While good-intentioned as these arguments may be, I reject them for at least the following reasons: (1) The political atmosphere is only a byproduct of the cultural war, which we evangelicals as a whole have given up on long ago. If we're to worry about tainting our witness to the world, it must start first and foremost with the cultural war, (2) We have a solid history in Scripture where our fellow-saints were able to live in good conscience, given the circumstances around them, with supporting immoral people in office (or a position of political power) and even helping them attain such a position. The situation we face today is similar. And we would do well to follow their example. (3) Seeking the world's approval should be the furthest thing from us - even when it comes to politics.
Political Power vs. Cultural Power
Politics tends to follow on the heels of culture. When you look at Israel, for example, you see them as a humbled people crying out to the Lord for help (Ex. 2:23, 24-25), and He sends them the most humble man in all the earth (Num. 12:3) to deliver them from Egypt (Ex. 3:9, 10).
Then when their culture turns away from fearing the Lord, they reject God as their king (1 Sam. 8:7) and ask for a human king in order to be like "all the other nations" (1 Sam. 8:19, 20). [Despite the fact they were supposed to be different from all the other nations in their culture, religion, and even political regime (Deut. 4:6, 7, 8).]
Eventually, their culture disintegrated from one of worshiping the one true God, in the way He prescribed, into worshiping other gods on all the high places (that is, in all the wrong ways). And when that happened, even after continued calls for repentance from the prophets He sent them (2 Chron. 24:19), eventually God gave them only two bad (or, more appropriately, evil) political choices: Stay with Coniah and see the utter destruction of Jerusalem (Jer. 21:8-10), or surrender to Nebuchadnezzar and be able to live, and, through humble prayer, even prosper (Jer. 29:7 - yes, prosper even under an unbelieving, wicked ruler).
The book of Judges, of course, shows this same theme. The culture is taken with pride and wickedness, and an evil political ruler is given to them. The culture is eventually then characterized by humble repentance, and a deliverer is given them.
I don't think we should be surprised to see God do the same thing with other nations (see the book of Jonah for one). And I'm inclined to believe He's doing the same with modern America.
So what's wrong with our culture?
Well, there's nowhere near enough space in a single blog post to document the entire list. But think about just basic categories, and I think you'll start to see some problem areas.
We perceive ourselves and even pride ourselves in this country as being a very "enlightened" culture; yet we fail to see that any true enlightenment (that is, true wisdom and knowledge) must start with its foundation as the fear of the Lord (Prv. 1:7; Jn. 1:9).
And you don't have to be a genius to know that as a culture we do not fear the Lord. It's pretty obvious in our culture that fearing the Lord is in the exact opposite direction of how we pursue "enlightenment."
Enlightenment is considered "being progressive," by things as silly as not using gender specific pronouns, to things as heinous as wanting to abolish the death penalty for convicted murderers, but having no problem murdering 3,000 innocent lives a day.
While the Lord Jesus came into the world to truly enlighten us (Jn.1:9), we as a culture have come to call what is evil good and what is good evil (Isa.5:20ff), which of course invokes the judgment of God (Isa. 5:24).
Certainly there are many Christians at the forefront of some of these issues (and we haven't scratched the surface on "the issues"). But with the amount of Christians in this country and our call to expose the unfruitful works of darkness (Eph. 5:11), for the most part there seems to be a deafening silence from the church.
Of course, I would think the root of this cause is that the church itself is not basing its foundation to wisdom and knowledge on the fear of the Lord.
We're certainly not basing even our beliefs about Him on the Scriptures He's revealed to us. A recent survey by LifeWay Research found that the majority of evangelicals hold to documented heretical beliefs concerning different aspects of basic Christian theology. If we don't even really know the God we worship (Jn. 17:3), how are we going to know how to engage the culture in a way that He's commanded us?
While I think we can change, and pray that we do. As of now...
So much for our "witness" in the realm of America's "enlightenment" ethos...
But speaking of true enlightenment and its foundation in the person of Jesus Christ (Prv. 1:7; Jn. 1:9; Col. 2:3), what have we done in our culture when it comes to education?
Can the majority of Christian parents say they're bringing their children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4; cf. Deut. 6:7), when the majority of Christian children are sent off to our "enlightened" (see above) government-run schools with government-mandated "education," which by and large is antithetical to Christian theology, virtue, and practice?
Even being in the "Bible Belt" won't change the fact that government teachers are not allowed to relate every fact our children are taught to the Creator and Sustainer of all such facts, the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 1:16, 17, 2:3). At best Christ is ignored in our children's' instruction, and at worst He is outright denied.
This is hardly a culture that is bowing the knee to the Lord Jesus Christ. The very basic problem with this is that Christ Himself says that we can't be in neutrality when it comes to Him. We're either for Him or against Him (Mt. 12:30). And though the vulnerability of children's minds are described in Scripture as being "tossed to and fro by the waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine" (Eph. 4:14), we're somehow perfectly fine with sending them to schools that teach Jesus' Lordship is irrelevant or non-existent.
Our culture is clearly against Him in this regard. And in sending our children to government schools (and even some "Christian" schools), we're sending our children to actively learn not to be for Christ, which means we're sending them to actively learn to be against Him.
Again, I think we can change on this and pray that we do. And it's exciting to see faithful Christian schools and homeschooling families grow.
But as of now...
So much for our "witness" in the realm of "education."
Our vote for Trump will supposedly be a stumbling block for our evangelical witness on the grounds that he has a terrible moral character. He's a vulgar, crude, racist, sexist, womanizing, fornicator/adulterer. And if we give him power, we're giving power to vulgar, crude, racist, sexist, womanizing, fornicating/adulterating behavior.
Yet many of the Christians who oppose Trump on such grounds have no problem inviting these same kinds of people into our living rooms weekly (or daily) through our entertainment choices.
Pick a show - past, present, or future - and think of the characters on that show. Chances are (and I would say it's downright guaranteed) that some, if not many (if not all) of the characters in the shows we watch have at least one or all of the same characteristics of Donald Trump: crude, vulgar, racist, sexist, womanizing fornicator/adulterer.
And though we may privately denounce those qualities in those characters, we still watch those shows and give them cultural power.
And then we wonder why our only two practical options in this political race are Trump and Hillary. We're told not to support Trump because of his character; yet his character is the very epitome of what we support throughout the week in the entertainment choices we make. We've told the world for years what we'll accept from them. And all of a sudden when they give it to us, packaged in political form, it's somehow unacceptable?
I don't see how this isn't hypocrisy, my friends.
The difference, I see, when it comes to Trump and our entertainment choices, is that the evangelicals I know who are voting for Trump are doing so reluctantly, and at the same time are publicly repudiating his rebellion against God's commands and his unrepentant attitude.
But I'll let you decide for yourself if you are giving your entertainment choices the same public denunciation for the things those shows get wrong. As of now, I don't think the makers of such shows have received any such message (shame on me as well here - I'll admit).
One last time, I think this can change, and pray that it does.
But as of now...
So much for our "witness" when it comes to entertainment.
Conclusion on Culture
The solution of course is to take back the culture. In the meantime, we do have an important political choice coming up. And while long-term, the cultural war is the bigger fight, God uses the political power He ordains to help restrain evil (Rom. 13:1-7). So as long as we have a voice to use, I say we use it to help restrain as much civil evil as we can while simultaneously re-gaining our ground in the cultural battlefield.
Regarding entertainment I'm not saying the solution is to stop watching TV. And I'm certainly not saying the solution is to support Trump (or TV) with absolute blind support.
I'm saying, we need to live all of our lives (culturally and politically) in light of Scripture. We need to speak out against the evils of this world (Eph. 5:11) when it comes to political candidates just as much as we need to when it comes to our culture and entertainment.
But as I've said before, politics follows culture. If we want to be in a position to have candidates better than Trump and Hillary, we need to regain the fight in the cultural war, and until then, not retreat on the political war.
But that brings me to the second point...
The Saints in Scripture