured. They are barely even promised. They are more accurately held out as blackmail, as leverage.

Perhaps siding with an evil and hoping for the good is not our only option. Perhaps there is a third way. Maybe it’s siding with the good and trusting God’s best.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

-- Proverbs 3:5-8


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Comments:


76 thoughts on “Shall We Endorse Evil That Good May Result?”

  1. Gordo says:

    We have 2 morally questionable candidates. One is probably worse than the other. Not voting, or voting for a 3rd party with no chance (same as not voting) will result in the “more evil” candidate winning, which could be interpreted as you “doing evil” the very thing you describe Paul as warning against. Furthermore, who are you to judge Trump’s forgiveness of sin (or lack thereof)? The Christian Post published an article “6 Interesting Facts About Donald Trump’s Christian Faith”. Some Christians are just immature and weak willed (as you mentioned in the article, David was an adulterer and murderer (he murdered Uriah the Hittite then stole his wife). I don’t know if Trump has received Christ as his savior or not, but he claims to be a believer and has repeatedly defended the Christian faith. Despite all of his flaws I do think he would make a better president than Hillary Clinton. That said, I don’t think he has much of a chance of winning, and certainly NO chance without Christians supporting him.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Not voting, or voting for a 3rd party with no chance (same as not voting) will result in the “more evil” candidate winning

      This ship has sailed, Gordo, and the logic never straightened the rudder anyway. A vote cast is a vote *for* someone. If a non-vote for Trump is a vote for Clinton, then a non-vote for Clinton is a vote for Trump. A non-vote is just that — not a vote. But if conservatives were concerned about Clinton winning, they wouldn’t have backed Trump to begin with, as he’s an unwinnable candidate. Don’t blame his detractors; blame his misguided supporters.

      who are you to judge Trump’s forgiveness of sin (or lack thereof)?

      The Scriptures say we will know them by their fruits. I suppose I am in the same position to judge Trump’s fruit as you are Hillary Clinton’s. It’s curious how these moral uncertainties never run both ways. The evangelical double standard in defending Trump only confirms what liberals have been saying about us all along — we’re hypocrites.

      he claims to be a believer

      Not really. Someone claimed this for him. He instead claims he doesn’t need forgiveness and has spun his sin — including his filthy words bragging about sexual assault and joking about pedophilia — and persists in malice, vindictiveness, and vainglory.

      has repeatedly defended the Christian faith

      He literally almost never mentions it. It’s similar to the pro-life issue, which evangelicals seem so sure he is going to champion. He pretty much never brings it up.

      I do think he would make a better president than Hillary Clinton

      Ok.

      Thanks for your comment.

      1. David says:

        Hi Jared.. great post.. i enjoyed reading it and I particularly liked the reference to King David.
        Question??
        Are you suggesting that a vote for Trump is an endorsement of evil so good can result?

        1. Jared C. Wilson says:

          David, no. I actually don’t think much good can result. Others are suggesting they are voting for a man despite his evil with the hope that something good will come out of it. I am responding to that line of reasoning.

    2. Robert Price says:

      This is a logical fallacy. More to the point it is the argument that the major parties use to continue to enslave Christians to their political will

      1. David Hughes says:

        Amen I’ve been trying to explain that to some of my Christian friends

    3. Loretta Percival says:

      Gordo, what I would like to say is, I would think that there are enough Christians out there that would stand up and fight for what they believe in. Neither candidate is suitable for the Presidency! We have a moral obligation as a Christian to stand up and be heard now! We can’t just sit back and watch things unfold in front of us, we have to stand up and say No Vote to both candidates! I believe as a Christian this is our time, for us to stand together in unity and let our voices be heard. Why should we sit back and let our Great Country continue to run by unfaithful leaders. We have a Christian obligation, if we want to see change happen in America then it begins in each of us to bring it forward! Jesus said, who will stand and go with me! The only way that America will change is for every Christian to stand up for what s right! We ask God to help us, then why are we sitting back and letting this happen to our Country! It is so easy to sit back and say what is wrong with both candidates when we could make a difference and make a stand For Our Voices To Be Heard! It depends on how tired we are of seeing and hearing all the trash and evil of both candidates! If you really want change, then let it begin in each one of us and Bring It Forward! May God Bless Our Great Country and May He Have Mercy On Us! May God Bless Everyone!

    4. Paula says:

      Gordo, did you even read the article??

  2. Jeff Schultz says:

    Thanks for putting in words what I’ve been thinking. I can’t vote for either major party candidate. I might write in a candidate, but is there a third party and/or candidate who better reflects a biblical worldview and values?

    1. Ecoughlin says:

      There is a 3rd party candidate but he is Mormon so I’m not sure if he counts as “biblical”. He has 10+ years of experience in the CIA so he is very familiar with the national security issues that are affecting us. I think that you can write him in on most ballots. Google him to learn more. I am still undecided.

    2. Ashley Christenson says:

      Research Evan McMullin. He is pro-life, supports religious freedom and states rights.
      http://www.evanmcmullin.com
      http://www.mcmullinnews.com

  3. Very compelling article. Thanks for the prophetic clarity.

    1. Scott Shaver says:

      “prophetic clarity” or pious platitudes born of party spirit?

  4. elizabeth adams says:

    Thank you. Seriously, thank you.

  5. Jason says:

    Amen!

  6. Rick says:

    So, the biblical choice to vote against Trump knowing that Hillary is just as immoral and pro-choice? Truly curious…

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      I mention no candidates in this post, but that one could come away thinking I’m advocating for Hillary Clinton is surprising.

    2. Cédric says:

      “Trump is just as immoral as Hillary”. This never stops to amaze me. So this Spring, their Immorality Index was for both exactly at 134.6 I guess. Today, with all the recent revelations, I suppose they both have an “Immorality Index” of exactly 168.3, right?

  7. Michael says:

    I feel the church has made too many sacrifices to turn things around smoothly. I think with the troubles we see arising these days, the “old guard”, as you call them, is given a chance. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. If you realize that your empty shell are nothing but that, you can reconsider your priorities. It’s a gift we will be thankfull for when we stand before the Lord one day.

  8. Tom Finnegan says:

    I’m across the pond so I don’t have to wrestle with these questions personally. But I would be interested to know, Jared, what you would say if the moral gap between the candidates was greater – say between Trump and someone like Hitler? It’s hypothetical but still a real question especially as related to your premise that we should not do evil that good may result. I do agree with you that not voting for Trump and trusting in God seems to be the obvious Christian choice given the serious nature of Trump’s poor character but I’m not sure about the absolute prohibition you advocate on not doing evil that good may result – it has implications for just war theory, Bonheoffer’s attempt at assassinating Hitler, etc. Besides, every political vote is necessarily for an individual who is a sinner and won’t do everything as if they were Jesus (although from talking to some Americans, I get the impression that George Bush was such a perfect person). I don’t think I have an answer to my question but hopefully Jared (or other commenters here) does.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Tom, it’s a fine question. There is definitely a line here when dealing with unbelievers. I am not personally advocating that we may only vote for professing Christians. Just looking for persons of integrity, decency, maturity, and a moral quality befitting the leadership of our nation. It’s interesting you mention Trump and Hitler, as some of the implicit sloganeering and “dog whistling” out of the Trump campaign and its groundswell of support resembles the circumstances and disgruntlement that led to Hitler’s rise as well. Trump can barely contain his fascist intentions but an angry American subculture seems to think it’s great. If you’re asking if I’d vote for Trump or Hitler as we know him now (Holocaust orchestrator, dictator, warmonger, and iron-fisted leader of the 3rd Reich), I’d likely vote for Trump. I have a hard time seeing how Hitler as we know him now could get on the ballot, but, then, I struggled to see how Trump could either. But if you’re asking if my choices were Trump and the un-elected Hitler — the proto-Fuhrer, as it were — and there were no third party options, I’d vote neither, probably. The un-elected Hitler and the un-elected Trump sound pretty similar in some frightening ways.

      Every political vote is for a sinner, yes. Every person is a sinner. And yet character matters. It matters in the pastorate (as we receive qualifications beyond “he must be a Christian” in the Scriptures), and I believe it matters in political leadership. And, not to belabor the points implied in the blog post, if Christians can endorse a vainglorious, greedy, lustful adulterer who brags about sexual assault and jokes that his cut-off age for sex partners is 12 years old, then we don’t really believe what we say we do about morality and biblical values. And! We negate any character issue we want to bring up about Hillary Clinton or any other political we oppose. We can’t have it both ways.

      1. Tom Finnegan says:

        Thanks for the answer Jared. I think what you say usefully highlights that history teaches us that a simplistic ‘ends justifies the means’ approach is not helpful because we, as finite human beings, can never really know the end (even if we think we do), especially in the complex world of politics, unlike our sovereign God in whom we must place our trust.

    2. Nichele says:

      Could you please explain your statement that you would vote for Trump if he was running against Hitler-as-we-know-him-now? If it is morally wrong to vote for an oppressor now, why would it not be wrong then? The only line of thinking that makes sense to me is that while Trump would oppress and mistreat some image bearers, Hitler would torture and murder many. However, couldn’t the same be said of Hillary (at least the part about murdering many)? I really liked your article, but I find your subsequent comment confusing and contradictory.

      1. Jared C. Wilson says:

        Nichele, it was somewhat of a theoretical imagining as I can’t fathom the possibility of a guy guilty of genocide running for office. But yes, if my *only* choices — no third parties, no other option — were Trump and a guy with a track record of mass murder who promised to round up scores of people and execute them, I could see voting for Trump. I don’t think HRC’s abortion support is quite the same given the institutional establishment of abortion currently and our other recourses against it — other than legal, I mean, the work of the church to cut off the roots of the abortion epidemic. In the same way, I do not equate the average pro-choice liberal as akin to Hitler. But I see your point. One for me to consider, certainly.

        1. Nichele says:

          Thank you for the reply.

  9. Mark McAninc says:

    I understand that you are not mentioning a particular 3rd candidate by name. The friend I know who posted your article is a Gary Johnson supporter so as I read this, I was predisposed to assume it was him the article was written about. If I’m wrong, so be it. If I’m right – Gary Johnson’a stand on a lot of issues is in complete opposition to God’s law as I see it i.e. Abortion, Same sex marriage, and legalizing drugs. Not that I can make an argument for God’s will in these next issues, but I completely disagree with his stand on drug testing for welfare recipients, and wanting to reduce our military budget. We don’t have a good choice this time, but I’m voting for the only candidate who has a chance to stop Killary, Donald Trump.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Mark, I do not endorse Gary Johnson. And you most certainly have a choice if the most important thin to you isn’t winning and power. Plus, Trump can’t win anyway. Why would I vote for a loser who will also cause me to become a hypocrite on morality and biblical values? If I’m gonna vote for someone who can’t win, might as well do it for someone I can have a clean conscience about. (Your use of “Killary” for Hillary tells me a lot about your motivations. If you’re a believer, I’d suggest you can oppose Hillary Clinton without hating her.)

  10. DCal3000 says:

    Since voting automatically constitutes wholesale endorsement of a candidate, and since an erroneous vote can lead to the serious charge of heresy and abandoning Christ, perhaps during the next election the Gospel Coalition could publish a list of church-approved candidates? Then we wouldn’t risk voters from any political party being unexpectedly labeled heretics. I know church endorsements are frowned upon, but I would ask-Isn’t that the logical result of where we’re going with some of these discussions?

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      DCal3000 — if that is your real name ;-) — my hope has not been to endorse a particular candidate — indeed, in this election, I find that incredibly difficult to do — but only to help my readers think biblically about their motivations and hopes in the political process. In this post, for instance, my goal is to apply biblical wisdom and principles to the notion I see repeated frequently this season from Christians, that ends justify the means. If I meant to endorse a particular candidate, I would do that.

      1. DCal3000 says:

        Thank u for your reply. My real name is Daniel if that matters to you. I read over your article again and u did not go as far as I initially thought accusing voters of heresy. Your colleagues in The Gospel Coalition have however. They are charging Trump voters, and presumably Clinton voters, with abandoning Christ (see Joe Carter’s recent article, for example). I would caution you all not to get too caught up in the political moment and not to be too harsh in your judgment of laypeople. Many Trump, Clinton, and Johnson voters are not doing evil so good may come. They are trying to do what good they can within the reality they face. They may err, but if voting is as clear-cut as the Gospel Coalition makes it sound-churches in future should endorse or at least blacklist certain candidates. If it’s not that clear-cut, church leaders should be careful issuing blanket statements about voters’ motives. Inappropriate judgment of the hearts of voters can cause, and I believe is causing, great harm in the Church at the moment.

  11. Jason Cunningham says:

    Christians (generally speaking) were more than happy to defend and vote for Romney, knowing full well that he prays to and worships a false god…apparently pagan worshippers are better than the morally repugnant…we need to stop treating ‘voting’ as some type of ’11th commandment’ which forces us to compromise every biblical standard in the name of ‘civic responsibility’.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Jason, I don’t think we need to have a believer in the office, though that’d be great if we could. But I don’t think our options are “character doesn’t matter” or “has to be a Christian.” Do you?

      1. Jason Cunningham says:

        Mr. Wilson – I appreciate the reply, the problem with ‘character matters’ is that it’s still a generalization. What type of character matters and who gets to decide? This is exactly why I used the example of Romney, his ‘character’ in outward behavior was acceptable though every Christian knew that he would appeal to Baal for wisdom and blessing. Is that an acceptable character trait? Further, if character matters then Trump wins out over Hillary. Again, by what standard do we judge character?

        1. Jared C. Wilson says:

          Of course it’s a generalization. I’ve never denied that.

          if character matters then Trump wins out over Hillary.

          This, I don’t follow. You seem to imply simultaneously that Trump is more virtuous than Hillary and that there is no standard for character. Which is it?

          Let me put it this way: If character doesn’t matter to the extent you suggest, why won’t you vote for Hillary? On the pragmatic level, she is much more qualified than Trump b/c she has political experience, a long track record of public service, and international credibility (with many, if not all). If character is really so nebulous and moral considerations are as subjective as you claim, it would seem to me that HRC is the clear choice b/c she would at least bring a more dignified personality and international respect to the White House than the reality TV star and shady businessman Trump.

          1. Jason Cunningham says:

            Mr. Wilson – I may have written in a way that was misleading to my position, my apologies. I am suggesting that character actually does matter but that biblical character is the standard, not our subjective opinions. If we use generalizations to select our leaders then the result is exactly what we have now, Trump or Clinton; both deplorable. My point in bringing up Romney was to reveal that there seems to be a latent hypocrisy in Christians that would vote for Romney but not Trump simply because his external ‘character’ was acceptable despite knowing that he was a confessing idolator. I realize that leaves me with very few options for voting but I’m more concerned with following a biblical standard rather than feeling compelled to appeal to an arbitrary character standard.

            To be clear, I actually agree with your article!

  12. Andy Rodriguez says:

    As a brother in Christ, and for the sake of seeking out truth, I am in a firm disagreement with your arguments.
    I want to say I welcome correction and am trying to remain as open to that as hyper individualized Westerner can. I look forward to the day each of us will be in perfect communion with each other and our Lord.

    Now, I believe your use of the kingdom of Israel as a parallel for the US is somewhat irresponsible. I should hope none of us are looking for a King to lead us spiritually or a Messiah in any of these candidates. That would be the ultimate in naivete and would speak clearly of where we have our hopes set. I am looking forward to the ultimate King and His kingdom and am anxious for it. In the meantime we are only left with imperfect believers and imperfect non-believers.

    Moreover, using your platform to endorse or dismiss a candidate based on moral grounds is an abuse of that power. Because each of these candidates are imperfect we are left to what binds our conscious. I can stand before our Lord in confidence on that day and vote for someone who is imperfect in the hopes that fewer children will be murdered in the womb and that moral decay will stagnate if just for a moment in time. This is precisely because, as you say above, I know it is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise to do so.

    I think your understanding of the means and the ends is also shortsighted. We have no choice for either a morally astute or morally neutral person in this case. Every candidate, without fail, will come with sinful baggage. So the idea that there is pure means in this election is completely false. Even the decision not to vote is not morally neutral or inherently more trusting in the Lord’s sovereignty.
    The office of president is by design limited in power on several fronts. Therefore, we are not so much voting for a single person as we are voting for a future reality. If a single candidate wielded all power my vote would be different. But this is the US and for now the office of president does not. Therefore, my conscious binds me to vote for the future reality that does not ceaselessly end more life and potentially, do it at the hands of the tax payer.

    Also, I would caution anyone to not overspiritualize or underspiritualize this decision. It is over an overspiritualization (assisted by a bit of prooftexting) to say that to vote for the third party (who again, is a morally flawed person) is the equivalent of “not leaning on our own understanding,” or choosing the weaker candidate to see God really do His thing.
    In addition, your use of the word faith is also belittling and unclear. I can have faith (by your definition) that a major party candidate can be used by God just as much as the third party candidate. Because neither of them is more evil or more limited in power than the other!

    Brother Jared you are correct. This is a quagmire. In that vein, if you are going to use your platform to teach and exhort I would beg you to understand many of your brothers and sisters have thought this through and are not plugging our ears or pinching our noses. We are, in good conscious, voting with a grasping hope (as we do in every election that has preceded) that a flawed human will bring about some good or at a minimum stall the evil.

    1. Gordo says:

      I agree with “Andy Rodriguez” above. I’ve been voting for many 3rd party candidates in the past mostly out of protest, I’ve voted for Ross Perot, Ron Paul, and yes even Gary Johnson whom I viewed as the lesser of 3 evils in the last election. I completely agree that Trump is a lousy candidate, and has done and said many horrible things. Its looking pretty likely right now that Hillary will win, and her supreme court appointees will shift the balance of power in the court against Christian principles for possibly decades. The national debt DOUBLED to $20 trillion under Obama (more new debt than ALL other presidents before him combined) and that freight train to future pain will continue. The recent Hillary email leaks show that her camp considers the American people to be stupid and “compliant”, all the while as she and her family have enriched themselves at tax payer expense via her completely unethical dealings with the Clinton Foundation, mixing politics and self promotion under the guise of charity. Meanwhile her husband has been accused by very credible women of being a rapist, and she helped protect him. Hillary’s potty mouth is worse than Trumps by the way. And I’m sick of hearing comparisons of Trump to Hitler – this is complete rubbish. Trump wants to keep people from illegally coming into our country – these laws exist for good reason, we don’t have open borders for good reason. He also wants to deport non-citizens who commit crimes. He isn’t talking about rounding up groups of people and killing them. Its also worth noting that the only real power a US president has is to veto bills, and name supreme court justices. Everything else is just “hot air” and “cheerleading”.

      1. Andy Rodriguez says:

        Thanks for that Gordo. I want to distill a dimension of view a bit: my argument is that if we are going to get into the business of judging an individual based on their moral propensity we will always be in a gray area. The unique act of voting in a democracy is a question of individual conscious. There is room made for that in scripture when we do not have a clear command.
        And while character does matter we are not voting so much for a single person as we are for an altered socioeconomic reality. That is not using the ends to justify the means because again, we have no inherently good option before us. I am not voting for evil or good means, I am voting for a human with the propensity for both. For that counter to hold, I would have to be voting for an actual ACT of evil and say I was ok with that ACT to the end of a “better” reality. That would most certainly put me in the wrong despite my conscious.

    2. Richie Batson says:

      I too have been concerned that some Christian organizations are putting forth many assertions regarding this issue without solid arguments (or–more importantly–sound, contextual exegesis of Scripture).

      I, for one, have no fear of losing power, since I serve the One to Whom all authority in heaven and on earth has already been given. I do not fear losing control, for the One Who controls the very wind and waves controls all else in this world. I am, however, concerned for the Church’s continued ability to proclaim the Gospel without hindrance here in the U.S. In 1 Timothy 2, Paul urges prayers for those in authority, in part so that we as Christians may live peaceful and quiet lives. By good and necessary inference, I believe our ability to live peaceful and quiet lives under a given leader would enable us to further engage in Gospel ministry, relatively free from restriction and interference. I have to ask myself, under which candidate might this be more likely to occur? And I am somewhat surprised that an organization with “Gospel” in its name has not thoughtfully (or publicly) considered this (maybe I missed it?).

      In addition, Andy alludes to Clinton’s public declaration that she will work to repeal the Hyde Amendment. According to Romans 13, we are to pay taxes to whom they are due (in our case, the Federal Government). Under which administration would I be able to pay taxes with a clear conscience regarding this issue? I am not OK with my tax dollars explicitly being used to add to the 58 million murders that have taken place since Roe v. Wade.

      TGC asserts that—by my voting for Trump—I am condoning his behavior. They have yet to show this through argument or biblical exegesis. They state that I would be doing evil that good may come. I have seen much in the way of proof-texting regarding this unfounded assertion, but nothing in the way of meaningful argumentation or contextual Scriptural reference.

      Finally, TGC likes to bandy about the assertion that, as a Christian, I am not only a moral coward if I vote for Trump, but that I am temporarily abandoning Christ by doing so (see article on TGC by Joe Carter). I would remind TGC that they are neither the Protestant Magisterium nor a church, so I will defer to my fellow elders if I am in need of correction on this issue. And I would strongly urge that TGC exercise caution in making (or endorsing) statements that sully the bride of Christ. Disagreement and defamation are two different things.

      1. Jared C. Wilson says:

        TGC asserts that—by my voting for Trump…They state that I would be doing evil that good may come.

        Hey, Richie, I don’t know you and have never heard or read you, so this post could not possibly have been written about you. If the examples of rhetoric mentioned don’t correspond to anything you’ve said or thought, feel free to assume this isn’t about you. I am responding to those I have read and heard who argue that Trump is evil sure but the results of his leadership would be good.

        1. Richie Batson says:

          Jared,

          Thanks for responding. With respect, your article is ambiguous in this regard, even on a charitable reading. Nevertheless, even if I accept that I am not to be counted among those you’ve read, you are still begging the question throughout this piece, and at least one article endorsed by TGC (written by the editor, no less) lambasts a great swath of the body of Christ and accuses them of temporarily abandoning Him. Not only so, but he states that these Christians are ‘tagging’ along behind a man (Peter Singer) who vocally advocates for necrophilia, infanticide and geronticide. In the context of the issue being discussed, there is no legitimate excuse for this kind of rhetoric from any Christian toward another, not to mention one with as wide an audience as the author.

          I wonder if TGC would be willing (maybe they already have, and if so, please point me to the article) to post an alternative viewpoint on this topic from a fellow Reformed Christian (we are not completely monolithic, are we?). I am not stumping for a guest post, but surely someone could be mustered for the task. I would like to think that TGC is not so insular and fragile that it cannot withstand the free exchange of ideas and arguments from fellow Christians. And I do realize that I am being somewhat snide in my remarks, but brother believe me, my initial reaction when reading these articles was overly emotional and un-Christlike. When I mentioned consulting with my elders, I did that very thing prior to commenting, just to keep me in check. Based upon some of the other responses I have seen you and the editor post to other commenters, I wholeheartedly commend the practice to you both.

          1. Jared C. Wilson says:

            Richie, thanks. I cannot speak for Joe and if you would like to debate the merits of his post, I suggest you do it in one of his forums.

            As for the Magesterium comments: I weary of these, if only b/c I think people suspect there is some kind of coordinated TGC effort on these positions and, believe it or not, there isn’t. I didn’t know about Joe’s piece. He didn’t know about mine. I don’t know how the general TGC editorial process works for the contributions on the main page, but we bloggers are not privy to what is being published. And they are not privy to what we publish. The editors and “powers that be” at TGC don’t know what I’m gonna write before I publish it. If we appear lockstep in our views on these things, it is not out of orchestration but likely b/c we just think similarly about it and see the opportunity right now as the subject matter is of interest to the public marketplace. And we obviously feel strongly about the issues at stake.

            As for dissenting opinions, I would at least point you to our brother Thabiti’s post supporting Hillary Clinton. I can tell you that that piece at least took this TGC blogger back. I disagree strongly with the reasoning represented there. But if anything, at least it proves we aren’t trying to collectively issue magesterial edicts to our readers on who they should vote for or how they should think about the election.

            re: discussion with elders. My pastor is aware of my views and is, thus far, comfortable with my articulation of them. I do appreciate the concern, however, and it is a good one that commends your commitment to the church, the kingdom, and the gospel.

        2. DCal3000 says:

          First, thanks for interacting with commenters on your article. It is kind. Second, I’m sending this message mostly to you, so don’t feel obligated to allow it to be posted unless you just want to do so.
          Now for my main point: I saw your comments regarding the Gospel Coalition’s magisterium, and I think your statements illustrate the reason some Christians are objecting to the way you and several other Gospel Coalition members are stereotyping voters in the major political parties this year. You write under the auspices of the Gospel Coalition. It is easy to assume, then, that you endorse everything written by other members of the Gospel Coalition. After all, if you didn’t, you would not write under the auspices of the Gospel Coalition. As you rightfully note, that’s untrue and unfair. It appears to many of us, though, that you and others in the Gospel Coalition are stereotyping American voters in exactly the same way you object to being stereotyped. Many people are voting for Trump, and I assume many are voting for Clinton, not because they endorse everything Trump and/or Clinton do. Nor are these voters doing evil that good may come. Many are attempting to do good in hopes that good may come. Whether I vote for Trump or another candidate, I do not plan to endorse any candidate’s sins. Just as I know you do not necessarily endorse every word other Gospel Coalition members write. I have no objection to you opposing Trump, Clinton, or any other candidate. Indeed, I hope that you will continue to advocate your views and that any resulting discussions draw people to Christ. I merely ask that you and other Gospel Coalition members refrain from stereotyping the motives of so many voters, just as you ask that we refrain from stereotyping you.

  13. Steve Baehr says:

    Great thoughts, Jared! If there’s any single thing wrong with democracy, it’s that getting what we want is usually a bad idea. Thanks for writing. And, uh, I think you mean to be referencing 1 Samuel, not 1 Kings.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Ack, you’re right! Thanks. Had “kings” on the brain when typing that. I’ll fix.

  14. Rick McLain says:

    If the second greatest commandment is to love our neighbor as ourselves, and if we don’t then we are also failing the first greatest commandment to love the Lord God with all our heart, soul, and strength, then does that not mean that we are to choose to do the greatest good for our neighbor? Believers can find plenty to agree with Trump on regarding abortion, religious freedom, more secure borders, better fiscal/economic policies, foreign policies, etc. that we can make a case for working, as Francis Schaeffer said, as co-belligerents for the good of all citizens. Even Russell Moore found “common ground” to work on issues with Obama, so this is not a new, novel idea at all.

    Either Trump or Hillary will be president. I don’t think there is any escaping this. God did not call us to think only of ourselves but to extend grace and be vessels of His grace, even His common grace, to our neighbors. Abstaining from voting may put balm on a self-righteous conscience, but it does little to achieve better results for our neighbor. The same goes with voting Libertarian or Green in the presidential race. Based on the professions of both of the two viable candidates, a Trump presidency will potentially offer the greatest good for my neighbor. I will hold my nose and vote for him, but I will do it knowing that I am doing it in love for my neighbor and in faith that God will use all of our votes regardless who we cast them for for His glory.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      a self-righteous conscience

      Rick, good one!

      But: Your question about loving our neighbor with our vote is a good and valid one. I would like to process through it in a separate blog post, so please stand by. And thanks for the comment.

  15. Ike Lentz says:

    I don’t understand how anyone could look at these two candidates and thinks Trump is the “lesser of two evils.” She has a controversy regarding email security, he’s an openly racist, misogynist bully who said he could “grab women by the p****” because he’s famous. The moral equivalence is ridiculous.

  16. Jeff says:

    First of all Christians are not and cannot endorse Donald Trump for the reasons you state. But many do support him. Please do not get the definitions confused. I think this is an area you and many other believers are getting confused.

    We endorse a candidate because we admire their character and accomplishments. We support a candidate because we believe that they will do better things for America than their opponent. You might take a look at Franklin Graham’s article in Newsmax:
    http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/franklin-graham-trump-comments-offend-vote-scotus/2016/10/08/id/752353/

    Jeremiah 29:4-7
    This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”

    The Jews living in Babylon were in a mixed position. On one hand they had to be true to God in their words, thoughts actions, and revere him and put him first. They served a pagan king in a pagan nation. On the other hand they settled in and seek the peace and well being of the nation they were exiled in. This is our dual responsibility in America. We must seek the good of America even if voting for a candidate who is not ideal, or not given a clear choice.

    We are commanded to seek the good of the land we live in. Many Christians look at a Trump/Pence/ Republican presidency and find it preferable to a Clinton presidency. Many issues include abortion, the Supreme Court, the economy, the safety of the American people, religious freedom, and preserving the Constitution and having a president who believes in and supports all Americans.

    They are following God’s instructions given to us in Jeremiah in doing so. The end they are following is God himself and following his commands.

    Second, another lesson we can learn from the Babylonian exile were the Pagan king Nebuchadnezzar and Darius the Mead who surrounded themselves with godly advisors. They had Daniel and his friends and they were a tremendous influence both to the king and the country. Donald trump has surrounded himself with and been advised by godly men. Mike Pence (who will be guiding his presidency and eventually replacing it, Dr. Ben Carson (how I would love to see him Pence’s VP and possibly president some day if age doesn’t become a factor ). There are many Christians Mr. Trump has met with and many have been witnessing to him. I am afraid your article and others like it are seriously damaging their witness to Donald Trump and the influence they are having on him.

    See the following
    http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/mike-pence-protect-religious-liberty-uphold-constitution/2016/10/04/id/751695/

    http://townhall.com/tipsheet/cortneyobrien/2016/10/03/duck-dynasty-patriarch-shared-diagram-of-the-gospel-with-trump–rest-is-up-to-him-n2225857

    http://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/duck-dynasty-star-phil-robertson-to-trump-critics-lighten-up-w444013

    Third. We are also commended to forgive because we have been forgiven. Donald trump has apologized to the American people for remarks given in a former life, and whether or not we end up voting for him, we are commanded to forgive rather than condemn.

    Matthew 6:12-15
    And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ’
    For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
    But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    This is part of the apology Donald Trump gave:
    ” I’ve never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone that I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret. And the words released today on this more than a decade-old video are one of them. Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong and I apologize.

    I’ve traveled the country talking about change for America, but my travels have also changed me. I’ve spent time with grieving mothers who’ve lost their children, laid-off workers whose jobs have gone to other countries, and people from all walks of life who just want a better future. I have gotten to know the great people of our country.

    And I’ve been humbled by the faith they’ve placed in me. I pledge to be a better man tomorrow and will never, ever let you down. ”

    The complete text can be found here.
    http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/full-text-of-donald-trumps-apology-over-his-2005-remark-1471711

    He sounded contrite he said it was wrong and he had changed and he was sorry. Jesus didn’t say forgive if you think they are sincere or forgive when… or forgive if… He just pointed to the mercy we have all received and said in the same way forgive.

    Donald Trump has met with Christians and been witnessed to and heard the gospel. Trump (unlike Clinton) has even offered support our religious freedom and beliefs and even seems to respect them.

    We are commanded to forgive because we have been forgiven so much. I know who I am inside myself without the grace of God changing me and I am in no position to condemn anyone and instead want people to know the “Grace that is greater than all my sins” . If there is anything in me that is anything or if I can do anything at all it is only that grace. I was given that grace and mercy instead of being condemned and I think the church is commanded to do the same and extend that grace to others.

    Fourth, We are commanded to show love, and mercy to and avoid judging other believers in matters not related to the Gospel because of the love and mercy we have been shown. We are created in God’s image and being conformed to the likeness of his son. We show others what God has shown us. If we are harsh and condemning what is that saying about the God we claim to belong to? .

    1 Corinthians 8:1-3 Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that “We all possess knowledge.” But knowledge puffs up while love builds up. Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know. But whoever loves God is known by God.

    James 4:11-12
    Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

    Romans 14:1-4, 10-14, 15:7
    Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

    10-14
    You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
    “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
    ‘every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

    So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
    Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

    15:7
    Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.

    1 Corinthians 1:10-11

    I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers and sisters, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you.

    (John 3:17) For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

    We are commanded to holiness and part of holiness and separateness is acting and talking differently then the world around us and treating people differently than the world around us. Whether Christians end up supporting Mr Trump or not they should be light and support the light God is sending to him.

    Colossians 4:2-6

    Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

    Matthew 5:13-16

    “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

    “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

    IF you want to vote for a Chrisitan leader vote for Mike Pence, now as Vice President and a guide to a greenhorn in politics and a fish out of water, but a man who seeks the best advice in areas he doesn’t understand and tries to gather the best people around him to do a job. Mr. Pence will probably be President in 4 – 8 years if Donald Trump is elected. There is no telling what will happen to the country or election process if Hillary Clinton is elected. I think of it as going to a concert, but there is a guest band playing before the main band you came to see shows up. Out of respect for the main band you may see elements and songs borrowed in the first performance and maybe the beginning band shows similarities in style and music to the band you want to see.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Jeff, thanks for the comment. May I suggest you broaden your horizons on evangelical political thought from Franklin Graham, Newsmax, and Duck Dynasty?

  17. Wrangler says:

    If you say Christians shouldn’t get involved in politics at all, you have a valid and consistent point of view. Once you wade into the political mud, you have no grounds to question another’s vote. All candidates are flawed, we only choose where to draw the line based upon our own perceptions. I’m sticking with Trump.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Wrangler, is it ok for a Christian to vote for Hillary Clinton?

  18. Jen says:

    THANK YOU for writing what I’ve been thinking!!!

  19. David Axberg says:

    Deuteronomy 29:29 has to be where we rest. We have many things revealed by those running for office and they should not receive our votes. The results of not voting is in our Lord’s hands because the government is upon His shoulders and not mine. Good article thanks Jared.

  20. Paul Stark says:

    I think this article reflects a fundamental confusion about what we are doing when we vote. If voting for a candidate were an endorsement of all of the flaws or evils of that candidate, then that would indeed be wrong, regardless of whatever good consequences. But voting for a candidate is NOT an endorsement of everything that candidate says or does. We should vote in such a way as to bring about the most good or least evil according to our best judgment. That’s what voting is about. Evangelical Trump voters (though I myself am not one of them) who recognize the evils of Trump are not voting to endorse evil (which would be doing evil so that good may come of it); rather, they are voting for the most good that is possible according to their best judgment. The author’s discussion about not doing evil for the sake of good is fair — it just doesn’t apply to voting.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Paul, I fail to see the distinction, though I appreciate your comment. If someone is evil, voting for them is indeed an endorsement of them, even if it’s philosophically an “overlooking” of their evil — which is the kind of pragmatism this post is about. For myself, I cannot so easily slice between casting a vote for a person and supporting a person. In the end, it is not an idea itself we are voting for but an actual leader.

      1. Paul Stark says:

        I would just say that intent matters in ethics. Voting for Trump BECAUSE he mistreats women is wrong. Voting for Hillary BECAUSE she promotes abortion is wrong. But voting for Trump/Hillary because that option will bring about more good, all things considered, than the alternative is not wrong. It is voting for the sake of good, not evil. Of course, the character and other qualities of the candidates should factor into any judgment about what best option is.

        1. Jared C. Wilson says:

          Paul, I think I see what you’re saying. But this plays right into the issue I’m addressing. I acknowledge that people may vote for a morally repugnant person with a sincere motive. This is the whole point of my post — addressing the legitimacy (and biblical wisdom) of the ends justifying the means. (I’m also questioning whether those “ends” are even likely.)

          1. Paul Stark says:

            The “ends don’t justify the means” concern only applies if there’s something problematic about the means. That is precisely what I deny. I think that that idea, to repeat myself, involves a mistaken view of what we are doing when we cast a vote: the view that we are endorsing the evil aspects of the candidate by casting the vote. I think that’s simply false.

            If one were to go out and lie about Trump for the sake of trying to get him elected, that would be a perfect example of doing evil so that good (allegedly) may come of it — the ends would not justify the means. But voting for Trump is not a wrong means — though it must be done not to endorse his evil or to bring about evil effects (bad ends), but to bring about more good all things considered than would otherwise be brought about (good ends). Of course, one’s judgment about whether he really is the best option (the ends) may be mistaken.

          2. Jared C. Wilson says:

            The “ends don’t justify the means” concern only applies if there’s something problematic about the means. That is precisely what I deny.

            Noted.

            If one were to go out and lie about Trump for the sake of trying to get him elected, that would be a perfect example of doing evil

            I agree. From my perspective, dismissing, overlooking, justifying, or otherwise spinning his long track record of infidelity, greed, and predatory behavior is a form of lying about it and thus him. I’m sure that’s (at least one point) where we disagree.

          3. Paul Stark says:

            “From my perspective, dismissing, overlooking, justifying, or otherwise spinning his long track record of infidelity, greed, and predatory behavior is a form of lying about it and thus him. I’m sure that’s (at least one point) where we disagree.”

            No, I completely agree with you about that. No one should pretend like Trump is better than he is, even if they make the understandable and defensible judgment that he is the best option. For the record, though, I’m voting for Evan McMullin.

          4. Jared C. Wilson says:

            Paul, I probably am too, though not certain about it yet.

  21. Thomas Hawkins says:

    A few points to ponder: 1. If we can’t vote for someone who is evil, then we can’t vote. Have we forgotten doctrine 101–total depravity? “There is none good (righteous), no not one” Romans 3:10, or “Why do you call me good, there is only one good–God alone.” Luke 18:19 I could go on and on with verses.
    If you are saying we can only vote for those who show definitive marks of regeneration, then good luck ever voting again in your lifetime for POTUS!!
    2. Christians are called to be salt and light, and one of the ways to do that is to make our voices heard. Obviously we should call Trump out whenever he denigrates someone else (in this case women), but not voting in an election is basically the same as being silent and letting the secular pagan culture around us pick the next President. This is a patently UNBIBLICAL position.
    3. If we evangelical Christians could all agree to a Godly, capable, well-qualified write-in candidate that would definitely make a statement. That would be cool and I’d love to do it. But good luck trying to unify a bunch a Christians in this country to do that, it ain’t going to happen.
    4. As others have been appropriately pointing out, either Hilary or Trump are going to be the next President. Christians should vote for the one who articulates policies that best align with a Biblical worldview; and anyone with a modicum of brains and Biblical knowledge can discern that Trump’s stated policy positions (his platform), is considerably more Biblical than Hillary’s. This one doesn’t require much thought folks, so Trump is the only choice in this election. It is sad, but true.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      If you are saying we can only vote for those who show definitive marks of regeneration

      No, I’m not saying this. I am saying that moral qualification matters, that character matters, integrity matters, one’s treatment of others matters. Surely you think so too, if you won’t vote for Clinton. Right? B/c if those things don’t matter, you could vote for her too.

      not voting in an election is basically the same as being silent and letting the secular pagan culture around us pick the next President. This is a patently UNBIBLICAL position.

      You use words like “patently” and “obviously” as if you know what they mean. I would like you to show me the Bible verse that says voting in a presidential election is mandated by God.

      If we evangelical Christians could all agree to a Godly, capable, well-qualified write-in candidate that would definitely make a statement. That would be cool and I’d love to do it. But good luck trying to unify a bunch a Christians in this country to do that, it ain’t going to happen.

      You are right. Some Christians are committed to voting for morally repugnant and unqualified people so long as there is a little “R” listed by their name. So it will never happen.

      anyone with a modicum of brains and Biblical knowledge can discern that Trump’s stated policy positions (his platform), is considerably more Biblical than Hillary’s

      Well, setting aside my obviously intellectual deficiencies for the moment, your faith in Trump’s policy positions is much greater than mine. His policies are very unclear and his character is very untrustworthy. I won’t offer my opinion on the amount of brains or biblical discernment it takes to see that, but I can see it, even though I’m dumb and don’t know my Bible (apparently).

  22. David Hughes says:

    It seems that now after two hundred plus years of our country being here it suddenly becomes a sin to vote.

    I’ve always thought that while picking a president you were picking someone to run a secular country that you lived in as a Christian (temporarily of course before we are called to be with God) now everyone you included is saying that the act of voting is picking what flavor of sin you like.

    Can you give me some references from Pink, Sproul, Luther, anyone like that who says to not vote? Or not to obey the rules, laws, and not participate in a society that you live in?

    This is just so foreign to me I want to grow in the Lord but I need help. I have so many questions please indulge me and help me by answering the following?

    So we’re not supposed to vote in any election?

    Are you judging these non-christians as Christians?

    Are you judging these people?

    Are you saying that anyone in America or in American history is or was not evil?

    Are you saying that it’s more holy to set and allow legal abortion to continue then it is to Simply vote in a way that could possibly end it?
    Are we not called to participate?
    ( obviously we’re not of this world but we are in it)

    Are you saying that give Caesar his taxes but don’t follow his laws and rules.

    Are you saying don’t take advantage of the rights that are god-given!

    Are you saying that the rights that we have are not God given so therefore we’re not supposed to use them?

    If we see someone being raped are we not supposed to intervene?

    Are we not to try our best to help others?

    Are we not to be a light for others?

    By not participating and allowing things to continue the way that they are is condoning it. so how is that christ-like?

    How is that a light for people to follow?

    We all know that God is Sovereign and we all know that no matter what we do his will will be done. With that being said why do we preach? why do we pray? why do we work? why do we pay taxes! (The answer is the same as why we vote)

    are you saying that paying taxes to the government that uses them war or for abortion is less evil then voting?

    And how is the act of voting evil?

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      it suddenly becomes a sin to vote.

      I didn’t say this.

      now everyone you included is saying that the act of voting is picking what flavor of sin you like.

      Didn’t say this either.

      So we’re not supposed to vote in any election?

      Didn’t say this.

      Are you judging these non-christians as Christians?

      Nope. Actually addressed this.

      Are you saying that it’s more holy to set and allow legal abortion to continue then it is to Simply vote in a way that could possibly end it?

      Nope.

      Are you saying that give Caesar his taxes but don’t follow his laws and rules.

      Nope. (Unless those rules/laws violate the commands of God, but it’s not a rule or law that we must vote anyway.)

      Are you saying don’t take advantage of the rights that are god-given!

      Didn’t really speak to this, but Paul does in his epistles. He was willing to forego his rights if it furthered the cause of the gospel.

      If we see someone being raped are we not supposed to intervene?

      Um, yes. (I’d suggest one mode of intervention is not voting for sexual predators, incidentally.)

      By not participating and allowing things to continue the way that they are is condoning it. so how is that christ-like?

      I actually think that by participating in the corrupt and rigged system as it is, I might be condoning it and allowing it to continue. For instance, if I were to vote for Trump, I believe I’d be allowing the moral hypocrisy and political idolatry of evangelicalism to continue.

      are you saying that paying taxes to the government that uses them war or for abortion is less evil then voting?

      I didn’t say voting was evil.

      And how is the act of voting evil?

      This I didn’t say.

  23. Jeff Swales says:

    One has to wonder what would happen if we as God’s people united and all wrote in Paul Ryan? If nothing else, it would send a clear cut message for 2020….

  24. Mary Chapman says:

    I haven’t read all your comments. You seem to be advocating not voting at all. Please reconsider this stance, if so. There is at least one candidate who is a Christian and seems, from everything I see, to actually bear that fruit. Darrell Castle of the Constitution Party. There may be others, but this man has my vote. I believe that if everyone will take a stand against the evil of the Trump and Clinton candidacies, we could turn the the tide. At the very least, we can send a strong example that we are tired of politics as usual. I believe the more votes we can garner for actual Godly candidates, sends a MUCH stronger message than staying home. Also, as you pointed out, aptly so, God uses the weak far more often than the strong, and He can turn these “weak” votes into a strong standing.

  25. Darrin Waddle says:

    Jared’s depiction of moral equivalence between the candidates is breathtaking! His use of the word, “dogwhistle” in a response in the comments section indicates his media manipulation, at best or his torpedo effort at worst.

    Is Trump perfect; no. Is he evil; Jared has judged him so.

    So let’s put this upcoming choice into sharper perspective. And it is a choice for all Christians to think deeply about. Not react to the latest 15sec news update.

    23 April 2015, Hillary Clinton –

    “…Yes, we’ve cut the mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health care and safe childbirth.

    All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

    The above says two things; 1. MORE babies will be cut up and their body parts used in experimentation. 2. She is coming after Christians and their deep seated beliefs. Her words, “…have to be changed.” “…with resources and political will…”

    Do we as Christians believe that “political will” will stop at killing babies? Jared seems very comfortable in his thoughts. Good for him. His righteous blindness makes me fear for the Western Church.

    Please DON’T listen to him; hold your nose and use your vote. The choice is not as gray as it has been made out to be.

    1. Jared C. Wilson says:

      Hey, Darrin, I’m right here; you don’t have to address me in the third person.

      It’s interesting you use the phrases “righteous blindness” and “choice is not gray,” since my view on this matter appears to be much more black and white and blunt than your own. I think both Trump and Clinton are morally disqualified — I view their disqualification equally. You however deem one disqualified while overlooking the demerits of the other. Sounds like your approach to the election — judging the evil of one candidate while bypassing that of the other — has a lot of gray in it.

      1. Darrin Waddle says:

        Sorry, but I wasn’t actually speaking too you but too others that might be influenced by your thoughts, which I feel are on a bit of a pedestal. or put another way; no one is playing the game you like so want to take the ball home. But the game will be played with or without your ball.

        And the game has real, very concrete consequences both near and far. And they will sting much longer than a news real.

        You seem very focused on my use of Gray vs. Black & White so I retract their use, seek your forgiveness and ask you to address the focus of my comment which stand:

        1. What is a life of a baby worth. Can you give me a scripture for that?

        2. One candidate has openly announced confrontation the Christian community. Our Community. So that this is not missed; confrontation with the backing of the full force of government.

        1. Jared C. Wilson says:

          1. What is a life of a baby worth. Can you give me a scripture for that?

          The life of a baby is of eternal worth, precious and made in the image of God as he or she is. I could cite you Scriptures, but I bet you’re already familiar with them. The life of a baby is worth so much, in fact, that I can’t in good conscience elect a committed pro-choicer or someone whose life and career fuel the abortion epidemic. The idea that Trump would ensure a conservative court that would overturn Roe v Wade is bordering on irrational to begin with, but his infidelity, sexual predation, exploitation of the poor, and investment in pornography and other sexually objectifying enterprises makes him a contributor to the circumstances giving rise to abortion. He’s also demonstrably an unstable, vindictive person. Here’s a good piece on that in relation to the SCOTUS stakes: http://reason.com/archives/2016/10/12/trump-will-torch-the-supreme-court-not-r

          And this is all apart from the reality that a conservative Supreme Court is not the only (or probably even the best) means of battling abortion. Should we make it illegal? Absolutely. But more immediately and more pertinent to Church’s kingdom aims, we should be directing more of our energy to adoption, crisis pregnancy clinics, caring for the poor, and church planting and other gospel ministry to the underprivileged and at-risk. We should erect just laws when we can, but the Church’s primary mission is making disciples. In our current situation — where a conservative court established Roe v. Wade and more conservative and more trustworthy presidents could not ensure any significant curtailment of it (and where abortion rates are actually down under Obama’s presidency) — our best bet and most biblical charge is to work toward a nation that loses appetite for killing the unborn. I would love to have abortion illegal in a nation that doesn’t want it, but given our present realities and likelihood, it seems best for the Church to work at the latter. We certainly can’t expect the conservative choice for president, who shows no regard for the at-risk, the poor, the underprivileged, the vulnerable, or women, to reliably champion this cause beyond holding it out like a carrot when he wants his evangelical sheep to fall in line.

          1. Darrin Waddle says:

            You started off good (The life of a baby is of eternal worth) then you get twisted. Who said anything about overturning Roe v Wade. We live in a Post-Christian culture and getting more “post” every day. And my 2 points had nothing to say about SCOTUS. Then you added all of this flare about Trump fueling the abortion epidemic. That is a big jump brother. you didn’t make that jump once but twice in two paragraphs.

            You support your thoughts with an article from reason.com. I like reason so I read it and was shocked to read,

            “To the extent that Trump has a vision for the GOP, it is along the lines of Europe-style workers’ parties (his term) such as France’s National Front. This is an authoritarian, nationalistic, right-wing party whose main goal is to aggressively realign the economy around the interest of domestic workers by fanning the fires of xenophobia and protectionism.”

            Now that is a BIG jump by reason with no supportive links. But I took Shikha, the author, at her words when she wrote, “his term.” After digging I found a bloomberg article in which Trump did use the words, “worker’s party”, then The Atlantic added a few more socialist tones then Shikha ends the hot-mess in “reason”, oh brother, with the creation of a Authoritarian, nationalistic, right-wing, xenophobic and protectionist conspiracy that will end in even worse Supreme Court Justices being selected. And you present this article as if it is a proof text to the readers?

            No, the reason.com article was not a good piece, it not even an honest piece. AND, I say again, my 2 points stand.

            1. MORE babies will die with Clinton because of her well know support of laws and organizations geared towards death. This is a KNOWN fact. Not speculation, guess work or trying to peer into the future. You have no idea what Trump will or will not do; you speculate because you are repulsed by him. So am I.

            2. Well, you never got to this one. Your fingers must be tired from all the talk about the Supreme Court. This point stands as well. un-answered. Clinton has verbally on video announced her intentions for the Christian Body. Her views are clear – Christianity is an antiquated relict best buried in a tomb with its G-d. And is willing to use… No, has stated it is a moral imperative to use the force of the state to make it happen.

            23 April 2015, Hillary Clinton –

            “…All the laws we’ve passed don’t count for much if they’re not enforced. Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources and political will. And deep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.”

            I have no idea what a Trump administration would look like in history and your position of not voting or writing in a candidate “might”, in the end, be the correct one. I have read the last book of the Bible so I know it ends well. But it’s not virtuous to ask Brother and Sisters to walk towards danger of a fickle future hinged on the word “might.”

            Are we, as Christians, to withhold votes to sinners (Clinton/Trump) based on expectations they can never meet because they are without Christ? We have Christ and we still sin, don’t we. We are always faced with the reality that this world lies in the power of the evil one. Ever election we select from 2 sinners and we most often choose the lesser of two evils. And pray. And pray. And pray.

          2. Jared C. Wilson says:

            Who said anything about overturning Roe v Wade.

            Nearly everyone I hear from supporting Trump. If that doesn’t include you, ok. Sorry to infer.

            If you found the Reason piece problematic in points, ok. I wish you would parse Trump’s claims as rigorously.

            MORE babies will die with Clinton because of her well know support of laws and organizations geared towards death.

            This is an interesting claim. LIke you, I oppose Clinton, primarily b/c of her abortion views. But abortion rates have actually been declining last several years and continued to decline under Obama’s presidency. Abortion should be illegal, no question. But there’s no real evidential or statistical basis on which to claim that somehow abortion rates will go up with Clinton in the White House.

            As for Clinton’s views on Christianity and religious freedom – I am not convinced, based on Trump’s exploitation of the religious right, his low credibility on constitutional rights (like free speech, for instance), and his admiration for Vladimir Putin, that he would be any better.

            I don’t see a lesser evil between these two candidates. I will choose a candidate that my conscience before God will allow, or I will abstain. If American voters want to elect either one of these immoral would-be tyrants, it will not be because I helped.

  26. Timothy M. Smith says:

    I have heard a lot of muddled thinking from pastors and theologians on this presidential race. This is a loaded question that makes false assumptions.

    First, Christians are in a win-win situation, not a lose-lose situation. Persecution usually refines and grows the church. So, if everything goes bad for the church’s political rights, praise God for His purposes to be accomplished in that.

    Second, however, we are stewards of our nation and have to make the best choices we can as good stewards. The election is not just about the character of the President (all bad options), but the platforms and ideals of the parties – one blatantly endorses evil and the destruction of most things Christian and the other is strongly influenced by biblical values. How can good stewardship involve decisions that create defacto persecution of the church?

    Jared Wilson seems to mock the importance of US Supreme Court justices. That is really bad stewardship.

    True, our hope is not and never has been in America or our American values. Nevertheless, we have a stewardship of those values that we as a church have consistently squandered.

    As my son pointed out to me just today, only Trump has sought to surround himself with people like Pence and Ben Carson and James Dobson who love and honor Jesus. We don’t see that on the other side.

    We also have to remember that everything that we see and hear about both candidates is filtered through incredibly biased news services. If we turn off the news and focus on the basics, the decisions become much easier to make.

    Anyway, I am disappointed in these types of articles. They don’t help anything and they discourage good stewardship.

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Jared C. Wilson


Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, director of The Pastoral Training Center at Liberty Baptist Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church. You can follow him on Twitter.

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