Jesus is not a republican or a democrat

Jesus is not a republican or a democrat August 26, 2020

For the sake of the global cause of Christ may I just appeal to my US Evangelical brothers and sisters, PLEASE do not claim that Christians can only follow one political tribe. I shouldn’t have to say this. And I do not want to get too involved in the US election. After all the last thing you need is more foreign interference.  But a video from MacArthur which I have embedded below alongside other social media comments from elsewhere have concerned me.

Following my recent rant urging Christians to stop lying about Covid19, I do have another rant brewing on racism. Consider this post you are reading a little mini after shock in between the two big eruptions. Something of the old blogger is stirring in me.  I was once given the nickname “Warnie” which to me sounds a bit like Arnie and perhaps I could say in a parody of the Terminator:

Warnie is back!

What concerns me today is just how divided USA political opinion seems to be. And yet how firm most US Evangelicals are in their support of Trump, who does not champion the values of Jesus.

It seems that a cultural war is in full swing in the USA at the moment. And with comments from Trump undermining trust in the upcoming election, I sometimes worry, could some more extreme form of civil unrest possibly erupt in November?

On almost every social and policy issue a hard line has been drawn in the sand. On one side of that line is The Republican Party, Donald Trump, and if social media is to be believed almost 100% of White Evangelical Christians.  On the other side of the line is the Democrats, and if social media is to be believed every Black person whether they are Christian or not.  And all too often there is a reflex adoption of the “correct” view of your particular group without really exploring the reasoning behind a different perspective.

I get that abortion is a key issue for many Christians. But shouldn’t justice be important too?

Shouldn’t caring for the poor?  After all Jesus preached a gospel of Social Justice. Wouldn’t one way to prevent abortion be to make it easier for women to become single mothers and feel they would get the financial and social support they needed to raise their kids?

Here in the UK Christians do not tend to vote solely on a single issue as many do in the USA.

British Christians do tend to understand that there is a balance to be struck between facilitating individual responsibility and making sure that there is a good safety net to help those who stumble and fall. And, unlike in the USA, the political parties that tend too actually win British elections often do so partly because they have commandeered some of the best ideas from their political opponents. Politicians here like to position themselves as more in the middle rather than at one extreme or the other. I remember listening to Clinton in the 2016 presidential debate and thinking it is hard to imagine how she could have done more to alienate right wing evangelicals.

I think there is another reason why UK Christians do not tend quite as much to be single issue voters. This is because even the most pro-life person here knows that whoever they vote for abortion will continue.   But isn’t that true in the USA too?

Source: flickr.com / gageskidmore

Has Trump actually prevented any abortions?  Would any more happen if Biden was in the White House?

If we are keen to save lives before they are born, what about after they are born? Health care provision for poor children saves lives. Improving racial harmony and ensuring that police are no longer at liberty to shoot black men in the back or choke them to death also saves lives. Handling COVID in a scientifically informed way, such as wearing masks, will also save lives.

Why do some evangelicals give the impression that they only care about lives in the womb not outside?

Part of the reason why the USA has failed so badly in handling COVID19 is because of your healthcare system. Why would it be considered un Christian by many to advocate for the kind of changes the Democrats are suggesting to ensure full and fair coverage is available for all? Why would it be so wrong to go further still and produce a proper national health service which could help to co-ordinate pandemic response, and organise the large randomised controlled clinical trials that are so desperately needed at the moment but have happened in the UK but not in the USA.

Imagine my horror then in this context to see the following clip from John MacArthur. In it he makes clear that he believes that it is impossible to vote for Democrats and be a Christian.  Yet there are many black Christians who plan to do just that. Does that make them unbelievers? Does that make them hostile to the cause of Christ?

MacArthur says in the following clip based on a conversation he was reporting he had with President Trump:

“. . .from certainly a biblical standpoint Christians could not vote democratic because there’s no way that a Christian can affirm the slaughter of babies . . .  these things aren’t even political for us . . . these things are biblical . . . any real true believer is going to be on your side in this election because it’s not just an individual it’s an entire set of policies that Christians cannot in any way affirm . . . the democratic platform . . . is an all-out massive comprehensive assault on god and on what god has placed in the world to protect people to allow for civilization to flourish . . .no thinking person no person who wanted any kind of life  for anyone in the future could possibly affirm that kind of behavior”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3xDGSINo2E&feature=youtu.be&t=73
I am grateful  to Eric Schumacher for sharing this video and boldly pointing out that this is another example of MacArthur adding to the gospel. Christians should denounce such attempts to bind their conscience and force them to vote for one party or be declared apostate. We must not add extra conditions for salvation other than what the Bible tells us.

We are saved by faith alone, working itself out in our lives in obedience to Christ NOT by also being a Republican voter.

MacArthur claims every Christian must vote Trump

 

I am also concerned about the Islamophobia in this clip. The claim is falsely made that Biden plans to fill his cabinet with Muslims. When the truth is, he simply wants to stop discriminating against Muslims, allowing some to immigrate, and yes to allow some to serve in his administration.

Christians are no longer the dominant force they once were in the USA. They would be wise to advocate for real religious freedom. There are concerns about Christians being discriminated against in some settings. If we want to maintain our own freedoms it is in our own interest to support the freedom of others. Would MacAthur welcome practising Christians being excluded from government? We are unlikely to see the formation of a theocracy in the USA any time soon where being a Christian becomes a test for who can govern and Christian values are imposed by law.  If anything the opposite, which I call atheocracy is far more likely.  This is where the aggressive secularists cancel and exclude from any public positions anyone who upholds any form of religious thought, often in such circumstances Christians are the first in the firing line.

So lets please remember voting is important.  It is a sacred duty. It is a Christian duty.  But it is a duty that should be left free to the individual conscience. And Christians should humbly admit that many good people who are also believers have very different political views to them, and that is OK! 

 

Jesus wants us to follow him, not Donald Trump

 

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