UPDATED: To Vote, Or Not To Vote. That Is NOT The Question.

Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Christian Responsibility

christian vote donald trump hillary

Latest from the “mail bag”.

Periodically I will post a tweaked version of an email exchange I have had with a friend over an issue that I am being asked about regularly and that I know carries broader interest. Lately, I have received lots of questions around Donald Trump and especially  a recent Wayne Grudem post concerning the necessity of voting for Trump given the disastrous Hillary Clinton alternative. I hope you find it helpful as you continue to pray with me for both candidates, our country, the coming election and our daily responsibility to engage others on the topic.

From: XXX

To: Todd Wagner

Guys, I know politics are so emotional, but I am led to make sure you guys have seen this article written a few days ago by a respected theologian. I don’t know him personally but certainly respect him and have a couple of his books. I have listened to the Real Truth. Real Quick. regarding the current political situation. I absolutely believe Jesus is our Savior and not Air Force One. I know you know that I believe God can do all things, any thing, and that He is firmly in control.

You also know me well enough to surmise that I would not vote for Trump in almost any situation, but this is not one of them and I believe Wayne Grudem says it well in this article.

As a leader at Watermark I am always willing to be sharpened. I want to get it right, but currently can not align with the Real Truth Real Quick position. I strongly believe that a write in vote is a vote for Hillary who is a murderer, as you implied, and that is a deal killer for me. After you read this article please sharpen me as to where Grudem is in error. At this point, his view point is almost verbatim my current position.

In the end, we will probably agree to disagree on this issue but wanted to make sure you saw this at least.


PS – I am sorry I seem to occasionally seem to be the fly in the ointment. I know you know I love you all and pray for you regularly.


From: Todd Wagner

No fly in the ointment friend, glad we continue to seek what is best together. That Real Truth Real Quick was shot months ago, but now that the two candidates are who they are it is without a doubt more applicable than ever. I have read Grudem’s article and several others like it. I still stand by my statement in the Real Truth Real Quick  that there is a limit to the evil (incompetence/arrogance/childishness, etc…) that one can vote for. I continue to pray and listen as best I can to the Lord on whether or not Trump is a permissible option for me, especially given that Hillary is so obviously not. I know you will continue to do the same.

I believe there will be many people who genuinely love Jesus who will find a way to think they should, or in Grudem’s case, believe they must, vote for Trump. Romans 14:22 would apply here.

Since you were so compelled by the Grudem article, I thought I would share with you some additional perspectives that are worth reading as part of the “listening” process. The days ahead are going to be interesting to say the least and we should keep praying and listening. May truth and not fear of what could / will happen guide us. Our job is to do right and live with hope. May we never compromise what is right (Proverbs 25:26) or do anything out of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

For now I guess the last article linked above could say eight.

Recently Added

For me the reason I am still unable to say I/we should pick Donald are found in the warnings/judgments in Isaiah 3:1-5 and Ecclesiastes 10:16-17. (It goes without saying why I personally cannot even consider Hillary given her stated views on matters of life, family and liberty). As I have said, there is a limit to the “evil” I can support no matter what the alternative is. I know a lot of people have quoted Spurgeon’s, “of two evils, choose neither”, and while I do think there is some relevance to his statement for us, it is even more relevant to keep reminding ourselves that we do NOT have to choose between these two.

As I said in the Real truth Real Quick, a vote for righteousness (even if it is a write-in righteousness) is never a wasted vote. I just today checked into what it takes to make a write-in candidate legitimate in my state but I think I can make a case that even if I could not cast a vote that would count in my state’s eyes, it would count as a stand for good and therefore not a waste. My vote does not have to be recognized to be righteous.

We need to watch closely in the days ahead and prayerfully discern if Trump’s childish and capricious behavior makes him just as dangerous (possibly more so) because we have NO IDEA what he childishly/capriciously might do. Proverbs 26:12 has some instruction for us here. A “man” who thinks he knows more than everyone else does is capable of doing what no one else thinks he should do. Where pride exists as a pattern, nothing should surprise us.

I cannot vote for a person who fits the description of a pronouncement of judgment or a “woe” on a land, even though I know a Jezebel kind of evil potentially awaits. See my tweet below:

I am praying and would love to help any leader to “do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with the Lord”, but if they will not, I will have a hard time willfully installing them as a leader.

Up until I vote, I will continue to listen and pray the Lord graciously, miraculously, and obviously transforms one of the candidates or supplies a new one that can somehow win. But even if they can’t win, I don’t have to choose what I cannot convince myself is wise (Proverbs 22:3).

The book is not closed for me yet and I understand why some well meaning people will want to vote against “Jezebel” by voting for the “child”.  Meanwhile, let’s stay at it by loving others with the gospel truth and sharing with others the better way.

May the Lord give us wisdom and grace.   Whatever we do, we should use the link I provided in the tweet below to keep us fully engaged.

James 1:5,


Watermark Church’s “Loving Correction” Helps Members Deal With Sin

watermark church building

(Originally published in The Dallas Morning News: http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2016/10/16/watermark-churchs-loving-correction-helps-members-deal-sin)

Recently, one of our former members here at Watermark Community Church shared communication he received from his close friends and church leaders informing him that his membership status had changed because of his desire to actively participate in a same-sex relationship. This letter has gained much attention online. Some are confused, even hurt and I understand why. The practice of church discipline (which is to say, loving correction) is a process that is unfamiliar to most and because of the harshness of the word “discipline” might even be perceived as unloving, oppressive or archaic.

Additionally, homosexuality itself is an area where the larger church has often failed to love well and many church leaders have unfairly and wrongly made it out to be a “larger” sin than other “more acceptable” sins like pride, pornography, materialism, anger or heterosexual infidelity. Any “church” that has said homosexual acts are a more significant sin than others has failed Christ and needs to seek forgiveness from both Jesus and those who struggle with same-sex attraction.

Following the example of Jesus, Watermark loves and welcomes people of all backgrounds, economic statuses, ethnicities and sexual struggles. Also following his example, we encourage people to turn away from sin and to follow Jesus. We have many members and several staff who struggle with same-sex attraction or for whom same-sex sexual activity is a part of their past. We count it a privilege to labor with them in their desire to resist temptation, and we rejoice with them as they experience forgiveness and new life in Christ. Their stories are powerful and serve as beautiful testimonies to the transforming power of Jesus Christ.

Prior to his membership status being changed, this friend made clear to us that he no longer believed same-sex sexual activity was inappropriate for a follower of Jesus Christ and no longer desired to turn from it. Like any member whose beliefs move away from the core commitments, biblical convictions, and values of Watermark, it became appropriate to formally acknowledge his desire to not pursue faithfulness to Christ with us. When you enter into a formal membership covenant with a church family, the leaders and church community promise to “keep watch over your souls,” according to Hebrews 13:17, and will be held accountable before God for your spiritual care and encouragement. This care is a sacred trust and comes with great responsibility. As members of God’s family we are called to love, admonish, encourage, and help each other in our relationship with Christ.

Loving correction (church discipline) can be a difficult idea to understand, because candidly — though the mandate is clearly explained by Jesus in the Gospels and throughout the New Testament, most churches today completely ignore it. Discipline is an act of love, something any parent knows. The heart of true correction is always to bring about good in the life of an individual. Our goal with every instance of care and correction is to restore the relationship and save our hurting friend from the trouble that sin always creates.

We encourage anyone with more questions to look at watermark.org/statement for an in-depth explanation. We’d also love to sit with you, answer any questions you might have, and encourage you in the midst of whatever struggles you face today.

We believe Jesus is the hope of the world and it’s the job of his church to hold fast to the truth found only in the word of God. No sin is greater than another. Jesus died for you. Forgiveness and new life is available to you in Jesus Christ.


Todd Wagner is the pastor of Watermark Community Church. Email: pastoraloffice@watermark.org