Author and theologian John Piper has waded into the debate over who Christians should be casting their vote for on 3 November.
While the Baptist pastor doesn't mention either candidate by name, it's clear in his latest blog piece on DesiringGod.org that he is speaking about Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Piper makes clear that his intention isn't to tell anyone how they should vote but to offer a "neglected" perspective about the qualities he thinks are incompatible with an office-holder - what he calls the "sins that destroy people" and "destroy nations".
"Actually, this is a long-overdue article attempting to explain why I remain baffled that so many Christians consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality (porneia), unrepentant boastfulness (alazoneia), unrepentant vulgarity (aischrologia), unrepentant factiousness (dichostasiai), and the like, to be only toxic for our nation, while policies that endorse baby-killing, sex-switching, freedom-limiting, and socialistic overreach are viewed as deadly," he writes.
He acknowledges that forgiveness is there for all of these sins in Christ, but that this is not the case "where humble repentance is absent", although a non-Christian candidate is fine as long as there is "enough overlap between biblical uprightness and the visible outworking of his character and convictions".
He then goes on to challenge Christians on why they are prepared to overlook sin in public leaders.
"It is not a small thing to treat lightly a pattern of public behaviors that lead to death," he said.
"In fact, I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person.
"Flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, and factiousness are not only self-incriminating; they are nation-corrupting."
Hinting at his views of Trump's presidency, he says: "They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures. The last five years bear vivid witness to this infection at almost every level of society."
He continues: "Is it not baffling, then, that so many Christians seem to be sure that they are saving human lives and freedoms by treating as minimal the destructive effects of the spreading gangrene of high-profile, high-handed, culture-shaping sin?"
Piper then warns that the Church "is paying dearly, and will continue to pay" for communicating the "falsehood" to unbelievers that "policies and laws that protect life and freedom are more precious than being a certain kind of person".
He ends by suggesting that he may not vote for Trump or Biden on November 3 because his allegiance to Jesus sets him "at odds" with "death by abortion and death by arrogance".
"I will not develop some calculus to determine which path of destruction I will support," he said.
"That is not my duty. My calling is to lead people to see Jesus Christ, trust his forgiveness for sins, treasure him above everything in this world, live in a way that shows his all-satisfying value, and help them make it to heaven with love and holiness. That calling is contradicted by supporting either pathway to cultural corruption and eternal ruin.
"You may believe that there are kinds of support for such pathways that do not involve such a contradiction — such an undermining of authentic Christian witness. You must act on what you see. I can't see it. That is why I said my way need not be yours.
"When I consider the remote possibility that I might do any good by endorsing the devastation already evident in the two choices before me, I am loath to undermine my calling (and the church's mission) to stand for Christ-exalting faith and hope and love."
Republished with permission from Christian Today