‘Any Real True Believer’ Will Support Trump in November, John MacArthur Says

"Pastor and author John MacArthur says in a new interview that President Trump phoned him this summer to offer support and that MacArthur told him 'any real true believer is going to be on your side' in November." - C. Headlines

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Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Well, Trump labeled conservative non-Trumpers "human scum" a while back. Now I guess JMac is calling me an unbeliever.

Somehow, I'm not persuaded to revaluate my election ethics.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

I watched the interview earlier this week. Very surprised at JMac. Not good.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

WallyMorris's picture

Of course, this brings up the perennial question debated at SI for many, many months: If, because of personal beliefs, convictions, and principles (based on Biblical teaching of course) a Christian will not vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, then the options are not hard to see: Vote for Biden/Harris, Vote for a third-party candidate, or Not vote for anyone for President. So I would like to know: Those who will not vote for Trump/Pence, what are you going to do?

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Ken S's picture

Between Biden and Trump, it's a toss-up to me which is the lesser of two evils. I'll either vote third party or not vote for president. I'm not really invested in the American political system anymore.

WallyMorris's picture

Ken: I can appreciate your position. I am not "invested" in American politics as a root solution to problems. The gospel of course is the answer. Nevertheless, no matter where we live, we live within political systems which have very real effects on our lives personally and the churches within which we serve the Lord. Voting is the cumulative and collective statement of choices and direction in a particular nation, state, or local area. If we do not vote, others will vote, perhaps choosing a direction which we will not like. Those who do not vote should think about whether they have a right to criticize what happens as a result of not voting and allowing into political office people who promote anti-Biblical values. If Christians wait for the candidate which fulfills all of their expectations, then Christians will never vote and will perhaps self-righteously feel good about themselves while the country they live in continues to deteriorate.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

Dan Miller's picture

The idea that a Christian would vote for Biden/Harris is difficult to account for. The idea that a Christian would kill themselves is difficult to account for. But neither is, in my view, impossible for a true believer.  

M. Osborne's picture

Our family has been reading through Chronicles for our devotions. The kings of Judah are constantly taken to task for thinking that they need the strength and numbers of outside alliances. I can't see MacArthur's heart, but I'm distressed whenever Christians hang too much support on any political figure. 

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

M. Osborne's picture

Wally wrote, "So I would like to know: Those who will not vote for Trump/Pence, what are you going to do?"

Third party. I do believe I have a stewardship responsibility to vote. I part ways with other believers who think in terms of consequentialist ethics when it comes to voting (e.g., use your vote to obtain the best possible consequences, on the whole). I believe that candidates can disqualify themselves entirely on platform grounds and/or on character grounds. If I believe that the major candidates are disqualified, I have to find an alternative. I completely respect those who prefer to parse their vote in consequentialist terms, and frankly, I agree that the next four years would be better for Christians if Trump wins over Biden. But I'm not sure it's my responsibility to get Trump into office. Feels too much like calling for the Egyptians to help fend off the Assyrians.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Ken S's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

Ken: I can appreciate your position. I am not "invested" in American politics as a root solution to problems. The gospel of course is the answer. Nevertheless, no matter where we live, we live within political systems which have very real effects on our lives personally and the churches within which we serve the Lord. Voting is the cumulative and collective statement of choices and direction in a particular nation, state, or local area. If we do not vote, others will vote, perhaps choosing a direction which we will not like. Those who do not vote should think about whether they have a right to criticize what happens as a result of not voting and allowing into political office people who promote anti-Biblical values. If Christians wait for the candidate which fulfills all of their expectations, then Christians will never vote and will perhaps self-righteously feel good about themselves while the country they live in continues to deteriorate.

Wally, I think I agree with almost everything you said. However, I don't expect that every Christian needs to evaluate Trump in the same way. I'm fine with those Christians who vote for him if their conscience allows it (though I struggle with those Christians who think he is the best president ever). But not every Christian's background is the same, and there are so many of those individual background factors that influence the opinions we hold, including our opinions on presidential candidates. My opinion of Trump was low before the first election and has gotten lower throughout his first term. I did vote for Trump grudgingly the first time, but will not the second time. I think there is also merit in not voting for a bad candidate and sending a message to the party: Give us a better candidate next time!

WallyMorris's picture

I like a lot of what Michael and Ken said. We may reach a point in American politics where neither major party candidate is clearly acceptable. I don't think we are at that point yet with Trump/Pence. Note also that this week's Republican Convention has been the most obviously pro-life Convention in a very long time, highlighting several pro-life speakers. There are other reasons to give the Republican ticket a closer look, but that is a big one. My conscience is completely clear about voting for Trump/Pence. If other Christians do not vote for them, that's fine as long as they do not categorize those who do vote for Trump/Pence as morally and ethically challenged.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

TylerR's picture

Editor

Pro-life must mean more than being against Roe v. Wade. If that law is overturned, abortions will still happen.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

WallyMorris's picture

The Republican speakers said a lot more than just overturn Roe V Wade. Additionally, the difference between the 2 major American political parties concerning abortion is starkly and clearly different. I am not a one issue voter, but this issue is a big one. One political party officially believes murder of babies is acceptable, the other does not. Even if a Christian does not vote for Trump/Pence, perhaps voting for other Republicans and the few Democrats who are against abortion is worth considering.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN

amomentofcharity.blogspot.com

DLCreed's picture

WallyMorris wrote:

Those who will not vote for Trump/Pence, what are you going to do?

I will either vote 3rd Party or just not vote in the Presidential race.  I have plenty of more palatable options down ticket.  As for the stale argument that if I don't vote for someone in a particular office race, I don't have a voice to criticize or complain later.  Nonsense.  The 1st Amendment does not have an exception for refusing to vote for two fundamentally corrupt candidates.  Political parties and candidates have a responsibility to earn my vote/support.  Neither one running for President meets that mark, so I choose none of the above.  It is futile for anyone to try and change my mind on this -- many have tried.

FTR, Trump is NOT a conservative.  He is a Populist who has embraced generally conservative positions in order to reach a political consensus of support that empowers him.  There's a big difference in a Principled Conservative and a Populist one.  While I love and respect John MacArthur, I don't seek nor desire his approval when I walk into the voting booth nor is he in any position to evaluate my spiritual condition when I do.  He needs to stay in his lane.

dgszweda's picture

I find Dr. MacArthur's comments a bit distressing.  He is effectively subordinating the Kingdom of God to the kingdoms on earth.  Whether we vote for Trump or not, neither affirms or disaffirms our beliefs.  We are first and foremost a member of the Kingdom of God, and not even the Gates of Hell can remove us from that fold.  We are held accountable by our beliefs and actions.  He goes down a very dangerous slippery slope here that I don't believe is sustainable from within Scripture.  Now if he said that we agreed with abortion or that we would vote for pro-abortion candidates that is one thing.  But instead he equates that someone can only be considered saved if they voted for Trump.  Trump mocks God, has a disdain for marriage, is fine having sexual relations outside of marriage, lies, puts down other people, is narcisstic...and the list goes on.  He is not a God fearing honorable man, he is a man that focuses on telling his base what they want to hear, and a man that is more focused on himself than anything else.  He, as president, has no control over abortion or the lifestyle of sinners.  The United States is not a theocracy and we cannot legislate salvation.  The United States does not have a covenant with God and has no future in the Kingdom of Heaven.  We need to get off of this train of thought that is so pervasive within the evangelical world.

Telling me that if I don't vote for Trump, I may not be saved is unscriptural at best and heretical at worse.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Read J.I. Packer's thoughs about the Christian and elections. He presents a much more careful explanation than Pastor MacArthur's. He explained, "We should be led in our voting by issues rather than personalities, and not by single issues viewed in isolation, but by our vision of total community welfare. This is one way, real if small, in which we may exert influence as the world’s salt and light (Matt. 5:13–16)."

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Joel Shaffer's picture

I am one of the elders at a multi-ethnic church where 1/3 of the congregation will end up voting for Trump, 1/3 will vote for Biden, and 1/3 will vote for a 3rd party candidate.  Those who will vote for Biden are pro-life democrats that realize most of Trump's pro-life accomplishments are only bully-pulpit. French does a masterful job explaining how little impact a president really has on the pro-life movement (even with appointing judges).   https://frenchpress.thedispatch.com/p/do-pro-lifers-who-reject-trump-have The two main reasons (Abortion and Religious Liberty) why most white evangelicals vote for Trump aren't even on Trump's 50 pt Fight for America plan for 2nd term,   He throws us a bone to keep us happy and then ignores us with anything of substance (all talk, but little action). https://www.donaldjtrump.com/media/trump-campaign-announces-president-trumps-2nd-term-agenda-fighting-for-you

I will most likely vote for a 3rd party candidate. If Justin Amash had been the Libertarian candidate, I would've voted for him. He's been the US Rep in my district and is the most consistent and principled politician out there.   I probably won't go with the current libertarian candidate because she is pro-choice. I am looking at the Solidarity party as a protest vote.  Their platform is based on Catholic Social Thought with an emphasis on the dignity of human beings (including pre-born). They emphasize their principle of Subsidiarity (in handling the COVID-19 crisis) which is that most social problems are best handled at the most local level possible.  

There is a small possibility that I vote for Biden. Not because he would be a better president than Trump for America, because I think Biden's policies and the trend of his party towards the left is an absolute train wreck.  But rather because of the negative effect Trump is having on Bible-believing churches as they drift towards the idolatry of Christian nationalism and an unhealthy trust/reliance on Trump to save them from America's cultural evils.  Yesterday, one of my close urban ministry colleagues shared with me a meeting that he had with a supporting church where one of the pastors told him that "since you were American before you were a Christian, that is your first obligation." This did not come from one of the crazy KJV-only IFB Jack Hyles-type churches, but rather from an IFCA church in West Michigan. 

Because our citizenship is in heaven, and the body of Christ are resident aliens in the current state of the world, I care much more about the purity of the church than I do what happens if America continues its slide towards moral decay or its slide towards socialism. 

As for MacArthur, it is quite apparent from: his recent sermons on social justice, his most recent theological justification of defying government order (the relationship between the state and church) and now his most recent statement where he doubts the reality of one's faith based on whether they vote for Trump or not, that JMac is way over his head when it comes to teaching about Christian Social Ethics (which these 3 topics fall under)  As a discipline, one not only needs to really know theology, but also know philosophy, history, and the social sciences to be competent as a Christian social ethicist.  He has mastery in 1 of the 4. And yet many conservative evangelicals give him a platform because he is a mega-church pastor that has published so many books. 

It seems as if JMac is starting to resemble Dr. Carl McIntire (minus all of the crazy theatrics that McIntire was known for) with how his fundamentalism informs his socio-political views. As one who benefited from JMac's teachings in my formative years of the late 1980's, this is sad indeed.  

 

Bert Perry's picture

I'm no fan of what Trump has been morally--a womanizer who has in my view often abused bankruptcy law to protect his casinos and whose public statements often boggle the mind--but the flip side is that a vote for Biden is:

  • A vote to have a man with dementia conduct foreign policy in a world where too many of our neighbors want to kill us.
  • A vote to enshrine abortion into our national fabric at public expense for another generation.  (we might get it anyway, but a Democrat in the White House pretty much guarantees it)
  • A vote to severely curtail the police role in curtailing violent crime, and many big cities run by Democrats are already seeing increases in the murder rate of 50% or more.
  • A vote (Kamala Harris history) to refuse to hold prosecutors accountable for abuses in criminal justice.
  • A vote against strong national defense, and for supporting the mullahs in Iran.
  • A vote for destroying affordable fossil fuel energy and against a strong economy.
  • A vote against the right to keep and bear arms, a right that just might come in handy as Democrats eviscerate the police.

I could go on, but hopefully you get the picture.  Our nation has survived sexually immoral leaders like Kennedy, Johnson, Roosevelt, and Clinton.  Our nation has survived serial liars in the White House like Clinton and Obama.  I do not know whether our country can survive the far left's campaign to destroy the institutions of civil society, or the levers of power being held by someone whose mind is clearly weak.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Joel wrote:

JMac is way over his head when it comes to teaching about Christian Social Ethics (which these 3 topics fall under)  As a discipline, one not only needs to really know theology, but also know philosophy, history, and the social sciences to be competent as a Christian social ethicist.  He has mastery in 1 of the 4.

This is precisely what I've been struggling with regarding this issue. I'm just not equipped right now to understand everything going on. A floodgate has burst open, and I;m struggling. I'm more well-read than many (that's my humility speaking), and I'm floundering to substantively think through all this. I mean, really think through it all. Many pastors content themselves with the Founders documentary, follow the usual Reformed suspects on Twitter, and repeat what they say. That's not good enough. This was the sentiment behind my "I'm in over my head" article a few weeks ago.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Mike Harding's picture

When I watched Mac's interview on this matter, my conclusion was not an endorsement of Trump per se, but rather an endorsement of his "side" of the issues.  In other words, that he was in agreement with the platform of the Republican side and assumed Christians would agree.  Mac gave a few examples such as abortion, partial-birth abortion, tax-payer funded abortion, LGBTQ issues, same-sex marriage, religious liberty, respect for Law enforcement, Israel, military. Biden has become beholden to Sanders, Pelosi, Schumer, the Squad, and the radical left-wing drift of the Dem party.  If Joe was the former Biden, he would be more tolerable.  But those days are gone, I'm afraid.  Biden, like Trump, has a lot of personal issues too.  Even his own VP candidate has stated publicly that she believes the women who have accused Biden of sexual assault.

Pastor Mike Harding

Mark_Smith's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

When I watched Mac's interview on this matter, my conclusion was not an endorsement of Trump per se, but rather an endorsement of his "side" of the issues.  In other words, that he was in agreement with the platform of the Republican side and assumed Christians would agree.  Mac gave a few examples such as abortion, partial-birth abortion, tax-payer funded abortion, LGBTQ issues, same-sex marriage, religious liberty, respect for Law enforcement, Israel, military. Biden has become beholden to Sanders, Pelosi, Schumer, the Squad, and the radical left-wing drift of the Dem party.  If Joe was the former Biden, he would be more tolerable.  But those days are gone, I'm afraid.  Biden, like Trump, has a lot of personal issues too.  Even his own VP candidate has stated publicly that she believes the women who have accused Biden of sexual assault.

Yep. That's what it is.

Mark_Smith's picture

Have you asked yourself who is really running the show and is in the shadows behind him, propping him up?

 

As for Senators and Reps. I have a couple of challenging choices to make for the general election. The Republican candidates for my Senator and House Rep are all new (the old ones all retired). But they are not who I would pick. But, even if potentially tempted to vote for the Democrat candidate, I remember that voting for a Democrat Senator, even if "pro-life", a vote for them is a vote for Charles Schumer to be the Senate Majority Leader. Period. A vote for a Democrat for the House, no matter how good individually they may be, is a vote to keep Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker of the House. Those are all deal-breakers for me. Call that "consequentialist ethics" all you want, but they are facts.

Bert Perry's picture

It strikes me that we've got an issue of individual soul liberty--where we have the right to make certain decisions, but God will hold us accountable for them.  It strikes me that JMac's statement seems to, in my view, infringe on this; I concur with him on what the best option is in the voting booth, but I don't know that believers are, or ought to be, that monolithic.

(and the attempt to make us so can have disastrous consequences)

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

I don't have a vote. I'm not an American. I think, however, it would be extremely foolish to contribute towards any Democratic gains in any political race.

I would do everything in my power to prevent that.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

M. Osborne's picture

I think Christians can be agreed on a lot of first-order biblical principles and inferences (e.g., it's wrong to kill a baby in the womb), and still come to different conclusions about more inferential matters (e.g., it's wrong ever to vote for someone who supports abortion). To me, support for abortion disqualifies a candidate...maybe even the candidate for county register of deeds where they have no say. But I recognize a Christian may hate abortion and for some reasons they view to be more important / overriding, vote for a candidate who supports abortion. Ugh. In the meanwhile, I'll try to persuade them that abortion is a pretty grave perversion and someone who's OK with abortion is already to some degree "given over" by God. (Like the imprecatory psalms where the psalmist asks that the enemies' children be dashed against the rock...God may be ironically answering the prayer by letting the enemy do it themselves and argue for the right to do so.)

I was talking with our pastor a few weeks ago about the cakes-for-homosexual-weddings issue. How would we counsel a church member pressured to do something like that? We would counsel against it. Would we discipline a person for participating? Or can a Christian legitimately believe, "It's just a cake and does not constitute my endorsement." Since I believe that creating a cake in an artistic way in some sense celebrates a wedding, and that a wedding is a public approval and recognition of a union (why else would they traditionally ask objectors to speak up at the wedding?), that a Christian should not bake a cake. But I recognize that I get to that conclusion because I understand artistry, communication, and the nature of weddings in a certain way.

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

dgszweda's picture

Mike Harding wrote:

When I watched Mac's interview on this matter, my conclusion was not an endorsement of Trump per se, but rather an endorsement of his "side" of the issues.  In other words, that he was in agreement with the platform of the Republican side and assumed Christians would agree.  Mac gave a few examples such as abortion, partial-birth abortion, tax-payer funded abortion, LGBTQ issues, same-sex marriage, religious liberty, respect for Law enforcement, Israel, military. Biden has become beholden to Sanders, Pelosi, Schumer, the Squad, and the radical left-wing drift of the Dem party.  If Joe was the former Biden, he would be more tolerable.  But those days are gone, I'm afraid.  Biden, like Trump, has a lot of personal issues too.  Even his own VP candidate has stated publicly that she believes the women who have accused Biden of sexual assault.

 

What I find interesting is that every four years there is a lot of fearmongering around abortion within the evangelical camp.  That if we elect Clinton, Obama.... abortions will finally be legal.  We have had conservative president after conservative president in office since 1973 with little to no affect on abortion.  We have a conservative supreme court and no affect on abortion.  Abortion in 2019 is the lowest in absolute numbers than at any time since Roe v Wade in 1973 without any presidential influence.  Why are we willing to accept an ungodly man, because he capitulates to a base that feeds his narcistic tendencies.  It isn't a topic on his platform.  I am surprised at how much the evangelical right has sold themselves to, for an abortion cause in which they have had no affect on, and one in which the president has no influence on.

Paul J's picture

I'm a follower of Jesus first and this should drive all my decisions.  I'm not a Republican or Democrat first, people are holding too these paries which will rise and fall.  I'm glad that we are in this season as it helped me see how I've been too aligned with a party and not looking at it for its faults and flaws. Last week I listen to an interview with Justin Giboney a founder and part of the leadership of And Campaign.  It is interesting how this current presidency and political climate is stirring up Christian to action.  One of his points in the conversation is how white evangelicals voted for Trump at over 81% and folks from traditional black churches voted 89% for Hilary and both are not being heard by the parties.  Their vote has just become a given. On the right, rather than standing for Trump these leaders should be challenging him and confronting him, on the left these traditional folks need to be holding their candidates accountable to how they believe when it comes to moral issues rather than just being expected to vote for these candidates. Just buck-up and hold your nose.  If Christians still have a voice they should be using it as citizens.  I've found French's writings interesting as he speaks of religious liberty rather than religious power and the fear we keep hearing from the Christian leaders.  I personally feel free from the political blinders I've worn for the past 20 years.  https://andcampaign.org/

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

WallyMorris wrote:

Of course, this brings up the perennial question debated at SI for many, many months: If, because of personal beliefs, convictions, and principles (based on Biblical teaching of course) a Christian will not vote for Donald Trump and Mike Pence, then the options are not hard to see: Vote for Biden/Harris, Vote for a third-party candidate, or Not vote for anyone for President. So I would like to know: Those who will not vote for Trump/Pence, what are you going to do?

I'll most likely write someone in. Or vote and leave that spot empty. Write-in is more likely.

  • Objection: this is a "wasted vote" or "vote for the other side."
  • Response: It's only wasted if all that matters is who wins the election. As Christians, we know more matters than the immediate outcome of our actions. Way more. Infinitely more, in fact. The second is self-evidently not true, but I can prove it easily enough:
    • Fact: There are options on the ballot that are distinct from voting for the Democratic ticket. 
    • Fact: These options are mutually exclusive: you can only pick one.
    • Fact: Voting for a write in or leaving it blank, are among the other, distinct-from-Democtratic-ticket options.
    • Therefore, these options are not the same.
    • Short version: things that are different are not the same.

I've asserted this additional self-evident truth many times, and defended it despite the fact that--to Christians--it's self-evident: God cares about more than the outcomes of our actions.

Motives matter, values matter, principles matter, messaging matters, culture matters, how our actions reflect on the faith we claim and the Savior we claim matters, ethos matters, persuasive power matters, walking our talk matters.

Many more things than abortion matter.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

dgszweda's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

Motives matter, values matter, principles matter, messaging matters, culture matters, how our actions reflect on the faith we claim and the Savior we claim matters, ethos matters, persuasive power matters, walking our talk matters.

Many more things than abortion matter.

I don't know the details of the call that Dr. Mac and President Trump had.    But it would have been sad if the focus was on how much Christians will support him and how those who do not support him are not Christians, and not on the gospel.  He should have been confronted of his sin and his need of repentance.  Too many evangelical leaders are looking to siddle up to him and gain some level of acceptance or praise by engaging with him.  I scratch my head as to what we now accept.

JD Miller's picture

I made this statement after the last presidential election.  God voted for both Obama and Trump.  I did not.  The point is that God can allow or stop whoever he wants to.  At the same time, I will vote as I exercise the stewardship God has entrusted us with.  

 This time I plan to vote for Trump, even though I did not the last time.  I believe each of us has the soul liberty to vote our conscience.  

I appreciated what Wayne Grudem wrote to a friend of his a while back on why he plans to vote for Trump.  It is worth a read so that we can at least understand why a large number of evangelical conservatives are making the choice they are making.   Here is the link:  https://townhall.com/columnists/waynegrudem/2020/08/08/letter-to-an-antitrump-christian-friend-n2573909?fbclid=IwAR0R-ocyrpDnLaFVDilJx0BIghK47hTEQfNCLIHNzenuqsAnicaCc0QCPTc

He sums up a lot of the points Mike Harding made, but in much more detail.  It is not just about abortion.  It is also about social justice for minorities.  To listen to the the media you would think that Trump has been out attack minorities.  When you look at the policies he has implemented it is just the opposite.  He is helping the downtrodden.  As a Christian, I like that.

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