People don’t usually turn to Wayne Grudem for advice about politics. He’s an evangelical theologian and scholar who has written what is perhaps the most widely used textbook on Systematic Theology among evangelicals. If you’ve got a question about any point of doctrine, Grudem is your go-to guy.
Nevertheless, Grudem has just written a compelling article in support of Mitt Romney’s candidacy for president. It’s posted at Townhall.com, and it’s titled “Why Evangelicals Should Support Mitt Romney.” His bottom line is this:
‘The situation as it looks today: Apart from Romney, I don’t think there is any other solidly conservative candidate who can beat Giuliani in the primaries. As for McCain and Thompson, they are not reliably conservative. Among the “second-tier” candidates, there are some good men with solid positions, but they have not generated much support. With the early primary schedule nearly upon us it isn’t reasonable to hope that one of them will suddenly “take off.” There is not enough time now to build sufficient funding and a large enough support structure before January.
‘So it seems to me that if evangelicals don’t support Romney in a significant way, Giuliani will be the Republican candidate. So then we will have a pro-abortion, pro-gay rights candidate who is on his third marriage and had a messy affair prior to his divorce from his second wife. Then we will lose any high moral ground and the enthusiasm of the evangelical vote (many of whom will just sit it out), and the difference between Giuliani and Clinton will be only one of degrees as he shifts leftward in the general election to appeal to the “middle.” So then if we lose, we lose, and even if we win, we lose on the crucial moral issues of abortion and protection of marriage. Romney is a much better choice. But he needs evangelical support now if he is going to win.’
I haven’t decided who I am going to support yet. But I definitely agree with Grudem about several things. A Rudy Giuliani candidacy would be a disaster for the pro-life movement. I think a Giuliani candidacy would effectively give us a two-party system in which both parties are pro-choice. I also agree with him that evangelicals and others who share our policy goals should unite around a candidate now so that Giuliani will not get the nomination. I for one would much rather vote for a non-Christian who would continue the pro-life cause than for a nominal Christian who won’t. I have never thought that presidential candidates must be evangelical Christians before I would lend them my support. That’s an unrealistic expectation, and Grudem argues that it’s an unbiblical one as well.
‘Can evangelicals support a candidate who is politically conservative but not an evangelical Christian? Yes, certainly. In fact, it would demonstrate the falsehood of the liberal accusation that evangelicals are just trying to make this a “Christian nation” and only want evangelical Christians in office. For evangelicals to support a Mormon candidate would be similar to supporting a conservative Jewish candidateâ€”someone we don’t consider a Christian but who comes from a religious tradition that believes in absolute moral values very similar to those that Christians learn from the Bible. . .
‘Or have we come to the point where evangelicals will only vote for people they consider Christians? I hope not, for nothing in the Bible says that people have to be born again Christians before they can be governmental authorities who are used greatly by God to advance his purposes. God used Pharaoh, King of Egypt, to raise Joseph to a position of authority over the whole country, so he could save his people from famine (Genesis 41:37-57). God used Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to protect and raise up Daniel and his Jewish friends to positions of high authority over Babylon (Daniel 2:46-49). God used Cyrus, King of Persia, to restore the Jewish exiles to their homeland (Isaiah 45:16; Ezra 1:1-4), and used Darius, King of Persia, to protect the Jewish people as they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 6:1-12). God used Ahashuerus, King of Persia, to raise up Esther as Queen and to give Mordecai high authority and honor in his kingdom (Esther 6:10-11; 8:1-2, 7-15). In the New Testament age, God used the peace enforced by the secular Roman Empire, the Pax Romana, to enable the early Christians to travel freely and spread the Gospel throughout the Mediterranean world.
‘Here in the United States, God used not only Founding Fathers who were strong Christians, but also Deists such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, to build the foundation of our nation. Jefferson even became our third President in 1801, a demonstration of the wisdom of Article 6 of the Constitution, which says, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”‘
I will be making up my mind before too long. Despite my earlier protests against Romney, I’m not closed off to his candidacy. More later.