Instead of coating with Christian make-up Donald Trump’s obvious lack of Christian convictions and character as Wayne Grudem did — in an article with the title that uses words that Trump is a “morally good choice” — he should have reduced his endorsement to the following sentences:
- Evangelicals need to align themselves with Republicans. (That is, Grudem is saying “I believe the Republican party is closest to Christian convictions.”) Grudem has a book called Politics that leans Tea Party as I read it.
- Hillary Clinton is a Democrat and so deficient that one cannot vote for her as an option. (That is, Grudem is saying “I cannot in any way vote for Clinton or the Democrats.”)
- Donald Trump is the Republican nomination.
- Therefore, vote Trump.
But instead of this inevitable logical process, a process I believe is behind most evangelical leaders’ endorsing of Trump and a logical process that would be in no need of public statement, Grudem went beyond this and affirmed the unaffirmable and defended the indefensible about Trump. Had he said “I’m voting for Trump because he’s the Republican” his critics would have ho-hummed him. But, instead, Grudem said this:
As a professor who has taught Christian ethics for 39 years, I think their [his friends who say vote for a third party candidate] analysis is incorrect. Now that Trump has won the GOP nomination, I think voting for Trump is a morally good choice.
He is not a morally good choice. Grudem lays out the reasons why:
He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages. These are certainly flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election.
Grudem has time and time aligned evangelicalism with the powers. This endorsement of Trump is another instance. Evangelicalism’s status in American society is at an all time low because of this alignment, and Grudem is one of the primary voices of the alignment. Evangelicalism has sold itself to the gods of this age; it is either going to die out or change course.
The best way to seek the good of our nation is to be the church in the nation, not confuse the church and the nation. Evangelical leaders would be more evangelical if they refused to endorse political candidates.
Vote for him, Grudem, just don’t pretend your years of teaching Christian ethics lead to an endorsement of the man’s character, even if you think he is a good candidate with “flaws.”
Since the years of Reagan an evangelical culture has developed that aligns itself with the Republican party, so much so that evangelical to many today means Republican. Grudem has taken this alignment to an extreme. I know of nothing in Trump that leads me to think he thinks the true king is Jesus.
I have written about “voting” and the all-too-common nervousness of many leading to an “eschatology of political action” in Kingdom Conspiracy, so don’t take this as an endorsement of Clinton.
What I care about is the dilution of the gospel and the alignment of Christians with a political party.
It is the best time ever to stand up for Jesus, regardless of who wins. No, because someone will win we need to stand up for Jesus.