Potential of Losing Discernment, by Employing a Double Standard

AFP_1WS437.0Let me begin by stating that I like what I have seen of Vice President Mike Pence’s character and demeanor, since his nomination. The vice president’s person has in a profound way served to restrain some of the presidents’s erratic displays of character, and injected reason into areas of policy, where President Trump may be lacking candor or understanding.

This qualification is necessary, due to the contentious political season we are in, because my post today is not of a political nature, but wholly spiritual and biblically necessary.

With that said, how did Vice President Pence twisting of a passage of Holy Scripture go unnoticed and unchecked, from his speech at the Republican national convention?

At about the 35:16 mark of his speech (below quote is video), he proclaims…

From these hallowed grounds American patriots, in generations gone by, did their part to defend freedom. Now it is our turn.

So let’s run the race marked out for us.

Let’s fix our eyes on old glory and all she represents.

Let’s fix our eyes on this land of hero’s ,and what their courage inspires.

And let’s fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith and our freedom.

And never forget that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

That means freedom always wins.

The Vice President just mangled Hebrews 12:1-2 and inserted American symbols and actions, as what we are to fix our eyes on before the Lord Jesus Christ. Although, at the end of the quote he alludes to our Lord, without using His name above all names. He then makes an outrageous guarantee, using II Corinthians 3:18, that freedom always wins.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

In the first place, what is implied by calling us to “run the race marked out before us“, as we “fix” (looking unto as a landmark) “our eyes on old glory (the flag)” and “this land’s hero’s“. If he ended there, I would not be writing anything. His statement would have been chalked up as an injection of patriotism wrapped in biblical wording. Not ideal, pretty irresponsible for a Christian, but common among those whose Christianity is all too easily anchored to nationalism.

When the vice president, moves to include reference to the Author and Perfecter of our faith, without saying “Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith”; he moves the instruction from the realm of the political race, to the race of the redeemed. This is not just problematic but heresy. PERIOD. This pains me to write it, because I truly like vice president Pence, but we ought to expect more out of those in public view, who declare to be Christian.

The flag of the United States of America, which I respect as filled with meaningful symbolism, is the flag of a nation. The beautiful flag of America does NOT communicate the gospel, and does not glorify Jesus Christ the Lord. Though I am thankful to be a citizen of America, its flag is not a necessary catalyst to the faith of Christians in other nations, nor Christians in America. There is a difference between focus on a flag and fixation on the only hope of humanity, the Lord Jesus Christ.

When the vice president, mentions we “fix” our eyes on “the heroes of this land“, which heroes is he referring to as aiding in our race of faith for the Lord Jesus Christ? America has had some great heroes, many of whom had lives of devout Christian faith, but many of whom did not, and I may add, who’s lives were lived morally and spiritually devoid of the faith once delivered to the saints.

This is where the problem lies. We know the vice president was not speaking of our Christian faith, but injecting national symbols and nostalgia into scripture to pump up the base… those targeted as evangelical Christians. The language used was to inspire or schmooze, us too the battle of freedom.

In so doing vice president Pence, mutilated two passages of scripture. He did so without the largest portion of Christians not knowing or caring, because, is it possible that in our fervor to win the battle for the soul of America, we’re only trying to save our own bacon?

Let me ask what does vice president Pence mean by freedom, because the freedom spoken of by the word of God, as by the Spirit, is not democratic freedom; but that which comes through the cross.

That freedom, which II Corinthians 3:18 proclaims, only comes through faith and repentance, in the Messiah, who died on the cross.  We “Look unto Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith“, and ONLY JESUS.

That freedom is not democratic freedom to choose your own path or be materially prosperous, or whatever else you or I determine. God’s freedom, through Christ, is freedom from the the ruler-ship of the sin nature or old self before we were in Christ (Romans 6:6-7, 14); it is also freedom to deny myself and live totally for the will of God, as a bond-slave, absolutely surrendered.

This freedom in Christ, is not free to make it’s own choice and even vote for who they think is best, but is a life governed by the direct leading of the Holy Spirit; which is seen in the activity of Proverbs 3:5-7.

This is not what vice president Pence was proclaiming. Either in ignorance or on purpose he revealed what is wrong with the majority of Christians in the United States. Blurred lines between our calling as Christians and the fear of losing our civil rights as Americans. In this error, he and we may be in danger of a clear O.T. and N.T. command.

Revelation 22:18-19 (NKJV) For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

*Similarly warned in Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32  

The lack of concern over the vice president’s comments, reveals that we are already guilty of a political double standard on character.

I in good conscience never vote for anyone who approves or pushes, either tacitly or openly, the abomination of abortion. In my biblically informed opinion, those who vote for pro-abortion candidates, may be complicit in the deaths of 70,000,000 beautiful children who were barbarically murdered in the womb. 

On the other hand, though I agree with many of the policy decisions of the sitting presidential administration and although I don’t need a “pastor in the Oval Office“; character matters and a lack of solid character reveals potential problems. A person of belligerence pompousness, pride and rudeness, is a person prone, when angered or shaken, to radical and destructive decisions.

What am I saying? Christians need to stop treating the our president, as if he is our savior. He is a politician, a man who is broken and in need of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ; which ought to transform his character. Transformed new creation character is the Lord’s underlying motive in salvation, because it brings glory to God. Let’s not employ a double standard anymore, because we are being guaranteed that FREEDOM, will always win. Once more this is not about elections, but navigating our political times, with the Holy Spirit.


After being saved in 1997, God’s word and the leading of His Spirit would direct my political choices from that time forward. It was around 2003, when I began to notice a political character, in Christian leaders and laity alike. This character trait really picked up steam, when president Obama ran for his first term. This phenomenon was a double standard that led to a lack of discernment. 

This flaw in thinking is just as dangerous as the union rank and file, voting Democratic over economic fears, or because African Americans and minorities are told the party of the donkey, will take care of them.

In like manner, this double standard has led Christians to shut off discernment, when republicans declare the sky will fall, if the other party wins, or when their are real character issues needing to be addressed in leaders. Let’s look at how it works this double standard works.

When president Clinton was in office, he went through a number of scandals, because he was an inherently crooked politician. Perhaps the most prolific of them all was lying to the American public, concerning his sordid tryst with an intern in the oval office. In addition he was accused of a few more sexual indiscretions, some allegedly criminal.

The vitriol he received from conservative Christian’s was a tsunami that rolled through out two terms. The former president was skewered, mocked, maligned and expected to resign. Christian leaders, spoke very publicly about it and rightly so.

Our current President, has had as many if not more immoral entanglements prior to serving in the oval office. In fact two of them came out during the campaign, and both allegations were meritorious. Yet, there is no outcry for him to even apologize to his wife and children, publicly,  for the shame he brought upon them.

“Oh, but that happened prior to his time in the White house”. Yes! but the shame upon his wife and children is very public. Where is our concern for his family and with so many “Christian” superstar leaders about him, where is the call to public repentance. That would show a heart change and character driven leadership.

Or what of the fact, that no U.S. president, in modern history has been as bellicose, belligerent, arrogant, rude, pompous, mean spirited, or lacking self-control when dealing with detractors. We live through a daily stream of ridiculousness, accusation and insult.

In this double standard many Christian’s adore and applaud the president, not for being a model of virtue, honesty, integrity or state craft; but because of his belligerence. 

Let’s remember that political policies are not overt biblical indicators of a life in Christ, no matter how closely we align with them politically. It is the fruit of the Spirit which reveals the character and heart of a true Christian (Galatians 5:22-24).

Remember Bill Clinton, declared he was and is a Christian, many doubt his profession. Our current president has been declared a Christian, by the prosperity false preacher, Paula White, who has been divorced and remarried more than once and continues to teach false doctrine, while fleecing the flock of God. 

Holy Spirit discernment deems we are least, place our personal desire for political gain aside, being concerned to praying for the president’s soul, as Jesus reveals that we know true followers from the counterfeit, by their fruit. Sadly, around all the Christian leaders sniffing around the oval office, we see little change if any. 

Some will say, I don’t need a pastor in the White House. I agree, but where was that sentiment when president Clinton was in the White House or even president Obama, whom no one ever trusted was a Christian, because of contrary policy and pride and arrogance. 

Look I have been pleased with a good deal of the policy decisions of the current president, but the Holy Spirit is calling us to look beyond what lines up with our sensibilities. When not discerning in a double standard, we ignore red flags, cease praying proactively and are susceptible to falling to a wolves in sheep clothing in sheep clothing.

In the book “Hitler’s Cross”, by Erwin Lutzer, the author reveals how the German people, who largely considering themselves “Christians in a Christian nation”, could vote for Adolf Hitler. Lutzer reveals that because of the political situation, hopelessness and fear, religious leaders gave into a two spheres model. That model said faith and morality were important, but when the nation and it’s good was at stake, morality could be checked at the office door; if for the good of the country. Hence, Hitler’s rise, which was good for Germans, except of Jewish decent. How did that work out?

In the last days, false Christ’s abound, to fool even the elect. I suspect at both political conventions were more than a few flying under the radar. Now is not the time to sleep, but like the men of Issachar in I Chronicles 12:32, we must understand the time and know what we ought to do.

About Michael J Erdel

Mike is a pastor with The Assembly of God Fellowship. He is the lead pastor at Encounter Church in Fostoria Ohio. His desire is to encourage the Church of Jesus Christ, and declare God's hope through His Son Jesus, to a world which is long on excuses and short on hope. Mike has experienced the truth that when we kneel before Christ, surrendering to Him as Savior and LORD, being led and empowered by His Spirit. To Jesus Christ be all glory and honor.
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