Pastor and author John MacArthur says in a new interview that President Trump phoned him this summer to offer support and that MacArthur told him “any real true believer is going to be on your side” in November.
MacArthur’s congregation, Grace Community Church in Los Angeles County, Calif., has defied state and county health restrictions that prohibit indoor worship services. He made the comments in an interview with Ryan Helfenbein of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center. The Democratic Party platform, MacArthur asserted, is antithetical to Scripture.
“He called me after the Sunday morning service, and he was very gracious and said, ‘I just want to thank you for taking a stand. Church is essential, and I'm glad you're doing what you're doing.’ And then we talked a little bit about why, from certainly a biblical standpoint, Christians could not vote Democratic,” MacArthur said. “Because there’s no way that a Christian can affirm the slaughter of babies, homosexual activity, homosexual marriage, or any kind of gross immorality – no way we could stand behind a candidate who was affirming transgender behavior, which of course is really the reprobate mind of Romans 1.
“I said these things aren't even political for us, sir … these things are biblical. These things are laid down by the Word of God, and we love God. We desire to honor him, and upholding righteousness in a society is what a church is supposed to do. I said any real true believer is going to be on your side in this election, because it's not just an individual. It's an entire set of policies that Christians cannot in any way, affirm.”
Unlike several decades ago, MacArthur said, the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties are no longer “sociological and economic.”
The Democratic Party, MacArthur said, has led an assault on the four “restraints” that God placed in the world to restrain sinful people. Those four restraints, he said, are: the individual’s conscience (“the law of God written in the heart”), the family, the government and the church.
“I'm not at all surprised that you have an assault on the conscience by the Democratic Party, where homosexuality, immorality at any kind of level, transgenderism is fine, acceptable behavior and we ought to make laws to normalize it,” MacArthur said. “I’m not at all surprised that the family is destroyed through divorce and abortion, which is the destruction of the very reason for marriage. I’m not surprised that they're screaming to defund the police, because that's the next restraint to go. And I was just waiting for when they were going to hit the church.
“So if that's the Democratic platform, then it is an all-out, massive, comprehensive assault on God, and on what God has placed in the world, to protect people, to allow for civilization to flourish so that He can be honored in that civilization because they see Him through the law and the heart, through the family passing righteousness from one generation to the next, through law and order. And through the church, which is the pillar and ground of the truth, salt and light in the world.”
MacArthur’s comments ignited a social media debate over whether Christians can, in good conscience, vote for Democratic candidates.
Alan Noble, a writer and an associate professor of English at Oklahoma Baptist University, said in a Facebook post that Christians should not question one another’s faith over politics. Noble also serves as a member of the leadership council of the AND Campaign.
“This president has been horrific for our country, a disgrace to conservativism, damaging to the witness and health of the church, and corrosive to democracy,” Noble wrote on Facebook. “But if you are a Christian and vote for him in 2020, you are still my brother or sister in Christ. Period. I would implore you not to, but your vote does not determine whether you are a ‘real true believer,’ and it is shameful for any pastor to say otherwise. And the same is true for voting Biden (which I don't intend to do).
“It may be that your vote is sinful. That's always possible,” Noble added. “Many people vote for a candidate out of hatred or greed or spite, which is sin. But even if you vote for sinful reasons, God has grace for you and I will have grace for you. Real true believers sin and make foolish decisions sometimes and thank God in heaven He has grace and mercy for us.
“That doesn't mean I'm not going to challenge your views, or pray for you to make better choices. That doesn't mean that the consequences of voting aren't serious,” Noble wrote. “That doesn't mean that politics don't matter. But it does mean that I'm not going to question your faith. And I would hope that no Christians will promote the false teaching that no ‘real true believers’ would oppose Trump. It is a lie.”
Photo courtesy: ©Grace Community Church
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.