Choosing the Right Republican Presidential Candidate

Newt Gingrich
Republican presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks to the media at the Union League Club on Monday in New York City. (Sipa via AP Images)

These days, because I'm an Evangelical minister, a missionary to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and chairman of the Committee on Church and Society for the Evangelical Church Alliance, the question I'm asked most is, "How do evangelicals pick the right candidate this time around?"

The implication is whether evangelicals are bound to pick only an evangelical candidate, even if that person can't win in the general election. My answer is simple: We should pick our candidates for president in the same way we pick our doctors—on their skills, experience, reputation and approach to our problems. When it comes to the lineup in Iowa, evangelicals should ask particular questions about the person seeking their vote:

• Does this person have the skills to address the problems our country is currently facing and will face when my children and grandchildren are my age?

• Does this person have a proven track record in solving these problems—and in what ways will this person solve them? Because our most urgent problems are economic, we must ask if this person has the extensive private sector experience necessary, as well as the meaningful executive level public sector experience, to get the job done.

• What is this person's professional reputation? More importantly, what is this person's personal reputation? Is this person known as a good, morally upright individual who has demonstrated—over a credible time—a commitment to the highest values of conduct and fidelity? As we've already seen, under the bright lights of day-in, day-out, 24-hour media scrutiny, personal issues can become an insurmountable obstacle to victory.

• What kind of leader is this person? Is this person open to change for the better? Can this person effectively lead others toward better solutions? A willingness to change is good when it's change for the best. All of us hope and pray our elected officials will seek wisdom for a better direction in which to lead our country, for, "In the multitude of counselors there is safety." (Prov. 11:14)

When it comes to picking a president, evangelical doctrine is not a litmus test of whether that person will serve well. George Bush (who was highly favored by evangelicals) was a United Methodist, and when in office he attended an Episcopal church; Bill Clinton (much disfavored by Evangelicals) was a Baptist. Ronald Reagan attended Hollywood Presbyterian Church (affiliated with the liberal Presbyterian Church USA), while Jimmy Carter, the first self-professed "born again" president, taught Sunday school in a Southern Baptist church.

History has not judged these presidents on their church affiliations, but on their record as leaders. This will be true for the next president.

It's not helpful to make a decision on a candidate's religious label, whether it's Newt Gingrich as a Roman Catholic (he left his Baptist roots in 2008), or Mitt Romney as a lifelong Mormon, the two leading contenders. The same applies to the other candidates.

Jesus said, "Ye shall know them by their fruits." (Matt. 7:16 ) This says nothing about the person's religious identity. Jesus made this clear in the parable of the Good Samaritan by holding up a Samaritan (considered an infidel by his fellow Jews) as the paragon of virtue over a priest and a Levite—two certified Jewish doctrinal authorities.

My prayer is that Christians in Iowa will make their choice for president based on the best overall—and one that is electable. This may be the most important presidential race in our nation's history. The next president will leave a legacy far beyond four or eight years, because this president will likely choose Supreme Court justices who serve lifetime terms, deciding cases on the the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family. In other words, the choices of this next president will affect the future of American civilization. The consequences are too grave to risk wasting a vote.

As Iowan Christians prayerfully vote in the caucuses, we should all pray that our choices will, in the end, be the best for our families, our communities, and our nation.

Rev. Rob Schenck, who speaks here as an individual citizen and not for any organization, has been an ordained evangelical minister for 29 years. He his a graduate of Faith Evangelical College and Seminary and is president of Faith and Action, a Christian outreach to government officials in Washington, D.C. He is also a board member of the Evangelical Church Alliance.


To contact us or to submit an article, click here.


Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective