Posted Oct 23, 2016 by Michael L. Brown

Before you applaud me for my integrity or condemn me for selling out, allow me to explain my decision to vote for Donald Trump on November 8.

First, I’m writing this because I have been asked incessantly for months how I would be voting, not because I think I’m someone special or that what I do should influence you.

Second, I’m not endorsing Donald Trump. In my mind, there’s a world of difference between endorsing a candidate and voting for a candidate.

Third, I respect those in the #NeverTrump camp and I share many of their concerns, including the possibility of his further vulgarizing and degrading the nation, the possibility of him deepening our ethnic and racial divides, and the possibility of him alienating our allies and unnecessarily provoking our enemies, just to name a few. Among the #NeverTrump voices I respect are columnists like David French and Ben Shapiro, bloggers like Matt Walsh, and evangelical leaders like Russell Moore and Beth Moore.

Fourth, I take strong exception to evangelicals who have fawned over Trump as if he were some kind of savior figure, supporting him as if he was Saint Donald. I also take issue with evangelical leaders who want us to minimize some of Trump’s failings, constantly saying, “Let him who is without sin cast the first one” (see John 8:7). This is not a question of condemning the man but rather a question of making a moral assessment as to his readiness to serve our nation.

Fifth, my decision to vote for Trump, barring something earth-shattering between now and November 8, is consistent with my position which has been: 1) During the primaries, I issued strong warnings against voting for Trump while we had other excellent choices. I did this in writing, on video, and on the radio, but always stating that, if Trump won the nomination, I would reevaluate my position. 2) Once Trump became the Republican candidate, I wrote that I was rooting for him to take steps in the right direction and thereby win my vote. 3) I have stated repeatedly that under no circumstances would I vote for Hillary. (For two strong warnings about Hillary, see here and here.)

So, what has convinced me that I should now vote for Donald Trump?

First, I believe that he actually is serious about appointing pro-life, pro-Constitution Supreme Court justices. When he said during the last debate that, if you’re pro-life, you want to see Roe v. Wade overturned, and when he reiterated at his Gettysburg speech that he will be drawing from his list of 20 potential appointees, he helped me feel more confident that he would not suddenly flip-flop if elected.

Second, one reason I endorsed Sen. Cruz was because he took on the political establishment, both Democrat and Republican, to the point of calling it the Washington cartel. Trump is an absolute wrecking ball to the negative parts of the political system (although, unfortunately, he’s been a wrecking ball to some of the good parts of the system), so my vote for him is also a protest vote.

Third, I am voting for the Republican platform, not the Republican party, which means I’m in agreement with the platform while at the same time having very little confidence in the party as a whole.

Fourth, while I have always felt that the line, “We’re electing a president, not a pastor,” was overstated and superficial, if we rephrased it to say, “We’re electing a general to train hand-to-hand combat warriors, not a pastor,” it might have more relevance. In other words, we are not looking for Trump to be a moral reformer (even if does appoint righteous judges), and, at this point, he certainly is anything but a moral example (although we pray he will be truly converted and become one). Rather, out of our choices for president, which are stark, we are voting for the one most likely to defeat Hillary and make some good decisions for the nation, not be the savior. And with things so messed up in America, the hand-to-hand combat analogy is closer to home.

Fifth, within the first few minutes of the last debate, the massive differences between Hillary and Trump were there for the world to see, she a pro-abortion radical and an extreme supporter of the LGBT agenda, and he unashamedly speaking out against late-term abortions and wanting to appoint justices who would defend our essential liberties. Since I have the opportunity to vote, I feel that I should vote for Trump.

Sixth, Trump continues to be drawn to conservative Christians, and not just ones who tickle his ears. One of my dear friends has spent hours with Trump and members of his family, and he has told me that in 55 years of ministry, no one has received him as openly and graciously as has Trump. Yet my friend continues to speak the truth to him in the clearest possible terms. While I am not one of those claiming that Trump is a born-again Christian (I see absolutely no evidence of this), the fact that he continues to listen to godly men and open the door to their counsel indicates that something positive could possibly be going on. It also indicates that these godly leaders might be a positive influence on him if he was elected president.

Seventh, although I’m quite aware that a president could do great harm or good to the nation, I’m far more concerned with what we as God’s people do with our own lives and witnesses, and for me, the state of the church of America is much more important than the state of the White House. In that context, I echo the words (and warning) of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”

So, in sum: 1) my hope is in God, not Donald Trump, and I do recognize that either Hillary or Trump has the potential to do great harm to America; 2) my urgent call is for us as followers of Jesus to get our own act together so we can be the salt and light of the nation; 3) I will continue to urge all believers not to vote for Hillary Clinton, whose policies will certainly do us great harm; 4) ultimately, the most effective way to defeat Hillary is to vote for Trump, while also praying that God will use him for good, not for evil.

In the end, if he gets elected and fails miserably, I will be grieved but not devastated. If he does well, I will rejoice.

Either way, though, my vote is just that: a vote. My greater role is to live a life pleasing to God with the hope of advancing a gospel-based moral and cultural revolution.

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almapes posted a comment · Nov 03, 2016
There may not be any pleasant or easy answers to the electoral dilemma we now find ourselves in, but there are answers. Especially now, we need to commit ourselves to trust and follow our Lord come what may. I am convinced that we are diminishing our call to be salt and light in this world by postponing that calling because man's wisdom is in conflict with God's wisdom; something that has been a point of strife for any who wish to live a holy life in an unholy world. Yet, it seems our answer is to diminish and postpone our calling again. The consequences of ruining our testimony is hard to get back after the compromise has taken place and in some cases it's almost impossible. I would like to set forth a series of questions, most of them are rhetorical in nature and hopefully instructive.
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BonnieP posted a comment · Oct 26, 2016
Dr. Brown, from the very beginning, I have taken the same stand that Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention ERLC has espoused. I believe this is the dilemma your wife, Nancy, has said she also faces. I have prayerfully thought about this since the nominations for the presidency were decided. I truly believe that neither of these candidates is of the moral character and integrity to occupy the Oval Office. I was determined I would write in the name of one of the other Republican candidates. After the third debate and several days of a haunting questioning about my decision, I now plan to cast a vote against Hillary Clinton by the only means available -- by pulling the lever for Donald Trump. Don't think I have changed my opinion regarding either of these people. I have known all along that Clinton is pro-choice, that Trump claims to be pro-life. However, I do not believe Trump really cares whether or not Roe vs Wade is over turned, but he would more than likely go along with any efforts Congress makes to repeal it. What concerns me most is that Clinton would do everything in her power to repeal the partial birth abortion ban. For this reason, I consider my vote not a vote for Trump -- but for the life of a child. Finally, please write an open letter to Dr. Russell Moore and other Christian leaders who are refusing to vote for either nominee. We are already allowing the killing of millions of babies in the womb. Their non vote and consequential influence on other Evangelicals would increase the probability of a Clinton administration which in turn might ultimately lead to opening the gate for infanticide here in America.
RUSSPLUS82 posted a comment · Oct 24, 2016
Donald Trump has said that what he did in the past was wrong (repented) and has moved on .
RUSSPLUS82 posted a comment · Oct 24, 2016
How can you say simply or only? I wanted to start my comment that way. She is the leader of the fight against us. If she could see, if her eyes were open to the truth the fruit would be there. I don't mind a fight, but, the Lord's hand has not been with the deceitful or their perfidiousness of God. Pray in the spirit, if you have been called then stand!
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Herald of God posted a comment · Oct 24, 2016
This is your statement Dr. Brown, “If you vote for Hillary you have the blood of the unborn on your hands.” If we extend your premises to its logical outworking, to vote for Mr. Trump is to share in is documented disrespect, and disregard for women, abusive business practices, his attempted infidelity and the list goes on and on. With all due respect (and I do mean that) Dr. Brown how do you square this?
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Herald of God posted a comment · Oct 24, 2016
Well written and clearly delineated Dr. Brown, but I must respectful differ. If the elections were only between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, your article would be more convincing. There are at least two other candidates seeking to become president, yet it seems like you have never seriously considered them, which is a bit perplexing. While you might content that a vote for one of the lesser known candidates maybe wasted, the reality is, democracy dictates that we participate and express our views at the ballot box, regardless of how popular our views might be. To capitulate into voting for Mr. Trump, knowing all that has been revealed of his conduct and character is mystifying. This calls into question the idea of moral clarity, under no stretch of the imagination is a vote for Mr. Trump a “moral” choice. I pray simply that God continues to illumine your path my brother.
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david posted a comment · Oct 24, 2016
Dr. Brown, again a very well defined view on this personal issue as always.
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Monica522 posted a comment · Oct 23, 2016
Hi, Dr. Brown. Thank you so much for continually posting your thoughtful articles. I always look forward to seeing a new piece from you pop up in my Facebook feed! I think this article is excellent and full of respect and grace to people of all consciences. To vote or not to vote for a presidential candidate is not an agonizing decision for me personally: I live in a state that is overwhelmingly Democrat where my vote has very little effect in the electoral college. (Maybe this is a cop-out, but it does make the situation more complicated than it would seem from the impassioned cries of some Trump supporters that essentially declare abstaining from voting for Mr. Trump to render me personally responsible for the innocent blood of the casualties of abortion and Mrs. Clinton's national security decisions should she be elected). Anyway, there is one other face of this issue I would love it if you would have time to address, either on The Line of Fire or in an article. Since you know many who work in the Middle East and the Islamic World, you are probably aware that Mr. Trump's words are ruthlessly played up for propaganda in the Arab media. They use them to further paint America as hostile, vindictive, and hateful towards them. Even worse, it is common for them to conflate Americans with Christianity, and while this might not be entirely fair, you can imagine that it is not difficult in light of the fact that some American evangelicals themselves practice a sort of soft syncretism that confuses our Christian CULTURAL heritage and by extension politics with the (universal and spiritual) gospel itself. Be assured that evangelical support for Mr. Trump has not escaped the Arab media, and is displayed right alongside his basest and most incendiary comments. This, I fear, is going to poison the gospel message in the Islamic World and its effects are going to be lethal. I feel strongly about this as someone who has worked in the Middle East for years and who cares deeply about the souls of the people there. As a Christian from the U.S., I have to work so hard to undo the damage propagated by the Arab media and unfortunately also by both local and foreign "Christians" who are poor witnesses and tarnish the Name. I deeply fear that a Trump presidency will significantly impede our efforts to purify the face of Christianity from its association with libertine immorality and unloving, cold-hearted bigotry. Yes, a Clinton presidency is dangerous for all the obvious reasons. She has flirted with illegal activity and welcomed groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood. But in some ways, I am less concerned about a Clinton presidency than a Trump presidency for the simple reason that at least believers are by-and-large united against the dangers of Mrs. Clinton's policies. We all agree that they are bad: we acknowledge it, recognize it, and condemn it. But what alarms me about Mr. Trump's pitfalls is the fact that that so many believers are NOT willing (for whatever justifications or misplaced political priorities) to call evil evil. "Woe to those who call good evil and evil good!" I understand that many have pragmatic reasons for a Trump vote, (especially if they live in swing states) but I hope that my voice can also be heard. Thank you very much for your time!
Royce posted a comment · Oct 23, 2016
The sad part of this story, and so many others like it, is that I see the decision to vote for Trump always being based on man's wisdom and I've yet to see any Scriptural substantiation for doing so. In fact, the vast majority of articles I've seen on why NOT to vote for Trump have been backed up with Scripture. So without going into it all, I would just ask Dr. Brown this one question. As a Christian you are called to be an IMAGE BEARER of Jesus Christ. Jesus said He AlWAYS did the Father's will. Do you honestly believe Christ would vote for Trump? Do you honestly believe you'll be bearing the image of Christ when you vote for Trump? If so, I'd sure like to know how because try as I might I can't see anyway I can do so and remain an image bearer of Christ. God Bless, Royce