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David Platt on the Problems With Saying ‘You Can’t Be a Christian and Vote For…’

Pastor David Platt noted that it is easy for an election cycle to encourage people to live in a way that is opposed to Jesus’ commands. Jesus told us to take up our crosses and follow him and to love our neighbors as ourselves, but often we are more focused on our rights and what will benefit us. “How do I vote,” asked Platt, “not with just my kids in mind, but with other kids in mind, with other families in mind, other people in mind?”

Among other topics Hansen and Platt discussed was the difficult position pastors are in all the time, but especially in the current climate. In their role, pastors are often presented with two bad options and then receive criticism for whatever they decide to do. Hansen brought up President Trump’s last-minute, surprise visit to McLean Bible Church last year and asked Platt if he would change any of his actions if he had to face that situation over again.

The pastor said that when he was told President Trump was planning to stop by his church, he had about 10 seconds to make a decision about what to do. There was never a question in his mind about whether or not to pray for the president—the Bible is clear about the importance of praying for our leaders. But Platt is not certain he would handle the situation the same way again. 

“As best as I can tell, I hope I was following the leadership of the Spirit in that moment,” he said. But he feels some reservations about whether he should have prayed for the president on stage in front of everyone. Doing so made it easier for people to assume his church is politically aligned in every way with the president.

Hansen pointed out the difficult position that Platt was in. The pastor received criticism for what he chose to do, but, said Hansen, “if you had made a different decision, it would have been apocalyptic.” Then people would have attacked Platt for refusing to pray for the president. Pastor David Platt agreed and said that “one of the painful, but really good fruits” of the challenging climate he is ministering in is that he has been motivated even more to fix his eyes on Jesus and not live for the approval of others. 

“I’m burdened for pastors on the whole right now, just with a lot of those kinds of decisions with reopening, regathering in the midst of COVID,” he said. “There’s tons of other things…So, yeah, for pastors, Christian leaders or just followers of Christ, let’s keep our eyes fixed on him. And…grow in empathy for one another, love one another in the middle of it.”

For more views on this topic see:

Evangelical Leaders React to Mohler Supporting Trump

We are evangelical Christians not voting for Donald Trump this time

Eugene Cho: Politics, the Fruits of the Spirit, and How Not to Be a Jerk

Justin Giboney: How to Know If Your Pursuit of Justice Is Biblical

Kaitlyn Schiess: Do You Believe One of These 4 False Gospels?