The Manna and the Stone

A Theological and Practical Journal of Bible Presbyterians

The Days Ahead

“When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Luke 11:24-26 (ESV)

A great part of me is relieved that Donald Trump appears to have won the presidency last night. A great part of me is also afraid. Of the two major party candidates in the election, one represented a known evil, and the other represented chaos. The American people have, out of their anger, chosen chaos.

Of the two options, I do legitimately believe Trump represents the better (or, at least, he possesses the possibility of being better – what he actually will be is anyone’s guess), but now comes the hard part. Trump is essentially a bomb lobbed into Washington DC, destroying established power structures in which the American people had lost faith, and please let me say that I believe this loss of faith to be entirely justified. The American government had ceased to acknowledge good and punish evil – it needed such a disruption.

The part of me which is relieved is the part which acknowledges that the destruction of an evil thing is a great good. The part of me which is afraid is the part which sees nothing approaching an ideal of justice which might come in to fill the void left by this destruction. It is clear that, if we are not filled with Christ, we will be filled with evil – as cryptic as this lesson from our Savior is, that much is absolutely clear. It is much the same with our nation – if we are not governed by godly laws, we will be governed by evil, whatever species it may be. I genuinely fear that the evils which are driven out may return to us, bringing new friends. We must, must be active in seeking to allow the truth of God to fill the void left by all this destruction. If we are not, all that has been accomplished has been the invitation of greater evil upon our own heads.

I am not a Trump supporter, – if you have read any of my articles thus far, this is not a surprise to you – so I say this to the great bulk of evangelicals who voted for Trump:

Now is the time to put on the sackcloth and ashes, and mourn the fact that a better man than Donald Trump could not be found to represent your cause.

Now is the time to speak honestly about this moral disaster of a man who will set the course for our country in the coming years.

Now all of the excuses about political pragmatism have seen their use and outcome and passed away. We have the man, however evil or good he may be, and we have to deal with him. This will be the hard part.

The briefest glances at statistics reveals that evangelicals were instrumental in putting Trump into office. As a church, we now own that, for better or worse. We, as a church, have to do away with all the doublespeak and speak God’s truth about the man and about the country.

I am glad that Trump has promised to put strict constructionists on the supreme court. That is great gain.

I am glad that Trump is purportedly pro-life, and even if don’t believe it for a second, I am hopeful that he will see it as politically expedient to fight against abortion, regardless of his personal beliefs. That is (potentially) great gain.

I am in mourning that the great champion of justice in the US is an openly immoral profligate who is fickle, egotistical, lascivious, and completely crazy.

He is our Samson. He is the corruption of godly justice who, despite possessing the libido of a rutting pig, despite his worship of violence and ego, despite his absolute arrogance, may bring the temple down upon the heads of our enemies. I pray that God intends to use him in such a manner. I pray that God will judge him, as he did Samson.

I also fear the dividing of the concubine. If he is our Samson, these are the days into which we tread.

Jason Waeber

Jason Waeber is an elder at Grace Bible Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, OH, where he worships with his wife and three children. He is also a seminary student, under care with the Great Lakes Presbytery. As GBPC is looking forward to planting a church with him in the next few years, he felt called to develop the online presence of the denomination, both for outreach and the doctrinal maturity of the denomination. The Manna and the Stone is his attempt to pursue this. Currently, Jason is serving as the general editor for the site.

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  1. Good thoughts. We must orient ourselves to the coming storm. Thank you.

  2. Christian Mastilak

    November 10, 2016 at 12:39 am

    I don’t have time to learn how to make a post, find a picture, etc. So I’ll leave this as a comment.

    I fully agree that we must face the future honestly. That would be true no matter who was elected. And one of the many practical blessings of the One True Faith is its help for adherents in facing unhappy truths openly. We can face the death of unsaved loved ones and still worship our omnipotent God; we can face a disappointing slate of candidates.

    As for the idea that the church somehow owns Trump because believers voted for him, the kindest way I can put it is: “Come off it; that’s [hogwash].” I don’t need to repent in sackcloth and ashes for the choice I faced any more than Rahab had to own the fact that spies showed up at her door.

    The fact that no better man than Donald Trump arose to champion our cause *in the political arena* is a result of the political processes of the two feasible political parties, not a result of the church. I suppose, generally, the nation’s lack of godliness is partly due to the church’s lack of evangelism. But the GOP & Dem machines are never ever going to be oriented toward promoting anything other than GOP & Dem electoral success. Those parties seek their own self-interest. Christians ought not be confused about that reality or expect those parties to represent us.

    There are better men than Trump all throughout the church in the US. Were that not the case, then we ought to repent in sackcloth and ashes. But the fact that we can’t influence the political machines more to our liking isn’t something I need to own. Psalm 2 makes it clear that kings and rulers set themselves against the Lord and His Anointed. I can’t make that not happen.

    So what are we to do? Passages like Deuteronomy 22:8 and Exodus 21:29 tell me that we’re responsible for foreseeable outcomes of even those events that aren’t our fault. When I made voting decisions in the general election, there were two foreseeable outcomes. Either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump would be elected president. Because I live in Ohio (and not, say, Kentucky, whose outcome was certain), my vote has some impact on the probability of those outcomes.

    Hillary Clinton is a known liar, bribe-taker, criminal, protector of a sexual predator husband, attacker of victims of abuse, incompetent office-holder, power-hungry, narcissistic leech, who has overseen a corruption empire spanning government, the media, international donors, a phony charitable foundation and an entire political party, but who tries to put on a reputable, reasonable public face. (“I go, sir,” but he did not go.)

    Donald Trump is a sexually immoral narcissist who publicly plays the uncouth buffoon. But for all his coarse jesting and idle talk, not one credible shred of evidence about corruption or criminality came from all the opposition research done by the Dem-Media-GOP elite-Kristol-DOJ complex. Yes, he’s personally a moral failure. So is the other candidate with a chance of being elected. Trump has yet to demonstrate corruption in public office. Clearly, he’s the less-bad choice for a public political office.

    So, the foreseeable outcomes *given to me by political parties* are to increase the likelihood of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump getting elected. I don’t own that, and I won’t own that. The parties own that.

    I could’ve voted for a different candidate – someone who is a credibly professing Christian and a decent person. But the foreseeable outcome would be to increase the likelihood of Hillary Clinton being elected. I don’t have to own the fact that a vote for someone else would’ve done that, and I won’t own it. The parties own that.

    I can face the reality, and I can choose to act in the only way that might contain the ox that is accustomed to goring people in the past. I can face, with the full force of Christian faith, the sad reality that President Trump will likely be dissatisfying. But I don’t have to own it like I’ve done something wrong. The people running the political system and defining the choices they give the nation, including Christians, will face God’s judgment for their own use of their time and talents.

    You may call this “political pragmatism.” Maybe it is. But I strongly disagree that I bear any moral responsibility for what was on the ballot. The parties own that.

    As for Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner, Barack Obama, and anyone else who needs it, I pray the Lord converts the lot of them.

    • Jason Waeber

      November 10, 2016 at 9:38 am

      I’ll keep my response minimal here, partially because I’m actually working on a longer article about morality and voting, so hopefully that will be useful when it comes out. Just a few things.

      First, I actually laughed when I read that you’re going after Hillary for being a “protector of a sexual predator husband.” Do you realize who the man you’re defending is? He can barely get on stage without bragging about his sequal conquests, infidelities, and exploitation of women.

      Your entire post assumes that the only acceptible vote is a vote for one of the major party candidates – that’s just simply untrue. Not voting is a political statement. Voting third party is a political statement. All of these say “the major party candidates are completely unacceptable,” which is precisely what must be said in this situation.

      “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” -Rom 1:32

      This does not mean that we can only vote for perfect people, but when one looks at a man like Donald Trump, whose entire brand is built upon evil, arrogance, greed, sex, who stands up in front of us saying he has nothing of which to repent – he is a moral poison which should have absolutely made Christians recoil in revulsion. When we give merely a backhanded dismissal of his “faults” before proceeding to justify him on a thousand points of “political pragmatism,” we are guilty of giving our approval to evil.

      I’m not willing to say that voting for Donald Trump is sinful. I know it would have been for me, as my conscience would condemn me. I am willing to say that much of the embrace of Donald Trump by the evangelical community in dismissing his toxicity as mere “character flaws” and pretending that vices are virtues is sinful. We should be crystal that we are not approvers of evil. We have not been.

      Also, if you don’t believe that there’s such a thing as corporate guilt, I’ll just mention that the passage below was directed to NT Jews:

      “Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” -Matt 23:34-36

      If we consider the voices coming from the evangelical community approving of this evil man as coming from our brothers in Christ, there is a sense in which we all bear the guilt. May God be merciful to us.

  3. Christian Mastilak

    November 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I don’t vote to make a political statement, for the same reason a tree falling in a deserted forest doesn’t make a sound. I vote to affect probabilities among feasible outcomes. If I’d voted for, say, the Constitution Party candidate, then he’d have gotten 7 votes instead of 6 at my polling place. (Or some similarly low number of no consequence.) Who would’ve heard my statement, so self-righteously made? Me, and only me. That’s narcissistic self-expression, which I usually reserve for my blog comments, not my voting.

    I’m not actually defending Trump so much as I’m disclaiming responsibility for the lack of attractive political choices handed to me by the GOP and DNC. You put that responsibility on me; but I won’t wear it, and I explained why.

    That said, I don’t agree in the slightest that Trump’s boorish (but probably empty – let’s face it, I’m not giving him all that much credit) boasting is anywhere near as bad as actually committing physical violence against someone, or defending someone who has. Unlike the snowflake generation, I can tell the difference between (1) unwholesome words that ought to be dismissed as inconsequential bloviating and (2) actual bad acts. So I voted for the boor to try to keep the despicable criminal out of office. Not that hard a decision at the end of the day, and I sleep on it like it’s memory foam.

    As for corporate guilt, go ahead and assign it where you will. It won’t make me no nevermind. (You won’t be surprised.) I have enough of my own actual failings. I’m not going around collecting others’ unhappy providences to mingle with my real sins to carry to the cross.

  4. Christian Mastilak

    November 11, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    A clarification and apology:

    I DO NOT believe that every third party vote is narcissistic. For me, given my purpose for voting, it would be a pointless vote just to make me feel good about myself. I consistently used the first person in my post, but I wasn’t explicit about the limits of my claim.

    If you have a different purpose for voting — for example, if you believe voting is an expression of political sentiment, or moral approval of a candidate or party — then you surely ought to vote your conscience. And I would not consider such a vote narcissistic but rather entirely appropriate.

    I fully accept that people have different purposes for voting. Reasonable people will disagree.

    My last post was not very clear about that. I’m sorry for writing in such as way as to sound like I’m accusing every third-party voter of narcissism. That’s not my belief nor my intention, and I ask your forgiveness.


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