I would not counsel anyone to vote against their conscience (Rom. 14:22-23). The only thing I encourage all of us to do now, and until we're glorified, is that we try as best we can, in the Spirit of God, to ensure our conscience is informed by the Word of God (Ps. 119:11). After all, consciences can be led astray (1 Tim. 4:2).
Regardless of who you vote for this election cycle (and who gets elected), both options (Trump or Hilary) are a judgment from God (Prv. 16:4; cf. 1 Sam. 8:7-8, 9-18).
There is no political win in this election cycle. Whether Trump or Hilary wins I will not be rejoicing. Certainly I'll breathe a slight (very, very slight) breath of relief if murderous, treacherous, socialist Hilary will not be the "leader" of our nation. But I certainly won't be rejoicing if the womanizing, adulterous, vulgar, prideful, self-righteous, unrepentant Trump is elected. Nor will I rejoice when...excuse me...if...he appoints a constitutional supreme court justice, and/or when (or if) that person gets confirmed.
The only win in this election cycle, and the only situation in which I'll rejoice, is if the body of Christ in the United States wakes up and realizes we cannot be Christians simply in our church life. The Lordship of Christ is meant to bring about change in every aspect of our lives - including our social, civil, and political lives.
This means you too, pastors!*
That Christ has been raised from the dead and is sitting at the right hand of the Father absolutely has immediate and tremendous value as it relates to our current relationship with Him, our eternal future with Him, our desire for sinning against Him lessening in this world as we grow in our sanctification, our peace in the eternal security Christ has secured for us, and many more wonderful, gracious things regarding our spiritual lives.
That Christ is now at the right hand of the Father and reigning as Lord (Mt. 28:18; 1 Cor. 15:20, 25;Heb. 10:12-13) also has immediate and tremendous implications in how we view and walk about in every other area of life as well (1 Cor. 10:31). How we view education, and how we educate our children is affected by the Lordship of Christ (Deut. 6:7, 4-9; Eph. 6:4). How we make our money and what we do with it after that is affected by the Lordship of Christ (Prv. 11:18, 19:17; Eph. 4:28; 2 Cor. 9:6, 7). And believe it or not, how we vote and what we do with our time involved in political endeavors is affected by the Lordship of Christ (Prv. 14:35, 16:13-15, 20:26, 24:21, 29:2, 4; Ps. 2:10-12).
I'm not surprised that the body of Christ is divided in this election cycle. Though they disagree, and all sides will cling to Scripture as their authority, people see the situation differently and so see Scripture applying differently. While sometimes the arguments are done in a manner that I think is unbefitting to the Christian character, thankfully often the arguments are done in Christian love. The Spirit still is at work in the body and is very active in our sanctification. Thank God for those who have come thus far in their sanctification that they can argue in love!
But what I am surprised at is the sudden and matter-of-fact posts by pastors and other influential Christian leaders on what to do in this election cycle. Why in the world does it take this much judgment on our nation to the point that we have these two very evil potential outcomes (regardless of how one votes or doesn't vote) to get you to finally speak on political matters? Why in the world have you taken so long and have decided just now to enter the arena?
There is a prominent pastor that I know from a distance (he's not my pastor; I've never met him in person; but I've read some of his books and have communicated with him through email once or twice). I love, admire, and respect him as a godly man and a terrific author.
But he, and so many others, have recently come out publicly lamenting that anyone who bears the name of Christ would ever vote for Trump—calling those who are, to repent from their evil ways. (No mention is made of Hilary). Regardless of who puts forth with the lesser-of-two evils approach and which candidate they land on, he doesn't interact with the arguments for that approach, but simply dismisses that argument post haste and calls those voting for Trump (again, no mention of Hilary) to repentance.
Again, he's not the only one. Several pastors have done similar things.
Why #Pastor have you taken so long to enter the political arena?—@adamtcalvert
So be it. Perhaps those voting on the lesser of two evils approach need to repent. Though I'm sure they would like to be shown from Scripture why their understanding of how it applies in this situation is wrong.
But I would say he and other like-minded pastors need to do some serious self-reflection on their own lives as well.
Yes, pastors, you who are just now entering this arena with no other basis than your own moral feelings, I'm calling you to repent—not because of who you are or aren't voting for in this election, but for your inaction in proclaiming Christ's Lordship in all areas of life throughout the entire year, every year, in your pastorate.
The pastor I referred to earlier said specifically that he purposely tries not to speak on political matters in his pastorate. He even said that in the eight years of Obama's terms, he's only mentioned Obama twice (once positively and once negatively).
Excuse me, pastors, but how in the world are you discipling your flock in the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:26, 27) if you can let eight years, eight years!, go by with one of the worst, if not the worst, political leader our nation has seen since its inception and only mention him twice and speak out against him once?
That is not in following the example of John the Baptist (Mt. 14:3, 4), our Lord Jesus Christ (Lk. 13:31,32; Jn. 19:11), the prophets of old, like Elijah (1 Kgs. 18:17, 18), Micaiah (1 Kgs. 22:13-28), Jeremiah (Jer. 22:1-5, 24-30), and Daniel (Dan. 4:27, 5:17, 23), or of the example and the commands of the apostles to continually be exposing the deeds of darkness with the light of the gospel of Christ (Eph. 5:11-14; cf.Acts 24:24, 25).
That's right: the gospel speaks to all areas of life and to all classes of people. From our most mundane daily routine to our most sacred ceremony; from the poorest among us to the most prominent name in the world - the Lordship of Christ must have its bearing in all these situations.
And when you refuse to preach the whole counsel of God in your churches, you're hurting the very body of Christ of which you are an overseer.
We all lament that we're in this situation. And yet it's so easy to say "America isn't a Christian nation anymore, and that's why we're in this predicament." Yet why is it that America is no longer a Christian nation?
Pastors, I'm certainly not going to put all the blame on you (we all have our own responsibilities), but I certainly believe it's about time you own up to your part of it.
You are not shepherding your sheep in the whole counsel of God if you can let eight years go by and not speak out against a wicked ruler except once or twice.
You are not shepherding your sheep in the whole counsel of God if you not once speak on the importance of Christian discipleship (read, education) over against sending children off to government-owned, government-run, and government mandated statist, secular, anti-Christian schools.
You are not shepherding your sheep in the whole counsel of God if you can go years on end and not once speak out emphatically against the evils of a government-organized theft (read, unnecessary tax) in order to provide for the "welfare" (read, slavery) of our neighbors.
My dear pastors, you are not doing your jobs! And you need to own up to your part in God's judgment on our nation.
I've written in the past that the repentance of a nation starts at home. And I absolutely believe that. But it's certainly the pastor's job to help spur that along, as a minister of God's Word to Christ's body.
What would our society look like if you didn't end your preaching of God's counsel to the fact that Christ has provided eternal satisfaction for the sins of those who trust Him, and our obligation to live a progressively holier life in light of that?
What would our society look like if, in addition to the former, you actually, regularly also preached against the evils of wicked rulers, the welfare state that is our nation, the statist government education system, the wicked, illusory monetary system our government sustains and perpetuates, the evils of easy-divorce, adultery on all levels, fornication, homosexuality, and—help us God, the murdering of 3,000 innocent lives a day!
What would society look like if, instead of this seemingly (and I do say, seemingly) self-righteous hate-speech against your brothers on the front lines trying to keep our nation from coming into God's judgment in all these areas, you joined in the effort and spoke out against these things from the pulpit regularly?
You are the ones who have an audience every week to address these things and how Christ's Lordship comes to bear on them, and YOU are the ones defecting from that obligation!
And yet you now call on those who are voting for a wicked ruler (because they see the situation as having Biblical grounds for doing so, which they've laid out and defended) to repent of their sin?
Pastors, you have some repenting to do yourself. Because, like it or not, part of the reason we're in this situation is because you've given up preaching on these things for the past 100 or so years. You're the one's who have defected, and yet you're calling your sheep, who are trying their best to fend off the wolves, to repent.
I'm not going to accuse you of being guilty of this, but can I at least suggest that perhaps one reason (whether you consciously think of it or not) that you're not speaking out against these things is because you yourself are in the government's pocket?
You don't think you are? Just look at your tax return and compare it to one of your parishioners who doesn't get all the tax breaks and deductions that you get because you're a "clergy member." Again, I'm not accusing you of doing this with intentionality. But behind the scenes, it could very well be that one of the reasons you're not doing your job is because you're being paid for your silence.
Vote how you will and counsel others how you will. But don't think that you're doing your sheep a service if you stand on the sidelines for years on end and then enter the playing field when you finally realize the referee has lost control of the game. The players at this point know a lot more of what's going on than you do, my friend.
Judgment is on our nation. I'm voting for Trump as the lesser of two evils for reasons outlined in my previous post. But I abhor him and Hilary. And regardless of who wins, our nation loses.
The only win here is if the church, the body of Christ, the light to the world, wakes up and starts to be that light again, in all areas of life - including in the social, civil, and political sphere.
And while that kind of repentance starts at home, pastors, you better believe that you have a job to do - even if they take away your tax breaks for doing it!
May God grant us all the repentance we need in order to serve Him rightly. The world is watching "Christian" America.
"O my God, incline your ear and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations, and the city that is called by your name. For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive. O Lord, pay attention and act. Delay not, for your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people are called by your name." — Daniel 9:18-19
*NOTE: I'm addressing the pastors who share in the example I'm giving—and there are many of them. I am not directing this at one particular pastor; and I'm certainly not directing it to all pastors. For I know there are many of you who truly preach the "whole counsel of God."