Theologian Wayne Grudem and pastor Burwell Stark are both now in the news with some essays about Christians voting for Trump or not. Pastor Stark opposes voting for Trump. Wayne Grudem appears to be at a loss to know what to do.
It appears that neither of the essays by these gentlemen use reasoning that is grounded in either Old Testament history or the experience of Christians since the time of Constantine.
God gave David the kingdom of Israel, although David committed sins along the way and while he was king. One of the most egregious of the sins was adultery with Bathsheba and the following murder of Uriah the Hittite.
A prophet confronted David after these sins and yet God forgave him. God did curse the child of Bathsheba and that child died, yet God let king David live and rule as king.
David was also–or so it appears–grossly negligent in not responding to the rape of Tamar by his son Amnon.
The king has a responsibility to do justice in the land. David’s daughter Tamar was raped by one of David’s sons. Yet nothing, so far as we know from the Bible, was done by David the king to promote justice for Tamar.
So, the future sins of king David, including adultery and murder, were not enough to prevent God from choosing and making David king of Israel.
I Kings 1-3 tells us the story of how Nathan the prophet helped ensure that Solomon would be king after David. Yet Solomon would take foreign wives and worship their gods. The sin of idolatry is abhorrent to God, yet the current or future sins of Solomon did not prevent Nathan the prophet from promoting Solomon as king. Nor did those future sins prevent God from appearing to Solomon and offering Solomon a gift of wisdom.
At the time of God’s appearing to Solomon, Solomon had already taken the daughter of Pharaoh as wife. The seeds of Solomon’s idolatry were in place when God showed himself to him and gave him gifts, implicitly ratifying his being king. The sins of Solomon appear to have included worshiping or tolerating the worship of Molech, god of the Canaanites, I Kings 11:33. This was worship that God particularly abhorred; it is alleged to have included human sacrifice of children.
According to I Kings 11, God says to Jeroboam that He will give to Jeroboam the ten tribes of Israel. However, giving the ten tribes to Jeroboam also had the effect of Jeroboam setting up the golden calves to be worshiped by the Israelites. (After the death of Solomon, the kingdom was divided between Rehoboam, the son of Solomon and Jeroboam.)
Despite sins of avarice, pride and idolatry in both the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom, God had prophets among the people who at times rebuked, counseled and appointed kings. There were two kings of Judah who were highly praised in the Bible yet who left in place ungodly worship in the land.
In Israel, Jehu was appointed and promoted to be king by God through a prophet, II Kings 9. The commission to be king includes the instruction to destroy the house of Ahab.
In our day, many Christians believe that God showed his favor to the American revolution by the fog at the battle of Long Island, by swelling the rivers and streams against Cornwallis in the southern states and by hemming Cornwallis in at Yorktown with the storm. Yet, Christians at times forget that a storm helped destroy the navy of Licinius at the battle of the Hellespont in 324, and some believe God favored the cause of Constantine.
Constantine often won victories against armies that vastly outnumbered his armies and storms gave him victory over a navy of an enemy. Yet Constantine was at times murderous and perhaps paranoid.
Lets suppose that Trump may be guilty of kissing some women without their consent. Lets suppose that he has on a dozen occasions grabbed a body part. Lets admit that Trump spoke of kissing or grabbing some women. No matter what version of sins you believe Trump is guilty of, his sins seem light compared to king Saul, king David, other kings of Judah, kings of Israel such as Jeroboam, perhaps Jehu and perhaps Constantine. The sins of Trump seem light when compared to those of Elizabeth I, a queen whom God used, for the Bible says that anyone who hates is a murderer.
It is only by being willfully blind to the working of God in history that a person might believe it is morally bad to vote for Trump, based on Trump’s kissing and groping, whether actual or spoken of. It would be like saying David could not be king because he took Bathsheba, that Solomon could not be king because he married an Egyptian, that Constantine could not rule because he coined coins saying Sol Invictus and that Queen Elizabeth I could not be Queen because she had jealous hatred against Lettice Knollys, wife of Dudley and that Elizabeth could not be Queen because her mother had only married Henry after an unlawful divorce.
It is hard to believe that theologians and pastors could draw conclusions about voting for or against Trump without a careful consideration of the variety of sins in the lives of kings, queens and emperors God favored, chose, appointed or used for His purposes. In fact, the better theology seems to have been found in the mouths of some women discussing voting for Trump.