I am often asked why I vote the way I do—and never more often than the past four years!
Shortly after the 2016 election, I wrote an article titled "Why I Voted For Donald Trump" in which I shared my perspective on the moral comparison between the two presidential candidates on the ballot. In that piece, I weighed the decades-long political track record and policies of one candidate (Hillary Clinton) against what little was known of the new candidate (Donald Trump)—a businessman who had never held a political office.
Now in 2020, we find ourselves in another election year where the media narrative and rhetoric seems eerily similar to 2016, except more toxic. We are told that President Trump is a "racist, misogynist and xenophobe." Partial or out-of-context sound bites are thrown around as evidence of these claims. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, the facts show the policies and actions of the president do not fit the characteristics of what those labels imply.
In fact, I just watched a great film recently called The Trump I Know, where the filmmakers present a view of our president completely opposite to the common reports promoted by mainstream media. It really is an excellent documentary, one worth watching whether you support the man or not. It sometimes takes a lot of work to find the truth in the midst of a deceptive platform like the evening news. Personally, I place more weight on the words of those who have a personal relationship with someone than a portrayal by those with a political agenda.
After four years of serving as President of the United States, we have learned more about President Trump as a politician (although I think "businessman" is still a more appropriate description as he continues to break the mold of what it typically means to be a "politician"). Many politicians tell you what they think you want to hear, and then implement policies that serve their personal interest or the interests of those in their inner circles. President Trump seems to tell it how it is (bluntly or rashly), laying the situation out on the table, working with people to find solutions and reporting back what has been accomplished.
To the surprise of many, at the end of his first term in his first elected office, he has undeniably accomplished—or attempted to accomplish—a majority of his main campaign promises. It is an honorable character trait of any elected official to follow through on their commitments. As I compare these accomplishments with the nearly half-century voting record of Joe Biden, it is with confidence and a clear conscience that I will be voting for a second term for Donald Trump on Nov. 3, 2020.
For me it is worthy of note that I've never seen a president who loved prayer as much as Donald Trump—and that includes from those I voted for and those I didn't. His passion for godly counsel is also legendary. His historic actions for Israel should appeal to believers, as the biblical mandate to pray supportively for Jerusalem is a clear priority in Scripture.
For those who are perplexed at how a New York businessman with a checkered past can be seen as a moral choice as the top executive of the country, I recommend reading theology and biblical studies professor Wayne Grudem's article "30 Good Things President Trump Has Done for America" and his older 2016 article, "If You Don't Like Either Candidate, Then Vote for Trump's Policies." Dr. Grudem's writing is a thoughtful approach to making a moral choice with biblical values in mind, and his excellent articulation on why voting for a write-in or third party candidate is effectively the same as abstaining from voting, given the current political landscape.
I realize there are Christians who find themselves on every part of the political spectrum, and I champion diversity of thought. My heart is not, nor has ever been, to judge or shame anyone based on the candidate they vote for. Neither is it my goal to coerce or tell people to vote for who I vote for. However, as a leader, I do believe it is important for all Christians to thoughtfully and prayerfully engage in the civic opportunity we are afforded as citizens of this country to use our voice for good.
We can use our voice to vote for local school board members who serve as gatekeepers of the curriculum being taught to our children. We can vote for fair and honest public servants who uphold justice without partiality, whether it be a county sheriff, district attorney or judge. We can vote for principled legislators who represent our values when writing, debating and voting on laws for our state and nation. We can vote for the president who advocates for the policies that most align with our vision for this country.
When considering who or what to vote for, we each make choices based on a combination of our personal views on policies, the personality and character of the candidate and our tradition or upbringing. Each of these value systems must be influenced by our prayer life with the Lord, and we must remain open to change. Which value is He emphasizing for a particular moment in time? Pay attention to His voice as you seek truth and research the candidates and issues at hand. An act of obedience—even in something as simple as filling out a ballot—is a way God moves through His people, bringing the principles and values of heaven to this earth.
We are called to be salt and light in this world—to bring flavor and a voice of truth to culture. Praying on the sidelines, waiting for a change, while watching others use their voices to shape culture does not fulfill that call. Don't get me wrong, prayer is vital to shaping culture; and we should all be praying for our cities, states and nations as well as praying for leaders—yes, even those with whom we may not agree.
But just as faith without works is dead, prayer without action is incomplete. There are people who moan and groan—calling it intercession—but do nothing outside of those prayers to make a difference in their own culture (I share more on this in a recent sermon titled "Fighting on Our Knees"). Tragically, for many believers, the downhill slide of society is a fulfillment of their view of the end times. They have more faith in the return of Christ than they do in the power of the gospel. Both are beyond wonderful, but I have a responsibility to bring about change through a life lived in obedience to Jesus. We are here to love, serve and display the power of God, defeating the powers of darkness that rule over peoples' lives. That is our assignment. We must not give in to the trend of a moral decline in society, and then call it a sign of the times. It's a sign of our neglected responsibilities. This is our hour!
The moral decay of culture has been happening on our watch. Many Christians have removed themselves from this simple act of influence. The past six presidents were each elected by less than 10 million votes—and that is without the 30 million Christians who choose not to vote. Shockingly, as many as 65 million Christians do not vote in midterm elections, which can have the most direct influence on the local community. We in California are presently suffering under the careless approach of the church to our political responsibilities in this state. Unheard of policies, like taxpayer-funded gender transition drugs and surgeries available to children, are now in place that could undermine parental consent. This is insanity! These laws (like AB2218) are being passed, almost without discussion, because the church has been silent. We must act.
An excuse frequently made is, "I only have one vote, and my vote doesn't really matter." The devil made up that lie to disengage and silence millions of voices within the church. All of us must pray and take action by sharing our voice through voting to make a difference in culture, exhorting those we know to do the same. I challenge all believers, whether you've voted in every election or this will be the first one you participate in, to make the effort. Pursue understanding of the policies proposed. Pray for God's heart, wisdom and direction. And finally, steward your God-given voice by casting your vote.
My previous article on this topic ended with a similar statement and prayer. As this still applies today, I find it worth repeating:
All elections are tough, and there are very legitimate reasons for voting for or against any given candidate. Unfortunately neither Billy Graham nor Mother Theresa are running for office. That leaves us with the responsibility to do our best with what we have. I mention this only because there are so many who drag President Trump's past into the election. I actually believe he is the only one who isn't owned by either party, and is fully capable through courage and boldness to bring about the changes needed.
Doing my best is exactly what I will do. I will trust the Lord to work through the outcome. At the same time I realize that many people I care for don't see it that way at all. Regardless, my love for God and people remains the same.
This is my No. 1 priority. As I did for Clinton, Bush and Obama, I pray for protection for President Trump and his family, that he would have great wisdom for his near impossible assignment, and that he would always listen to godly counsel. I pray that he would increase in favor with God and man. I pray for those who are in fear or uncertainty leading up to this election, that God Himself would give them peace and a hope-filled promise.
And finally, I pray each of us would have a life of realizing the fulfillment of dreams, with great health and blessing in every area of life.
Bill Johnson is the senior leader at Bethel Church in Redding, California. He is a fifth-generation pastor on his dad's side, and fourth on his mom's side.
This article originally appeared at The Christian Post.
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