Elections have consequences, but not nearly as much as we probably think. That’s what I concluded after reading David Platt’s new book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask, published by Radical.
Here’s a sober dose of biblical reality from Platt in the book: “Even if we lose every freedom and protection we have as followers of Jesus in the United States, and even if our government were to become a completely totalitarian regime, we could still live in abundant life as long as we didn’t look to political leaders, platforms, or policies for our ultimate security and satisfaction.”
It’s not exactly the way you run fundraising and “get out the vote” operations in today’s American politics, but Platt’s book includes lots of countercultural advice, saturated with biblical references on humility, freedom, and duty, along with his characteristic perspective informed by the global church.
Platt serves as lead pastor of McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia, a congregation where employment for many depends on the outcome of the November elections. David joins me on Gospelbound to discuss voting, abortion, and President Trump’s visit to McLean Bible Church.
SPECIAL NOTE: We’re pleased to offer you David’s new book with a special sale price in TGC’s online store (25 percent off single copies and 50 percent off cases of 52), so you can read and share widely before you vote on November 3.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Collin Hansen: Elections have consequences, but not nearly as much as we probably think. That’s what I concluded after reading David Platt’s new book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask, published by Radical. Here’s a sober dose of biblical reality from Platt in the book: “Even if we lose every freedom and protection we have as followers of Jesus in the United States, and even if our government were to become a completely totalitarian regime, we could still live in abundant life as long as we didn’t look to political leaders, platforms or policies for our ultimate security and satisfaction.”
Collin Hansen: It’s not exactly the way you run fundraising and get out the vote operations in today’s American politics, but Platt’s book includes lots of counter-cultural advice, saturated with biblical references on humility, freedom, and duty, along with David’s characteristic perspective informed by the global church. Platt serves as lead pastor of McLean Bible Church in Northern Virginia, a congregation where employment for many depends on the outcome of the November elections. David joins me on Gospelbound to discuss voting, abortion and President Trump’s visit to McLean Bible Church. Thank you for joining me, David.
David Platt: It’s good to be here, Collin.
Collin Hansen: David, most pastors I know would rather submit to a root canal than talk to their congregations about voting in the middle of a presidential election, but you wrote a book. Why?
David Platt: That’s a great question and one that I’ve asked myself on numerous occasions, Collin. I would say, the way I look at it pastorally, the people that I shepherd are either going to be discipled by the world, or they’re going to be discipled by God’s Word on the critical issues going on around us in the world. And I just don’t think I have the option of sitting back and staying quiet and letting them be discipled by the world on these things. And so, I don’t want this toxic political climate that we’re in, and even the effects that it has on the church, to be what is discipling the people God’s entrusted to my care.
David Platt: I want God’s Word, to the extent of which God’s word speaks to certain things. So the last thing I want to do is add to God’s Word or shepherd people according to my opinions. Okay, now that’s just a whole nother realm of unfaithful pastoring, but I want to faithfully shepherd them with God’s Word and help them see how God’s Word addresses the most pressing issues around us. And if we’re walking through this election, and when I see, and certainly, it’s I think more so here in Metro Washington, D.C., but just the effects of this toxic political climate on the church, and the ways it has affected unity in the church and the centrality of the gospel. I’m compelled to speak.
Collin Hansen: You started your pastoral career pretty young here in Birmingham. And have you seen Christian approaches to politics change during that time while you’ve been a pastor?
David Platt: I would say, pastoring in Metro Washington, D.C., is a lot different than pastoring in Birmingham. So just the, yeah, there’s a variety of things that are different. Obviously, the Word’s the same, and I would say our country … I guess one of the things, this is one of the things that prompted me to write this book in particular that I think has changed, or at least I’ve heard more over the last two election cycles, more people saying you can’t be a Christian and vote for fill the blank.
David Platt: And it comes from both sides, and I hear it from both sides. And when I hear that kind of rhetoric, that kind of language being used, then that’s what concerns me when I’m in Ephesians 4:3 kind of way, just eager to maintain the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace, and not a false unity, but a unity around Jesus and his Word. So I’ve heard that a lot more and seen over the last two election cycles, in my eyes as a pastor, seen a lot more challenges to the church in the climate we’ve been in.
Collin Hansen: Let’s grant, David, that you don’t see this election as rising to that standard. Could you ever see a situation rising to the point of, you can’t be a Christian and vote for X candidate?
David Platt: I think it would have to be, and I use an example of this in the book, if there was a situation where you have, okay, a follower of Jesus who is saying, they believe the Bible, it’s evident in their life, their character, their policy positions, which the Bible doesn’t speak specifically to, but you can see how they get there based on just wisely trying to apply Scripture. And then you have another candidate on another side who is very anti-God, the Bible, and seems like is totally against everything, to everything that the Bible would teach. It seems like, okay, in that situation, it’s probably going to be pretty clear. But I don’t think that it’s that clear cut in our current climate. But that’s part of the challenge, Collin, because people think it is that clear cut. And it’s interesting, there’s people on both sides that think it’s that clear cut.
Collin Hansen: That’s what I was getting at. Sometimes these arguments can make it sound like we’re trying to just stay above the fray and be a third way, and just try to handle everything with balance. When really, it’s a matter of spectrum. Everybody agrees there could come a point where that would be the case, but we’re disagreeing about whether or not this is that point. And we’re disagreeing about which side is bringing it to that point.
David Platt: Yes.
Collin Hansen: That’s why things are really complicated.
David Platt: Right. And that’s it. And I don’t think it’s … Because once we bring in, we’re questioning people’s orthodoxy based on how they vote, we’re questioning whether or not people are … There are books that have been written that I’ve read by professing Christians saying, you cannot be a genuine follower of Jesus, you can’t actually love Jesus and vote for Donald Trump. There’s books written that say that. Then there’s, on the other side, you cannot love the Bible and be a follower of Jesus and vote for the Democratic Party or a Democratic candidate.
David Platt: And so, it really is, it’s both sides. And I’m definitely not, and that’s where I want to, I try to be clear throughout the book is I’m not not saying, okay, which one’s right, which one’s wrong. I’m not even saying they’re both on the same exact moral ground, both parties, both candidates. I’m just saying, how do we keep focus on the centrality of Jesus in the middle of it, love for one another in the middle of it, and making sure we only use language, like you can’t be a Christian if, when God has used that kind of language in his Word.
Collin Hansen: Let’s jump straight to one of the examples that’s typically cited, especially from the right. And, of course, that’s abortion. One of the things you show in the book is that Christians could agree that abortion is wrong, but still vote differently from each other. Now, I can follow your argument there, but I’m wondering, would the argument be the same if the issue you were actually addressing were genocide or slavery?
David Platt: Yeah. So that’s a great question. One of the things in the book that I try to do is unpack both biblical clarity and practical consequences. And on the practical consequence side, I think, and I want to step back and just make sure it’s clear, even for this conversation. Yes, the Bible clearly speaks about the preciousness of life in the womb and we should work for every child in the womb, work hard. And I’ve spent years trying to do that and will continue to do that zealously. And every follower of Christ should do this, because the Bible is clear on that.
David Platt: So then, the question is, so you think about the practical consequences. So when I talk with followers of Jesus, who would say, okay, but I would still vote for a Democratic candidate because, and the example I use in the book is someone saying, I don’t think the presidential election is what’s going to be the biggest determinant in saving children’s lives in the womb. Now, at that point, a number of people would say, but it is. So that’s a good discussion that we should have, but it’s possible to say … I was talking the other day with somebody who said, and so this is specific to Northern Virginia and the state of Virginia, but who said they are zealously pro-life and that’s why they are voting for Joe Biden.
David Platt: And I was like, okay, help me unpack that. And they said, well, because they believe that the … So we had a midterm election in Virginia where everything went toward, the governor, all the legislature is Democratic, and there’ve been all kinds of moves that have been made to make abortion much more accessible, much more prevalent. Their contention is, this person who was speaking to me, their contention is that that happened as a response to the way President Trump has led, that that’s what led. So they’re basically saying that there was a reaction in Virginia against the way the Republican party has been moving. And as a result, it’s a totally democratically controlled legislature, and there’s more abortions as a result of the way President Trump has led.
David Platt: So I’m not saying that that is, okay, everybody should believe that, but it’s possible for a follower of Jesus to believe that. So it’s definitely possible for followers of Jesus to believe that abortion is wrong and still not vote for President Trump for a number of other reasons. To come back to, sorry, this is a long answer, but it’s so nuanced in so many ways. But to come back to the genocide, slavery, I think the question is, would voting for a particular candidate ensure or definitely guarantee, or increase a high probability of genocide or slavery ending? That’s the question that we would need to ask in an election where those two issues were at stake.
Collin Hansen: One of the problems we run into is that it’s in the interest of most media and in the interest of most politicians to not be nuanced and to not give people options and to ratchet up the dramatic effects. That’s part of the catechesis, that’s part of the discipleship that I think you’re talking about there, of what we’re contending with there. So I think sometimes, I ask this question pretty often with pastors, because we see abortion as being a fairly nuanced issue, but we wouldn’t see genocide or slavery as being nuanced issues. And it’s a hard question to answer. I don’t know that anybody has a perfect answer to that. I just talked with David French about this related to slavery. One of the problems is, you can easily know which is the right side to be on with slavery. That’s not a hard thing to be able to figure out, but the practical consequences of how this nation banned slavery wasn’t entirely positive.
David Platt: Hmm.
Collin Hansen: There’s a debatable political calculus there about the best way to go about it, even if you completely agree on the outcome of it. Then you’re throwing in another layer there, which makes it a little bit easier of, a lot of Christians at the time who believed the Bible were saying that slavery is a good thing. And you do have some Christian saying that about abortion today, which is completely heinous and horrible. So that part is clear. But I guess I wanted to say, that’s part of why your book is pretty helpful, is because it distinguishes between the biblical principles and the practical consequences. And it seems like, for reasons that I talked about earlier, those distinctions are often elided by politicians and by media, in many cases.
David Platt: It’s just hard to have a conversation about this over Twitter or Facebook or email for that matter. And it’s really apart from good, loving, caring Christian community, where we’re quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, and we’re really able to have really good dialogue about these things. And so, but, and that’s what I appreciate what you said and even described abortion, and we’re not nuanced about abortion, right, in the sense that what the Bible says about it. That’s clear, and so many other issues that are a part of an election.
David Platt: And that’s one of the things I walk through in the book. If abortion was the only issue in an election, then okay, then every Christian would vote the exact same way. But it’s not the only issue. There are other issues. And now, at that point, some people would say, but they’re not as important, but that’s where one of the chapters in the book is just like, how do we weigh the issues and the practical consequences that we see coming from those issues?
David Platt: So political calculations are often complex, but biblical truth is clear and we all want to hold on to that steadfast. And I don’t want in any way to advocate for being flimsy, fuzzy on that which scripture has spoken clearly on. And so how do we hold tight to that which Scripture has spoken clearly on, and then think through how to apply that in the world as wisely as possible, and realize different, genuine followers of Jesus who hold fast to Scripture are going to come to some different conclusions?
Collin Hansen: Believe it or not, David, these were the hard questions that I was going to wait to talk to you about until the end of the interview. That’s the old interview tactic. You wait until the end, you warm the guy up and then he feels more comfortable toward the end, but we’re just jumping straight in. I have one more along those lines. It’s a little broader though. Most Christians, they admit when it comes to tax policy, there’s room to disagree, the Bible doesn’t really give us a ton to go on when it comes to specific tax policy. Is there any current political issue where you don’t see any room for Christians to disagree on goals or strategies?
David Platt: Hmm. Goals or strategies.
Collin Hansen: Yeah.
David Platt: Man.
Collin Hansen: Is there anything where it’s just, yeah, this is totally straight forward. You really do need to do this.
David Platt: Yeah, so when I think of many of the social issues at stake in election, including abortion, as well as marriage. Yeah, issues revolving around sexuality. We’ll just take, I mean, we can take any one of these, but marriage, it’s clear what the Bible says. And so, we need to promote a biblical view of marriage as a union between a man and a woman. And so, when it comes to, well, I mean, we’ve walked through as a country, how are we going to define marriage? Everything we do as Christians should be focused on promoting a biblical view of marriage. At the same time, so not pulling back from that, it’s rare that we get to vote and it’s just crystal clear. Do you believe marriage is this or that? There’s often 10 other issues.
David Platt: So that’s one of the things that I walk through in the book. There’s so many other issues that you start dealing with competing injustices, and you start to realize, okay, this person, this candidate is going to promote biblical marriage, but they’re not going to do this over here, which I think would be helpful. And this candidate over here is going to do that, but not going to do this. And then, that’s where you start to weigh those decisions.
David Platt: I think the way our elections work, especially in a two-party system where you have two choices, it’s not going to be that clear cut in the kind of elections that we do. In conversations about marriage, about sexuality, about abortion and strategies for how to go about that, I think that is where strategy is definitely going to get more nuanced and maybe variable, because you can have the same end, but the means to get there, you might think, this is wiser or that is wiser.
Collin Hansen: It seems odd to say, David, but a lot of our younger listeners probably don’t remember that within not that long ago, we were voting on marriage. I mean, we’re voting straight up on that issue in a number of different states. And we would have voted on it even in states like Alabama, if not for the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision, which took it out of that democratic realm. And interestingly, the Republican Party more or less stopped even bothering with it at that point, which speaks into the issue of what the parties are trying to do with the voters. Because you can talk about your conscience all you want, you can talk about your values, what we believe as Christians all you want, but if neither of the political parties thinks that it’s advantageous for them to promote that view politically, then it’s not even within the realm of possibility for us to talk about.
Collin Hansen: So that’s just another realm of something that’s gone from being a, Oh, you could probably have stood up in your pulpit in Birmingham, Alabama, and told everybody, Hey, everybody it’s real clear. Go out there and vote no when it comes to gay marriage, but then you didn’t even have that chance because of all kinds of different other issues and it becomes much more complicated.
David Platt: One of the lines I think about, there was some legislation last year here in Northern Virginia when it came to our school board, and some issues about sexuality that they were going to be in, promoting in schools. And so, I walked through that Sunday, just clearly what the Bible teaches about sexuality. And it was, I’m trying to remember. I have to look back at what other issues were there, but to this question, to the extent to which that was the only issue at stake and the Bible’s clearly spoken on that issue, then I think it makes sense to say, so followers of Christ, we promote this truth. That’s straight from God’s Word. It’s when you add on other factors, other issues, personality, character, the people promoting those issues, whatever else, just a myriad of other things, that’s where the complications come in sometimes.
Collin Hansen: Okay. Let me step back and ask some bigger, broader questions related to the book. And it’s Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask, published by Radical. David, is it my Christian duty to vote?
David Platt: So that’s question number one in the book. I, and along the lines of what we’ve been talking about, I’m going to be really hesitant to say it’s your Christian duty to do something. If I can’t show you in God’s Word, this is where it says to do that, and the Bible doesn’t give us that clear of a command, and in part, because the Bible doesn’t really address democratic elections. So I’m going to probably stop short of saying it’s your duty in that sense, but I am going to, so without giving away all of chapter one.
That wasn’t fair. You hear so often, it is a very common thing. Every Christian must vote. It is your Christian duty to vote. I get very confused, because I would think that if it were my Christian duty, the Bible might say it.
David Platt: Yes.
Collin Hansen: But it does not.
David Platt: That’s right. So basically, I would say, and this is just general principle then even, I think it is our Christian duty to steward the grace God has given us in any way in life for the good of others and the glory of his name. To love him supremely, and to love others selflessly in a Matthew 22:37 through 40 kind of way. We’ve been given grace. So that’s basically where I landed in and thinking about the vote. So I do think it’s a gift of grace. I mean, the opportunity to be able to do this that first-century Christians certainly didn’t have, North Korean Christians today don’t have. So we must steward it, but then how we steward it, I walk through in chapter one how some people steward their vote by not voting. Not just by being lazy and saying, I’m just going to not do it, but by deliberately choosing, and I walk through convictional inaction as a way that some followers of Christ might choose to steward their vote.
Collin Hansen: One quote from the book I really like, David, was this, “The road to Jesus’s kingdom is paved, not by political hostility, but by spiritual humility.” So how do we wean congregations off the hostility of political news media and onto the promises and commands of scripture?
David Platt: Now, that is a great question, Collin.
Collin Hansen: By reading your book. There’s one example.
David Platt: Well, I really do hope this book is helpful toward that end, but that’s like Romans 12. How do we help people not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds? So I think, practically, when it comes to issues, like political issues and thinking about elections and voting, I think, how do we do that? I think we do that by preaching, transformed by the renewing of our mind, according to God’s Word.
David Platt: So it’s one of the things I try to do in the book. I try to do this in my life. I’m not saying I’m perfect as a pastor, but I want to preach God’s word. I don’t want to preach David Platt’s opinion. I don’t want to preach my political convictions that are … I want to preach biblical truth. And so, I think that’s where we’ve got to make sure that’s what we’re proclaiming.
David Platt: And then, how do we foster … We’ve got to work as members, leaders in churches, to foster a community where we really are quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to become angry, and really hear each other out and hold on to God’s Word, and not give in to this temptation, along the political hostility lines. How do we humbly relate to one another instead of giving into this constant temptation to demonize one another, just jump to polarization of positions, straw man arguments, all of these things that we see all around us in the world? We’re just called to relate very differently to each other than that. And if we’re not careful, that’s one of the things, one of the reasons I’ve written this book, to try to encourage that kind of conversation, that kind of community.
Collin Hansen: What prompted you to specifically talk about critical race theory and the movement Black Lives Matter recently in your sermon? Was it that disparagement of people, that hostility that was coming up, those accusations? I mean, that was a little interesting. Some people had sent me that clip from you and said, wow, David felt compelled he had to say these things by name there. What was the pastoral situation that gave rise to that statement?
David Platt: So we walked through, as a church, we’re working on finalizing a whole discipleship we’ve created. We involved tons of people in it, creating a discipleship resource on the gospel, the church, justice and race. And again, going back to what we were talking about earlier, I think people are either going to be discipled by the world or discipled by the words. So when people see NBA players wearing we want justice on their shirts, I want the people in the church I pastor to know, what does that word mean according to God, not according to the world, not according to secular theories or organizations, according to God in his Word.
David Platt: What I’ve found is that as soon as you mention the word “justice” or “race,” you are automatically labeled and put into certain categories, and people start to assume you’re promoting a worldly idea of justice or race, for that matter. And so, yeah, it’s been surprising to me and the church, as we walked through, this discipleship resource has 750 plus Scripture references in it. We just wanted to say, what does the Word say?
David Platt: But then, and I don’t think it’s people who have interacted with the resource, it’s just people who hear you’re talking about justice and race, and so they start saying, okay, part of why we did that was to show the difference between the gospel and God’s Word and critical race theory or what Black Lives Matter as an organization might be promoting that are not in line with a biblical worldview. But then it gets looped in together.
David Platt: And so, I’ve been, over recent days, people have asked me if I’m a part of Antifa, if I am advocating critical race theory, if I’m fully supportive of Black Lives Matter as an organization. And I’m not sure where that comes from. So that’s why, in that particular instance, I just felt that it would be helpful to make sure that’s clear and really not about that organization or those theories, but to say the Word really is sufficient if we’ll believe it and we’ll look at it. The Bible uses justice over a hundred times. Let’s learn what that means.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. I’ve found over the years that there are a number of Christians who, in the name of Christianity, will be more than happy to lie about what you believe and what you say. And in many cases, thanks to the internet, they get away with it. And so, it’s hard to know what to do in response, even when you come out and you say explicitly, then all of a sudden, some other people say, well, yeah, but why did he feel that he had to do that? Must’ve been because people thought that that is what he’s teaching. Well, not necessarily. It could just be because there’s a lot of people out there who make a lot of money lying about high-profile Christians and churches. Could be that. So anyway, I’ll say it. You don’t have to say it. I’ll say it.
David Platt: Well, and that’s where I just, man, I just want to humbly promote. And as a pastor, I mean, I was speaking that primarily to our church family, just saying, listen, brothers and sisters. And the whole context for that sermon that day was, we live in a church world that wants to divide genuine followers of Jesus who believe the Bible from one another. And I just said, we’re not going to do it here. We’re not going to give in to this pull that is so prevalent around us. We’re just not going to do it. We’re going to, I was using illustration, we’re going to hold on to ropes with each other and we’re going to disagree about some different things, but we’re going to fix our eyes on 5 million people in Metro DC who don’t know Christ and 2 to 3 billion around the world who’ve never even heard his name. And we’re going to run together for the glory of Christ and we’re not going to let go of our fellowship together in the gospel.
Collin Hansen: Two questions left with David Platt, author of the new book, Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask, published by Radical. David, it’s dangerous pushing back in the United States against rights, but you write this: “In a country saturated by claims to rights, Christianity is a completely counter-cultural way of life. Contrary to the pattern of this world that prioritizes our rights, Jesus calls us to others’ needs.” David, how might Christian mission and perception of Christians change if we lived out this command from Jesus?
David Platt: Hmm. I think when I read First Corinthians, chapter nine, I think it would totally change. As I wrote this book, it was really convicting for my own heart to think about the ways that even a presidential election cycle and all the dialogue that goes into it is really contrary to the way Christ has called us to live. There’s so much about appealing to what is best for us as opposed to appealing to what is, how do I vote not with just my kids in mind, but with other kids in mind, with other families in mind, other people in mind.
David Platt: And so, this is obviously the essence of what it means to follow Christ, to deny ourselves, take up the cross, follow him, and to love others as ourselves in a Luke 10:25 through 37 kind of way. I just think that leads to a very counter-cultural living, sacrifice, generosity, mercy, justice in all the ways the Bible talks about these things. And wow, if that marked our lives, it would make our conversations right now and our conversations on social media, whatever, a lot different.
Collin Hansen: Well, David, you begin and end the book with President Trump’s visit to church, which is a pretty fascinating behind-the-scenes look about a pastoral decision that very, very few of us have ever been forced to make. So talking with somebody who had, what, five minutes?
David Platt: Oh, 10 seconds to make a decision.
Collin Hansen: Five minutes before the arrival, 10 seconds to make a decision. Given the same scenario with President Trump visiting your church today, would you make the same decision?
David Platt: Well played on the final question.
David Platt: I don’t know exactly what I do. As best as I can tell, I hope I was following the leadership of the Spirit in that moment. And it’s interesting. I just would mention this, just in case somebody decides, I’m not going to read this book, but one of the things I do in the book is, some people think, why is that even a question? If you think that, that’s where I would encourage you to read the book, because that’s where it’s helpful to realize that, actually, there are followers of Jesus who have different perspectives on that. Not on whether or not to pray for the president. We should always do that. We should all do that. That’s clear in the Bible.
David Platt: Yeah. And that was surprising. People thought I was saying, maybe we shouldn’t pray for the president. No, of course we should. We should pray publicly for the president in the church. But whether or not to bring the president on stage and do that, I would just put it this way. If we were going to do that again, I would love to be able to shepherd our people before and during and after that to make sure that the gospel was clear and unity around Christ and the church was not in any way questioned. There’s a variety of things pastorally I would want to do.
David Platt: And that if we did that, I think just the challenges that keep me from saying, yeah, we would definitely do that … Because there’s part of me that’s like, I want to invite whoever’s president in the years to come, to come, whoever that might be, because I want to pray for them, because we are going to pray for them. It’d be an honor to pray for them in person. But just the way that it gets skewed in the media, the way people in Metro Washington, D.C., who just see a little bit and now think, okay, that church is aligned with this president and all that he says and all that he stands for. So there are genuine reasons why I’m going to be hesitant. But, so hopefully, I’d have some more time to think through it next time.
Collin Hansen: Did you ever find out why your church was chosen?
David Platt: Yeah, pretty much. I mean, we have a late service, a one o’clock gathering, and it’s on the way from the golf course to the White House. And so, I don’t know all the background, but it was certainly a convenient stop on the way back. And I mention in the book, the president was extremely kind and cordial, and yeah, I would just say, I appreciated my interaction with him. I want to make sure-
Collin Hansen: Well, the reason I was asking was because I want people listening to understand that a lot of decisions that pastors make are impossible decisions. There’s no clear biblical guidance on it. There’s no good answer. There’s no, everybody will be happy if you choose this answer. You’re selected, not because of anything that you did or anything that you asked for. You didn’t want this situation or invite this situation. Not that you were trying to dodge it. You didn’t even realize it was a situation. You had no time to decide anything.
Collin Hansen: If you had made a different decision, it would have been apocalyptic. The church that told the president he couldn’t even come in to pray. So I hope you don’t feel like I’m giving you a gotcha question in the end, because actually, I think a lot of people don’t understand. And if you go back in history, I teach a lot about Birmingham history, and we walk through the contentious moments in Birmingham’s political, racial history. And I give people the actual scenarios that pastors faced. And I say, what decision would you make? And it’s usually just two bad options, not a good option, not two decent options, not one clear, one unclear. No, two bad options.
Collin Hansen: And that’s the essence of leadership though. You’re not always given an easy choice. So I want people to understand that. So I appreciate it. I didn’t know how the book was going to start out. I didn’t know it was going to start out that way and then end that way. And no, you don’t go through and explicitly say what you would have done differently or if you would have, but it invited that, because I appreciate how you invited us into your situation. I just think, David, we need a whole lot more empathy toward each other, understanding toward each other, and including our leaders. So thank you for following the Spirit’s lead in that situation. I don’t know what I would have done. I don’t know what anybody should have done, but I do know what would have happened if you hadn’t done it.
David Platt: Yeah. Yeah, sure. I’ve definitely thought about that. And people have said, well, I mean, you could have prayed for him backstage. People would have been critical. I appreciate what you just walked through there, Collin, in a bigger way. I’m burdened for pastors on the whole right now, just with a lot of those kind of decisions with reopening, regathering in the midst of COVID. There’s tons of other things. And I’m just, and a lot of criticism flying.
David Platt: I was talking with one of our pastors this morning about this. One of the painful, but really good fruits of these days in particular, these last months in particular, have been, my eyes are just fixed on Jesus and his approval more than ever before. I realize I can’t make this person, that person, I mean, that’s not what I’ve been called to do. I want to shepherd people well, but I want to be faithful before the Lord by his grace as best as possible. And so, yeah, for pastors, Christian leaders or just followers of Christ, let’s keep our eyes fixed on him. And then, to your point, to grow in empathy for one another, love one another in the middle of it.
Collin Hansen: If you’re a pastor who’s lucky enough, blessed enough that people in your church are actually asking you how they should vote, then Before You Vote: Seven Questions Every Christian Should Ask from David Platt, published by Radical, would be a good option for you. For those of you pastors who are facing situations where everybody’s upset, because you’re not telling everybody how they need to vote, then I hope some of these words have been a comfort to you, nonetheless. And trust that we’re praying for you during these times. David Platt has been my guest on Gospelbound. Thank you, David.
David Platt: Thanks, Collin.