Why so many Calvinists in the 'Never Trump' movement?

by Dr. Richard Land |

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Christian Post) — A few weeks ago a Roman Catholic colleague who is a conservative political scientist and economist asked me a thoughtful and unexpected question. "Richard," he said, "Why is it that such a high percentage of the Evangelical 'Never Trumpers' are Calvinists?"

I hadn't thought about it exactly that way. After reflecting on the question, here is my attempt to provide an answer.

The succinct and simple answer is that their governing theology, which molds and shapes their world view (as any self-respecting theology should), has strongly predisposed them to their "Never Trump, both candidates are unacceptable, I will support neither" posture.

(CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)

Not all "Never Trump" Evangelicals are Calvinists, but a large portion of them, probably a majority, including some of the most outspoken Christian leaders who are arguing against Trump, are Calvinists. So why would being a 4- or 5-point Calvinist (see my explanation of the five points of Calvinism below) predispose someone to be a "Never Trumper?"

If you believe, as many Calvinists do, that everything has already been decreed and preordained by God, as opposed to other more, mediating theological traditions within Christendom, then it is certainly a more readily available option to believe that your decision not to choose a "lesser evil" over a "greater evil," but to withdraw altogether and choose neither has itself, always been preordained.

Why? Well, you would be tempted to believe that your very decision to choose neither was not really your free decision, but had always been preordained by God. When you couple that with the belief that the decision about who is going to win, for example, the presidential election, has also always been preordained by God in eternity past, then it is tempting to say "it is out of our hands because God's decreed will prevails."

The temptation to determinism or fatalism is not inevitable or inherent in the Calvinist system, but it is certainly a more prevailing and accessible temptation than is the case in other Christian theological traditions.

If, however, you believe that your choices and actions are truly choices and actions that God has left you the discretion to make under His guidance and direction, and that those choices and actions do influence events positively or negatively, then you are perhaps less ready to so quickly decide not to choose the lesser evil in order to help keep the greater evil from prevailing, even for a finite period of time.

Of course, all orthodox historic Christian traditions believe that in the end God will prevail and culminate history in the victorious return of the resurrected and ascended Christ in triumph and glory.

When a decision gets really tough, albeit to the point of challenging your core beliefs about how to participate in democracy, it is extremely tempting to use a convenient doctrinal nuance to take the easy way out.

Theology, politics, and the nature of fallen man, are a lot more complex than that.

For a quick tutorial on Calvinism, keep reading.

Dr. Richard Land is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and executive editor of The Christian Post. This article published by Christian Post.

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