An open letter to friends and those I respect… depravity vs. permanence.
I feel I have to write this as an open letter to my Christian friends who do not want to vote for Trump based on a sense of loyalty to their Christian convictions. I wish to thank a friend (Shane) for aligning this last piece of the puzzle for me. I wish to thank as well Dennis Prager for challenging my position on this as well.
So Gary Johnson is out. And do I really need to show the resume of the Green Party candidate? So Jill Stein is out as well.
At a men’s Bible study a friend noted something that brought together all the pieces of a puzzle for me. He mentioned that Donald Trump’s heart is not “seared” fully. This brought to mind the story of Pharaoh and the working together of Pharaoh and God in hardening Pharaoh’s heart:
“But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart and he did not listen to them…” (Exodus 9:12a. See also: Exodus 4:21, 7:3; 7:13, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:8, and 14:18).
Yet we also see Pharaoh taking part in this depravity that the first chapter of Roman’s speaks so clearly to:
“But when Pharaoh saw there was relief, he hardened his heart and would not listen to them.” (Exodus 8:15. See also: 8:32, 9:34; and 1 Samuel 6:6).
In other words, to put it bluntly, Pharaoh was a lost cause. He was not only what the Reformers would call, totally depraved, but also permanently depraved.
And it is this permanence I wish to address in our choice for the Presidency.
There is a lot of hub-bub lately about what Trump did 11-to-30[+] years ago. And I agree, it is horrible. But unlike Hillary Clinton who says many people are irredeemable, is this true of Trump? Do we see moral positions bubbling up in him? Stuff to show his heart is not seared fully as Romans chapter one states?
For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened.Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles. Therefore God delivered them over in the cravings of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. (vv. 21-24).
Many may not know that Trump had a somewhat recent “Born Again” moment, mind you, I am not a fan of the person who led Trump in this repentant moment of his life, but you can at least see a need in Trump to proclaim his sinfulness and ask God for forgiveness. Even if as a baby Christian (if his conversion is authentic) he does not express his depravity well, yet. Here is another thought in conversation I expressed today (10-28):
Also, another point, if one thinks Trump is depraved totally and irrevocable (without redemptive characteristics as Hillary says), this calls to mind Nebuchadnezzar, who was a pagan but surrounded himself with Godly people.
Hillary is going to surround herself with all the same people in the emails released by Wikileaks… we already see Trump wanting to surround himself with people like Pence, Ben Carson, and the like.
GRANTED, I am not saying Trump is a model of theological archetype for the Christian faith. Only Jesus can be that. AND Paula White is not the ideal person to lead someone to theological purity. But he did say the sinners prayer…
➤ James Dobson, the founder of the group Focus on the Family, claimed Trump recently “[accepted] a relationship with Christ,” adding, “I know the person who led him to Christ.”
The point is that he has not become totally and permanently depraved.
There are other hints that morality exists in the macro sense in Trump. A friend said that by supporting Trump I become “one of them.” And trust me, for those that love Hayek and Sowell and Smith, these are moral positions:
Stopping 20[+] years of anti-Constitutionalist judges is not becoming one of them;
Reducing taxes is not becoming one of them;
Border control is not becoming one of them;
Reducing regulations is not becoming one of them;
Fighting and pushing back the worst of the Islamic faith is not becoming one of them;
Supporting law enforcement and putting in a DOJ head that supports them as well is not becoming one of them;
Rejecting climate change legislation is not becoming one of them;
Rejecting cultural Marxism is not becoming one of them;
In other words, my Christian principles are not in play for my vote. In fact… having studied the issue of economics and free-markets, if-anything, my Christian principles want to increase freedom in the markets as well as slow the progress in other areas of progressive growth. These ARE moral positions. (I say slow by-the-by because Trump does not have ideal views in every area. And?) Another friend notes that “we must realize that a private vote for someone is not the same as a public endorsement.” Yep.
You see, God can (and has) used the most depraved men to conquer evil. Eric Metaxas notes this in two person’s he has studied over the years:
…Two heroes about whom I’ve written faced similar difficulties. William Wilberforce, who ended the slave trade in the British Empire, often worked with other parliamentarians he knew to be vile and immoral in their personal lives.
Why did he? First, because as a sincere Christian he knew he must extend grace and forgiveness to others, since he desperately needed them himself. Second, because he knew the main issue was not his moral purity, nor the moral impurity of his colleagues, but rather the injustices and horrors suffered by the African slaves whose cause he championed. He knew that before God his first obligation was to them, and he must do what he could to help them.
The anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer also did things most Christians of his day were disgusted by. He most infamously joined a plot to kill the head of his government. He was horrified by it, but he did it nonetheless because he knew that to stay “morally pure” would allow the murder of millions to continue. Doing nothing or merely “praying” was not an option. He understood that God was merciful, and that even if his actions were wrong, God saw his heart and could forgive him. But he knew he must act.
Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer knew it was an audience of One to whom they would ultimately answer. And He asks, “What did you do to the least of these?”…
You can at least SEE in Trump pulses of conscience and morality welling up in wanting smaller government (less legislative rules from the EPA for instance and reduction in impact on many departments). You can SEE this in wanting to protect life by appointing Justices who are pro-life as well as for honoring the 1st and 2nd Amendment. You can SEE he is not completely hardened ethically because he believes in nation states, which are God ordained. You can SEE this in his wanting to protect the GOD GIVEN RIGHT for self-defense.
To say one cannot be blamed for their not voting for Trump because he is a horrible candidate will have to face 20-years of Supreme Court Justices allowing sexualized materials in schools as well as a radical redefining of concepts and words [by fiat] and the radical agenda for culture the Left has publicly made their goal ~ to proceed unchecked for their daughters and granddaughters to grow up in and contend with. It is not about hoping for 2020… it is about 2017.
Dennis Prager makes a great point in regards to God using broken men to get His way.
Oskar Schindler was a serial adulterer, yet, God used this broken man to save Jews. Not only did God choose an adulterer, but King David murdered to cover up his sin — God used him to save Israel. Martin Luther King, Jr. Was an adulterer as well, he very probably stopped a civil war and united this nation, surely a Godly goal. ~ PRAGER ADAPTED
So too I believe God is greater than Trump, and can use the hints that he has not buried completely his conscience, something we cannot say for Hillary Clinton.
A judge on Friday dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit by Newtown families against the maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre, citing an embattled federal law that shields gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products.
State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis granted a motion by Remington Arms to strike the lawsuit by the families of nine children and adults killed and a teacher who survived the Dec. 14, 2012, school attack, in which a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster AR-15-style rifle made by Remington.
The families were seeking to hold Remington accountable for selling what their lawyers called a semi-automatic rifle that is too dangerous for the public because it was designed as a military killing machine. Their lawyer vowed an immediate appeal of Friday’s ruling.
The judge agreed with attorneys for Madison, North Carolina-based Remington that the lawsuit should be dismissed under the federal Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005 and shields gun makers from liability when their firearms are used in crimes.
Here is Hillary Clinton’s response:
And note that this choice really is as simple as Prager puts it:
Having been a student of human nature, and the theology involved in the economic systems catering to the two: mankind is fallen and tends toward selfishness |OR| he is inherently good and society corrupts him… causes me to say, YES, Trump is truly the lesser of the two evils. Not permanently or totally depraved, like his counterpart.
…I have a prediction. I know exactly what November 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. And it won’t on November 9, 2016. “The LORD can control a king’s mind as he controls a river; he can direct it as he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1 NCV).
On one occasion the Lord turned the heart of the King of Assyria so that he aided them in the construction of the Temple. On another occasion, he stirred the heart of Cyrus to release the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar was considered to be the mightiest king of his generation. But God humbled and put him in “detention” for seven years. “The kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Psalms 22:28).
Understanding God’s sovereignty over the nations opens the door to peace. When we realize that God influences the hearts of all rulers, we can then choose to pray for them rather than fret about them. Rather than wring our hands we bend our knees, we select prayer over despair.
Jeremiah did this. He was the prophet to Israel during one of her darkest periods of rebellion. He was called “the weeping prophet” because he was one. He wept at the condition of the people and the depravity of their faith. He was so distraught that one of his books was entitled Lamentations. But then he considered the work of God. Note the intentionality of his words:
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.
The LORD’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Imitate Jeremiah. Lift up your eyes. Dare to believe that good things will happen. Dare to believe that God was speaking to us when he said: “In everything God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28).
Many years ago, I spent a week visiting the interior of Brazil with a long-time missionary pilot. He flew a circuit of remote towns in a small plane that threatened to come undone at the slightest gust of wind. Wilbur and Orville had a sturdier aircraft.
I could not get comfortable. I kept thinking that the plane was going to crash in some Brazilian jungle and I’d be gobbled up by piranhas or swallowed by an anaconda.
I kept shifting around, looking down, and gripping my seat. (As if that would help.) Finally, the pilot had had enough of my squirming. He looked at me and shouted over the airplane noise. “We won’t face anything I can’t handle. You might as well trust me to fly the plane.”
Is God saying the same to you? If so, make this your prayer:
You are perfect. You could not be better than you are.
You are self-created. You exist because you choose to exist.
You are self-sustaining. No one helps you. No one gives you strength.
You are self-governing. Who can question your deeds? Who dares advise you?
You are correct. In every way. In every choice. You regret no decision.
You have never failed. Never! You cannot fail! You are God! You will accomplish your plan.
You are happy. Eternally joyful. Endlessly content.
You are the king, supreme ruler, absolute monarch, overlord, and rajah of all history.
An arch of your eyebrow and a million angels will pivot and salute. Every throne is a footstool to yours. Every crown is papier–mâché to yours. No limitations, hesitations, questions, second thoughts, or backward glances. You consult no clock. You keep no calendar. You report to no one. You are in charge.