The 2020 Election, Personality Versus Policy – With Wayne Grudem: What is the Biblical and historical perspective on elections? Do you realize what is at stake in this upcoming election? How do Americans decide who to vote for? Should Christians vote for a third-party candidate? Tune in to hear this eye-opening interview with theologian and professor Wayne Grudem as he discusses his letter to an anti-Trump Christian friend.
Air Date: 09/16/2020
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Transcription note: As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.
Faith and the Culture
Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture, it’s WallBuilders Live where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith and the culture, probably no hotter topic on that than the election that is just a few weeks away, so we’re going to be hitting on that today as well.
But there’s so many other topics we cover here on the program, we encourage you to visit our website wallbuilderslive.com, where you can get archives of the program from the last few weeks, lots of great interviews there. And also our Foundations of Freedom Thursday programs where we dive into your questions.
Our Friday programs, our Good News Friday, that’s where we all need a little bit of a pick me up and there’s a lot of good things happening despite the chaos of 2020. So, check out those Friday programs as well.
And while you’re at the website, wallbuilderslive.com, make that contribution. One-time or monthly, whatever you do, when you come alongside us like that, you are locking shields with us, you are helping us to expand our reach more people, not only to continue speaking truth as we do here at WallBuilders Live, but reach more people with that truth.
That allows us to educate, equip and inspire citizens to do their part to save our constitutional republic. And you become a part of that when you donate at wallbuilderslive.com. Thanks so much for considering that today.
My name, by the way, is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas legislator and America’s Constitution coach. And I am joined by David Barton. He’s America’s premier historian and our founder here at WallBuilders, and also, Tim Barton, national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders. We appreciate you joining us today. You can find out more about all of us at wallbuilders live.com.
Looking at Elections from a Biblical and Historical perspective
Alright, David, Tim, Wayne Grudem on with us later in the program. Let’s start just by, I mean, elections close, guys. We’re just a few weeks away, this thing’s going to be here before we know it. We say biblical, historical constitutional perspective on every issue of the day, well especially elections and from a biblical and historical perspective, this is a big one.
It is a big one, and there’s a lot at stake. I was recently with a guy who’s a national economist. He is well known as economist. He’s helped direct presidential campaigns. He’s been the campaign consultant and the campaign director, the manager of the campaigns. He has been an advisor to numerous presidents, numerous foreign heads of state on economic issues, really good guy.
And he said that he went back to the 1960s, and looked at presidential campaigns since the 1960s with an eye to what’s going on today, what kind of trends are out there. And what he discovered was really fascinating to me. He said that what you get is about two-thirds of the people that will look at policy and policies important to them, and they’re going to vote on the basis of policy or should vote on the basis of policy, generally would.
And about one-third of the folks are on the basis of personality. They don’t care what policies are. Is the guy a nice guy? Can I trust him? Etc.
And so if you take that to where we are today, what you’ve got today is you have Biden versus Trump. Nationally, we know that about two-thirds of the nation agrees with Trump’s policies, so you just kind of pick the policy and pick most of his policies. And generally, he has a strong majority and a super majority supporting him. But there are about a third of the nation that absolutely dislike him, they just don’t like him as a person.
Derogatory Statements by Democrats
Now, Biden, on the other side is a much more likable guy, but his policies are rejected by the overwhelming majority of the nation: where he is on abortion, where he is on open borders, where he is on socialism, etc. The Nation rejects that. So how is Biden going to be able to pick up the 51% he would need to win?
What he has to do is to get people to stop looking at Trump’s policies. Don’t look at the economics. Don’t look at what the economy has been. Don’t look at what unemployment has been. Look at this person, man, you really can’t like Trump.
And so what he will do is he will beat on Trump as a person, not on his policies. He’s going to stay out of policies. We saw that at the Democratic National Convention, where that everything was about how bad Trump was. Now, they didn’t talk about policies. They didn’t talk about what the protests were doing. They didn’t talk about so many other things. It’s all about how bad Trump is.
And so as you watch the media, which very much is on the side of Biden this stuff. What you find is they all got their guns pointing at Trump and every week they’re going to get a new bullet to shoot a Trump. So, you know, a few weeks ago, it was that Trump allegedly when he was over for D-day, he wouldn’t go visit one of the cemeteries of the dead American soldiers because they said they were loser for having been killed. Well, that dominated that new cycle for a week. And then the next week comes out and as Bob Woodward’s book and what Bob Woodward says about Trump.
And so everything is about Trump, the person, he’s a bad, bad, bad, bad person. And you’re not going to get any policy positions out of Biden. He’s not going to talk about that. He’s going to talk about how bad Trump is. And that’s really the only way he can win the election. Because when you get down to as Jesus said, judge a tree by its fruits, when you look at what’s actually done, Trump has very large support for that.
So it’s interesting that a lot of what we hear with the “Never Trumper” kind of thing and the reason I can’t vote for Trump is he’s such a bad guy, he has such a bad background. Judge a tree by its fruits in the sense of look at the policies that he’s done, see if you agree with the direction the nation is moving and with the policies, what’s been done in foreign relations and foreign affairs, what’s been done in the military, what’s been done in education, what’s been done in the realm of protecting Christians and religious liberties, what’s been done in the area of judges. You start looking at that, you go, I really like what he does.
This election is really going to boil down to personality versus policy. And so the Democrats are going to have to beat on Trump to make him a bad person and the Republicans are going to have to stay on policy and look what he’s done. And so that’s a fascinating direction.
Recently, guys, we saw an article from a guy we really highly respect Wayne Grudem. We love his books. We read his books. We recommend his books, and what the Bible says about politics and systematic theology and so many good books. He’s such a rooted and grounded, biblically conservative guy and just love it.
Wayne had a friend who had gone after Trump and how bad a person he was, etc. And so Wayne wrote a letter to that friend, it was an anti-Trump friend, and that letter was published and it got circulated and is really kind of taken off. And as we read that, we said, yeah, this is exactly what the argument is about. This is what this economist friend of mine was saying, This is what every election has been about since 1960s. And here we are, again, we thought it’d be great to get Wayne own to talk about this letter, because it is such good information for all of us to hear today.
Wayne Grudem, he’ll be with us when we come back from the break. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Heroes of History
Hi, friends, this is Tim Barton of WallBuilders. This is a time when most Americans don’t know much about American history or even heroes of the faith. And I know oftentimes we, parents, we’re trying to find good content for our kids to read.
And if you remember back to the Bible, to the book of Hebrews, it has the faith Hall of Fame where they outline the leaders of faith that had gone before them. Well, this is something that as Americans, we really want to go back and outline some of these heroes, not just of American history, but heroes of Christianity in our faith as well.
I want to let you know about some biographical sketches we have available on our website. One is called The Courageous Leaders collection. And this collection includes people like Abigail Adams, Abraham Lincoln, Francis Scott Key, George Washington Carver, Susanna Wesley, even the Wright brothers. And there’s a second collection called Heroes of History.
In this collection, you’ll read about people like Benjamin Franklin or Christopher Columbus, Daniel Boone, George Washington, Harriet Tubman, friends, the list goes on and on. This is a great collection for your young person to have and read and it’s a providential view of American and Christian history. This is available at www.wallbuilders.com. That’s www.wallbuilders.com.
Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. In 1963, the United States Supreme Court decided that voluntary Bible reading could no longer be part of the school day. Founding Father, Benjamin Rush, known as the ‘Father of Public Schools’ under the Constitution, pointedly warned that the Bible should be read in schools in reference to all other books. He specifically warned that if America ever cease promoting biblical principles in schools, then we would waste so much time and money and punishing crimes and takes so little pains to prevent them.
He was right. We now have 7 million Americans in prison, on probation or on parole, and the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Sadly, this was unnecessary, but is the result of no longer teaching the morals of the Bible in schools.
For more information about the Founding Fathers views on the positive impact of the Bible in schools, go to wall builders.com
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us today, really honored today to have Wayne Grudem with us. Wayne, I got to tell you, brother, when I went to work for David Barton, one of the first books he assigned me was “Systematic Theology” by you, so that was 25 years ago, man. I appreciate you.
There’s a new edition coming out in two months.
Welcome Dr. Wayne Grudem
Alright, fantastic. Well, listen, you are a well-respected theologian and prolific author and I got to tell you, of all the stuff I’ve read from you, this post, this article that you wrote with your public letter to an anti-Trump Christian friend, one of the most powerful, so succinct and making all the right points that really think through this issue in a well-reasoned way.
So, all of that lead up to say, thank you, thank you, thank you, because I think it answered a lot of questions for a lot of people out there, and I’ve been sharing it like crazy. And we’re just thrilled to have you on to talk about it a little bit.
Well, you did this in response to a lot of the criticism that you’ve gotten saying, hey, Wayne, you’re ruining your witness out there by supporting Donald Trump for presidents. Could you summarize a little bit of your response to this friend?
Well, my answer was that Donald Trump has carried out actions and policies that are consistent with biblical teaching. And that’s why so many evangelicals voted for Trump and now, why they’ll support him in this 2020 election. It’s not our fault that the Republican Party under Donald Trump has moved closer and closer to Republican to Christian values and Judges who follow the law rather than put themselves above the law and the Constitution and attempt to rewrite it and prolife policies and stronger military and support for Israel and economic growth on and on, standing up to ISIS and Iran, securing the border, enhanced school choice, strong protections for religious freedom.
Remarkable Progress in the Middle East
And now, in the last few days, remarkable progress in Middle East peace with the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates several days ago, and now, President Trump announced a new agreement between Bahrain and Israel to have full diplomatic relations and commerce between the two countries. So, this is absolutely remarkable. It’s history changing. And President Trump as a skilled negotiator has brought that about.
So, people were criticizing me, especially this friend of mine that I wrote a letter to who remain unnamed. He was criticizing me, because he was saying, you’re identifying the label evangelical too much with Trump. My answer is that Trump’s policies have identified themselves with typical values of values which Christians hold true and respect.
And you also pointed out that it’s not just the individual Donald Trump and I’ve borrowed this a lot in the last couple of weeks, so I gave you credit once in a while, but most of the time, I just said it. And that it’s two whole packages, it’s not one person or the other. You’re talking about 4,000 appointments and all these departments. You’re talking about the packages, though, of all the different policies. I mean, that’s a concept we’ve really missed. We think we’re voting for a personality of one person, but you nailed it when you talk about it’s two whole packages.
Yes, I had a pastor write me about three days ago saying when he read that section, it convinced him to vote for Trump, because there are only two choices. Are we going to get Trump and Republican policies or are we going to get Biden and anti-Christian Democratic policies?
Whose Policies do You Want?
Which really endanger the economic growth that we have, endanger the protection of life for sure and appeasement of hostile nations, Russia and China and Iran, no legal protection for unborn babies, open borders, increasing government control of our lives. It’s a whole package with Joe Biden and with President Trump, the two choices. There are only two choices. We will get Trump and his policies or we will get Biden in his policies? And I think there’s no question that Trump’s policies are better.
You also pointed out in that particular section, something that I hadn’t thought about before. Usually, when somebody tells me they’re going to vote third party or they’re not going to vote because they don’t want to do lesser two evils and all that, now, we say, you know, look, we’re all sinners, you’re always going to choose lesser two evils, but I also point out the parable of the talents and say you’re burying the talent, you’re being the wicked and slothful servant. But you brought up a totally different verse that I hadn’t thought about out of Proverbs about not withholding good, talk about that a little bit.
Well, I think that the ability to vote and select our leaders, both at the local and state level and at the national level is a stewardship that God entrusted to us. And that stewardship is not just to go through the motions of voting, but it is an opportunity to affect the outcome of the election, to affect the direction of a nation. And whether you’re on the winning side of the losing side, your individual vote affects the margin of victory or the margin of loss, and sets the political agenda for future years.
The Stewardship of Voting
Plus, George W. Bush won the presidency in 2000 by 537 votes in the State of Florida. There are over 5,600 voting precincts in Florida, so one vote every 10 precincts would have made the difference. So that stewardship if we take it and vote for a third party candidate, I think it’s like burying your talent in the ground. It’s throwing away your opportunity to affect the election.
It is and like you said, you’re talking about an effect for generations, an affect that could be positive or negative. And that proverb, do not withhold good from those to whom it’s due when it’s in your power to do it. And America’s, we’ve got a unique blessing here, and each citizen has it within their power in this case, to have a great impact and it’s a responsibility for us to do. It’s just good, good stuff. Now, you also talk about, yeah, ahead.
Yeah, I was thinking this morning. What are we going to say to future generations? What would I say to my grandchildren when they asked me, where were you when we protected our freedoms? Or where were you when we lost our freedom? What was your role? What did you do?
Yeah. No, it’s thinking about future generations, not just right now in this moment, which is what we tend to do, is only be focused on where we are. I got to ask you about the character question because you also pointed out in your article, I mean, look, this is a guy that’s followed through on what he said he was going to do, more so than maybe any politician in our lifetime. I mean, that’s a character. Big, big plus on his side of the column, isn’t it?
It really is. People tell me well, character determines policies and how a president act. Well, I think we can reason backwards from that, then look at how he has acted and look at his policies. They’ve been good for the nation. I’ll list a few.
Over 200 originalist Judges who pay attention to the law don’t set themselves above the law. Tax cut, stronger US military, protecting unborn babies, standing with Israel, historic agreements between Israel and Arab Countries, actually building a border wall as much as he could without the help of Democrats in Congress, withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord, defeating ISIS, standing up to China and Russia, new trade agreements more favorable to the United States, protecting federal property from rioters.
I mean, we could go on and on. I’ve got on my website, Waynegrudem.com, a list of 30 good things that President Trump has done for America.
And if we admit that those are good things, then we say well, what kind of characters that leads to that kind of outcome? That kind of outcome must come from some goodness in his character, some decency, some courage, some patriotism, some desire to do what is best for the nation, some resolve to be faithful to the things he promised on the campaign.
I know that President Trump’s character is not perfect, but you know, Rick, the Democrats have decided that their strategy is character assassination, rather than talking about the issues that they’re going to enact.
I saw that Media Research Center did a study of evening news on NBC, CBS and ABC for all of June and all of July. For every negative statement about Joe Biden, there were 158 negative statements about Donald Trump.
The Biased Media
That is incredible media bias unlike anything we’ve had in our history. And so, I admit that Trump has some faults, we all do, but they’ve been magnified and distorted and misrepresented way beyond reality by an incredibly hostile media. Out of every negative statement you hear about Biden on the news, you hear 158 negative statements about Trump.
You’re going to wonder about Trump’s character, it’s inevitable. It’s time for a balanced assessment of his character. He’s proud, I know that. He’s vindictive to his opponents at times. But he’s also very tough and courageous and strong and persevering in pursuing his ideals. And he’s…
I like the way you said that a balanced approach to reviewing his character.
Because we find one thing we don’t like about somebody or that mistake that they’ve made which we all have and we just wipe them out and say forget it. I mean, these “never Trumpers” would have definitely had to have been if they were intellectually honest, they would have had to been “never Church healers” too and “never Mosesers” and “never King Daviders” You know, I mean, with their standards, no one could ever lead.
Permissions for Pastors to Preach About Politics
“Never General Patton: in World War Two.
Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully we’ll take a more. I’ve seen that even in local elections as we look at candidates and getting people to say hey, let’s look at that. And I’m going to use that as well, a balanced approach to reviewing their character and their positions. Wayne, it’s so good, man.
I really appreciate it. We’re going to certainly put the article on the website today as well and keep sharing it on social media. I hope a lot of people read this and listen to this interview. Really appreciate perspective on these.
I’m working on another one.
“Permissions for Pastors to Preach About Politics”.
Oh, I love it. Oh, I love it. Yeah, please let us know when that’s out and come back on and talk about it.
Keep watching Town Hall.
You got it, brother. You got it. Wayne, thank you, man. Appreciate your time today.
Stay with us, folks. We’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about the United States Constitution but just felt like, man, the classes are boring or it’s just that old language from 200 years ago or I don’t know where to start? People want to know but it gets frustrating because they don’t know where to look for truth about the Constitution either.
Well, we’ve got a special program for you available now called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. And it’s actually a teaching done on the Constitution at Independence Hall in the very room where the Constitution was framed. We take you both to Philadelphia, the cradle of liberty and Independence Hall and to the WallBuilders library, where David Barton brings the history to life to teach the original intent of our Founding Fathers.
We call it the Quickstart Guide to the Constitution, because in just a few hours through these videos, you will learn the citizens guide to America’s Constitution, you’ll learn what you need to do to help save our constitutional republic. It’s fun, it’s entertaining and it’s going to inspire you to do your part to preserve freedom for future generations. It’s called Constitution Alive with David Barton and Rick Green. You can find out more information on our website now and wallbuilders.com.
We’re back here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. Special thanks to Wayne Grudem for joining us today as well. And we’ll, of course, have a link to the article itself that we’ve been talking about on today’s program, really encourage you to read it and share it. I mean, you know, David, Tim, I’ve been sending this around to my entire family, to people that I know that may be struggling with these questions about, you know, can I vote for somebody that I disagree with on this or that or that rubs me the wrong way on some of these personality issues.
Two Totally Different Packages
So for a lot of those folks that they know in their gut that he’s done good things for our country, but they’re still struggling with some of these little personality things, we just really encourage everybody to read that article.
Yeah, it really was a great article. And I think, it’s also interesting, Rick, even as you’re commenting that sometimes we have these conversations with people who they’re great people and generally, they love the Lord and they’re just torn about what’s going on. As Wayne was talking about just the media coverage, which we already knew was incredibly skewed, but when you’re looking at for every one negative thing they said about Biden, there’s 158 negative things said about President Trump.
Well, I wonder why some of our friends might be confused on President Trump and is he a good guy or not a good guy? Because I keep hearing all these bad things he does. Well, yeah, there’s a reason you’re hearing all the bad things he does, because that’s largely what the media has been reporting.
And I thought, Wayne, really, I mean, first of all, this article covers so much of this, but even this interview, as he pointed out, it really is a lot more simple than where most people are having these kind of convoluted perspectives, if I’m not really sure and it’s not really clear. No, it really is pretty clear.
You’re looking at two total packages. There are two very clearly laid out policy, directives and decisions for the nation. And when you start examining the policies that will be promoted, that will be carried out, it’s one of the things we talk about often looking at politics in general, you should look at the platforms. And do I generally line up more with the Democrat Party or Republican Party? Well, look at the platform, see where the platforms are, see which one makes the most sense.
What Should a Bible-Believing Christian Do?
If you are a Christian who believes that God is the author and giver of life, you believe that life is sacred, which is what by the way Scripture teaches, if you believe that family’s important and family is defined in the Bible and made up of a mother and a father, which is also what a marriage is made up of.
And, that the parents are in charge of their kids and if you believe in religious liberty, which is certainly what we see throughout the Scripture, that we’re supposed to be able to worship and acknowledge God and follow Him according to our conscience, if you believe we should be friends with Israel, I mean, you can go down an entire list of things laid out from Scripture, not the least of which we could talk about immigration and economy, you can keep going.
When you start looking at policy, directives and decisions, when you start looking at platforms, all of a sudden, it’s not that confusing. Because when the Bible talks about in Proverbs 14:34, that righteousness exalts a nation, what impacts righteousness is policies, not merely personalities. And this is where I thought Wayne did such a good job and be even mentioned his website has more than 30 examples of some of Trump’s policies, that you can just go and examine to see is this really where we want to line up as a Christian? And as a Christian, looking at what the Bible says and looking at these two policies, guys, to me, it’s just not that confusing.
Yeah, you’re right, Tim, it really is not that confusing. But what happens is all the good things that Trump has done, they’re really drowned out by the 158:1 negatives that people are hearing against him. And so that drumbeat of every conceivable negative thing and so many of these things aren’t even granted or found except in somebody’s opinion.
Using Anonymous Sources
It’s a commentator who has a negative view of Trump. It’s not that they can point to something bad he did, somebody said this. And even going back to the comment about those guys who gave their live for America were losers, the people with Trump said I was with him, I never heard that comment.
Well, that article was all anonymous sources.
Right. Nobody that actually is… And that doesn’t mean that there’s not things that, we can point to President Trump and say, we think he messed up there, we think he blew it there, which by the way we could do with any single person we’ve ever met in our entire life.
And we could sure do with Biden more than one out of every 158 times.
Well, right. I mean, the point is that humans are flawed. So certainly with Trump, you can find flaws and mistakes, but it’s very much a biased perspective that the media presents where they’re not just pointing out his mistakes. They are creating mistakes he never made. And this is where you see levels of dishonesty, again, because they’re trying to draw to that personality and distract you from the policy. Because if you just examine the policy, if you can look beyond the personality and see the policy, it really is not that confusing as to which one lines up more with the Bible.
And just adding to that policy, as Wayne says the package, each presidential candidate is a package of appointments, of a team, of all of those policies that Tim’s talking about. You got to look at all of those different things. We encourage you to do that and make an informed decision. We always want to cast a biblical vote, right? Just like the Bible says, choose out from among you able men such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.
The 2020 Election, Personality Versus Policy – With Wayne Grudem
And so we take those four principles to analyze any candidate by, and we analyze both candidates in a race like this, where it’s a binary choice, you only are going to have one of those two people are going to become president. And you look at those four categories for each of those presidential candidates and then you say which one is the best, not which one is perfect, because that doesn’t exist.
And then we make sure that we’re not the wicked and slothful servant burying the talent, but in fact, we’re exercising our freedom. We’re using our freedom by casting that vote, not sitting on the sidelines, but engaging with our freedom, doing the best that we can with what we have where we are, and then working hard always to have even better candidates in the future.
Hope you’ll consider all those things as you think about the elections coming up, not just in the presidential race, but in every race on the ballot? Start looking at those State legislative candidates, those local candidates, all of those people running for office, make sure you cast an informed vote when you go in and make sure you are voting. Just really challenge you to do everything you can with what you’ve been given.
And this freedom was very costly. It costs a lot of lives throughout history for America to have the freedom we have today. Make sure that you’re making the most of it. Hope you’ve enjoyed our program today.
You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.