I have noticed a whole bunch of Christian pastors attacking Donald Trump and telling their people not to vote for him. I believe this is wrong.
Its not because I support Donald Trump politically. I don’t. Until now, I have never, ever publicly told people who I am voting for or against. But I will break my rule just a bit now so that you do not think I have a political motive in writing this post. As a private citizen of the USA, I have not and I am not inclined in the future, to vote for Donald Trump. I am not saying you are wrong if you do. I am just trying to communicate what I am writing does not have a political agenda. It is not about power. Its about the supremacy of Christ and the gospel.
I have read many articles about why Christians should’t vote for Trump. And I generally agree with the individual criticisms that they make of his character and politics. Because of this I have been tempted to jump on the anti-Trump band wagon. But I have resisted again and again because I believe it would be wrong for me to do so as a Christian pastor who represents the kingdom of God which is a kingdom not of this world.
I can preach about arrogance, racism, the dignity of women, the need for repentance, humility, loving your enemies, not promoting violence, adultery——alI areas where Trump would provide excellent examples of what not to do. He provides wonderful sermon illustrations of how not to live.
But if I take the next step and tell my people not to vote for him, I have crossed a line and have made the kingdom of God about earthly politics. This is something Jesus fought against and I must remain faithful to my King. (See my article “Jesus and Politics” on this site. Also note that lists of sins of the other candidates could easily be provided.)
I want to make it clear that individual Christians who are not pastors can politic all they want supporting whatever candidate they feel called to support (as long as we do so in accordance to biblical morality: don’t lie, love your enemies, etc). I would just add, don’t tell people God is on your side and that others are sinning if they vote for someone else. Give arguments for and against candidates. Let the Bible guide your thinking. Great. But don’t say you know who God supports because none of us do. He alone is on his side, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty. The rest of us and all our political parties are evil.
It is my own conviction that pastors who represent the gospel should hold themselves aloof from the politics of this world. We want to be able to reach members of every political party and it is best if we don’t become the spokesman for any them lest we drive the others away from Christ. We must lead our people in prayer for whoever is the president (prime minister, king) as commanded by the Scripture and this might seem inauthentic if we had been politicking against them. We must be able to call sin, sin, even if those in power are engaging in it. This will be hard to do if we have tied our ministry to their political success.
Brother Pastors, we represent an eternal kingdom that is not part of this world that is destined to triumph. Guide your people through your biblical teaching how to view the world. But don’t sell out your high commission to feel apart of some political movement which will soon die and fade away like the grass of the field. It is my contention that Christians may vote for any of the 5 candidates remaining in the race as they seek to follow their conscience before God. It is not our job to tell them they are wrong.
All candidates fall short of the glory of God. Spiritually, we are to speak to all the sins of all the candidates (in a generic, nonpolitical way). But who actually attains to political power is not for the church to decide. The church as an organization must not become a tool for political power. That will destroy us. We represent a monarchy where Christ alone is king and we must be faithful to him alone. Our people must take the teaching they have received and make the best decision they can on who to vote for. That is not for us to decide.