John MacArthur recently joined the list of evangelical leaders publicly supporting Donald Trump. At a recent forum for The Master’s University MacArthur said he’s not voting for Donald Trump, he’s voting for a worldview.
“I’m voting for an ideology that is closer to Scripture,” MacArthur said. “Because [the Republican platform] is political responsibility, work, it has a place for the Bible, it has a place for God, it understands the necessity of a family, it understands the role of government is primarily to carry a sword to threaten evildoers and protect those who do well.”
MacArthur also said he believes he’s commanded to vote this way by 1 Timothy 2’s instructions to “make a peaceful contribution to life and culture,” presumably referring to verse 2 which tells Christians to pray for kings and those in authority.
“I want to see a culture at least as we’re going down the drain enjoy some of the vestiges of common grace,” MacArthur said. “And I’m thinking of my kids, my grandkids, and thinking what kind of world I’m going to leave them.”
MacArthur joins influential Christian voices such as Eric Metaxas, James Dobson, Wayne Grudem and Ralph Reed, who to varying extents have publicly supported a Trump presidency. However there are those who have found voting for Trump unacceptable as a candidate.
Thabiti Anyabwile, a black evangelical pastor and council member of The Gospel Coalition, has said he finds the Republican candidate to be completely incompatible with a Christian worldview.
Referring to those who say Trump isn’t as bad as Clinton, Anyabwile counters, “Some of these retorts are offered to African Americans whenever we point out the racism endemic to the man’s candidacy and behavior. I’ve even been asked, ‘Which is worse? Abortion or racism?’ Though they quickly add, ‘This is no defense of Trump,’ it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that racism rests lightly on the oft-cited conscience of some Evangelicals.”
Many evangelical leaders who are women have also found Trump an unacceptable candidate. Beth Moore, referring to her own experience with sexual assault, called out Christian leaders who minimized Trump’s bragging about sexually assaulting women as just “locker room talk.”
“I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it,” Moore said. “Try to absorb how acceptable the disesteem and objectifying of women has been when some Christian leaders don’t think it’s that big a deal.”
Ultimately the Christian choice to vote for Trump, Clinton or neither seems to come down to how pragmatic someone is willing to be. As Ralph Reed, a conservative Christian activist and the head of Trump’s religious advisory board, said, “People of faith are voting on issues like who will protect unborn life, defend religious freedom, grow the economy, appoint conservative judges and oppose the Iran nuclear deal.”
But others are worried about how far Christians can bend in the name of results. Calvin College philosophy professor James K.A. Smith recently said on Twitter, “So the price of ‘preserving religious freedom’ is to cast your lot with someone who mocks, and makes a mockery of, your belief & practice? Maybe, just maybe, securing your ‘religious freedom’ isn’t worth compromising your religion?”
The incredibly divisive split in opinion might explain why so many pastors are still undecided. As of three weeks ago an article in the Washington Post using Lifeway research showed 40 percent of pastors are still undecided on who they’ll vote for.
More and more pastors are saying that whatever happens they’re just ready for this election to be over so the church can return to being the church.
In a recent article published on ChurchLeaders’ sister site, OutreachMagazine.com, pastor Max Lucado said, “We are really ready for this presidential election to be over. When we wake up to Nov. 9, post-election, when the confetti is swept away and the election is finally over, what will we see? I have a prediction. I know exactly what Nov. 9 will bring: another day of God’s perfect sovereignty. He will still be in charge. His throne will still be occupied. He will still manage the affairs of the world. Never before has his providence depended on a king, president or ruler.”