As new polling data Monday showed Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump with a commanding lead among voters in North Carolina ahead of Tuesday's primary, evangelical leader Dr. Richard land urged Christians to vote and make a difference.
"I have been asked quite often over the last few decades, 'Should Christians vote? Should we become involved with politics? Do our votes make any difference?'" said Land, a North Carolina resident who serves as president of Southern Evangelical Seminary and executive editor of The Christian Post, in a statement.
"When I first started hearing those questions, I was a seminary student in the early '70s, and abortion had not become the law of the land and Roe v. Wade had not been decided. But the horrendous slaughter of unborn babies after 1973 produced a tidal wave of moral indignation that swept through American evangelicalism and resulted in the Moral Majority Movement and others registering more than 10 million previously unregistered voters," he continued.
And the Moral Majority Movement went on to make a difference.
"As a direct result of their activation and participation in the political process, Ronald Reagan, a pro-life candidate, was elected president in 1980. Did that solve everything? No, it did not. But just think how much worse things would be had he not been elected. The country as a whole made a turn in the right direction. The evil empire — the Soviet Union — was shoved onto the ash heap of history, and freedom flourished around the world," he said.
"When people tell me that you shouldn't be involved in politics and public policy because it doesn't make any difference, my reply is 'compared to what?'" Land continued. "It is foolish and wrong to compare things the way they are to how you want them to be. You have to compare things the way they are to the way they would have been had Christians not been involved and made a substantial difference. Believe me; things would be far, far worse than they are if Christians hadn't involved themselves in the public square. Christians have a sacred duty to vote, and when we vote, to vote our convictions, our beliefs and our values."
Late last month, senior editors at The Christian Post warned evangelicals against supporting Trump arguing that he was dangerous and does not represent the "interests of evangelicals."
"We the senior editors of The Christian Post encourage our readers to back away from Donald Trump. As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country," said the editors.
"Trump claims to be a Christian, yet says he has never asked for forgiveness. While God, in His wondrous creativity, has drawn people to Himself through the saving grace of Jesus Christ in many different ways, there are certain non-negotiable actions needed to become a Christian: One must repent of their sins and follow Christ as Lord and Savior. Trump doesn't talk this way, even when urged to," the editors charged.
While Land does not make any recommendation on who Christians should vote for in his most recent statement, the seminary president makes it clear that the Bible calls on Christians to participate in the political process.
"The New Testament tells us that we are to support the government for conscience sake," Land said. "That means obeying the law, paying our taxes and voting. God created government to be a force for good and a restraint on evil in society. Jesus commanded Christians to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5), and government is a part of that world."
Christians, said Land, must help to influence government by being salt and light as commanded in Scripture.
"Jesus' commandment is an all-encompassing one, and includes evangelism, missions, discipleship, and helping to influence the divinely ordained magistrates so that they will always be more moral and just," Land said.
"Jesus' commandment to be salt and light did not leave open the option for Christians to refuse to be involved with 'worldly concerns' and go into a spiritual holding pattern until it is time to be raptured or to go home to heaven," he continued.
"Christians can and have made a real difference," he continued. "Virtually all the great moral injustices in American history — slavery, child labor, women's rights and racial segregation — have been eliminated or seriously reduced as a result of Christians getting involved and saying, 'This is wrong, and it must stop.' As Christians — as followers of Christ — we have the duty to be informed voters and to vote our convictions, our beliefs and our values, not our wallets and our narrow self-interests."
According to the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling, Trump is polling at in North Carolina at 44 percent to 33 percent for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 11 percent for Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, and 7 percent for Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.