Trump Has Won: Perhaps We Were Wrong About All That Bible Stuff

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

Christianity Today posted an article on December 19, 2016: “Is It Too Late For Russell Moore to Say Sorry?”

Dr. Russell Moore is the head of the “Ethics and Religious Liberty Council” of the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC]. The title of his organization itself suggests his problem within the Southern Baptist organization.

The Southern Baptist Convention: A Political or a Spiritual Organization?

The content of the article, as well as its gloating tone, seems to say: “Trump has won, what are you going to do now, bible boy?” The content also begs the question of whether the Southern Baptist Convention is a political or a spiritual organization. If political, then they are bound together by a political platform and a cultural mandate that owes nothing to scripture. If it is a spiritual organization, then they stand above both candidates and parties in the realization that God rules the nations and fidelity to scripture, God’s Word, is paramount. The SBC appears divided upon this issue. On the one hand there are many in the old guard who see republicanism and even Trumpism as consistent with biblical values, or at least consistent enough to warrant what looks to have been the enthusiastic support of evangelical voters. On the other hand there are many who support Dr. Moore in his assertion that evangelicals “must repudiate everything they believe“ to support Trump [9/17/15 OP-ED New York Times].

Dr. Moore, as others, stood on the principle that there is no interpretation of scripture where the person or policies of Donald Trump can be approved by bible believers. Months ago, Phil Johnson [not a Southern Baptist] of Grace To You made public an email exchange with a man regarding whether a believer should vote for and promote the candidacy of Mr. Trump. The following is one of Johnson’s comments to the man:

You are refusing to think in any category other than what’s politically expedient [emphasis added]. My concern is not about politics; it’s about righteousness in the sight of God, and our testimony as Christians in the eyes of a watching world.What I’m saying is that it’s inconsistent with our biblical duties and our Christian convictions to cast a vote for anyone, for any reason, whose character is dominated by the open practice and celebration of evil and who cheerfully boasts of his or her own wickedness. That applies to candidates from all parties [emphasis in original].When we’re confronted with two choices that are both supremely evil, we can’t cast a vote in favor of either choice. And it would be a vile, hypocritical sin to close our eyes to the wickedness of one candidate just because we oppose the politics of the other candidate. We live in an era where appalling wickedness (on the scale of Sodom and Gomorrah) is being celebrated and even promoted by government policy—at an ever-accelerating rate. It is a foolish delusion to imagine that America might be led in a better direction by a man who considers repentance unnecessary.”— Phil Johnson

Censure By Association

Unfortunately, this eloquent communication of a difficult spiritual truth is no longer on Phil’s blog. His boss, John MacArthur has come out publicly for Donald Trump and despite the incorrect and sometimes incomprehensible justification given by MacArthur for his choice, it is not a good idea to imply that your boss might possibly be taking part in a “vile, hypocritical sin.”

Despite the biblical faithfulness and clarity of both Moore and Johnson, they both have reason to believe that their views on Trump will be censured by their own organizations. There was absolutely no question as to who the President-Elect is, what he believes and what he has said that he plans to do. Likewise, there was little to no reason to believe that he shared or would enforce the SBC position on pro-life or gender issues. As I have said in another blog:

Further, we have used “Christian” arguments to justify our wicked desires to maintain structural injustices both within America and between America and it foreign neighbors. The lust of the Evangelical conservatives to justify the perpetuation of social inequalities and to acquire the markets and natural resources of weaker nations is exploited by politicians who, in the past [but no longer] provided “moral” cover to Christians by their opposition to abortion and homosexuality.”

It is likely that Christians will find it increasingly difficult to hold biblically consistent views publicly. Part of the reason will be the ecumenical amalgamation of Christian and near Christian movements that are being re-identified as the Christian center. Another factor is the activity of Christian movements themselves censuring those who are rightly dividing the Word of God in the marketplace of ideas. If you read the Christianity Today article, Moore is not being criticized because his position is unbiblical, but because it is a denunciation of the political mindset of some in his denomination. This reaction by some of the most influential Southern Baptists is evidence that Dr. Moore was correct in his warnings.

Two Principles for the Believer

For the rest of us, the moral of this story is twofold: first, God is the one who determines who will exercise power among the nations. Often he gives the people the government that we deserve.

When the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar was filled with pride and false religion God gave him a dream to humble the him and and to move him to acknowledge the true God by faith. After interpreting the vision, Daniel said these words to Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 4:17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Secondly, whether it be Dr. Moore, Phil Johnson or any of us who believe in Christ and the scriptures, we do not get to choose to tell the truth only when it does not affect those close to us, our superiors or the members of our churches and denominations. Our first commitment is to God, it is to Him we will ultimately give an account.

Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

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