As the 2016 presidential race heats up, accusations of who is a true Christian and charges of ungodly behavior are being hurled back and forth between candidates like hand grenades.
Meanwhile, amid all the uproar, the Christian voter is wondering who to trust and what a believer should consider as he casts his ballot.
The wild and ruckus presidential race and what the Bible says about how believers can sift through the melee was among several issues Ralph Drollinger, President and Founder of Capitol Ministries, discussed March 10 in a live interview on the popular Los Angeles drive-time Frank Sontag radio show.
“I don’t talk much politics, but can we talk about the phenomena of Donald Trump?” was Sontag’s opening question.
“I should probably not talk about Trump at all,” Drollinger replied, explaining that he leads The Members Bible Study to U.S. Senators and Representatives and they have endorsed various candidates for President, but he agreed to provide a theological perspective.
Drollinger said evangelicals often do not clearly differentiate between what God expects from leaders in the institution of the Church and what He expects from leaders in the institution of the State when they consider political candidates.
He explained that the Bible established five (some theologians believe three) institutions on earth: the Church to evangelize; the Family to catechize the next generation; Commerce to create prosperity from God-given natural resources; Marriage to create the next generation; and the State to moralize and justly bear the sword.
The Word of God establishes criteria for whom may be leaders in The Church in 1Timothy 3:1-3, which reads, in part, that they: …must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money… and Titus 1:6-16, which reads, in part, they: …must be above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, not fond of sordid gain….
The Christian looks at those qualifications and believes they should also apply to Public Servants, but no such criteria are found in the Bible for state leaders, Drollinger said.
While he believed it was erroneous to apply the biblical qualifications for a leader in the Church to a leader in the State, Drollinger said many passages in the Bible point Christians to whom they should seek in a political leader. One example he gave is Proverbs 14:4: Where no oxen are, the manger Is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.
“If you elect a guy who is a strong ox, you will get a lot done, but you will have to put up with the offsets of that industriousness,” Drollinger explained.
Sontag asked, “So, saying it a different way, there are some of us who follow Jesus Christ, and we look at the debates getting nasty…and (we reason), ‘This guy can’t be president, he’s this, he’s that,’ but you are saying that is not part of this particular ballgame.”
“Yes,” Drollinger said. “It’s more about can this guy do what God has ordained the State to do, and that is to bear the sword effectively (to justly quell evil),” which Drollinger said was the first priority he considered in reasoning whom to vote for.
If the person has the qualifications of a leader in the Church, all the better, but theologically, the qualities of 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 are not a prerequisite for leadership in the State, he added.
“The primary calling of anyone who is in office is to moralize the culture.
The State does not bear the sword for nothing (per Romans 13:4). It is to use the force in its institutional power to tame an unregenerate populace be they inside the borders of the country or outside the borders attacking a country. So I say to the believer, if that is what God wants from the State (if that is the primacy of the State’s purpose for existing) then who is the best candidate to achieve that?”
Drollinger added, “I can tell my son objectively…when you watch a presidential debate, what they are doing is okay within the confines of the industry…that is the reality of the political culture, of that industry, in a fallen world.
“Now when Christ comes back and sets up His Kingdom, that is all going to change,” Drollinger said. “But right now objectively speaking, we do live in a fallen world and that is how those industries compete, so I am okay with that.
“I can look beyond that and say at the end of the day, who is going to best defend our nation and that is where I want to vote.”
The popular Frank Sontag radio talk show (www.franksontag.net/home) is broadcast live from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday on KKLA 99.5 FM in the Los Angeles area.
Click here to enjoy the full show.