Like so many of you, I've been going back-and-forth with myself over whether or not I could actually bring myself to vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. Presidential Election in November since there's no way I could ever vote for Hillary Clinton.
In case you missed it, please read "Preach The Gospel Of Jesus Christ -- Not The 'Gospel Of Poligion' Or The 'Gospel Of The Lesser Of Two Evils'" for my last in-depth political commentary.
One article I read this morning really resonated with me and brought this topic to the forefront of my mind once more.
Excerpts: "Trump's character clashes with evangelical ethics in ways that would have killed Clinton's political career two decades ago. ... Many evangelicals have worked hard to rationalize their endorsements. ... No matter which rationale they choose, these evangelicals’ double standard is undeniable. ... All of this signals something bigger: an end to meaningful evangelical power and influence. Since the late 1970s, conservative Christian leaders have claimed their political engagement is about morality. They have claimed it is about character. They have claimed it is about values. They have claimed it is about biblical principles. Pious preachers, thunderous televangelists, and moralizing activists have sold America a bill of goods about their pure motivation for decades. But evidence indicates that evangelical political engagement is really about cultural influence, social dominance, and power. Trump-loving evangelical leaders should either apologize to Bill Clinton or admit, after all these years, that they, too, have a character issue."
As much as I hate to admit it myself, the author is right to point out that "although both Bill Clinton and Trump have a morally checkered past, only one of them has apologized for his failings."
In September of 1998, a solemn Bill Clinton asked that the country, his family, and God to forgive him, saying, "I have sinned." Evangelical leaders largely dismissed his apology and continued their calls for impeachment. By contrast, Trump says he has never asked God for forgiveness. Conservative Christians were unwilling to extend mercy to a Democrat who asked for it but have offered it freely to a Republican who doesn't want it.
My dear friends, how can we possibly reconcile our behavior toward certain politicians (and our current endorsements of Trump) in light of what Luke 6:36-37 and Matthew 18:21-22 clearly says?
Plus, it's never up to us to decide whether or not a person is *truly* repentant either. Personally, I find it quite concerning as a Christian that one candidate in particular cannot even admit that he has ever done anything wrong (a.k.a. sinful) in his entire life when we have all seen crystal clear evidence that that's simply not true at all.
What gives though? Why the obvious hypocrisy? What is it about Trump that Christians and non-Christians alike love so much?
Perhaps the answers are a little more close to home than we'd like to think...
The reality? Jesus is "the Word became flesh" (John 1:14). I'm starting to think Trump is Matthew 15:19 personified. Reality? Trump is us. We are all Romans 3:23 in the flesh. The good news is that we have a Savior who can save us from our sins (John 3:16)...but we have to actually believe the truth that we are all sinners by birth who have sinned against God (Psalm 51:5) before we can repent and receive His free gift of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and salvation (1 John 1:8; Ephesians 2:8-9). Thankfully, Christ died for the sins of all mankind -- including the hypocrisy of Christians (Romans 5).
The glorious truth?
Romans 5:1-21 (ESV) Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoiced in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person -- though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die -- but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned -- for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ died for Bill Clinton's sins.
Christ died for Donald Trump's sins.
Christ died for my sins.
Christ died for your sins.
Do we believe that? Have we repented of our sins? Do we have faith in Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection for us? Those are the questions we should be asking.
So, with all of that in mind, this post is not really an "endorsement" or a "rejection" of one presidential candidate over another (I fully recognize that everyone's free to vote however they choose to do so and for any reason that seems right to them!), but it's more a commentary/study on the BLATANT HYPOCRISY of far too many Christians that I think is right to be exposed.
Isaiah 5:20 (ESV) "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!"
Psalm 146:3 (ESV) "Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation."
At the end of the day, I don't care who you vote for if your conscience is clear about it.
This is the United States of America. That's your choice, your freedom.
However, let's at least be consistent and honest when it comes to political discourse.
Matthew 5:13-15 (ESV) You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Are we really interested in being the "salt" and the "light" for Christ in this world through our various God-given vocations, or would we rather be "political commentators" and "accomplices to sin" instead?
In a Lutheran layman's terms, and as I currently see it, the entire phenomenon that is the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election is boiled down to Jesus, Trump, and us.
NOTE: Please understand that I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or just a regular Christian, Corporate Recruiter, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. As another Christian Blogger once wrote, "Please do not see this blog as me attempting to 'publicly teach' the faith, but view it as an informal Public Journal of sorts about my own experiences and journey, and if any of my notes here help you in any way at all, then I say, 'Praise the Lord!' but please do double check them against the Word of God and with your own Pastor." To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this disclaimer/note, please understand that I'm a relatively new convert to Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little more than 3 years ago now. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and repeatedly point us back to over and over again) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Also, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier/older pieces I wrote for this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that "Old Evangelical Adam" category (and they don't have a disclaimer like this) since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). This knowledge of the Lutheran basics was completely foreign to me even though I was baptized, confirmed, and married in an LCMS church! So, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because they are not blasphemous/heretical, because I now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse footnotes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors both past and present have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained under-shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries (this disclaimer/note is a perfect example of what I mean! haha). I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a "Christian Dude's Diary" in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Feel free to comment/email me at any time. Grace and peace to you and yours!