John Piper recently wrote a post about politics in which he articulated his perspective as a believer regarding the upcoming elections. I find myself in much agreement with him. 4 years ago I preached a sermon to my church in which I evaluated the upcoming 2016 elections to be a judgment of God on our nation. The punishment? Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would become the next president, and either would be a president our national sins so richly deserved. Piper calls both major party candidates “pathways to destruction” in the 2020 election.
Piper rightly assigns a host of sins to Donald Trump that it seems many evangelicals are willing to overlook. Everything Piper says about Trump is demonstrably accurate. Anyone who believes that Trump is a genuine follower of Christ has clearly not read the New Testament. And Piper’s critique of pastors who spend more time developing elaborate political strategies for the salvation of America instead of trumpeting the eternal glories and salvation of God is – again – well spoken and ought to be heeded. But there is an upcoming election and there are only so many people to vote for. Should believers write in “Jesus Christ”?
When I went to the voting booth in 2016, I was undecided. I knew that Hillary was not an option for me, but I didn’t know if I could bring myself to vote for Trump. I did not, and he won without my vote. Four years later I find myself doing the very thing of which Piper says “I will not develop some calculus to determine which path of destruction I will support”. Frankly, I don’t know what else my vote has been since I started participating in elections in 2000. Like David choosing his nation’s punishment, we can only hope to cast ourselves on the mercy of God (1 Chorn 21:7ff)
My citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20), I am not afraid of the plundering of my property or the loss of my life (Heb 10:34), and I have not put my trust in man (Psalm 146:3). I vote for whom I believe will bring about the greatest potential for human flourishing in my earthly pilgrimage, knowing that the kingdoms of this world are destined to be shaken so that the Kingdom which cannot be shaken will remain (Heb 12:27-28). Knowing this, I have decided to change my vote FOR Donald Trump in the 2020 elections, and below are 5 reasons why:
1. Because this is a unique election.
It seems like every election season someone says this this is the most important election EVER, but for the first time I actually believe that there is something like a massive chasm between candidates that will determine the future of the country. I legitimately wonder if things like freedom of religion and freedom of speech can survive under the Democratic platform and those are things that I care about. When I look at the deep blue states and I hear the questions offered to Supreme Court nominees by Leftists, I can’t help but think that there is no place in their world for orthodox Christians like myself. While believers are to rejoice always, we are also to pray for our leaders so we (and our children and their children) don’t have to live under persecution (1 Tim 2:2). So while in the past I have voted 3rd party candidates, knowing that they had 0% chance of winning, this year I am admitting the utility of a Joab-type character such as Trump.
2. Because I am voting for a President, not an Emperor.
We are not choosing a permanent Caesar but a temporary Head of State. We are not voting for a Potentate but for a President. And because we live in a political system where power is not concentrated in any one office, I don’t think the personal sins of Donald Trump are as ruinous as the policies of Joe Biden. Some men’s sins go before them (Trump) while others follow them (most others). Trump has some solid people around him, such as Mike Pence, who clearly are both of the mental caliber and character quality that I would prefer as president. I don’t think Christians should defend Trump’s sins or herald him as a Savior, but I think they can vote for him with a clean conscience knowing that he is a deeply sinful man.
3. Because we have 4 years of Trump’s policies to review.
4 years ago I assumed that Trump would make a terrible President. I was wrong. Trump has actually done the things most Republicans have campaigned on and then failed to even try to accomplish. (With the exception of building a border wall, which was a dumb idea to begin with.) From the restrictions on ridiculous and malicious abortion policies to the moving of our Embassy to Jerusalem to the lowering of taxes (my issue with his fiscal policy being his love of government spending), Trump’s policies have not been destructive to America. Not only that, but I am incredibly glad Trump’s natural demeanor toward Covid is not one of abject fear, which has been promoted by the media and the Left. Take away Trump’s Twitter account and he goes down as a solid president who accomplished more than many of his predecessors.
4. Because I don’t believe I am compromising my Christian witness.
There is no Trump sign in my yard and I do not own a MAGA hat. Most of my co-workers seem to believe that I voted for Trump in 2016, even though I didn’t, and it has not affected my relationships or my reputation. I had a lovely conversation over the weekend with one of my neighbors whose front yard sports a Biden-Harris sign. I think most Americans have enough sense to know that supporting a political candidate does not mean an endorsement of all that they stand for or all that they are.
5. Because Trump actually fights.
There are a couple ways of interpreting the events of Trump’s first term. One is to say that Trump’s personality has caused the increasing polarization seen over the last year. The second is to say that Trump has revealed it. I believe the latter to be true. Over the last 20 years of living in the USA I have seen the unarrested leftward drift of the power structures in America, by which I mean the government, the media, the storytellers, and the schools are all enamored with a secular narrative. Trump is willing to take them all on, and I believe that is why so many people voted for him. Trump is an existential threat to the Progressives. His election called into question their myth of inevitability, and should he be re-elected they might all lose their collective mind. Consider the media. They attack Trump relentlessly and rather than cower and apologize, he dismisses them as fake news. And what’s so remarkable about that is that he is right! CNN devoted 36% of its prime-time news programming to the Trump/Russia collusion story, which turns out to be Fake News stemming from the unethical machinations of Hillary Clinton. Trump is accused of being a racist and then points out that is is overwhelming Democrat controlled cities that are being burned to the ground. Rather than collapse, Trump fights back. And it turns out there is a significant number of Americans who are ready for someone, anyone – even a Class A jerk – to fight back.
Bonus: Because I love my neighbor.
I love my unborn neighbor and want her to have a chance at life. I love my black neighbor and don’t want him to go through life thinking he is nothing more than the victim of systemic power structures. I love my progressive neighbor and want her to be able to freely express all of the ideas she thinks will make the world a better place. I love my student neighbor and want him to have a good enough education to to discern the folly of my progressive neighbor. I love my immigrant neighbor and I don’t want her to see America turn into the nation she fled. And I want all of these things knowing that they will not matter if each neighbor does not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in their personal life.
Like Piper, I am not writing this to bind anyone’s conscience. I am writing this with my hopes set in heaven. I will vote knowing that it is possible that if Trump were to win, his second term could be completely disastrous. But I am not omniscient. If I were, I could tell you who to vote for.
One thought on “A Response to John Piper and Why I am Changing my Vote”
Could not agree more – I did not vote for the President in 2016…I will vote for him this time – maybe kicking and screaming but I will vote for him!