Politics and the Christian Faith: Thoughts on John MacArthur’s Statement
September 24, 2020
A couple of weeks ago, Pastor John MacArthur of Grace Community Church shared in an interview with the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, his conversation with President Donald Trump. In that conversation Pastor MacArthur gave reasons why a true believer could not vote Democrat, “Because there is no way that a Christian could affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage or any kind of gross immorality. No way we could stand behind a candidate who is affirming transgender behavior which of course is really the reprobate mind of Romans 1… Any real, true believer is going to be on your side [Trump] in this election”.
It is Pastor MacArthur’s last statement that has caused a bit of concern as we prepare for the coming election. Is the assurance of one’s salvation determined by how one votes? If you vote Democrat does this mean you are not a real true believer in Jesus Christ? If you vote for President Trump does this prove you are a true believer in Jesus Christ? How you answer these questions will not only define salvation, but if the church should be known more by its political affiliation than its gospel witness, since now the proof of Christian obedience is tied to one’s politics.
Now, just in case you think I’m taking Pastor MacArthur’s statement to an extreme, consider a recent account of a 21 year old minister from Arlington, Texas, who was denied the renewal of his license for gospel ministry because of his public endorsement of democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden. Is church membership or church discipline also determined by whether you vote Republican or Democrat?
If this is the way we are thinking we need to be more open and honest about it. It shouldn’t be during the election season we discover that the assurance of one’s salvation or qualification for ministry is measured by what political party you support. Let’s start inserting this into our doctrinal statements and New Members Class curriculum. And I say this perfectly understanding why Pastor MacArthur believes this is not an issue to agree to disagree upon. For in his statement he concludes that the Democratic Party affirms behaviors that reflect the reprobate mind of Romans 1.
When you read Romans 1:18-32, it does read like a biblical analysis of the modern day sins in our country. Paul begins by stating that the wrath of God is against “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness” [1:18]. From verses 21-23, he describes the ungodliness of men as being aware of God’s existence in creation and conscience, yet refusing to give Him glory or thanks. But instead exchanges the knowledge of the Creator for the worship of the creation. And then in verses 24-32, Paul describes how the unrighteousness of men is manifested in sexual immorality, lesbianism, homosexuality and a lack of natural affection in the family, which demonstrates that God in His wrath has given mankind over to a reprobate mind.
If there was one political party in America that fits the description of support for these behaviors we would have to say it is the Democratic Party. But does that automatically mean that the Republican Party is the party for the Christian?
Secular Liberalism and Conservatism Are Under the Wrath of God:
Any serious student of Scripture must always take into consideration the structural outline of a book in order to discern the transitions from one subject or scene to another. In the book of Romans the section beginning with the wrath of God being upon “all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” [Rom. 1:18], doesn’t end at verse 32 of the same chapter, but continues through chapter 2. In chapter 2 Paul writes, “Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” [Rom. 2:1].
Paul charges the secular conservative as being under the wrath of God for passing judgment upon the secular liberal because he practices the same sins the secular liberal promotes. When I read this I couldn’t help but to see the parallel between the secular conservative in Paul’s day and the present-day conservatives in our nation. Let me summarize some of the recent scandals of the Republican Party and you decide whether Romans 2:1-3 applies to what we are seeing today:
Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley [Republican] adultery with former top aide. This Governor was a deacon and Sunday School teacher at a Baptist church. 
Daily Mail: Oklahoma State Senator [Republican] Ralph Shortey, engaging in child prostitution, caught with a teenage boy in a motel room…According to the Associated Press report that as a state senator, Shortey “routinely voted with his Republican colleagues on bills targeting gay and transgender people,” including a measure passed in 2017 to allow business owners to discriminate against LGBT people.]
NBC News 10/21/2017 – Several consecutive groups knew Wes Goodman, a GOP lawmaker who supported “natural marriage, had been secretly engaging in sexual encounters with men… a self-proclaimed Christian conservative.
One of the most egregious acts of sin in recent times has been the murder of babies. And the party that has championed the cause for the unborn has been the Republican Party. This truth has caused many Christians to promote the philosophy of the single vote in support for the life of the unborn. But does the Republican Party really stand against abortion?
Elliot Broidy, former RNC deputy finance chairman paid $1.6 million to a Playboy Playmate he had an affair with, after she aborted his child. [The Guardian: A Republican theme on abortions: “It’s Ok for me, evil for thee” article by Arwa Mahdawi, August 25, 2018]
Scott DesJarlais a Republican congressman from Tennessee supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage… Even after all that information came out DesJarlais still had the gall to vote for anti-abortion bills and boast of having a “100% pro-life voting record”.
Kentucky Senator Rand Paul accused Republicans of being fake “pro-life” supporters [Newsweek.com; 7/3/19] – Quote: “Last year, I tried to attach to a spending bill a prohibition to have any money spent by Planned Parenthood. You know what happened? [GOP leadership] sat me down and one of the senior Republican Senators said, “We cannot have the vote today.” I said, ‘Why?’ He said ‘we might win.’” Last August, Paul’s Senate office issued a statement about Republicans blocking his amendment to “Defund Planned Parenthood.”
Chief Justice John Roberts [Republican] provided the decisive vote to preserve access to abortion in Louisiana [CNN.com 6/29/20]
According to LifeSite Catholic 9/4/20 – Trump promises to ‘fully defund’ Planned Parenthood if he wins election. Yet from 2017-18, the Republican Party had control in the White House, Senate and House. It was Dr. Russell Moore, from the ERLC who remarked when two pro-life bills failed before the Senate in February of this year, “It ought to be a national scandal that the US Senate failed to advance either of these basic and commonsense bills that would protect human life.” You tell me, which party do you vote for when it comes to the single issue of abortion? The party that supports abortion or the party that refuses to stop abortion?
If you support the secular conservative you need to think through Paul’s question to them, “And do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment upon those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God? [Rom. 2:3] When a politician is committed to righteous policies but not righteous living, the Lord doesn’t endorse him, but condemns him. The wrath of God is against secular liberalism and secular conservatism.
Samuel Perry, “Dear Christian, If you recognize everything about a candidate is immoral other than their stance on abortion, then perhaps their stance on abortion doesn’t actually emerge from genuine morality at all. Maybe their position emerges from their immoral desire to dupe suckers.”
The Devil Is in the Politics:
The Bible describes the devil as “the god of this age” [2 Cor. 4:4], “the ruler of the world” [John 14:30] and “the prince of the power of the air” [Eph. 2:2]. This means that the devil has authority over sinners who occupy positions in government [Matt. 4:8-9]. Yes, God created the institution of government to be a minister of good and an avenger of evil in society [Rom. 13:1-4]. And on many occasions it fulfills this purpose and on many other occasions it has failed to fulfill its purpose. The reason for this is the devil, not Christ is ruling over every system of government in this world. If this were not true, why would Jesus command us to pray to God, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven?” [Matt. 6:10]
The church’s struggle is not with politicians in Washington but with the devil himself. They are not the enemy but our mission field. Our enemy is one who hates God and those made in His image. He is not only God’s adversary but the believer’s as well [1 Pet. 5:8]. Jesus even referred to him as “a murderer from the beginning” [John 8:44]. In other words, the devil murdered the human race when Adam fell in the Garden, “For as in Adam all die” [1 Cor. 15:22].
So we must understand that any political ideology that minimizes the importance of care for all image-bearer regardless of ethnicity, social class, age or gender is under the influence of the destroyer of man’s souls not the Savior of it. When Christians are tempted to choose between the lesser of two evils, or trifle with either/or ethics and yes/but deflections. The witness of the church suffers because its politics are being driven by situational ethics or relative views on morality, instead of a holistic view on matters of justice. In fact, the Lord often commanded Israel to care for the weak and afflicted in society because there was a tendency to overlook their needs. You never find a command to care for the rich and powerful, because it is a product of our sinfulness to always exploit weakness.
When the Lord called on apostate Judah to amend it ways in order to remain in the land He said, “if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place.” [Jer. 7:5b-7a] Justice between a man and his neighbor means to treat each neighbor right. If our theology leaves us to choose between the immigrant or the orphan, the poor or the unborn, the police officer or the unarmed African-American, we are not representing a biblical view on these issues but an irreligious one. For the book of James tells us that pure and undefiled religion entails showing compassion to the orphan and widow in their distress [1:27], abstaining from the sin of partiality [2:1-13] and demonstrating a righteous anger against injustice [5:1-6]. And he warns us that “whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.” [Jas. 2:10]. We are guilty of all God’s commandments if we are selective in keeping only a few. We are in sin of the whole if we reduce and only keep a part.
There Is No Christian Vote Just a Christian who Votes:
My reasons for writing this article was not to provide a solution on how one should vote but to awaken us to a dilemma. When you place your vote for the support of a candidate, you may reason that you are not voting in support of the person’s behavior but his policies. But realize when you cast your vote it will only be interpreted one way, you support this candidate. Period.
Yes, no party is perfect, but also no party is Christian. When you vote you are essentially supporting which pagan you believe will bring some good to society. So voting is a common grace not a promotion of the Christian faith. There’s a difference. Therefore there is no such thing as a Christian vote; but a Christian who votes. In other words, you vote as one who professes Christ, but your vote itself doesn’t represent the kingdom of God, it doesn’t advance the gospel of Christ, it merely affirms your earthly citizenship. You are a Christian who votes just like you are Christian who plays a sport, or a Christian who watches a movie. Your involvement in these activities are not kingdom activities but Christian liberties we enjoy in this life. The only agenda of God’s kingdom that we are commanded to advance, is the gospel!
Therefore, if you chose not to vote, guess what, you would not be in sin and God’s kingdom will not be hindered from advancing. If you chose to vote, guess what? Your vote, regardless of who you vote for, doesn’t hinder God’s kingdom from advancing because His kingdom is not of this world [John 18:36]. Jesus is not building a political party; He is building His church. Jesus is not seeking to Make America Great, but making His kingdom great. And the last time I read my Bible, it revealed that God the Father does not give the title deed to the earth, to the donkey or the elephant, but to the Lamb [Rev. 5]. So let’s be honest, when you vote, you are voting for the candidate that will further your cause, not Christ’s.
Your vote doesn’t cause God’s kingdom to come, or His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. So let’s stop trying to Christianize our vote; because our vote has nothing to do with determining our salvation. Our Christianity is based on faith alone, in Christ alone, and demonstrated by pursuing Christ-likeness. And to be Christ-like, is to promote the politics of Christ’s kingdom. For the apostle Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” [Phil. 3:20]. The Greek word for “citizenship” (politeuma) is where we get the English word “politics,” which refers to a person’s behavior as a citizen of a nation. Our citizenship in heaven has nothing to do with what will take place in November. Our energies should be focused on promoting the interests of heaven on earth. Therefore as citizens of heaven:
We should be praying, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” instead of reciting 2 Chronicles 7:14, because the land is not groaning over the sins of America but longing for the revealing of the sons of God [Rom. 8:19].
We should be striving as a church of diverse opinions and ethnicities to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace [Eph. 4:3]; instead of dividing over earthly political parties governed by the devil.
We should be more concerned about maintaining our Christian witness in a crooked and perverse generation [Phil. 2:15], than seeking to maintain our religious liberties.
We should seek to separate the Christian faith from politics and American patriotism; because America is not the bride of Christ, the church is.
We should put our hope in Christ, instead of putting our trust in politicians [Psalm 118:8-9].
https://thefrontporch.org/2020/09/polit ... statement/