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

Question 1

Jason

You said in your opening argument:  “if you do not vote for Donald Trump for president and you historically vote for conservatives, you are aiding and abetting Hillary Clinton’s quest for the presidency.”  Is my vote OWNED by a party, candidate, or movement – something they have a right to count on and I am obligated to provide – or is my vote something to be EARNED by a party, candidate, or movement; and by what criteria do we establish how one either possess a vote or earns a vote?

Robb

While this question is a non-sequitir as it relates to the statement in my opening argument, the answer is a resounding no, your vote is not owned by anyone besides you. The basis of liberty itself demands that you are free to cast your vote for whichever candidate you desire to govern.

Whether your vote needs to be earned requires a bit more discussion. Your vote does not need to be earned in the sense that if no one earns it, you refuse to cast it. By being a citizen of a Republic, you have an obligation to participate in the election process for the good of your neighbor and the glory of God. Therefore, except in the rarest of cases when two (or more) candidates were equally horrendous in character and policy, a Christian ought to participate in the democratic process.

If we understand that our vote is not ours to keep to ourselves except in the rarest cases (the 2016 election is not such a case as the candidates are not equally horrendous in character or policy; Trump is better on both counts, even if he is far from our ideal candidate), then we can say that our vote needs to be earned in the sense that one party would need to gain it over against the other party running for office (assuming a two-party system, as we have in America) through superior policy. You are obligated to vote as a Christian citizen who is commanded to consider your neighbor’s interests (including your unborn neighbor). In our two-party system, the question is not whether either of the two parties has earned your vote, but which party has earned your vote because whether you vote or not, you will be helping one of the two major parties win the election.

Question 2

Jason

In your response, you cited a number of occasions when God Himself excused violations of His own law in particular situations.  Specifically, you cited Luke 6:9 and Jesus’ teaching about the Sabbath laws and Matthew 12:3-4 where Jesus again teaches on the Sabbath specifically citing David eating the showbread.  As it relates to your application on political compromise and maneuvering in order to end abortion: where are we believers permitted to act as God and determine which situations in which we are excused from His commands; and why, according to your logic, does attempting to affect a political outcome to end abortion overcome other equally important biblical commands?

Robb

This question has two inherent assumptions that I reject: (1) that we act as God when we exercise biblical wisdom to determine moral priorities in difficult situations, and (2) that the commands that would prohibit you from voting for Trump are equally important to the commands to rescue the needy, to save life, to care for the orphans, to show mercy and compassion, etc.

As believers we are not only permitted but commanded to determine situations in which we are excused from God’s commands. In Matthew 9:13, Jesus told the self-righteous Pharisees, “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Why did Jesus make this statement? Because a few verses earlier the Pharisees had condemned Him for eating with “tax collectors and sinners,” the people who were the worst of the worst, who made Trump look like a boy scout. Apart from the Apostle Matthew, there is absolutely no indication that the crowd with which Jesus associated in this passage repented. Furthermore, Jesus seemed to transgress biblical principle by spending time with these miserable wretches who most likely were unclean. Jesus, however, asserted that He was in the right for violating the principle of holiness that says association with sinners makes a person unholy because a greater principle was at stake: compassion. The Pharisees needed to learn a valuable lesson: God’s real desire for holiness was compassion, not sacrifice.

It’s vital we don’t underestimate the value and importance of sacrifice in God’s Law. Sacrifice was not optional. Sacrifice was not merely suggested. Sacrifice was commanded. It was a, perhaps even the, cornerstone of the entire Mosaic system. And yet here Jesus quotes the OT and says that God’s desire is not sacrifice, something clearly commanded in His Law, but compassion.

You refuse to associate with sinners like Donald Trump at the ballot box because you want to maintain some ambiguous and self-defined standard of holiness not clearly prescribed in Scripture that is more akin to ritual purity than genuine holiness. God desires compassion, not sacrifice. Ritual purity is never as important as showing compassion, and if there is one group of people most in need of Christian compassion, it is the unborn children whom Hillary’s regime will slaughter.

Question 3

Jason

You assert “our credibility does not stem from ourselves but from the Word of God” and “The credibility of my message does not come from me but from the one who was sinless, the one who died and rose again, the one who gave us the gospel.”  You also warn “Anyone who is worried she might lose credibility by voting for Trump needs to understand that she will also lose credibility in the eyes of many Christians by not voting for Trump.”  If God’s Word is the source of our credibility, why is what it says about hypocrisy pushed aside by Trump supporters yet they retain their credibility because of their actions but we #NeverTrump Christians must act (as we see it) as hypocrites in order to gain credibility in the eyes of Trump supporters?  In short: why is (as we see it) hypocrisy the new standard for credibility among Christians?

Robb

In short: It’s not. I’ll try to break this down because there are a couple questions embedded here.

First, Trump supporters such as myself are not pushing aside what the Bible says about hypocrisy. I am neither acting contrary to what I say I believe, as I have argued in my first two articles here and here, nor do I look down on my brothers and sisters who refuse to vote for Trump. While I certainly disagree with their decision, I do not think they are less important or lesser Christians because of their error. I admittedly have many of my own weaknesses, sins, and errors, and I hope my fellow Christians can show me grace rather than condescension because of my remaining sins and weaknesses. I believe you and I both agree that one can disagree with a person without being condescending to that person. While I understand you think I am acting contrary to what I say I believe, I see my actions as consistent with my understanding of Scripture and my belief system. I would only be hypocritical if I said I believed one thing and intentionally or knowingly acted in a contrary way. If I did so unwittingly, I would be inconsistent, but not hypocritical. In this case, I think I am neither inconsistent nor hypocritical.

The second aspect of your question asks why Trump opponents must be hypocrites to maintain credibility in the eyes of Trump supporters. As far as I know, those who oppose voting for Trump are the ones arguing the issue of credibility. I have not seen any Trump supporters argue this way except me as a way of demonstrating the logical failure of this argument. As people who claim to be standing on principle, losing credibility in anyone’s eyes should be irrelevant. Ironically, it seems to be one the central planks of your argument. I am not asking Trump opponents to be hypocrites. I am trying to persuade them to see their biblical inconsistency and flawed understanding of holiness in this situation.

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2 Comments

  1. I would say that God absolutely desires sacrifice. What God doesn’t want is “merely outward sacrifice,” which is clear in Scripture.

    So to imply God contradicts himself in regard to sacrifices in the quoted passages is a mistake, in my opinion. I do not think that was an example of situational ethics to be made a pattern for the Christian walk.

    Just my thought in that.

  2. Michael, I can see how it reads that way going back and looking it over. My intention was not to say that God does not desire sacrifice at all, but that He does not desire it more than He desires compassion. Perhaps a good parallel is Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees for dedicating things to God while leaving their parents in need. God would rather us provide for our parents than offer a sacrifice, if those were our only two options in a situation. I’m reminded of Luther’s comment: “God doesn’t need your good works; your neighbor does.” That’s the essence of it.

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