Wayne Grudem: Voting for Donald Trump is a Moral Imperative


An updated listing of those who have endorsed Donald Trump:

  • Dolores Umbridge
  • The hunter who shot Bambi’s mother
  • Skeletor
  • A gun with flames drawn on it
  • A grease fire in the kitchen at Denny’s
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
  • The mullet hairstyle
  • A continuous loop of “Sweet Home Alabama”
  • Kid Rock
  • An actual rock
  • A robot programmed to be racist
  • The word “humbuggery”
  • The Spanish Inquisition
  • The white rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  • A literal ticking time bomb
  • A disgusting fart no one will admit to
  • That feeling you get right before you die
  • Wayne Grudem

I’m not kidding about that last one, people.  Wayne Grudem, Mr. Systematic Theology himself, has now endorsed Donald Trump.

Who is Wayne Grudem?  you ask.

Wayne Grudem is the name when it comes to systematic theology in evangelicalism.  He has written an almost 1300-page book on systematic theology which is required reading in many places in evangelicalism.  Lately Grudem has come to fancy himself an expert in public policy; a few years back he wrote a 600-plus page textbook which purports to offer a biblical understanding of contemporary political issues.  Now he has given us a 5000-plus word article in which he attempts to offer a moral justification for voting for Donald Trump.

I have said this before and will say it again:  Donald Trump is an idiot.  He says and does the most spectacularly inane things anytime the cameras are on him.  He has run not one but two businesses into the ground.  He has had multiple wives and cheated on them multiple times, bragging salaciously about it in the process (Marla Maples, anyone?).  He is vindictive toward those who disagree with him.  He is painfully and embarrassingly slow to distance himself from David Duke and others on the lunatic Neo-Nazi fringe.  He is hateful toward Mexicans, Muslims, and other immigrants.  He routinely says and does the most misogynistic and inappropriate things toward women, especially those in his own family.  He has suggested that he would order American soldiers to commit war crimes (he would later backtrack under pressure on that), and on countless other occasions shown that he knows less about foreign affairs than your middle-school child.  He traffics in absurd conspiracy theories, including that stubbornly persistent urban legend that childhood vaccinations cause autism.  Shall I continue?

A Hillary Clinton presidency would be morally repugnant, in some respects at least.  But a Donald Trump presidency would be nothing short of ruinous folly.

Yet in Grudem’s piece, he goes beyond merely attempting to excuse the inexcusable and defend the indefensible, arguing that there is in fact a categorical Christian imperative to excuse the inexcusable and defend the indefensible in support of Donald Trump.

Grudem starts out honestly enough, listing a few of Donald Trump’s many flaws and seeming to have reservations about supporting him:

He is egotistical, bombastic, and brash. He often lacks nuance in his statements. Sometimes he blurts out mistaken ideas (such as bombing the families of terrorists) that he later must abandon. He insults people. He can be vindictive when people attack him. He has been slow to disown and rebuke the wrongful words and actions of some angry fringe supporters. He has been married three times and claims to have been unfaithful in his marriages.

Yet from there he goes on to say that Donald Trump is in fact “a good candidate with flaws” and that these flaws are not sufficient to disqualify him from consideration, while many other areas of concern are nothing more than the result of him being misunderstood and quoted out of context, victimized by a biased media.  He argues on the basis of Jeremiah 29:7 (“Seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare”) that as Christians we are obligated to seek the welfare of the nation with our vote.  He then paints a frightening picture of what America would look like under a Hillary Clinton administration and the far-left activist judiciary that would inevitably follow with respect to abortion, religious liberty, economic policy, immigration, foreign affairs, energy policy, healthcare, executive orders, etc., and offers a vision of what America would look like under a Donald Trump administration which is so unabashedly rosy that even I am almost persuaded.  He brings it all together as follows:

…The most likely result of voting for Trump is that he will govern the way he promises to do, bringing much good to the nation.

But the most likely result of not voting for Trump is that you will be abandoning thousands of unborn babies who will be put to death under Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court, thousands of Christians who will be excluded from their lifelong occupations, thousands of the poor who will never again be able to find high-paying jobs in an economy crushed by government hostility toward business, thousands of inner-city children who will never be able to get a good education, thousands of the sick and elderly who will never get adequate medical treatment when the government is the nation’s only healthcare provider, thousands of people who will be killed by an unchecked ISIS, and millions of Jews in Israel who will find themselves alone and surrounded by hostile enemies. And you will be contributing to a permanent loss of the American system of government due to a final victory of unaccountable judicial tyranny.

When I look at it this way, my conscience, and my considered moral judgment tell me that I must vote for Donald Trump as the candidate who is most likely to do the most good for the United States of America.

Many in the blogosphere have written responses to Grudem’s piece, including David French at National Review, Scot McKnight, Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service, and Amy Gannett.  You can read what they have to say; I will add my own thoughts.

–First of all, where does Grudem get off making these moral pronouncements in support of Donald Trump?

I am a blogger.  As such it is my calling and vocation to offer my unsolicited opinion on subjects about which I know nothing.  Grudem is doing essentially the same thing, yet passing it off as expert analysis derived from the application of his systematic theology to the field of contemporary politics.  This sort of behavior is rampant in conservative Christianity and it stems from a view of the Bible where you start with the Bible as the inspired word of God and arrive at the conclusion that the Bible gives you automatic, infallible expert knowledge on any subject it addresses.

There is nothing wrong with offering your unsolicited opinion on a given subject.  Just don’t attempt to argue that your opinion is a moral imperative binding upon all Christians and that to resist said imperative is sin.

–Next, is “seeking the good of the city” really connected to voting in a certain way, as Grudem seems to intimate that it is?

Ever since Reagan, evangelicalism has inextricably linked itself to Republican politics.  It has now come to a point where “conservative” and “evangelical” are inextricably linked in the public consciousness, despite the fact that there is a great deal of diversity in evangelicalism.  Grudem has taken this alignment and ratcheted it up several notches.

Jesus never promised us that we would have any role in shaping culture.  Much of Scripture was written under the assumption that God’s people (whether Israel or the Church) would have no say in shaping the politics or culture of the world in which they lived.  It is clear from Scripture that the passages on “seeking the good of the city” do not envision attempting to gain political power or cultural influence and then using said influence to reshape society according to a set of ideological principles which claim to be drawn from Scripture.

–Next, is Hillary Clinton so morally reprehensible that she must be defeated and denounced in the strongest possible way, at any and all possible cost?

As noted above, a Hillary Clinton presidency would be morally repugnant in some respects.  There is the elitist air about her, which says that she and the elite class she is part of know what is best for America and that anyone who disagrees is shamefully stupid and woefully ignorant.  There is her tie to the scandals of the Bill Clinton administration, in which she was excruciatingly complicit.

Indeed, the whole Democratic enterprise of which Hillary Clinton is part, is repugnant because it arises out of a classical Western liberalism which, in the name of tolerance and inclusion, says that you and I are nothing more than interchangeable parts in the machine that is society and culture.  People are inherently good; they are only victimized by corrupt systems which need to be dismantled and replaced with more enlightened and benevolent structures.  There is no conception that we are dead people who need to be brought back to life, to be reconciled with God and with each other.

Yet hasn’t the Democratic project accomplished some good in our world?  People talk about how awful political correctness is, and yes, it has come too far.  Yet it is now impossible for public figures to demean and belittle women and minorities (all people for whom Christ died, I feel compelled to note) and go unnoticed–how is that not a good thing?  Professionally there are more well-paying opportunities available to women than ever before, and in the world of academia there are more female voices than ever before–how are these not good things?

–Finally, does Donald Trump really represent “the good of the city”?

As noted above, a Donald Trump presidency would be ruinous folly.  Grudem gives an unabashedly rosy depiction of what America would look like under a Donald Trump presidency, yet it is all based on the assumption that Donald Trump will do all that he has said he will do in this campaign.  If we know anything about Donald Trump, especially given what we are seeing in recent days, it is that he is woefully unstable.  It would be ruinous folly to assume that Donald Trump will do all that he said he would do, or that even if he did it would work out as well as advertised by Grudem.

In order to arrive at the conviction that Donald Trump is a morally good choice, as Grudem does, you have to believe that some concerns about Trump are just not that pressing.  Namely, those concerns which arise from his attitude toward and treatment of women and minorities.

Every person you will ever come eyeball-to-eyeball with is a person for whom Christ died.  Yet Donald Trump wants us to believe that some of those people count for nothing because they are women or immigrants or minorities.  Grudem wants us to believe that this counts for nothing.  It doesn’t, people.

When you consider this, ask yourself the question:  What does love require of me?  If you can make a clear and convincing case that what love requires of you is to vote for Donald Trump, then hey, go do it.  But as for me, I refuse to believe that what love requires of me is to vote for a candidate whose message is none other than anger and hatred for Mexicans, Muslims, and other immigrants, dehumanization and objectification of women, and a good solid dose of Donald Trump to solve all the world’s problems.  Grudem’s arguments have not convinced me in the least, and I don’t think they should convince you either.

The guy who wrote your systematic theology textbook gets it wrong sometimes, people.  And he has got it wrong this time.  Please please please, for the love of God, do not pay attention to a word he says.