CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Conservative pastors are largely undecided and struggling with their choices about the upcoming presidential election, according to a new study from the American Culture & Faith Institute. Is it any wonder, with the mud-slinging, divided parties, scuffles over delegates and a scot-free Democratic candidate whose FBI “pardon” last week still has jaws dropping?
With the Republican National Convention in Cleveland just a week away, Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES, www.ses.edu) President and Evangelical leader Dr. Richard Land says Christians especially must take an active role rather than a back seat in this crucial election.
This summer, Land was named to Donald Trump’s new executive board to provide advisory support, not an endorsement, to the presidential hopeful on the issues important to Evangelicals and other people of faith.
“Frankly, Donald Trump must be aware that many Evangelicals have severe doubts and are wary of him, even in supporting him against Hillary Clinton,” Land said. “There are things that would make it easier for Evangelicals to vote for him, such as choosing a social conservative for his vice president, partnering with strong leaders for key positions in his administration, taking religious liberties to heart, supporting pro-life causes and appointing judges who will uphold Judeo-Christian values. Mr. Trump will need the backing of the Evangelical faithful across the country, and there are steps he can take to ensure that support.”
The survey of theological conservative Protestant pastors, conducted by the American Culture & Faith Institute, found that 44 percent think that Trump is likely to defeat Hillary Clinton (opposed to 22 percent who believe Clinton will prevail), but more than one-third said they don’t know who is mostly likely to win in November.
“As for their personal preference,” the Institute reported, “conservative pastors prefer Mr. Trump over Mrs. Clinton by a 6-to-1 ratio (60 percent for Trump, 10 percent for Clinton). Once again, the indecisiveness of conservative pastors was on display, with 30 percent opting for choices other than the two major candidates. Among those pastors, 13 percent claimed they would probably vote for a third-party candidate, 6 percent said they would refuse to vote, and 11 percent were still making up their mind.” (Read the full study here.)
Regarding his place on the Trump board, Land penned a column for the Christian Post about his appointment, stating:
“Mr. Trump and his advisors asked us to join the advisory board (no endorsement required) in order to give Mr. Trump spiritual counsel and advice on moral and ethical issues arising during the campaign,” Land said. “I ask, what would our critics have us do? Would they really have us spurn the opportunity to give spiritual counsel and advice to Mr. Trump and his team? How would that be obedience to our Savior’s command to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world? (Matthew 5:13-16). We never know how God may use our advice and witness in Donald Trump’s life. Is it not our spiritual obligation and responsibility to speak biblical truth in love to all who will listen? It is our duty to speak biblical truth to Mr. Trump. It is his responsibility as to how he responds to our counsel and advice.
“We as Christians often ask ourselves, ‘What would Jesus do?’” Land continued. “Frankly, I cannot imagine our Savior would draw his robes around Himself and walk on the other side of the street and spurn Mr. Trump’s request for spiritual counsel and advice. … If the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton asked me to join a similar advisory board to give her my understanding of what biblical truth has to say to the issues of the current campaign and beyond, how would I justify saying no?”
SES has announced its 23rd annual National Conference on Christian Apologetics, hosted by Calvary Church in Charlotte, N.C., on Oct. 13-15. The seminary will welcome such top name speakers as Norman Geisler, Richard Howe, Richard Land, Josh and Sean McDowell, Hugh Ross, Jay Sekulow, Lee Strobel, Frank Turek and J. Warner Wallace, along with many others. The theme of the 2016 conference, “The Defense Never Rests,” focuses on the ongoing charge to Christians to defend their beliefs rationally, intelligently and lovingly. For registration information, visit conference.ses.edu.
SES is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. Many courses focus on societal issues from a Christian worldview, delve into scientific apologetics or contemplate creation research.
Land is featured in his nationally syndicated daily radio commentary, “Bringing Every Thought Captive,” which airs on almost 400 stations nationwide, including nearly 200 on the American Family Radio Network and 100 on the Bott Radio Network. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” is also podcast daily on the free SES mobile app and airs locally in the Charlotte, N.C., area every weekday. The “Bringing Every Thought Captive” television program, hosted by Land, airs on the NRB Network Wednesdays at 8 p.m. and midnight EST. “Bringing Every Thought Captive” also reaches nearly 2 million households in the Chicago area on the Total Living Network. For details about stations, times, downloads and more, click here.
Land has taught as a visiting or adjunct professor for several seminaries and has authored or edited more than 15 books. He earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oxford University in England and his bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) from Princeton University. Land also earned a Master of Theology (Honors Program) degree from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where he received the Broadman Seminarian Award as the Outstanding Graduating Student. Dr. Land was the 2013 Watchman Award recipient from the Family Research Council for his leadership on moral and cultural issues. He also received the Phillip E. Johnson Award for Liberty and Truth from Biola University in 2010. Land served previously (1988-2013) as president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention’s official entity assigned to address social, moral and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families. In 2014, he was appointed as a Senior Research Fellow of the ERLC’s Research Institute, and in 2015, he was named in the top 15 of Newsmax’s “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America.”
Southern Evangelical Seminary invites visitors to its web site to join the more than 20,000 people who have already downloaded the SES Apologetics App for Windows mobile devices and Android and Apple phones and tablets. Those with the app can get the very best news and information in Christian apologetics, including articles, audio, video, blogs and more from today’s most able defenders of the Christian faith—William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, Josh McDowell, William Dembski, Frank Turek, Hugh Ross, Gary Habermas and other well-known speakers, authors and teachers.
Southern Evangelical Seminary has been ranked as one of the top graduate programs for General Christian Apologetics by TheBestSchools.org’s “Top 10 Graduate Programs in Christian Apologetics.”
For more information on SES, visit its web site at www.ses.edu or Facebook page, follow the SES Twitter feed, @sesapologetics, or call (800) 77-TRUTH. For more information about SES’ “Ethics in Emerging Technology” program, visit www.ethics.ses.edu and read the SES blog at www.WhyDoYouBelieve.org.
For information on SES or to set up an interview, contact Jen Retallick, 610-584-1096, ext. 100, [email protected], or Deborah Hamilton at 215-815-7716 or 610-584-1096, ext. 102.
Southern Evangelical Seminary is a leader in apologetics education—teaching students to defend their faith and talk intelligently, passionately and rationally about what they believe and why they believe it. The Christian college and seminary offers a wide variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees. Programs can be completed through residence in the Charlotte area or online. The award-winning education at SES is distinctively Christian and focused on evangelism and world-engaging defense of the Christian faith—Christian Apologetics.