Neither a borrower nor a lender be, said William Shakespeare (Hamlet Act I, Scene 3, line 76). In other words, stand on your own two feet. Be financially independent. It’s really good advice. It’s biblical, actually. Proverbs particularly harps on this advice. But what happens when you can’t follow it? Do the facts of a bad economy, losing one’s job due to godly activism, or unexpected disability or illness to oneself or one’s family members, render Shakespeare’s biblical counsel moot?
It does, however, demonstrate that while wisdom may be always true and applicable, sometimes we find ourselves unable to perform it. In other words, if your kid is hospitalized and you incur significant debts because of those hospital bills, neither the Bible nor the Bard are telling you to let the kid perish simply to avoid debt. After all, the point of avoiding debt is the welfare and success of one’s heirs.
If your elderly mother needs caretaking and the only way to provide it is to hire someone else to do it, the Bible is not telling you to let your mom suffer neglect or unnecessary misery just to avoid extra financial stress. The duty to honor your father and your mother trumps the obligation to conform your finances to a debt-free lifestyle. Debt does enslave us, but neglect of our loved ones is worse than being an infidel, said the Apostle Paul.
The point is that in the Christian life there is a hierarchy of obligations, or needs, that we often find ourselves trying to keep in order. As our life situations change, some things — like avoiding debt, or cultivating the soil instead of going to Walmart, or earning income independent of godless corporations — become luxuries compared to those things which are higher up on the hierarchy of duties. Things like remaining faithful to one’s spouse, modeling and teaching children God’s Word, and providing for oneself and one’s dependents are way higher on that hierarchy and can never be omitted.
In a manner of speaking, the American nation faces the same situation. As a former Ron Paul supporter and a dues-paying member of the Republican Liberty Caucus, I can say that I take no pleasure in seeing erudite constitutional principles ignored or squashed. I love the checks, balances, and wisdom embodied in our founding documents.
I have voted for third party candidates before. In fact, I voted for a down-ballot Constitution Party candidate on Nov. 8. I refused to vote for McCain or Romney in ’08 and ’12. So nothing that I’m writing here is rah-rah-Republican jingoism.
And yet when faced with Third World invasion, domestic insurrection, and globalist subversion, I would grant Caesar extraordinary powers for the purpose of guaranteeing the first things — the religious liberties, dignity, and safety of me and my loved ones.
When I see otherwise astute #NeverTrump commentators such as Tim Challies and Al Mohler make arguments against Donald Trump that are based on second-tier issues, I can’t help but think that they are like the football team who refused to get on the field because it was not properly marked. As a result the other team took the field and was declared victors by forfeit.
Judging from the deep ranks of pastors, bishops, and denominational leaders in the #NeverTrump movement, Protestants are too wrapped up with second-tier issues. In other words, we and our leaders have lost sight of the most important things in life. Nitpicking at every last jot and tittle of how Donald Trump doesn’t believe in Article 19 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, or how he doesn’t properly genuflect when entering a sanctuary, or how his prayer life is immature, might be fine if we had a real, superior alternative to propose.
In the race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, there was no viable alternative. Sorry, but that is the truth. Again, I have supported third party candidates and wish the reality was different, but it’s not.
Our spiritual leaders are misguiding us into a cul-de-sac of passivity, retreat, pietism, and powerlessness. And they are effectively telling us to vote third party — with our lives — when doing so is neither biblically required nor wise.
Now that Donald Trump is our president-elect, the choice for Protestants is whether they’re going to support, amend, oppose, or remain silent on his policies. Incredibly, it is very likely that the Mohlers, Challies, and Russell Moores of the Protestant world will at best remain silent on them, and at worst oppose them. In the name of God, they’ll tell millions of God-fearing, Bible-believing Protestants that they ought to do the same.
Suffice it to say that their pleas and denunciations will largely fall on deaf ears. Eighty percent of white evangelicals supported Trump for exactly the reasons I listed above: Trump promised he’d take care of the first-tier issues we’re facing as a nation, and that overrules the second-tier ones every time. The anti-Christian mainstream media wanted to get conscientious Christians to oppose Trump because of second-tier issues like his language regarding women, or his attitude, or his “not-nice” policies towards invaders and terrorists. That pitch largely fell flat.
Should Protestant leaders call out the sins of our rulers? Yes. It’s good, healthy, and biblical. We should ever push the Overton window in the direction of godliness. Should Protestant leaders undercut Trump while he attempts to do his job protecting us? No.
If #NeverTrump conservative Protestant leaders continue to badger Trump as president in the same way they badgered or maligned him as a candidate, two very bad things are going to result in the Protestant church.
First, those leaders will become increasingly alienated from their flocks, in much the same way that the leaders of liberal Protestant denominations such as the Episcopal Church and United Methodist Church alienated themselves from their godlier congregants when they pushed rationalism, relativism, pluralism, feminism, alienism, and homosexuality. Those churches have withered on the vine. Almost all the faithful who remained in an attempt to fix their ancestral denominations eventually started their own denominations, such as the PCA, OPC, ACNA, LCMC, and so on.
Sadly, this will happen even in these conservative splinter groups. Cucks don’t know when to quit. They have drunk too deeply of the anti-white, beta-male Kool-Aid. Even if they cease carping at Trump (and us nationalists) for a time, they will inevitably return to it, in full force, when conditions seem more favorable. The disaffected faithful in those denominations will need a place to turn to. Ergo, we need our own churches. The sooner we start building, the more capable we’ll be of ministering to the fleeing faithful when they start leaving their church homes.
Second, those leaders and the denominations they represent will become increasingly cut out of all important policy decisions amongst conservatives and nationalists. They will become increasingly wooed by the Left (Moore and Rick Warren are cases in point). Unfortunately for them, they will find out what Judas found out: defecting to the enemy camp is a net loss. They’ll always be “crackers” and “bigots” as long as they remain white or faithful to the Bible.
This, in turn, will mean that only a few Protestant leaders — such as Jerry Falwell, Jr., or Franklin Graham — will be able to speak in conservative and nationalist circles with any degree of credibility. Our influence will diminish in the nation.
Who will fill that vacuum? The irreligious and anti-Christian factions of the Right. So ironically, by so ardently purity-spiraling against the Trump administration on the basis of second-tier issues, we Protestants will find ourselves at the bad end of a secular backlash by irreligious people on the Right who are correct on first-tier issues. What place will conservative Christians have at the table once the non-Christian Right succeeds in making America safe again from Muslims, Mexicans, and #BlackLivesMatter? Not a good one.
The Protestant church needs to put first things first in the house of God. That means turning away from alienism to nationalism, and putting first things first with our attitude towards the White House too. If we don’t, we will all suffer irreparable harm.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be is good advice. But first, don’t get killed.
To do this, we must reform the Church. Whether from within our respective congregations, denominations, and seminaries, or from without via new church plants and intellectual movements, we must Make Protestantism Great Again.