12 Voting Options in a Trump Election

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It’s too soon to know how everything will shake out, but it’s not too early to start thinking about what an Evangelical Christian would do if faced with an unfortunate Trump v. Sanders or Trump v. Clinton vote for president.

I see 12 options (a list made with the help of friends):

  1. Political apathy, skip the vote altogether because it lacks Christian priority to begin with.
  2. Refuse to vote based on a settled conscience-based objection to the major presidential options.
  3. Refuse to vote to send a message to a politician or a political party for reform, and vocalize the decision.**
  4. Refuse to vote as act of “settled judgment” on America, and vocalize the decision.
  5. Refuse to vote for president, but vote on issues and congressional races and everything else.
  6. Vote for a third party or write-in candidate with no hope of winning, and vote on everything else.
  7. Rally around one particular third party or write-in candidate who could perhaps be given a chance to win, and vote on everything else.
  8. Vote for cancellation by casting a vote for the candidate opposite the one you most oppose, thereby cancelling out one of their votes.**
  9. Vote utilitarian by choosing the major candidate by using a lesser-of-two-evils mentality.*
  10. Vote utilitarian by choosing a major candidate based on who would appoint the best SCOTUS judges.
  11. Vote utilitarian by choosing the major candidate who would most likely avoid global warfare and the death of civilians.
  12. Pack up and flee before the wall is finished.***

In thinking through the options:

  1. This strikes me as lamesauce neighbor-neglect and potentially disastrous for local issues on the ballot, not to mention for solid republican candidates running for any one of 469 congressional seats up for election in November.
  2. Perhaps; but this again seems to ignore all the issues and all the candidates on the table.
  3. Perhaps useful in encouraging future reforms going forward, but I think the point has been made.
  4. This runs the risk of projecting to our culture a false gospel: Our ultimate hope is in the right Republican candidate.
  5. Realistic.
  6. I could do this.
  7. Maybe; but this one candidate would need to be chosen fast and chosen unanimously and backed by all his/her closest rivals. How would this be done? Has it been done?
  8. I cannot imagine voting for someone I am not for.
  9. Based on whose rank of evils?! Which evils get stopped? Which evils get a pass? Abortion? Gay rights? Arrogance in the leader himself? And how staunchly pro-life is Trump to begin with?
  10. Perhaps; but it remains difficult to know how many SCOTUS judges will be selected in the next four years, perhaps none (though four justices are presently 77–82 years old).
  11. Perhaps the pro-life argument could extend to the candidate “least likely to lead us into war,” but if they’re also pro-abortion it’s a moot point.
  12. Very attractive. I hear Ecuador and Panama are beautiful this time of year. In seriousness, it has been suggested to me that a presidential election catastrophe, like the one we may soon face, could help shake confidence in this nation and make it easier for young Christians to uproot, leave America, and join foreign missions work.

So I guess I like options 5, 6, 7 in this scenario.

How about you?

[Suggestions from * Justin Taylor, ** Joe Carter, and *** Joe Rigney.]

On Writing Well

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C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (1952):

Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.

John Henry Newman, personal letter (March 2, 1868; ht: Justin Taylor):

First, a man should be in earnest, by which I mean, he should write, not for the sake of writing, but to bring out his thoughts. He should never aim at being eloquent. He should keep his idea in view, and write sentences over and over again till he has expressed his meaning accurately, forcibly, and in few words. He should aim at being understood by his hearers or readers. He should use words which are most likely to be understood — ornament and amplification will come to him spontaneously in due time, but he should never seek them. He must creep before he can fly, by which I mean that humility, which is a great Christian virtue, has a place in literary composition. He who is ambitious will never write well. But he who tries to say simply and exactly what he feels or thinks, what religion demands, what faith teaches, that the gospel promises, will be eloquent without intending it, and will write better English than if he made a study of English literature.

Antinomianism Is Not the Antidote for Legalism

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We can rejoice that Sinclair Ferguson succumbed to years of pressure to turn his three (now somewhat famous) Marrow Controversy lectures into a book, and the book is done and launches soon from Crossway under the title, The Whole Christ: Legalism, Antinomianism, and Gospel Assurance — Why the Marrow Controversy Still Matters.

[Download the original audio files here: part 1, part 2, part 3.]

Yes, this old Scottish theological debate matters, and Ferguson’s three lectures proved life changing for me. I doubt I will ever forget the place I was walking when I first heard Ferguson explain why antinomianism is not the antidote for legalism, and why legalism is not the antidote for antinomianism. One deadly poison cannot cure another deadly poison, but each poison calls for the counterpoison of grace.

Here’s how he says it in the new book (pages 151–170):

Perhaps the greatest misstep in thinking about antinomianism is to think of it simply as the opposite of legalism. . . .

Antinomianism and legalism are not so much antithetical to each other as they are both antithetical to grace. This is why Scripture never prescribes one as the antidote for the other. Rather grace, God’s grace in Christ in our union with Christ, is the antidote to both. . . .

There is only one genuine cure for legalism. It is the same medicine the gospel prescribes for antinomianism: understanding and tasting union with Jesus Christ himself. This leads to a new love for and obedience to the law of God, which he now mediates to us in the gospel. This alone breaks the bonds of both legalism (the law is no longer divorced from the person of Christ) and antinomianism (we are not divorced from the law, which now comes to us from the hand of Christ and in the empowerment of the Spirit, who writes it in our hearts). . . .

In some ways the Marrow Controversy resolved itself into a theological version of the parable of the waiting father and his two sons.

The antinomian prodigal when awakened was tempted to legalism: “I will go and be a slave in my father’s house and thus perhaps gain grace in his eyes.” But he was bathed in his father’s grace and set free to live as an obedient son.

The legalistic older brother never tasted his father’s grace. Because of his legalism he had never been able to enjoy the privileges of the father’s house.

Between them stood the father offering free grace to both, without prior qualifications in either. Had the older brother embraced his father, he would have found grace that would make every duty a delight and dissolve the hardness of his servile heart. Had that been the case, his once antinomian brother would surely have felt free to come out to him as his father had done, and say: “Isn’t the grace we have been shown and given simply amazing? Let us forever more live in obedience to every wish of our gracious father!” And arm in arm they could have gone in to dance at the party, sons and brothers together, a glorious testimony to the father’s love.

But it was not so.

It is still, alas, not so.