Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. -- 1Peter 5: 2-3 (ESV)
The above link is to a recent article on the political website that pretends to be Christian, known as Charisma News. It details remarks recently made by a political operative pretending to be a pastor named Robert Jeffress. Mr. Jeffress is not shy about not only being staunchly Republican but is a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, perhaps the least Christian candidate this country has ever produced. It seems that Jeffress sees the writing on the wall regarding the upcoming election, will expose his merry band of false prophets and faux Christians when Mr. Trump is sent back into ash heap of history. So he is making a last second push to try and twist the arms and consciences of Christians to go and vote for the evil behind door number two. This short article of his provides his three reasons why he feels Christians should not stay home on Election Day. Let us reason together by sorting through his words and that of God, from His Word:
"Increasingly, many Christians are choosing the stay at home option (or throw away their vote with a write in candidate option) as a way to maintain their integrity.' -- Robert Jeffress
Only in America can voting for someone who is actually on the ballot be considered "throwing your vote away." In the land of "win at all costs" this is what it has now come down to. But as Christians we are not behave nor think as the world does. Do you know why third party candidates can never win? Because everyone thinks voting for them is meaningless. Ask Al Gore if third party candidates are meaningless. Ross Perot cost him the 2000 election. The same goes for writing in your candidate of choice. This country allows for such measures. Quite frankly, if these two major candidates are the best this system can produce then it is far more righteous to write someone in than hold your nose, vote for who you deem as the lesser evil, and think you have somehow done your Christian duty. There were political issues when Jesus ministered on this earth. There were politics within His own religion and then also with Rome. How did He handle such?
When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, "Does your teacher not pay the tax?" He said, "Yes." And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?"And when he said, "From others," Jesus said to him, "Then the sons are free. However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself." -- Matthew 17: 24-27 (ESV)
Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?" But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, "Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax." And they brought him a denarius.And Jesus said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away. -- Matthew 22: 17-22 (ESV)
Temple tax? Yeah go catch a fish. Taxes to Caesar? Render unto him that which is his. There is no biblical argument that can refute that Jesus was apolitical at best and completely apathetic is probably a more accurate representation. Do you know why? Because His kingdom is not of this earth. He had bigger fish to fry. All of the disciples thought His stature as Messiah was to deliver them from the earthly oppression of Rome when He actually came to deliver them from the eternal oppression of sin. What the Robert Jeffress' of the world fail to realize is they are just like the disciples in this regard. They seem far more worried about this temporary home, which the Bible says we are to behave like pilgrims and sojourners in than the eternal life to come. They spend their days railing against the unsaved who want to spread liberalism throughout an unsaved culture and fail to give them the one thing they need -- the Gospel. It is not that we are supposed to balance our earthly priorities and our heavenly ones. We are not to have earthly ones. Jeffress and his ilk are busy rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. The disciples thought if they could just get out from under the thumb of Rome then all of their problems would be solved. Jeffress believes if we can just get out from under the thumb of Obama, then all of the church's problems will be solved. But would they? Is it the fault of Barack Obama that the church today is largely apostate? Did Hillary Clinton write the Purpose Driven Church? Is it liberalism that pursues dominionism, prosperity gospels, or false signs and lying wonders? No beloved. God does not command us to solve our temporal problems through carnal mechanisms such as the vote. Because when we try to do such, we turn to evil men to solve problems that only God can solve. Jeffress continues:
"Frankly, I understand the appeal of such a choice. Not voting allows Christians to avoid both having to make a difficult choice or defending an unpopular choice to disapproving friends or family members. And let's face it, playing the "conscience card" allows someone to feel holier than other Christians who sully themselves by getting involved in the political process. -- Robert Jeffress
Jeffress now proceeds to insult anyone who essentially disagrees with his flawed premise. Quite frankly, it is a far harder decision to not vote than it is to select someone based solely upon promises made in a platform or from some stump speech. For example, Donald Trump is pro-choice. He always has been. His entire life. You can Google his quotes from the previous three decades. He mentioned abortion zero times in his acceptance speech. When asked three times in the last debate if he personally supported overturning Roe vs. Wade, he refused to answer. None of that seems to matter to Trump-voting Christians. The fact that he says he now is pro-life is good enough for them. That makes it a very easy decision for them. It is far harder to do your research, look at the facts and the history and realize that he is not telling the truth now. Choosing to not vote becomes the more difficult decision. The point of having to defend your choice seems to be a red herring as no one has to reveal their vote if they do not wish to. The larger point here though is I have not seen many Christians timid about defending their choice of Trump. If anything I have seen Christians bragging about it. I have seen pastors condemn people as not even being Christian if they did not vote for him. I have seen Christians post and tweet outright lies or despicable hopes of things that could happen to Mrs. Clinton. Unpopular? The majority of Christians are reveling in their support for Donald Trump and eviscerating their witness for Jesus Christ in the process. Forget Hillary for a second. Do we really think this is lost on the unsaved world? That the people who claim the moral high road are supporting a man who bragged about cheating on his first two wives, boasted about grabbing women by the genitals, and moving on them like a b*tch? That the people who speak so self-righteously about integrity are backing a man who refuses to release his tax returns, has five bankruptcies, a slew of people he has not paid who completed work for him, 15 accusers of sexual assault and a pending charge of raping a 13 year old girl? That is not to excuse the offenses of his opponent but I do not see Christians rushing to defend Hillary Clinton as the next Esther or King Cyrus, as Christian "leaders" have done with Mr. Trump. What are we thinking? Do you really think anyone will want to hear what you have to say about Jesus when you compromise so much for carnal politics? As for the "conscience card"
The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. -- 1Timothy 1: 5 (ESV)
What Jeffress is doing now is simply insulting. It is not a matter of feeling holier than other Christians. It is a matter of staying true to the teachings of Scripture and what God has commanded us. It also is not a matter of "getting involved" in the political process. Those who vote third party, vote for Hillary, write in a candidate, or even stay home have made a choice and are thus involved in the process. Jeffress essentially is claiming that unless you agree with him, then you are not involved and must be doing some act of self-righteousness when that is the definition of his stance. As Paul is trying to convey to Timothy, the aim of our charge must always be love as Christians. Not this sloppy agape love we see today that is neck deep in the carnal means of the world but one that is rooted in three things -- a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. So excuse me Mr. Jeffress but I will play that conscience card all day long. The ironically sad thing is Jeffress plays it as well but he cannot see it. His argument against Hillary Clinton is essentially the conscience card. He just checks his conscience at the door when it comes to Donald Trump because in his mind the righteousness of the choice does not matter as much as the probability of that choice winning. I remember this playing out in the 2008 GOP primaries. There was a pastor running, named Mike Huckabee. Yet despite this, all of the political operatives disguised as Christian leaders like James Dobson and Franklin Graham came out in support for John McCain. Why? Because most considered Huckabee as having no realistic chance. When a pastor cannot generate the support of Christians that is most certainly true. Jeffress now lists his three reasons Christians cannot stay home on Election Day:
1) Voting is a God given privilege and responsibility.
Says no biblical text anywhere. Perhaps Jeffress is so compromised with the world he can no longer discern the difference between the church and the world but there is absolutely no biblical mandate to vote for the next king of Sodom. None. It is a secular privilege and civic responsibility. No argument there but that also means a citizen has the right to protest the vote when the choices are so poor. This mixing of theology and civics is nothing new in the apostate church today that ascribes to many teachings found in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The NAR teaches the Seven Mountains Mandate, which says that Christians must conquer the seven mountains of culture in order to facilitate the second coming of Jesus Christ. This wildly heretical belief is spreading like a cancer throughout the body of Christ. One of those mountains is indeed government. This is why the Christo-political machine is always so desperate to influence elections and culture. But think of the relative insanity of that position as a Christian. We are not called to form a theocracy and most people who consider themselves Christian would not survive in such a society to begin with. The fact is this is a pagan nation made up of different cultures and religions. Jesus did not command us to go into all nations and beat them into submission. We present the Gospel so that the Spirit might draw men to the cross. We do so however out of a love born through a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Not with carnal tricks and politics of man. Do not mix the holy with the profane beloved. God has not given us any privilege, responsibility or command to vote.
2) Voting is a primary way for Christians to stop evil.
Really. Voting is a primary way for Christians to stop evil? Ugh. What this represents is known as conferred righteousness. Robert Jeffress has already determined on his own that Hillary Clinton is evil. Because he fancies himself in a culture war, he thinks it is his job to stop that evil on behalf of the Lord. We already know that he only views the two major party candidates as worthy of his vote, which means he is conferring righteousness to the other candidate even though it does not belong there. Hillary is evil but Trump is not? The reality is the same every election. We have a choice of two evils and Christians play the game of assessing the lesser evil. The problem is that then they defend that evil. They embrace it and are proud of it. They confer righteousness upon that evil that it does not deserve. A most dangerous prospect I might add: