Why are Evangelicals fudging on the gospel to promote Mitt Romney?

On Sunday in the Aquila Report Bill Evans made some interesting claims concerning Mormonism in his attempt to persuade readers that there is a Christian position in the upcoming presidential election – a position that requires voting for Mitt Romney.

Evans writes:

While Mormons are not Christians in the traditional creedal sense of the term, I also have little doubt that there are Mormons who are looking in faith to Christ for salvation. In addition, the argument can be made that Mormons are closer to biblical truth on some issues than many liberal Protestants.

Scott Clark has a thoughtful analysis of Evans’s claim at the Heidelblog so I won’t offer that here. What strikes me is how so many Christian conservatives, from Bill Evans to Billy Graham, feel the need to soften their criticism of Mormonism in order to justify voting for Romney.

Part of what puts Evans, at least, in this position, may be his off-handed dismissal of the two kingdoms perspective. Christians who do not conflate the kingdom of God with the kingdoms of this world have less trouble justifying voting for a candidate who approximates their understanding of justice regardless of his or her religion. To be sure, they do give up the right to claim their perspective on the election as the Christian one, a concession Evans is loath to make.

For a much better perspective on the upcoming election – one grounded in the two kingdoms perspective – see Richard Phillips’s article published by the Aquila Report yesterday. Phillips argues that the church should proclaim the political principles taught in Scripture but should avoid entanglements in politics itself. Why?

The first [reason] is the doctrine known as the spirituality of the Church, which means that the Church is an institution of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ and His spiritual reign, and as such should avoid distracting itself by entanglements in the secular realm of politics (see John 18:37).

I have no problem with a Christian making an argument that people ought to vote for a particular candidate for various reasons informed by the Christian tradition. But I don’t think we should dilute our understanding of Christianity or the gospel to do so. Compromising Christ’s lordship for (the possibility of) four years of Republican possession of the White House doesn’t strike me as being the best trade.


About Matthew J. Tuininga

Matthew J. Tuininga is the Assistant Professor of Moral Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Posted on October 31, 2012, in 2012 election, Mitt Romney, Two Kingdoms and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Why are Evangelicals fudging on the gospel to promote Mitt Romney?.

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