Decision 2016: Jason (No) Responds to Robb’s (Yes) Questions

Question 1

Robb:  How does voting for a particular candidate unite me in any significant way with others who vote for that candidate, and if it does, why or why does this not lead to the logical conclusion that as Christians we can only vote for other Christians who are only supported by other Christians who are like-minded with us, since we are forbidden from being yoked with unbelievers in 2 Cor 6:14-15?

Jason:  It unites you in the same way that being seen walking out of a dirty video store or an abortion clinic casts aspersions on your character.  Sure, you may have just stopped in to use the bathroom or even to give them a Gospel tract but being seen among the clientele is something we are told to avoid.  It unites you in the same way throwing in with sinners for a common goal unites you with the sinners themselves.  You are in a Proverbs 1 situation here.  The alt-right is telling you “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood (let’s beat up the brown people!), Let us ambush the innocent without cause (we’ll show those dirty Jews!); Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit (send them back to the dirt holes they came from!); We will find all kinds of precious wealth (we’ll have jobs again!), We will fill our houses with spoil (we’ll make America great again!); Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse, (this is for all Americans!)” {Pro 1:11-14 NASB, with additions}  Scripture is telling you:  “My son, do not walk in the way with them.Keep your feet from their path, For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood.” {Pro 1:15-16 NASB}

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 is about blending pagan worship with the worship of God.  MacArthur writes “Nothing in the context would lead to the idea that he is referring to earthly issues.  In Paul’s analogy, believers and unbelievers are two different breeds and cannot work together in the spiritual realm. 1  So, I don’t believe 2 Corinthians speaks to either of our viewpoints since it doesn’t speak to human endeavors.

Question 2

Robb: When we face a choice of two unbelievers in an election, how would you respond to the argument that 1 Cor 5:9-11 implies that we should assume they are immoral and worldly and therefore not judge their character but instead focus on the policies they would implement and how faithful they would be to the mandates to rulers in Romans 13:1-6?

Jason:  I would say that simply because we are not to judge them doesn’t mean we ought to join them, support them, and as ambassadors for the King lend the credibility of the Gospel we represent to them.  Don’t judge them, sure, that’s up to God to determine if they are righteous or wicked, in Him or not in Him.  But the Bible CLEARLY gives us commands on how to deal and interact with the world.  We should not throw in our lot with sinners, we should expose works of darkness as opposed to participating in them, we should not have friendship with the world, we should not conform to the world, and we should remember we are aliens and strangers here and citizens in the household of God.  You are asking us to join Trump’s markedly secular campaign, participate in excusing his uncouth debauchery, join in friendship with deplorable people, conform to the worldly goal of winning temporary power and achieving a victory to save a secular culture and nation; all because you believe we ought to hold in too high a regard the place of our residence and our citizenship in this wayward nation.  While you may appeal to a (questionably) better outcome than that which would be brought by Hillary, you ask us to abandon principle after principle to achieve this end.  This, for Christians, ought to be unthinkable!  If we act in your pragmatism, what have we become?  What do our actions say about the transforming power of the Gospel if we’re willing to act like the world to achieve what amounts to a small and ultimately meaningless victory?

Question 3

Robb: While you have made clear what a Christian should not do (vote for Trump or Clinton), you have never explained what positive steps a Christian should take in the voting booth for president this year. So, what should a Christian do in this election, and for whom should Christians vote?

Jason:  A Christian should pray.  A Christian should remain faithful.  A Christian should find a local church and find a way to use their spiritual gifts and benefit from the spiritual giftedness of others.  A Christian should dive into God’s word and understand it more.  A Christian should declare God’s righteousness and mercy to the lost and wicked.  A Christian should not compromise nor change what God calls us to be.  In other words, simply because our rulers are going through a change shouldn’t change how we act.  This, precisely, has been my point.  We ought not change who we are nor how we act just because we hope something might happen in the world in which we live.  Specifically to the election, I do think it useful for a believer to develop a theology of politics.  Too often in this election I have heard of how we can permit ourselves to do things and associate ourselves with people we would otherwise find unacceptable because “it’s just politics”.  I fail to grasp such logic and fail to see why God’s all sufficient Word does not give us principles on HOW we are to act as well as WHAT we hope or wish to be our policy.

As for voting, I have no answer for you.  It’s a tough year and there isn’t an easy answer.  I haven’t yet decided on how I’ll vote.  As we both agree, Hillary Clinton is not an option for any believer.  I obviously do not believe Trump to be an option.  Nor am I impressed by Gary Johnson.  I may cast my vote for Darrell Castle or Evan McMullin.  I’d also like to suggest that not voting is certainly an option for the believer.  One of the more frustrating ideas in this election season has been that we are somehow obligated in Scripture to cast a vote.  Quite simply, there is no Scripture that requires us to do so and no reason why we should glean such a thing from Scripture.  Spurgeon may not have actually said it, but I will: “When choosing between two evils, choose neither.”  Not voting is not only acceptable, it is sometimes preferable.  This may be one of those cases for some Christians.

I do plan to vote down ballot in this election.  I’m blessed to have a state representative that is a godly man and deserves my support.  Pat Toomey may yet convince me to support him, and there are a number of local offices for which I feel comfortable casting a vote for a particular individual.  My message to Christians, even those who see it as you do, Robb, is to vote your conscience and to not allow anything but Holy Scripture dull or inform it.

Notes:

  1. John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Corinthians (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2003), 246.
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