“For the Sake of the Gospel” Group Willing to Have “Safe Politics” with Mitt Romney.



There is only one gospel of grace. Ministers of that gospel have a duty to warn the flock about false prophets and false religions.

On a website called “For the Sake of the Gospel,” (FTSOTG),  some Christian leaders—led by Jerry Johnson, John Ankerberg, and R.C Sproul, Jr.—have sounded a clear warning for Christians to distinguish Biblical (and historical) Christianity from Mormonism.

The purpose of this call to evangelical Christians and leaders is two-fold:

To protect the purity and integrity of the Biblical Gospel.

To seize the opportunity to educate the America Public and Christians to the fundamental differences between historic Christian faith and that of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

To use Romney’s candidacy as a golden opportunity to proclaim the glorious gospel of Christ is brilliant and forward-looking.

To use this defense of the gospel as an opportunity to subtly support Romney’s candidacy is wrong-headed and blind:

For the sake of the Gospel, we, the undersigned, call upon Christian leaders and their respective ministries and organizations, if you plan on endorsing Governor Mitt Romney for the office of President of the United States, do so by clearly and unequivocally distancing yourself and Biblical Christianity from his Mormon beliefs.

Do gospel ministers fulfill their duties if they imply it is okay to embrace the leaders of false religions for political office (as long as they offer some thin warning about the false doctrine that leader proclaims)?

Coming from Jerry Johnson—who once eloquently explained why he would never vote for a Mormon—this document sounds a lot like the advice some foolish parents give: “I don’t want you to have sex outside of marriage, but if you do…protect yourself”

By putting this declaration in the context of voting (which was totally unnecessary), the group provides cover for those who would vote for Romney in violation of God’s Word. Why not rather just come out with a document that says, “In light of having a Mormon nominee in the GOP, this is a good opportunity for us to remind Christians that Mormonism isn’t Christianity”? Why suggest that they may want to vote for Romney at all?

As far as I can tell, this group has provided no such document for Christians who would vote for Barack Obama (even though 24% of Evangelicals voted for Obama in 2008). There are no warnings about Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s embracing of pluralism, and his apparent liberation theology. Why is this so? Because it is clear that, as a whole, this group intends to vote FOR Romney, whose election would quite possibly do more harm to the professing church than four more years of Obama, though many Christians think Romney presidency would be better for the country than Obama. I doubt if you will find a single signer who is going to vote for Obama. The website is more about politics than religion, I am afraid.

I briefly address the issue of Mormonism in my book, With Christ in the Voting Booth, but I am clear that it would be wrong to vote for an unbeliever of any kind, not just Mormons. I am also concerned about the devastating effect of politics on religion in our culture. In other words, professing Christians are succumbing to the temptation to sacrifice principle and truth in order to gain seats of power.

When FTSOTG suggests voting for an unbeliever is only a matter of personal conscience they have lost nearly everything they tried to gain. The Bible tells us that magistrates must Fear God and Kiss the Son. Timothy J Hammons typifies the flippancy towards the issue of voting for unbelievers and the incongruity of the document when he states: “Vote for Romney in the fall, worship in a true church this Sunday!”

Suppose a man has forbidden his daughter from marrying the cad down the street. Does it make sense for him to then allow the young man to come a-courting every week, having unsupervised time with his daughter? Or suppose a congregation is about to vote on deacons or elders for its church; is it sufficient to remind the congregants that only experienced believers may serve as elders, if you allow unqualified candidates to be put on the ballot?

May I Vote For Someone Who is Not a Christian?

One from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. Deuteronomy 17:15b

Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him.  (Psalm 2:10-12)

Though it may be argued that the first passage applies only to ancient Israel and the required appointment of ethnic or national Jews, the second text requires that all civil leaders must fear God and kiss the Son. The Bible also teaches that there is no fear of God before the unbeliever’s eyes (Romans 3:18, Psalm 36:1).  Adrian Rogers made a great case for only voting for Godly leaders (though it seems to be in conflict with his view that Christians must vote)

When it comes to this question, Christians are sometimes challenged with a quote from Martin Luther which usually goes like this: “I would rather be ruled by a wise Turk (that is, a Muslim), than a foolish (or stupid) Christian.”

I would like to make several observations about this quote. First, there is strong reason to believe it has been falsely attributed to Martin Luther, for it is contrary to much of what Luther wrote about the rule of Turks.

Second, let us look at a genuine quote from Luther, who was arguing that the clergy should not take up arms:

I say this not because I would teach that worldly rulers ought not to be Christians, or that a Christian cannot bear the sword and serve God in temporal government. Would God they were all Christians, or that no one could be a prince unless he were a Christian! Things would be better than they now are and the Turk would not be so powerful.

As an early reformer, Luther recognized that the gospel was severely restricted in lands ruled by Muslims, especially Turkey. Later he wrote:

For although some praise his [the Turk’s] government because he allows everyone to believe what he will so long as he remains the temporal lord, yet this praise is not true, for he does not allow Christians to come together in public, and no one can openly confess Christ or preach or teach against Mohammed. For it is misery enough to be compelled to suffer the Turk as overlord and to endure his government; but willingly to put oneself under it, or to desire it, when one need not and is not compelled – the man who does that ought to be shown the sin he is committing and how terribly he is going on.

Noah Webster also wrote:

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, “just men who will rule in the fear of God.” The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted.”

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LB3LDHWZXK7GXIW6DYVOYSVPHE SJ

    Some very interesting points, David.  Let me ask you this:  Do you think it’s biblical to vote for someone like George W. Bush, a professing Christian who is an entrenched member of the Romney-loving establishment and also has a lot of other serious flaws as well? 

    BTW, that is not a trick question. :)  I’m just curious what your opinion is on the matter. 

    Another question: Are there any New Testament verses that apply directly to choosing a leader?

    • David Shedlock

      It isn’t the flaws, it is the foundations.   I voted for George W. Bush, but I would not now for two reasons. First, because he is now on the record as saying basically all religions are equal. Second, I now am convinced that any politician that knowingly accepts exceptions for abortion doesn’t understand the issue. I cannot speak for others on Bush, you are right about his profession. 

      Though they are not perfect candidates, I believe Perry and Bachmann both were qualified.
      Let me think about the Early Church and get back to you in a day or two.

      • Joelcannon

        Would you vote for a Catholic? A Jew?

      • http://www.turretinpress.com/ David J Shedlock

        Probably not and no (if you are referring to a believer in Judaism, otherwise race and ethnicity are irrelevant.)

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_LB3LDHWZXK7GXIW6DYVOYSVPHE SJ

        Thanks, David.  Perry was too wishy-washy concerning homosexual rights and abortion IMO.  He seemed to change his views at the last minute to what he thought people wanted to hear.  Bachmann was perhaps the “best” of a sorry bunch, but she seems to lie whenever the occasion suits her (which seems to be pretty often) and to have a serious problem with hubris.  And of course, breaking her FAMiLY Leader vow and endorsing a pro-abortion candidate and then pretending she never made the vow is pretty frightening as well.  Party over principle. Definitely slim pickings this year.

        I wonder if the apostle Paul would have voted for any of these clowns?  :)  Yes, if you find anything written by the Early Church, please share it here–thanks.

      • http://www.turretinpress.com/ David J Shedlock

        Thank you for your mention of the FAMiLY Leader vow. Very disappointing.

  • RaymondSwenson

    All I can say for you is that your religioys bigotry and intokerance of others, and dusregard for religuoys equality and freedom under the First Amendment, is right out there for all to see. I have some news for you: Yoyr vrand of religion (which excludes Catholucs and Orthodox and Jews from full citizenship) is a minirity in America, and yoy are not gping to reach an electoral majority without making coalitions with people outside yoyr own religioys brand. It is called.democracy, and it rejects the kind of theocracy and elitism that you preach here. Your freedom only for your own minority is the kind of hate filled politics that created the civil war in Northern Ireland and the Ku Klux Klan.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Maury-Jones/757751167 Maury Jones

    I’m curious.  Why do you claim that Mormons are not Christians?  I am a Mormon.  I pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  I worship God in the name of Jesus Christ.  I go to a church whose name is The Church of Jesus Christ.  I worship the Jesus who was born of the virgin Mary, who taught us how to live, who set an example of purity and sinlessness, who suffered for my sins, who died on the cross, and who resurrected on the Sunday following the crucifixion.  I believe all the Bible teaches about Christ.  I study the Bible, especially the Four Gospels.  I believe it.  Yet you claim I am not Christian.  Why?

    • David Shedlock

      Do you believe that God the Father was once a man?
      Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?
      Do you believe that we can become Gods of our planet?
      Do you believe God has a wife, a father and a mother?
      Do you believe we are not saved by grace alone through faith, but that we are also saved by works?
      Do you believe that it is through the fall that we gain the knowledge of God?
      Do you believe there is still new revelation today?
      Do you believe that there is an authority above the Bible, such as the Book of Mormon or Doctrines and Covenants?Please answer this and then we will talk.

      • lindasdf

        Do you believe that God the Father was once a man?  I’ve never heard that in church, but I think some do believe it. Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God?
        YesDo you believe that we can become Gods of our planet?I believe that we can become as God is. We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
        Do you believe God has a wife, a father and a mother?
        If we have a Heavenly Father, there probably is a Heavenly Mother. Do you believe we are not saved by grace alone through faith, but that we are also saved by works?
        We are saved by grace, and exalted by our works. Do you believe that it is through the fall that we gain the knowledge of God?
        It is thru the fall that we knew good and evil.Do you believe there is still new revelation today?
        Not new, continuing. Do you believe that there is an authority above the Bible, such as the Book of Mormon or Doctrines and Covenants?
        The authority is in the priesthood, not the scriptures. But, we do believe that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the D&C and the PofGP are all scripture and the word of God.

        Please answer this and then we will talk.

      • Joelcannon

        As a fellow Mormon, I think that lindasdf’s answers are representative of the typical Mormon. When people say that Mormon’s are not Christians, it gives the false impression that we do not worship Jesus Christ. I think it would be more accurate to say that we are not Trinitarian Christians, or Protestants. But your definition excludes most historic and living Christians today.

        You might want to leave the judging to Jesus – not sure he needs your help.

      • http://www.turretinpress.com/ David J Shedlock

        Thank you Linda, for very honest answers. I hope that you day find Jesus, who is the only Savior. In particular, your answer concerning where authority lies demonstrates that your faith  essentially lies in your “church”, not in Christ. When we say that Mormons are not Christians, what we mean is that the doctrines they teach are not according to the Scriptures, which are the sufficient Revelation of Jesus Christ. 

        Paul speaks of “another gospel” and “another Jesus” which were not the true gospel and the true Jesus. Mormonism is “another (false) gospel. Because it promises that we shall become as gods, and that it is through the fall that knowledge comes, we can say that the Mormonism is in many ways, the original false gospel.

      • lindasdf

        Joelcannon gave a good answer. I would like to expand on it. 
        I have found Jesus, I am a member of HIS church. Our authority is from Christ Jesus Himself, the Head of our church. Our doctrines are not according to YOUR INTERPRETATION of the scriptures. 
        If you read all of Galatians, you know that the “other gospel” he was speaking of is the “gospel of circumcision” or the belief that the Gentile believers needed to become Jews first, and follow the Law of Moses. 
        And Paul also said that we are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. The fall did exactly what Lucifer said it would do: it make man as the gods, knowing good and evil. 
        I was raised as a “trinitarian Christian”. The trinity is not Biblical. I looked for the Biblical church, and found it in the Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints.

    • Tony4516

      No, Maury Jones, you are not a Biblical Christian. You should study what your morman faith really believes in, then compare it to the Chistian faith.

      • lindasdf

        I was raised in “the Christian faith” and we LDS ARE Biblical Christians. Not exactly like you, but Christians, none the less.

  • Pingback: How Religion Didn’t Destroy American Politics…Yet | The Penn Ave Post

  • Tony4516

    Wow! Good conversations on this topic. I assume you are saying that if a person with Christians beliefs does not recieve the parties nomination we are to stay home on election night. Have we ever had a true Christian believer serve as President? At least in the last 75 to 100 years? Most thinking people and Christians knew what Obama stood for in 2008 and did not vote for him, but to think that this current President would be okay for another 4 years over any other canidate is flawed thinking!

    • http://www.turretinpress.com/ David J Shedlock

      Thanks for your contribution, Tony. To answer your questions:

      1. Not stay home (there are probably other races that are important, but just cast your ballot for another party or leave it blank. 

      2. John Quincy Adams was likely a Christian, perhaps Calvin Coolidge. I have not looked into all of the presidents, nor do I claim to be the final and only authority on this question.

      3. Obama did get 24% of the Evangelical vote last time. If God has not given us a Christian to vote for, we can trust that he has ordained whatever is best for the church.  (By the way, I am not addressing unbelieving voters. They can vote for whoever they think is best according to their worldview)