Christianity -- Christian Living/USA Election

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QUESTION: As a Christian, what do the upcoming elections foreshadow for the USA? I don't know who to vote for....Trump or Hillary? I feel like no matter who I vote for in this upcoming election that our country is doomed. It seems like our days as "The Land of the Free" are coming to a swift end soon.

I am not sure whether I should caste my vote or keep my hands clean of this whole election? Both Trump and Hillary have some good and bad qualities. I am also skeptical about voting for a woman for President. Any Biblical insight would be appreciated.I feel like America will seal it's fate on election day....and I still don't feel confident about who to vote for. It seems like the "western" world: Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia is slowly crumbling.

Do you think God is using these elections to bring about the Anti-Christ?

ANSWER: Thank you, Priscilla, for your excellent questions and for trusting me to answer them.  There are so many competing voices in Christianity right now and sad to say, far more finger-pointing among Christians than is God honoring.

Kindly allow me to take your points one at a time.
“As a Christian, what do the upcoming elections foreshadow for the USA?”  Great question! The upcoming elections are part of the flow of time to Jesus’ return.  Scripture is abundantly clear that in the last days, there will be great tribulation.  In Matthew 24, Jesus outlines the end times and all the world sufferings (birth pains) we can expect before His return.  We’re seeing it worldwide. Here’s the key though: Jesus doesn’t want us to focus on the sufferings, but on being found faithful in spite of them at the day of His return.  So, the elections foreshadow a real choice Americans have about the direction this country will go.   Boil down the issues to the Gospel level and we can see that arguing about who is the greater sinner, Hillary or Trump, misses the point that we’re all sinners in need of a Savior.  That should be our Christian focus even while we exercise our patriotic duty as Americans.

“I don't know who to vote for....Trump or Hillary? I feel like no matter who I vote for in this upcoming election that our country is doomed. It seems like our days as "The Land of the Free" are coming to a swift end soon.”  You’re right:  It’s hard to feel good about voting for either of the candidates, but it’s easy to see the track record they’ve both had as public servants on the issues. The real issues, not the tabloid ones.

Hillary has been a public servant since Arkansas (1976), earning her family’s living from the taxpayers for 40 years, has had the blessing of being responsible for legislation, and accountable to the public who elected her and her husband.  Donald Trump has no public record. He’s been a business man looking out for a different set of priorities…that of his private companies, as it should be. He has earned his money privately, as the fruit of his labor, and he is accountable to his employees and boards. He has abided by the laws the entire time.  To judge Donald Trump by the public servant standard gives us no data points. Hillary has a record to defend. The converse is also true. Donald Trump’s only record is his business, whereas Hillary has no record as a privately employed citizen for decades and therefore her record for job creation, business taxes, etc. does not apply.  As a general rule, I believe “The Land of the Free” idea prospers best in a limited government environment where individual freedom like God gives us can be exercised according to one’s conscience.  Christians are free to be Christians first.

“I am not sure whether I should cast my vote or keep my hands clean of this whole election? Both Trump and Hillary have some good and bad qualities.”  I can easily understand the dilemma.  Many Americans feel the same way.  This is where I believe Jesus’ Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) sheds light on this election for Christians.  Of course each American only gets one vote, but the principle (that we are given a situation and God holds us accountable for putting it to work for Him as best as we can) still applies.  Judging the candidates as not worthy of a selection is the equivalent of the “wicked servant” saying (v. 24)  “'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. ” That servant met a bad end.  The ones with 2 and 5 talents didn’t sit around complaining or wishing for better, they just did the best they could with what they’d been given.  So it will be with me.  I see good and bad qualities, no record (which makes me uneasy) and a record of public service (that troubles me deeply), but I will do my best to seek truth and vote accordingly.  

Perhaps that’s why the thing I find most troubling is what the media is doing on this.  When gossip passes for truth and collusion is occurring, we’re in a world of hurt.   It’s no surprise that the media has long abhorred Christians and what we stand for.  It’s suspicious to me that suddenly the situation is presented to divide Christians from one another on morality grounds.  Is this just a tactic to further bury Christianity with our own shovel?  I think so.  That’s why the issues are important and I’m taking great pains to read widely and evaluate critically.  Sex sells, but truth saves.

“I am also skeptical about voting for a woman for President.”  I hear you.  There are many reasons we elect a President:  (1) to lead us at home; (2) to convey protective allegiance in friendship among our allies, (3) to present strength and resolve in the face of our enemies, and (4) to cast a vision Americans can unify behind to work toward a noble goal.  Perhaps my greatest fear is that some women will vote for Hillary simply because she’s a woman and they're not concerned with the impact this superficiality will have on those 4 areas.  Regarding (1) It’s hard to lead at home when we know she considers many of us irredeemable and deplorable.  Those words cannot be softened to mere disagreement.   They’re fundamental.  (2) Our allies have learned what she is like from her role as Secretary of State.  She has a record here that’s all her own. (3) But it is our enemies that I believe present the greatest danger.  The enemies of America do not respect women.  We cannot force them to do so.  I dread the idea that we will be targeted for destruction because they believe women should not get an education or show their faces in public…and certainly not lead the last remaining superpower.  Easy to topple.  I would hate to see a day when our military cannot regard our Commander-in-Chief as authoritative and the Selective Service would require enlistment of women and turn back into a draft to fight wars on many fronts against a Legion of Enemies.  Why do I fear this?  Past experience.  Forcing women into the pastorate has split churches.  Forcing women into any male dominated institution alters it or destroys it.  Regarding the military echelon, I do not believe this is an experiment to be tried at this time no matter how noble in principle it might seem.   The innocent days of an honorable Thatcher have given rise to an enemy that beheads.  And finally (4) I do not know that I can pinpoint a vision for America with Mrs. Clinton since she doesn’t appear to be leading anywhere other than where we’re already going.

“Any Biblical insight would be appreciated.I feel like America will seal it's fate on election day....and I still don't feel confident about who to vote for. It seems like the "western" world: Europe, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia is slowly crumbling.”  Yes, it does seem that way.  The basic flow recently has been from Christianity’s truth declining to secular relativism to Islam’s insurgence/infiltration. That is why Europe is waking up a little too late from their romantic naiveté .  May it not be for us.  Ultimately this is a spiritual thing and why my goal has been to frame this entire election in spiritual terms and in Christian truth.

“Do you think God is using these elections to bring about the Anti-Christ?”  I am long on record that neither President Obama nor the Pope are the antichrist.  Hillary is not the great whore of Babylon.  And Donald Trump may have language I cannot stand, behavior I would imagine he regrets these days, but he’s one of 3 anti-Clinton candidates…not the antichrist.  The spirit of the antichrist has been in this world since Jesus ascended into heaven and this is what Scripture says about how we’ll know.  1 John 2: 18 “Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.”   1 John 4:2 “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. 4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.“

Therefore, I will not worry about the future.   The Holy Spirit residing in every believer will keep us safe and deliver us from evil and through any difficulties so that even if our bodies suffer in this world, they cannot snatch us out of the loving hand of God our Father.  As in the days of the flood and the exodus from Egypt, God delivers through it…not rapturing us from it.

One final note:  If you choose to vote for one or the other candidate for reasons related to issues, your vote will be a vote for change of direction… or more of the same, but I don’t think the man of lawlessness is on the ballot.  (I’ve got my own ideas of who is fomenting disorder and anarchy, rebellion against authorities and exaltation of a borderless government, but he’s not on the ballot.)

I’ll close with what Scripture says about him:  
2 Thessalonians 2: 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter. 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

Verses 13-17 make a fitting closure and benediction, do they not?  :)

Blessings to you, in Christ always, Barbara <><
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PS.  With your permission, I’d like to post your questions to my blog since they are so wise.  
PPS.  And of course, also, if you have any follow-ups, I’m happy to engage with you on them. Thanks for the great questions and the opportunity to answer them!  

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QUESTION: This is not really a follow up question, more like a longer BIGGER thank you for your amazing, clear, and wonderfully helpful answer to my question. I have been feeling such a burden about these upcoming elections and so terribly uneasy. Sadly, I can't ask these questions in church since, well, the Pastor has made his opinions clear. I feel like this same thing is happening in many churches and voters will be going to the polls with so many burning questions on their conscience. Just getting these questions off my chest has been helpful. They've mostly been bottled up and left unanswered.

I'll have to read your answer several times and pray and meditate on it before I will decide who to vote for. I liked your example of the Parable of the Talents. I suppose it is better to cast my vote (weighing the talents of both Candidates) than to bury my vote in the sand. I know Christians aren't supposed to be afraid. But for some reason I have been afraid of picking the wrong person and forever being among the crowd of people whose vote foolishly helped "doom" our country.

I am the sort of person who wants to know 100% that I'm making the right decision, yet with this election, it's been so murky. On one side there is Hillary with 40 years experience in the political realm. On the other hand I don't think many men in the Middle East will respect Hillary. This has been my number one concern since the beginning. Will Muslims really respect a woman? I know women who chant "girl power" but forget that there are countries where this concept does not exist; where respect for women is still a long way off.

And then there's Trump with not much political experience and an ego that could be dangerous too. His interest in Putin concerns me as well. Also a Wall across Mexico sounds crazy! On the other hand Trump has made some wise observations about the Middle East and Syrian refugee immigration in the USA. It's a conundrum of a predicament for sure! But I think what I value most about your response is the peace and comfort you have given me through your answer. I have been in such a tumult since this election began. I have had such heated debates, anxiety, doubt, and fear. What I really lacked throughout this is peace.

Thank you for reminding me that God holds me in his hands, and despite what happens on election day, I am still His. My vote can never lessen or diminish God's love for me. He'll love me even if I make the "right" vote and he'll love me even if I make the "wrong" vote. Verses 13 -17 were JUST what I needed to hear.

I don't know who is going to win on election day....but when that person is revealed...I know not to be afraid or focus on what may happen. Christ is my hope and encouragement.

Thank you,

Priscilla

P.S. Yes you may post this question/answer on your blog. God Bless :-)

Answer
Thank you for permission.  :)
I won't use your last name but may title the series of posts "A Conversation with Priscilla" to make it as personal to the heart of every person reading it as it is to you and truthfully, as it is to me as well.  I often find I am every bit as encouraged by researching and writing the answers.

A couple more points associated with your follow-up, yes, pastors are disinclined to preach into the political (particularly against the status quo) even to display the spiritual.  Part of that is fear that they will be punished with revoking of their non-profit standing.  I did a (frankly) long-winded series of comparing political platforms which addressed-- in each party's own words-- what they stand for. This is the first with locations of each party platform.  http://seminarygal.com/comparing-political-platforms-part-1/   
One of the provisions in the Republican platform on page 34 reads, "We value the right of America’s churches, pastors, and religious leaders to preach and speak freely according to their faith. Republicans believe the federal government, specifically the IRS, is constitutionally prohibited from policing or censoring the speech of America’s churches, pastors, and religious leaders. We support repeal of the Johnson Amendment, which restricts First Amendment freedoms of all nonprofit organizations by prohibiting political speech. "  It is that amendment that makes pastors uncomfortable preaching what the Bible says about issues deemed "political." Repealing it would certainly be in the direction of a more faithful Church.

I am presently working on a video (amateur but the best I can do) outlining why American women shouldn't use their vote as a statement of sisterhood, rather they should consider this vote with the same care and concern with which they'd choose a babysitter, a house painter or a surgeon.  We'd never choose a surgeon based upon skin color or gender...or choose a house painter that had done many homes, but whose reviews didn't convey quality workmanship.  If women vote for Hillary based upon agreement with her on the issues, that's different than choosing her simply because she's female.

Ironically, this type of frank, biblical discussion is what gets lost when people stray from the issues to talk instead about things that are more like gossip than fact.  This is why I've been so sad about the debates.  I don't think it would be an unfair exploration to know how she was treated as Secretary of State by leaders of Muslim nations and whether their permitted use of creative lying within Islam (there are 4 different words in Islam takiya and tawriya are the 2 I remember) gave them the freedom to lie to us because she's a woman, women don't matter, and the cause was important to them.  If so, how much more as president?  It's what Iran did to us... :(

Much of the media spin is making people think Trump's ego is out of this world (when if you read a 2006 article about Tara Conner, former Miss USA, he's certainly no tyrant, but a man who cherishes 2nd chances for others).  For anyone to run for president, they have to have a healthy ego in order to survive.  And all that Putin stuff is largely manufactured.  It's Hillary, through the State Dept, that permitted the sale of half the US Uranium supply to the Russians because the people doing it were political friends.  But where is this on the news?  Really rather sad how much we're being steered...and played, really.

But, like you, I'm reassured to know that even when Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, God preserved them and even fulfilled Scripture through it!  Genesis 50:20 "And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."  Yeah, God is pretty amazing!  :)

After the election, there will be many hurting people.  So many people are burdened for America.  They deeply desire a course correction from where America has been headed in the past 20 years and they've invested their hearts and hope.  It's not just nostalgia.  It's love for a way of life we call America and the cuts have been deep during this election season.  My Advent devotional series will address the pain which will inevitably arise for many and is called "Timeless: the Message of Christmas for All Ages."  After this assault upon our attitudes, we could all use some timeless hope and timeless love that first showed his face in a manger.  :)
Bless you for your kind words!  Barbara <><

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Barbara Shafer

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Barbara Shafer (Seminary Gal now also at http://seminarygal.com ) I am an Evangelical Christian who is willing to answer faith questions in a thoughtful, researched manner. In particular, my heart`s desire is to assist those who need answers regarding suffering and those seeking to reconcile the Christian faith with the field of science. SeminaryGal.com

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I have a Masters of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I particularly enjoy apologetics (defense and explanation of the Christian faith) and systematic theology (understanding how the Bible itself supports various aspects of Christian doctrine). Both of these play a vital role in the "nuts and bolts" of evangelism... but the heart of Christian evangelism is love and compassion. A turning point for me was when I experienced the loss of my daughter Julia. Since then, my heart has been to help people who struggle to understand the Christian faith (and those who may be questioning the goodness of God) in light of the problem of evil and suffering. I've been informally answering Bible questions via other Internet avenues for over 10 years- to skeptics and believers alike. Thank you for blessing me with these opportunities.

Education/Credentials
Master of Divinity, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

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