PALM BEACH, FL: Newlyweds Donald Trump Sr. and Melania Trump with Hillary Rodham Clinton and Bill Clinton at their reception held at The Mar-a-Lago Club in January 22, 2005 in Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Maring Photography/Getty Images/Contour by Getty Images)

Does Character Matter to Wayne Grudem?

Wayne Grudem’s bipolar support of Donald Trump has been nothing short of spectacular to watch in the past ninety days. On July 28th, Dr. Grudem came out forcefully for Donald Trump with weak arguments and flawed logic. After recordings were released of Trump using, uh, vulgar language and multiple women accusing Trump of sexual assault, Dr. Grudem was forced to rescind his support. However, this was not enough for Wayne. Dr. Grudem is back on the #TrumpTrain. Let’s dissect this disastrous explanation.

“Voting for Clinton and her ultraliberal policies is not an option for me as an evangelical Christian. Therefore I am left with two options: (1) vote for Trump, or (2) vote for a third-party candidate whose hopes of winning belong to fantasy, not reality.

And if these are my only two options, then voting for a third-party candidate has the clear effect of helping to elect Clinton, because it is taking my vote away from Trump. That is why the liberal media loved it when I said I was finding it hard to decide.”

Wayne, have you seen the polls? A Trump victory is not based in reality. I live in Georgia and as I write this, I’m watching Trump and Hillary political ads during Sunday night football. Why is that a big deal? Because Georgia, a state that Romney won by 8 points in 2012, is now a swing state with some polls showing Clinton up as much as 5 points. Georgia is not alone… Traditionally red states like Utah and Arizona show Trump struggling, to say the least, along with  Real Clear Politics showing Trump down in a multitude of swing states. To make matters worse, polling guru, Nate Silver currently gives Trump a mere 13.9% chance of winning.

“A caution: There are still three weeks until the election. Given the questionable backgrounds of both candidates, there may still be another major “October surprise” about either Trump or Clinton – or both.

But there is also a positive possibility, because Trump claims he is a changed person from who he was in 2005 and he has apologized for how he acted back then. There is a possibility he has really changed, and I hope it is true. I don’t know. Therefore what I write here is my best judgment as of October 18, 2016, given the information we know now.”

This is complete nonsense. If you still support Trump after his many controversies, then there is nothing he can do in the future to sway your vote. Trump was correct when he said he could murder someone on 5th Avenue and his supporters would still love him.

The “apology” is a personal pet peeve of mine. Evangelicals in particular fawn over Trump’s apology for his comments about the “P” word in 2005. What about every other time Trump legitimately owed someone an apology and didn’t offer one? Did he apologize for his disgusting comments about Megyn Kelly? No. Did he apologize for his deplorable language about the disabled reporter he mocked? No. Did he apologize for being a jerk to John McCain? No. The list goes on… It’s as if evangelicals are responding to Trump like parents fawning over a 3 year old who happens to do one thing right. The only problem is this guy is running for President.

Next, Grudem answers several objections he has faced regarding Trump:

Objection raised to Grudem: (1) “My conscience won’t let me vote for Trump.”

Grudem: Answer: I fail to see how your conscience lets you help Hillary Clinton get elected, for that is the result of withholding your vote from Trump. Does it not trouble your conscience to help advance the terrible harm that she will bring to the nation?

In other words: Disregard your conscience. Make no mistake, this is a prominent evangelical pastor, asking you to violate your conscience. It is truly a baffling statement to claim that if you innately oppose both candidates you are helping one of them get elected. Fun fact for Dr. Grudem:  If not voting for Trump is a vote for Clinton, then not voting for Clinton is a vote for Trump. It’s a zero sum game.

In regard to issues of conscience, in Romans 14 the Apostle Paul went out of his way to protect the conscience of weaker Christians when it came to sacrificed meat. Why doesn’t Grudem do the same here? I totally understand if someone’s conscience leads them to vote for Trump, Hillary or anyone else. What is utterly baffling is a prominent Christian leader asking followers to violate theirs. Grudem’s “answer” should start with, “do not violate your conscience.” Sad!

Objection raised to Grudem: (3) “When faced with the lesser of two evils, choose neither one.”

Grudem: Answer: I agree with this principle when facing a choice between doing two evil actions. For example, when faced with a choice between stealing and telling a lie, I should choose neither one. But this is not that kind of situation. We are not talking about doing something evil. We are talking about voting.

Yes, it is morally evil to commit adultery. It is also morally wrong to approve of committing adultery. But that does not mean it is morally evil to vote for someone who has committed adultery. In a world affected by sin, voting for morally flawed people is unavoidable. Voting for the candidate you think will be best for the country (or do the least harm to the country) is not a morally evil action, so this objection does not apply.

There is a massive difference in voting for morally flawed and morally detestable candidates. All candidates such as Mitt Romney undoubtably have moral flaws. But does Wayne Grudem really view Romney as equally “flawed” as Trump? To claim that Trump is on the same moral playing field of Romney or any other candidate is ridiculously laughable, but more importantly shows the lengths people are willing to go to beat Hillary.

Objection raised to Grudem: (4) “If you vote for Trump you’ll never have credibility in the future when you say that character matters.”

Grudem: Answer: I disagree. The current chaos over Trump’s candidacy (and Clinton’s) is mostly because of character issues, and character will continue to matter in future elections, perhaps even more so because of this election.

On the other hand, if you refuse to vote for Trump, how can you ever have credibility in the future when you say that the policy differences between candidates and between political parties matter?

I have read the Republican platform and the Democratic platform for this year. In my opinion, the Republican platform is more consistent with biblical moral principles than any platform I have ever read. And the Democratic platform is more antithetical to Christian principles than any platform I have read. This is important, because most elected officials vote consistently with their party’s platform most of the time. Policy differences do ultimately determine the future of the nation.

If Trump was a person of character, he could be trusted to appoint conservative justices, oppose  liberal issues and fulfill the Republican platform referenced above. But how can Grudem or anyone else trust someone so much who has been proven time and time again to be reliably unreliable? This is a man (Trump) who was a registered Democrat the vast majority of his life and has an ample amount of videos out there of him boldly embracing issues such as abortion and nationalized healthcare. Wayne, this guy is not trustworthy by any measure.

Supreme Court

Hillary Clinton would quickly replace Justice Scalia with another liberal like Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Kagan. This would give liberals a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court even without Justice Kennedy, and 6-3 when he votes with them.

But that is not all. Justice Ginsburg is 83, and she has had colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, and has a heart stent. Justice Kennedy is 80. Justice Breyer is 78. A President Clinton could possibly nominate three or four justices to the Supreme Court, locking in a far left activist judiciary for perhaps 30 or more years. She could also add dozens of activist judges to federal district courts and courts of appeals, the courts where 99% of federal lawsuits are decided. Judicial tyranny of the type we have seen when abortion rights and same-sex marriage were forced on the nation would gain a permanent triumph.

As I wrote in my last piece opposing Trump: This is the nonsense logic that every reluctant Trump supporter says. However, there are three HUGE problems with this logic. 1. Trump has said that his sister, a federal judge, would make an excellent Supreme Court Justice. His sister is a massive, flaming pro-abortion liberal.  2. After Trump released the list, he said there were other possible names that he could appoint. The list is not any good if the first 12 are conservative and number 13 is a a Ginsburg. 3. Republican presidents suck at appointing conservative justices. For example, Ronald Reagan, conservative folk hero appointed 2 conservatives in William H. Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia but also pointed 2 conservative-moderate justices in Kennedy and O’Connor. George H. W. Bush appointed a raging liberal in David Souter and the conservative stalwart Clarence Thomas. George W. Bush appointed the John “Obamacare can stay because it’s a tax” Roberts and the very conservative Samuel Alito. The point is this: Any sober person would say the past 3 Republican presidents were much more consistently conservative than Trump and still batted only around 50%. If these guys couldn’t get it right, do you really think Trump will? I don’t.

The harsh reality for Trump supporters such as Grudem is this: There is no evidence that Donald Trump will be any better than Hillary Clinton. None. The reason for this is simple, his word is meaningless. On top of blatant lies Trump has told that we need not recount, Grudem makes the case by claiming over and over that Trump is immoral. If someone is completely immoral as Grudem claims, how can they be trusted? People such as Grudem naively try to separate character and policy. It cannot be done. Why should we compromise fundamental beliefs?

I have no doubt that Wayne Grudem is a brother in Christ. He has faithfully shared the Gospel with countless people and has written one of the premiere reference tools on Biblical doctrine. While I respect him greatly, I am baffled and personally disappointed by some of his reasoning for supporting Trump.

Side note: Grudem goes on to list every possible reason you should vote for Trump on almost every conceivable political issue. I answer most of the additional claims here. Read Grudem’s full article here.

About the author

Philip Swicegood

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