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Spurgeon Doesn't Help Us With Trump

Of two evils, choose neither." Spurgeon's quote has been posted numerous times on social media by Christians who find themselves in a moral conundrum at the very thought of voting for either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Here’s the problem with Spurgeon’s idea. Biblically there is no such thing as a choice between two evils. Let me explain.

Moral philosophers and theologians have long spoken of the problem of "tragic moral choice", also known as the “incommensurability in values.” The man on the street simply calls it “choosing between the lesser of two evils.”  

The best known example of tragic moral choice is the one about the Nazis during WW II. Do you handover the Jews knowing that your choice makes you complicit in their deaths? Or do you lie and violate the Ninth Commandment? The Lutheran scholar, John Warwick Montgomery, has argued that such choices are unavoidable and of necessity cause us to sin.

The Bible, however, takes a dim view of the so-called lesser of two evils idea.  God never puts us in a position in which we can’t escape evil. This is for the reason that the Bible presents a consistent moral ethic. To argue for tragic moral choice is to operate on the wrong assumption that Scripture presents a confused ethic. It is always our duty to make choices that honor God. And to opt out of making a choice exclusively because one is convinced that no honorable choice is possible is to misunderstand the logic of Scripture.

One reason people think they are trapped between the lesser of two evils is because they confuse this idea with what are really priorities in the Bible. For example, although I am to love all people (1 Pet. 4:8), I am united to my wife in a unique way that images Christ’s love for his church (Eph. 5:25). My love toward her is thus to be prioritized differently than it is toward others. When voting for an elder in my church, Scripture obliges me to vote for a man who meets clear qualifications (1 Tim. 3) such as being “apt to teach”—a priority not mandatory for all church members. A big problem is that many people expect the President of the United States to be as godly as an elder. Sorry, but elder is a higher office.

The second reason many Christians wish to avoid choosing between the lesser of two evils is because they confuse an evil with a wrong.  An “evil” is something that brings suffering. Evil is therefore broader than a wrong.  For example, my back pain is an evil.  To alleviate it, I may choose back surgery, an even greater evil. But my hope is that, although super painful in the short-term, surgery will facilitate complete relief long-term. Starvation, poverty, disease, are also forms of evil. James says that "God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone (1:13). He means we shouldn’t use evil as an excuse to sin. Also, the devil is called “the evil one” (1 John 5:19). So we see the breadth of evil.

A “wrong”, on the other hand, is a sin against God. Steal a candy bar from the 7-11 and you’ve committed a wrong. I am rather confident that “No Trump” evangelicals incorrectly assume that a vote for Trump is a wrong—a sin against God.  

Now let’s make sense of all of this. Imagine our two families are miles from land in a sinking boat. Suddenly, out of the mist, come two boats to save us. One is captained by an adulterer; the other is captained by a thief. Which boat will you get into?  You say, “Neither one. I’m waiting for the evangelical boat which is captained by a devout Christian who will end abortion.” I say, “You’re kidding, right?” You reply, “Both these guys are reprobates and I’m not going to choose between two evils.”

You see what you’ve done? For one, you failed to prioritize scripturally. The immediate priority is to save our families so we can fight another day. Scripture passages against thievery and adultery simply don't apply here.

Second, you confused an evil with a wrong. As bloody painful as it is for you to sit in the adulterer’s boat on the way to dry ground, God doesn’t view you as an adulterer. Neither does he view your choice to get your family into the boat as a "wrong."

Right now our nation is sinking. And two boats are on the way. God is not asking you to pick between “the lesser of two evils.” He asking you to to: (1) Prioritize what Scripture prioritizes. (2) Distinguish an evil from a wrong. 

Is it possible that God, in his infinite wisdom, has brought Trump along, if for no other reason than to prevent this nation from sinking permanently into the abyss of PC progressivism? And that he has done this so that when this nation is back on the ground we can then plan for the kind of constitutional conservative we need for the future?

I don’t know the answer to this question. But I encourage you to vote. I know I will.  

Comments

  1. It's also possible God has brought along two sinking boats so as to sink this nation. Perhaps enough of the innocent blood of our babies screaming from the soil of this nation has filled the cup of iniquity which all nations must finally drink. I have always voted Republican, I understand your point and have always acted in choosing the lesser wrong. Not this time, there's no different between senator Palpatine and his Sith acolyte, either up front evil or evil ' s Trump card, the Manchurian candidate. It is time to stop limping between Jehovah and Baal. This country has chosen Baal. It is time for heaven to burn it down, starting with all the compromised altars soaking with water. I don't mean you sir, for I don't know you. But there's very little taste in the salt of so called Evangelicals. It is time for trampling underfoot, and while I grieve for my adopted country that has been the greatest country, I rejoice in maranatha.

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    1. I feel so similarly to you JR. I recently found the American Solidarity Party. I am learning more about it and I encourage you to do the same! I agree, the ship is sinking. Let's get to building a new ship altogether. We won't see the benefits this election but hopefully 8 or 12 years in the future. We can't save America with these two candidates, but we can start building a new foundation for it.

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  2. It's also possible God has brought along two sinking boats so as to sink this nation. Perhaps enough of the innocent blood of our babies screaming from the soil of this nation has filled the cup of iniquity which all nations must finally drink. I have always voted Republican, I understand your point and have always acted in choosing the lesser wrong. Not this time, there's no different between senator Palpatine and his Sith acolyte, either up front evil or evil ' s Trump card, the Manchurian candidate. It is time to stop limping between Jehovah and Baal. This country has chosen Baal. It is time for heaven to burn it down, starting with all the compromised altars soaking with water. I don't mean you sir, for I don't know you. But there's very little taste in the salt of so called Evangelicals. It is time for trampling underfoot, and while I grieve for my adopted country that has been the greatest country, I rejoice in maranatha.

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  3. Oh, and I will vote either constitution party, libertarian or write in Daffy Duck, but I will vote as I always do. There are senators, congressmen and the dog catcher to elect.

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  4. Oh, and I will vote either constitution party, libertarian or write in Daffy Duck, but I will vote as I always do. There are senators, congressmen and the dog catcher to elect.

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    1. As a Reformed Christian, I know God is in charge of this election, regardless of what I do. I also will vote, as I always do, but I will write in one of the other candidates who dropped, who is respectable and "presidential." If Trump is going to win "in a landslide," my vote won't be missed. If he's going to lose "in a landslide," ditto. If it's a close vote,
      God's still sovereign. I simply cannot conscientiously vote for either Hillary or Donald. If God wishes to punish us as a nation, we certainly can't say it isn't deserved!

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    2. I think I have found my new home with the American Solidarity Party. It will allow me to vote without feeling like I am betraying my country. I encourage you to take a look.

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  5. Your analogy of the rescue boats fails in two regards. One, it assumes that the nation is sinking to such a regard that it needs some sort of unpredictable and rash savior. Of course our culture is failing, but is postmodern amorality (which is what Trump represents) the solution? Secondly, in regards to the rescue boats, it is not that one is piloted by an adulterer so much as by a man who continually shows bad judgement, believes conspiracy theories with no evidence, views unpredictability as an asset, and is explicitly amoral, without even enough self-awareness to know what that even is. So, no I would not get in the boat who shows no sense that he will pilot well, and who advocates lawless murder (killing families of terrorists), and might decide to throw me overboard if it suits him so that his boat "can win." And so yes, a lack of wisdom is not necessarily a sin, but it is... a lack of wisdom.

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  6. ... not get in the boat *with the captain* who shows no sense...

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  7. Found your article via a friend. I agree with the wrong vs. evil distinction, but think your boat analogy is flawed. A boat captain has a very simple set of qualifications--keep afloat and get to shore. Character has almost nothing to do with those considerations, ergo, I don't especially care if my boat captain is a pro-life constitutional conservative who would make Ronald Reagan weep tears of joy. However, the presidency is a much more morally and culturally consequential role. Isn't it possible for us to have two candidates who are both so flawed that we cannot vote in good conscience for either? If it's Hitler vs. Mao, shouldn't we sit it out? I'm not saying Trump is Hitler (you have to believe in something bigger than yourself to be Hitler), but the point is that "least worse" isn't always the way to go. For what it's worth, this article from yesterday offers something of a counterpoint to yours: http://davidvogel.net/2016/05/04/nevertrump-now-ever/

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    1. Greetings David. I like your point. Yes it is possible to have two fatally flawed candidates. And we may just have that here. But the point if the post is not to suggest that you must pick one of them, but to look at Spurgeon's quote in the context of deciding. Point being that God never puts us in a place where all we can do is choose evil. In this case the best choice may be a write-in. I'm considering that. Grace and peace.

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    2. I'm sorry for commenting so much, I'm just confused. The point of this blog post was to say that Charles spurgeon's quote does not apply to the election. The quote being, "of two evils, choose neither", and your thesis being biblically there is no such thing as a choice between two evils. So as I begin to wrap my head around this as I write and try to understand what you meant in the post rather than what was said in the post, God never allows one to be in a place where evil is the only option? And you are praying to figure out what is God's option in this election, be it vote for trump or a write-in? Maybe you are saying that this quote is being used by Christians to not go out and vote at all, which agreed would not be good.
      I think I have found your heart behind the post, I just believe you were not clear, and it sounded very much like you were defending a Christian vote for trump.

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  8. Your analogy also fails because someone will win the presidency whether we participate or not. Neither Trump nor Clinton will rescue this country from what ails it, since neither has a clue to what that is. Trump thinks he can solve the country's financial problems but even if that's true when he continues to call people names and throw temper tantrums what other damage will he cause? He supported the Clintons for years, I have know faith in his changing positions. Also, what you choose to use as the definition of evil is not the primary definition. Hillary and Donald are both liars and cheaters I don't think either is good for the nation. I do have the choice to vote for someone else and I will.

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  10. There are some of helpful distinctions drawn in this blog, namely the wrong versus evil. I am appreciative of the tone taken and the desire to further and deepen the "never Trump" conversation. However, the analogy of a boat piloted by an adulterer is misleading. Climbing in a boat does not require me to endorse the pilot's moral positions, but voting does require that. So, given endorsing someone who advocates abortion or someone who advocates killing women and children in conflict, I choose neither. By your definition of evil versus wrong, endorsing either of those positions would be endorsing sin.

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    1. Hello Devin: as I shared with Austin below, I left a reply. It may help on the "sinking boat" analogy. Maybe. Many blessings!

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    2. Devin: let me add that your point about endorsing the pilot's moral positions is well taken. With that, I am working more the idea that a vote for a candidate is a vote for his/her personal morality. I do realize that one cannot compartmentalize the person from his/her role, and I have long rejected the notion that it "doesn't matter what a person does in his private life..." But I do plan to think thru this more, mainly due to my curiosity into God's appointment of less than stellar men in scripture to rather important positions. Thanks again.

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    3. In scripture, God appointed them, and God used them. And we are reading the story from the future, and we are able to see God's hand in history. For decisions of our future in our society, God has set in place a democracy, where we vote based on moral obligations and belief systems and policies for the betterment of the nation as a whole. Trump does not share the moral obligations of Christians, he does not share the same belief systems, and his policies are very very weak and unadvised. We cannot play God and appoint really "just anybody" and say that God has a plan for him to be there. Maybe it was our disobedience as Christians that got him president. There are many sides of this that many are overlooking

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  11. As pretty much everybody has noted, the analogy is fatally flawed.

    A better analogy is this: You're drowning along with your family. Along come two boats. The first is piloted by a serial-killer pedophile. The second is piloted by a serial-killer pedophile (hyperbole of course, but you get my point). Both claim they will help you, all you need to do is get in their boat.

    In such a case, I'd rather have my family drown with me. If we're all going to die anyway, my last act will be to let my family know how much I love them by *not* handing them over some serial killer pedophile.

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    1. Hi Austin. Please see my reply below. For some reason I couldn't get the "reply" button to work on my computer. Blessings!

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  12. If I may, so far, my sinking boat analogy has been misinterpreted (of course all analogies break down eventually). It's not intended to force you to choose between either boat. It's main function is to help people discern. So I concluded the analogy, "Right now our nation is sinking. And two boats are on the way. God is not asking you to pick between 'the lesser of two evils.' He asking you to: (1) Prioritize what Scripture prioritizes. (2) Distinguish an evil from a wrong." Now if after doing these things, you believe that the choices before you are a "wrong", that is, a sin, then don't pick either. In this election, I'm no more happy with the choices than you are. My point is to say, contra how many read Spurgeon's quote, that God does not hem us in with sinful choices only. Its other function is to say that a President need not be a committed Christian to used of God in emergency situations. Thanks!

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  13. I see that others are in support of the wrong vs. evil distinction, but I don't get it. It seems to me that something can be evil without causing suffering (or at least direct suffering). Also, I've never heard those terms defined in that way from Scripture. Can you explanation how you arrived at those definitions?

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    1. HI. It would be hard to come up with an example of an evil that does not involve suffering. But I think of the examples in the post of temptation (James 1:13) and of the evil one. However should one succumb to temptation some kind of suffering is likely not far off. Thanks!

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  14. I think I like Russell Moore's approach to this issue better. We live in a federal republic. The government is a function of the people. We are the government exercised through our vote. We are responsible to God for what we do with our vote.

    I think we may be seeing these verses at work in our country right now - including in this election.
    Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. (Romans 1:22-25 ESV)

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    1. Hello. I like his article as well and do agree we may very well be at this point. Preached a sermon not long ago drawing a correlation between ancient Ninevah and modern US. God's judgement on Ninevah was so severe that no one could find traces of it for centuries afterwards. Let me add that, and perhaps this is my fault, that the post was not intended to diminish Trump's bad character or to encourage us to vote for him, but to show that Spurgeon's quote is not particularly helpful in the discussion. Thanks for replying.

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  15. >>I am rather confident that “No Trump” evangelicals incorrectly assume that a vote for Trump is a wrong—a sin against God.

    The "No Trump" evangelicals I know or have talked to don't think voting for Trump is a sin against God. They do not think it is the voting itself that is evil (or "wrong"), but the person for whom they are voting.


    >>Right now our nation is sinking. And two boats are on the way. God is not asking you to pick between “the lesser of two evils.” He asking you to: (1) Prioritize what Scripture prioritizes. (2) Distinguish an evil from a wrong.

    "Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted." - 1 Timothy 1:8-11

    In reference to sexual immorality... "“Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants." -Leviticus 18:24-25

    "Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince." -Proverbs 17:7
    "A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days." -Proverbs 28:16
    "When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan." -Proverbs 29:2



    I'd say both Trump and Hillary are wrong, evil, wicked, or whatever synonym you can come up with. I wouldn't trust either of them to get me to safety as a boat captain. I certainly wouldn't trust them to pilot our country. That is why I (and many, many like me) will not vote for Trump. Not because we are confused about the difference between wrong and evil.

    Here is, I think, a better analogy for the "lesser of two evils." You are terribly thirsty and someone hands you two water bottles. One bottle has a tablespoon of cyanide in it, the other only 1/2 teaspoon cyanide but it also might have mercury and strychnine. Which one are you going to drink from?

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    1. M. Thank you for your thoughts. Very helpful. I continue to pray about all of this and thank God that he is in control. Best!

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  16. I hope as an educated minister you don't believe that one poorly constructed and biased analogy is appropriate and able convince christians that voting for trump is the right thing to do. Your opinion is one thing, but one can literally make up any analogy to prove their point, and that analogy straight up sucked.

    We're Sinking in the ocean. (We're not in a literal ocean sinking, but we'll buy it for the analogy)
    Their are only two boats to save us. (Only 2 candidates, we get it, but neither of those candidates have actual boats, so we're still in analogy world.)
    One is an adulterer and the other a thief. (They're both bad, but which one is the adulterer and which one is the thief? You didn't specify, because only trump is guilty of both of those, so I have to assume you meant that only as an analogy and haven't crossed over into real world yet.)
    We Christians reject those two and say we'll wait on a boat captained by an evangical who will get rid of abortion. (THERE IT IS. You crossed over into real world. Manipulating and hijacking an analogy to cater to a stupid point you were trying to make. And you consider yourself educated?)
    I've been a republican. But if the Republican Party chooses and stands behind the unrighteousness of trump, I have a mora obligation to no longer call myself a republican.

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    1. Hi Daniel. Well, education is no substitute for Godly wisdom. However I think you misinterpreted the article. It is not intended to attenuate the horror of Trump or is it to get people to vote for him. The purpose is an analysis of Spurgeon's quote in the context of this presidential season. I'm not a Trump supporter. I was until recently a Cruz supporter. I am praying with my wife about what to do now as both choices are quite bad. Thanks for your reply!

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    2. Well sir, you did a poor job in specifying that critical point of your argument, as many will take this blogpost and use it as sound theological advice to indeed vote for trump in this election. And I agree with you in this comment you made, I was also a Cruz supporter, however in praying about what to do with this election, and in reading the bible and discerning, God's Word to his people hasn't changed in 2000 years or in the 250 years of democracy we have enjoyed as a country. A Christian cannot stand for and behind the character of trump. Many Christians use the excuse of "maybe God is working on Trumps salvation, and we should be praying for him, but still vote him in, as he is the better of two evils"(as you have agreed with in this blog). Two flaws in that: that can be said about any candidate running office no matter what party. Why limit God's miracle to the lesser of two evils? If God can save and change anybody, why don't we vote Hilary in and pray the same? Or Bernie? Just because we as Christians should love our neighbors and pray for their salvation, doesn't give us a right to vote them into office. And 2, if trump does become a follower of Christ, in doing so, he would see his shortcomings, and drop out of the race. If it were a real change being made.
      I believe the overall ridiculousness and hyper-media circus of this whole election has clouded the judgement of Christians who have been diluted, spiritually, for some time, it's just gone unnoticed. And something like this comes along, and it's bringing the darkness of spiritual immaturity in American Christianity into the spotlight, and being used as a purification process so to speak, of the spiritual realm. People who have been hand in hand in their own churches for their lifetimes are now on separate sides of the political spectrum for the first time. You cannot tell me Satan isn't using trump in this spiritual war. If trump wins, then it's God's will for him to be there, and suffering will occur until we are called home, but until then it's the duty of a Christian to do the best we can to prevent a trump or a Hilary to get there.

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    3. I hope you have actual, concrete proof to go so far as to call Mr. Trump a thief, else you are guilty of bearing false witness.

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  17. And there's a difference between wrong and evil? "Evil causes suffering...stealing a candy bar is wrong" so stealing two candy bars is wrong? Stealing 100 candy bars is wrong? How about stealing Hundreds of dollars from a man every week so that him and his family suffers and cannot afford to eat, is that wrong, or is that evil? Where is the line where something wrong becomes evil? Lying to the nazis to project the Jews, you're saying is on the Same level as voting for trump to be the leader of the free world, the country that all other countries look to for guidance and the standard for democracy and peace. Because in the bible, right beside where it tells us to help those in need and love them and feed them and clothe them and protect them, it also says to vote for someone who blatantly and unapologetically lies to gain power, uses perverse language to strike fear and promote violence because that's what human beings will respond to and take action for, and blames the country's problems on other people and other races, because that satisfies the ultimate human sin, is pride, and not taking responsibility for a problem we as a country have created. Trump is sick. Hilary is sick. And the only biblical obligation we have is to vote for someone who doesn't just blindly stand for trivial things like anti abortion or anti climate change, but who simply is who they say they are and truly wants what's best for America as a whole. And that's neither trump or Hilary.

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  18. Could anyone point me in the right direction of where Spurgeon's quote, "Of 2 evils, choose neither," originates from, either from a writing or sermon? I have seen the quote everywhere now but I can't find where it is from.

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    1. Actually this quote also seems to echo CS Lewis. I find it inspiring and it has been par of the reason I am trying to get the word out on the new American Solidarity Party. There is another choice then the two we have been given. We won't see its fruits this year, but hopefully it is a movement that will grow. The quote is:
      "I feel a strong desire to tell you–and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me–which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them."

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  19. Hi Nicki. The quote is actually by Thomas a Kempis, and Spurgeon likely borrowed it. It's in the book by Kempis called "Of the Imitation of Christ." I don't have the Spurgeon source at hand. Someone else in the string may have that. Thanks.

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  20. Sorry, the Kempis quote is "Of two evils the less is always to be chosen."

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  21. Thanks John. I see what you mean about not being able to reply under the comment.

    I completely agree that God does not hem us in with sinful choices only. I appreciate your analogy as far as it goes. It's just that an analogy that assumes either boat is actually here to save us, or even capable of it, is, in my opinion, naïve.

    Do I think God is actively using these candidates for His purposes? Absolutely! Only instead of saving us from an "emergency" situation, I think He is pouring out his wrath to show his displeasure that we have failed to realize we're *in* an emergency situation.

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  23. Your statement: "I am rather confident that “No Trump” evangelicals incorrectly assume that a vote for Trump is a wrong—a sin against God."

    A sin against God is rather strong. Certainly adultery or murder is. But I think most No Trump or No Clinton evangelicals would consider a vote for either primarily politically unwise, stupid or foolish. Would be interesting to see some polls on that.

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  24. You've made me think:

    Hmmm...

    Nope.

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  25. Ok, so here are your "choices:" vote for either Satan or Lucifer. Whom do you choose? As someone said: if the voting process was really designed for you to have a genuine impact, no politician would be in favor of your doing it. There is a third choice however. It is a choice to NOT validate the evil corrupt system that consistently places you in the "Lesser of two evils" scenario. It is a choice that says, "Sorry, I refuse to play this game any longer." It is the properly moral and valid choice to NOT vote. You go ahead and vote pastor. I know I won't.

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  26. Maria Rasco LytleMay 16, 2016 at 2:12 PM

    My problem with this analogy is that we are not being asked to choose between committing adultery and committing thievery. We are being asked to choose between life vs death by drowning. In this scenario no evil will come from saving my family. When I stand before God on the Judgement Day, I will be judged by my own manifold sins, not by the sins of the boat captains. I will vote in this election cycle, but it will be a protest vote - write in ballot. The scripture passage that has guided me during this contentious season is Micah 6:8. "You know. oh man, what is good. Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with your God."

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    1. Hi: I think I need to stop using analogies. Few seem to get them. Best to you.

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  28. The Spurgeon quote is being taken out of context all over the Internet. It was from a sermon from Jude 1:24-25 “Now unto Him who is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.”
    Here is his statement from the sermon.
    "And, dear Friends, we need keeping from an evil spirit. I do not know whom I should prefer—to see one of my dear Christian Brother fall into doctrinal error, or into an un-Christian spirit. I would prefer neither, for I think this is a safe rule—of two evils, choose neither!”
    He is not talking about a civil election where we are faced with two unsavory options.
    As a Reformed Baptist, I feel compelled to defend my compadre;-)
    He's not as fuzzy in his thinking as it might appear. (I did think it was fuzzy until I read the context.)
    Great analysis of the perceived paradox, Pastor Barber!

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    1. While the original context is appreciated, I think there is a lesson to be learned there and is applicable because I truly believe that evil will come based on either candidates actions.

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    2. Look into the American Solidarity Party. It is how I can feel comfortable voting this year. I think. The quote came originally from CS Lewis.
      "I feel a strong desire to tell you–and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me–which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them."

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  29. Your boat analogy is wrong, in my opinion. It would be better like this: Imagine you are in a boat, which is damaged, but still floating. 2 boats come by. One offers to shoot a hole in your boat. The other offers to stab a hole. Which do you choose? Umm, neither, thank you. I prefer to sit this one out, or wait for that 3rd boat. We do NOT need one of these 2 as our savior. I believe both would do more harm to us, not save us.

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  30. I'd like to add a bit here, first regarding the analogy. I believe your boat analogy is what is referred to as a "weak" analogy.

    See here: https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/181/Weak_Analogy

    I understand what it is you are trying to state, but I believe both ship captains will lead us with their personal agendas, and I believe that they are both liberal, progressive, and amoral. I also believe that their behaviors will lead to the country and its people to experience "suffering," so per your own words, using the term evil is apt.

    I also believe that voting for somebody is akin to saying, "this person represents my values." This is why I cannot vote for Trump and cannot vote for Clinton. Yes, I know we are not voting in a pastor-in-chief. I get that. But when the person's behaviors are so full of lies and bullying, etc, I have to draw the line. It's like a flock voting for their next shepard. One is clearly a wolf, and the other one goes about claiming to be a sheep, but on closer examination, it looks like that sheepskin is draped over fur and you hear the snarls in their speech.

    Just my two cents.

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  31. https://americanvision.org/6532/charles-spurgeon-on-elections-and-voting/

    Spurgeon calls this the “process of the wedge.” While we may justify our little compromises by arguing that we are able to make small gains, little by little, in reality we are giving up dominion to evil in the name of that “lesser evil”:

    You know the process of the wedge. Try to put the blunt end of the wedge into the timber, and how useless it would be! but put in the thin edge first, give it but a gentle stroke with the beetle, and then again, and again, and again, and see how it cleaves its way, widening by little and little. So some professors begin with a little conformity to the world. “Oh!” say they, “I cannot see the harm of it,” though others of their fellow Christians are grieved thereby. Then they come to the next, and the next, and the next, and so by slow degrees they give up virtually all the truthfulness of their profession, and make shipwreck of faith and are castaways. .

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  32. First, let me quote the Declation of Independance. " The powers that be come from the consent of the governed." Voting is the way we express our consent to the be governed by the powers that be. Whatever candidate you are voting for, means you are consenting to be governed by that person. It adds up to a vote FOR that person. This how we choose our leaders. A vote supports the candidate whether you mean it to or not. This has absolutely nothing to do with being rescued at sea by an adulterer and a thief. We are not saved by who we vote for or the party we vote for. We are saved by God and God alone. God might allow a thief to come in a rescue boat. THEN, God will have to rescue you from the thief, so you are no more safe from the thief than you are from the adulterer.
    Secondly, God has made us intelligent and creative like He is. Those who are looking for and fighting for a third candidate are doing so because they recognize that neither one of our potential nominees are qualified for the office. They are or should be praying and tRUSTING GOD to provide a candidate we can support with a good conscience. We are never obligated to for an evil leader. Choosing to abstain is also an option, and it is not wrong to do so. There are many valid reasons to abstain from voting opportunities, and it does not make that person responsible for the candidate who wins. That is human logic gone awry.
    We have a responsibility to communicate to our leaders somehow that neither one of our candidates passes the bar. Whether we do that by abgstaining, or joining the efforts of brave people who are doing all ththey can within the framework of the law to find a suitable option: a candidate who is honest, and walks with integrity. Who has the experience and ability to provide leadership to our country. But whoever that may be, can never save us. Only God can save us.

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  33. It's almost as if someone read Spurgeon's quote, it hit home, and they desperately needed to write a rebuttal to assuage their own conscience.

    This isn't choosing a boat captain you'll probably never see again to save your family. It's endorsing the thief or the adulterer, despite knowing their sin, and being willing to turn a blind eye to it, because you don't like the axe murderer even more.

    Justification of evil is evil.

    Back surgery is not evil. The fact I have to type that is nearly mind-blowing.

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  34. Several points: (1) Those who think we shouldn’t choose between two evils (Hillary or Donald) aren’t generally waiting for a devout Christian, an evangelical, someone to undo abortion, etc. We just think each of these folks fails to meet the minimal standards of character for the office. (2) Huge disanalogy between getting on a boat captained by an adulterer or a thief and choosing a chief executive. As analogical arguments go, this is a bad one. We're not handing nuclear codes over to the boat captain, for example. (3) I can agree this is a case where we’re not forced to choose between two evils, because there are other options like voting for a third candidate or doing a write in. This isn’t opting out of the choice, but making a different one. It’s not a forced option, to use William James’s phrase. (4) The lying about hiding a Jew case doesn’t involve choosing the lesser of two evils, I suspect; I think lying on occasion is permissible; even Rahab lied. If it’s permissible, it’s not evil (contra something in the article I’ll identify). (5) An “evil” is something that brings suffering? No. Kant would say no way! Another Lutheran, by the way. Evil is a distinctively value term. Yes, it’s broader than wrongness. My back pain is not an evil, however. It’s a nonmoral bad. Back surgery is an even greater evil? No. Nor are starvation or sickness or poverty; good men can be poor or hungry or sick. The James passage adduced shows that evil is a moral category. The Devil is the evil one….right! This doesn’t show the “breadth of evil,” but how flawed a definition or account of evil to say its essential feature is producing pain. 

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  35. (6) “Wrong” he defines or analyzes as sin against God? I hope it’s an analysis, because it surely doesn’t work as a definition since plenty of secularists have linguistic competence in the use of the term. Let’s suppose it’s the right analysis; I’d go with that. So a wrong action is one that ought not be done. BUT, among the things that shouldn’t be done are evils. Nonmorally bad things, like painful surgery, are permissible, despite that they result in short term pain. That surely doesn’t make them evil, just nonmorally bad. This writer is confusing nonmoral badness with evil, while lecturing others on confusing wrong and evil. Speaking as a philosopher and ethicist, this is hard to take. (7) Back to the boat example. Nobody would claim it’s wrong to get on either boat; this is a trivialization of the concerns folks have for Trump and Hillary, as if we’re delicate snowflakes flabbergasted by sin in the world. That’s silly. Relying on such a boat for safety is altogether permissible, obviously. Even if it’s “painful,” which is doubtful and again predicated on a condescending depiction of those with grievous moral reservations about Trump and Hillary, that would make it at worst nonmorally bad, but not evil. There are three categories here: Evil, bad, wrong. At most getting on one of the boats is nonmorally bad. But obviously it’s neither evil nor wrong. I categorically reject the writer’s idiosyncratic definition of “evil.” The writer is saying it would be evil but not wrong. But that’s simply wrong. In fact, silly. (8) Much of the piece encourages a motivation of fear and shows, to my thinking, lack of trust in God’s providence. The assumption that Trump will honor scriptural priorities strains my credulity to the breaking point. If he believes it, that’s fine….but I find it unpersuasive and remain unconvinced. He’s entitled to his view, of course. But this is a piece suggesting that someone like me is making a mistake. Mistakes are being made here, in droves, I think, but by the writer. Maybe I'm wrong, but I rather doubt it. (9) He asks if it’s possible God’s sent Trump to stem evil. Sure. Is it plausible, though? Not at all, at least to me. How about this possibility? That Trump might be God’s punishment of the country? It’s easy and fun to play the possibility game. Ultimately it bears little fruit, though. Finally, (10) he encourages everyone to vote. Fine, but among legitimate voting options include a third candidate or a write in. I honestly don’t mean to be contentious or tendentious….but felt I needed to share.

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  36. Sorry. This reads like Symantec double-speak. Also, I think being vocal about not voting is a way of participating in the process. It exercises my constitutional right to tell the political powers that be, "you have failed to present any candidates worthy of a vote." As others have rightly noted, the Lord will choose our next president, and He will use the the votes of people as the means to His Providentially ordered will, including my choice to use my vote as a protest vote.

    I will, however, vote in local elections.

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  37. Sorry. This reads like Symantec double-speak. Also, I think being vocal about not voting is a way of participating in the process. It exercises my constitutional right to tell the political powers that be, "you have failed to present any candidates worthy of a vote." As others have rightly noted, the Lord will choose our next president, and He will use the the votes of people as the means to His Providentially ordered will, including my choice to use my vote as a protest vote.

    I will, however, vote in local elections.

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  38. I've never been so torn about what to do in a presidential election. I had found staying home was the only course, a la Spurgeon, as neither candidate is worthy. But it seems clear that we can not continue in the direction we have been going as a nation. According to the Bible, God has often used horribly flawed characters for his purpose. Whether that purpose be redemption or judgement, there is only one choice for change.

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  39. The boat metaphor is a logical fallacy. We aren't being rescued; we're being led. And neither of these candidates has any moral high ground (especially since one just latched on to that ground for Machiavellian reasons, clearly) to stand on. Do you go with the shot-sighted, short-tempered racist tyrant or the abortionist? Either way, we're being judged by God. Which is the point, right? These are our choices because God is holy, and we didn't want Him.

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  40. The author's example of lying to protect Jews from the Gestapo is a false one. Lying is not the same thing as "bearing false witness", which he, as a pastor, should know. In this example, lying to save the life of someone is not, as the Ninth Commandment states, "bearing false witness". It is simply a lie. Moreover, his entire premise is flawed from the outset, which is that we only have two choices. His conclusion, which falls into the category of wishful speculation, that somehow a man - if one were to actually believe that Donald Trump fits the definition - with no actual record of ever supporting the positions he now claims to hold, is here to save us, is foolish in the extreme.

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  43. Get the speck out of your eye. Your reformed, elitist theoretical views have rendered you useless. Trump is not the answer, but voting for anyone else in this election will leave you arguing theoreticals for the next 8 years while this country goes to hell. If that's what you want for your kids, vote for someone else. God gave you a brain for good use. Time to start using it.

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  44. Sounds like a "Faustian bargain" to me. Maybe Esau's sale. Or how about The Frog Prince? Evangelicals have kissed that frog--it remains to be seen what emerges. What has emerged to this point is the bastardization of American Evangelicalism.

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