By John W. L. Berry
Aug 2, 2016
Noted theologian Wayne Grudem posted a long and widely circulated article in support of Donald Trump in which he downplayed Trump’s sin and said:
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.
Dr. Grudem calls Trump’s affairs and immorality "flaws" and insist they do not, speaking as a Christian, disqualify him from being president. He completely ignores many other issues which speak to Trump's moral character. Trump owning strip clubs that advertise fully nude women "barely 18 years old" who give “lap dances,” his boasting about having sex with numerous models and celebrities, his demeaning of women in general, his foul talk in many interviews, his horrific plan to kill the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, and children of terrorists, his materialism, his assurance that he has never done anything that would merit asking God for forgiveness are all absent from his fawning assessment of Trump.
But what did Dr. Grudem believe about Bill Clinton in the 90's? Well, he, along with many other evangelicals signed a lengthy statement about Clinton that read, in part:
We are aware that certain moral qualities are central to the survival of our political system, among which are truthfulness, integrity, respect for the law, respect for the dignity of others, adherence to the constitutional process, and a willingness to avoid the abuse of power. We reject the premise that violations of these ethical standards should be excused so long as a leader remains loyal to a particular political agenda and the nation is blessed by a strong economy. Elected leaders are accountable to the Constitution and to the people who elected them. By his own admission the President has departed from ethical standards by abusing his presidential office, by his ill use of women, and by his knowing manipulation of truth for indefensible ends. We are particularly troubled about the debasing of the language of public discourse with the aim of avoiding responsibility for one’s actions.
Hmmmm. Back then, when dealing with someone of the “other” political party, Evangelicals claimed that “certain moral qualities are central to the survival of our political system, among which are truthfulness, integrity, respect for the law, respect for the dignity of others." The lack of “respect for the dignity of others,” and "debasing of the language of public discourse" were among reasons to remove a Democrat but these same things along with the obscene lifestyle of the Republican Donald Trump are viewed by Dr. Grudem simply as “flaws, but I don’t think they are disqualifying flaws in this election." What changed?
I know I sound like a broken record but I believe this election will define Christianity in America for a generation or more. It will be seen as the point when some Christians openly and clearly chose the pursuit of secular power over Jesus Christ.
Conservative, Evangelical, and Fundamentalist Christians have spent over 40 years, billions of dollars, and countless hours on American politics seeking secular power. They have lectured about morality and "principles" in American life and in the character of men who run for office almost non-stop. They have held every candidate to a strict moral code until now. Today, simply because it is convenient, they betray every word they spoke and embrace a man who embodies the opposite of all they claimed to stand for. Donald Trump could not become a member of many of their churches based on his "testimony," expressed worldview, and lifestyle. They are now showing that their "faith" and "principles" were cynical tools to gain the political power offered by the world and not Biblically based beliefs.
From here on out, if you support Donald Trump, you have forfeited the right to talk about the morality of any candidate, indeed, any human ever again. You are done. You ignore Trump’s immorality and then think you can pick and choose when to speak out against those who can offer you neither money nor power? How does that work? God is no respecter or persons but you certainly are. You hold four decades of political candidates to one moral standard and then completely ignore that standard for a candidate who offers you the power you seek? And you want to quibble about the morality of baking cupcakes for gay people? I think supporting Trump means you have lost that prerogative - forever.
You disagree? Too bad. It is YOU who are choosing to support this candidate. Join me and walk away from the pursuit of secular power and a system that tells you the only choice you have is between two "evils." They will tell you that walking away will not solve any problems. I tell you participating in the political system of this world has never solved any problems. It has enabled some to get power and convinced the church it needs power to do the work of God. And worse, it has smeared the name of Christ and it has forced you to choose a man you cannot morally defend. Walk away.
You may tell me that this will not "work." I am telling you that I am not doing it because it works - I am doing it because it is right (James 4:17).
I urge you to reject the allure of the world's power and repent. 1 John 2:15-17, 2 Timothy 2:3 & 4, 2 Peter 2:17 - 20.