January 13, 2021
To Impeach or Not to Impeach, That is NOT the Only Question
You’re going to hear a lot today about impeachment and whether or not the President of the United States should be removed from office. Let me encourage you to consider that there are valid arguments for and against AND it can be argued either way utilizing biblical examples. Yep.
Jim Denison’s Email
One: Presidents and all people are accountable before God and others.
The Bible teaches that “each of us will give an account of himself to God” (Romans 14:12; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 4:13). Jesus was clear: “On the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matthew 12:36). When people sin against us, we are to hold them accountable (Matthew 18:15–17). Leaders are clearly accountable for their actions (1 Timothy 4:12; Hebrews 13:17; Luke 16:10–12; James 3:1).
Two: Accountability is vital to society.
After condemning sexual immorality between a man and “his father’s wife” (1 Corinthians 5:1), Paul instructed the church to remove the man from their fellowship (v. 2). Then he warned: “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump” (vv. 6–7). We must hold people accountable for their sake and to prevent the escalation of sin and its consequences (see 2 Samuel 12:1–14; Luke 17:3; Galatians 6:1–5; James 5:16).
Ethicist Russell Moore is right: “The governing authorities do not have a choice as to whether or not to hold people accountable for inciting and carrying out insurrection. To do otherwise would be to cease to be a just society, and to empower future evildoers to do the same. Everyone who attacked our Capitol or planned or directed such a storming of the Capitol should be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Biblical arguments against removal
Two biblical arguments could perhaps be made for refusing to remove the president before his term ends next week.
One: We are to work for peace.
Jesus taught, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Paul taught, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). Seventy-four million Americans voted for President Trump, the largest number for an incumbent in history. Will some percentage feel that their vote was overturned by Democrats? Will such an action only exacerbate the partisan tensions in our country after the president leaves office?
Two: We should keep the greater good in mind.
Jesus asked, “Which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). It could be argued that removing President Trump from office a few days before his term ends will distract Congress and the country from issues such as the pandemic, the economy, China, Russia, and the other grave challenges we face. For example, President-elect Biden is concerned that impeachment might keep the Senate from moving forward with his cabinet nominees and larger agenda.
A redemptive path forward
This verse balances the two: “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). How can we help our leaders and nation do both?
The fact that this imperative is obvious makes it no less relevant. We are taught to pray for wisdom (James 1:5), forgiveness (1 John 1:9), and healing for our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). Jesus was blunt: “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5).
Second, speak and act redemptively.
Whatever your position on impeachment, take the long view. What happens over the next week is urgent, but what happens because of the next week is vital as well. What we say and do reflects directly on our Lord (Acts 1:8). Seek ways to honor him and draw others to him (John 3:30).
Third, trust your King.
Our highest trust was never to be in a president, whatever his party or political positions. Scripture is clear: “Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:3). Instead, trust first and foremost in the One “who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry” (v. 7a).
The psalmist continues: “The Lord sets the prisoners free; the Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous. The Lord watches over the sojourners; he upholds the widow and the fatherless, but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin” (vv. 7b–9).
Will you trust The LORD for the justice, provision, freedom, healing, encouragement, love, care, protection, and righteousness we need?
Will you pray, speak, and act in ways that lead those you influence to do the same?
The Gospel Coalition has a new series on Why Christians and Church leaders should care about economics. It’s a topic we actually take up each week with Bill English; we begin that today.
Bill English – Bible & Business
We start a new topic with Bill today: Why Christians and Church leaders should care about economics. In today’s episode, among other points of his, Bill argues for the necessity of a strong government in order to foster an innovative and entrepreneurial society. In his argument he calls for businesses to step up and support the democracy in three key ways: speaking out (with voices and money); acting collectively; and addressing the roots of our widespread anger.
Josh Packard – Ex Director of Springtide Research Institute
Josh is a researcher, speaker, and academic. He studies the sociology of religion and how it is expressed in new ways. Today with Josh, we ask the question, Are Church Leaders Losing Generation Z? For more background for our conversation check out Kevin Singer’s article here from Outreach Magazine.