Monday, 8 August 2016

Wilson's Letter From Moscow (About Repentance)

On Dodging the Flaming Hailstones

Douglas Wilson

So I think it would be fair to say that I have been pounding away at Trump for lo these many months. Now that the primary season is over, and each major party is now stuck with its nominee, people are starting to coalesce (or not) behind somebody. I mentioned yesterday that Wayne Grudem argued for a Trump vote, Thabiti Anyabwile explained why he was going to vote for Hillary, and David Bahnsen was in the “none of the above” corner. My topic for yesterday was Thabiti’s surprising argument concerning Hillary.

But to demonstrate how inflamed things have gotten after 8 years of Obama’s racial healing road show, here is one response I got on Twitter.
@douglaswils just shows his true feelings for people of a different ethnicity! How come he didn’t go after Grudem? #Privilege
Right. A respectful disagreement with a man I respect reveals my “true feelings” for someone of a different ethnicity. How does such hyper-sensitivity know that I wasn’t simply going alphabetically, with the G of Grudem coming after the A of Anyabwile? Or maybe my #Privilege is being flaunted in this—I am still operating under the old tenets of a now discredited logocentric culture, the one in which writers expected their readers to know how to read.

My post didn’t actually have anything whatever to do with the alphabet, or with skin color, or with trying to offend racial-hypochondriacs, but still I am happy to interact with what I believe to be the central flaw in Grudem’s approach. And I would also point again to a piece taking on Grudem’s argument.

Two Kinds of Trump Votes

But let me set the stage. There is one kind of Trump vote that I disagree with, but which I do understand.
It was the kind of support that Ben Shapiro was referring to . . .
“Just say he’s a crap tornado but you back him over Hillary. Better than this sillytowns.”
In his article, David Bahnsen acknowledged the same kind of category.
 “For those of you who were not early enablers of Trump, and those who did not join his movement in a shameless capitulation to his lead in the polls in February, and those who do not feel the need to defend his craziness now, but those who simply say, ‘Hillary with the Supreme Court is more than I can bear; I have to pull the lever for Trump,’ I think there is a fair and reasonable position here that I want to address.”
I say this because the one part of Grudem’s argument that I felt as forceful was Hillary being in control of Supreme Court appointments. That whole section of his argument was beyond scary. If you care at all about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you cannot contemplate a row of Hillary appointments to the Court without horror. I do feel the force of that.

Our Actual Situation

What is the problem then? Just hold your nose and vote for Trump. But we are not voting for consequences and results. We are not voting for abstract principles. We are voting for a person. We are choosing between a corrupt clown and mendacious felon.

Now the fact that this is our only practical choice has to be received as a judgment from God. This is the hand of the Lord upon us. Read the first two proverbs of Proverbs 29 together.
“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, Shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: But when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn” (Prov. 29:1–2).
Whether we get Trump or Hillary, one thing is certain. We deserve worse than that. We have to take up our problem with God, because He is the one visiting this plague of an election on us. And He is doing so for reasons that are righteous, holy and just. We deserve the rulers we have gotten, are getting, and are going to get. Wicked people get wicked options in their elections. The problem is not the RNC, or the DNC, or whoever else we might want to blame. We have met the enemy, as Pogo said, and he is us.

If the hand of the Lord is upon us, the way out is repentance. We cannot manage our way out. We cannot do a little voting triage. We cannot game the system. What is happening is the judgment of God. And if God is judging a stiff-necked people, as He manifestly is, it is no solution to suggest that we try to dodge the flaming hailstones. The way out is repentance. And I don’t primarily mean repentance at the polling booth. Right repentance will eventually show up at the polls, but I am talking about the country turning back to Jesus Christ through a great reformation and revival. If you want anything else, you are desiring salvation without a Savior.

The one thing we must not do in the meantime is tell ourselves lies about the nature of the situation before us. This is what that means. Given the nature of our dilemma, I am not prepared to condemn a brother in a swing state who votes for Trump while acknowledging that he is an appalling candidate. He is trying to do right in a complicated situation. But I do say that it is a problem—a major problem of self-deception—to say that Trump is a good candidate “with flaws,” as Grudem seeks to do. If the way out is repentance, then minimizing the evil is not that way out.

I can understand why some will vote for Trump, while knowing that there is no real hope there. But I cannot abide the pressure to lie for Trump. It is one thing to lose the election. It is far more serious to lose your soul. And Jesus says that if the whole world were in the balance, you should still choose to guard your soul.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26).

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