I am troubled by a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, as I have never been troubled before. I am a Democrat who almost always votes Republican because of my concern for the unborn. Now there are other moral concerns, religious freedom being one of them.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote and spoke about the authoritarian leader just as Hitler became the “democratically elected chancellor of Germany.” As Eric Metaxas points out Bonhoeffer had not planned his radio speech as a confrontation. It was written earlier. Speaking of a leader reaching beyond the authority of the office, Bonhoeffer stated:
“If he understands his function in any other way than as rooted in fact, if he does not continually tell his followers quite clearly of the limited nature of his task and of their responsibility if he allows himself to surrender to the wishes of his followers, who would always make him their idol—than the image of the Leader will pass over into the image of the mis-leader, and he will be acting in a criminal way not only towards those he leads, but also towards himself.”
It follows, according to Bonhoeffer, that the leader must, “lead his following away from the authority of his person to the recognition of the real authority of orders and offices. … He must radically refuse to become the appeal, the idol, i.e. the ultimate authority of those whom he leads.”
Now it is true that many of those seeking office, both Republican and Democrat, need to be reminded of who they really are, in the presence of God, simply office holders chosen to serve the people. But in Trump, one finds a need to be the ultimate authority mingled with immorality and dishonesty. Those who follow him, follow a lie. And those who desire to follow truth shudder because of those who follow the lie.
Still, there is a beautiful, biblical picture of a leader who has all authority but who is truly goodness incarnate. The leader is found in Psalm 72. A Psalm that was either written by Solomon or his father David. Scholars are uncertain. It is a king’s prayer to be a righteous yet gracious ruler, something that neither man, although they were great men, were able to accomplish. And in this Psalm one clearly sees the beauty of the ultimate, King, the messiah.
The prayer is that the king will judge his people with righteousness “and the afflicted with justice.” He will save the children and still crush the oppressor. He is like rain is to mown grass and “like showers that water the earth.” Everything flourishes because of his reign. There will be peace and those who are righteous will flourish.
“His rule is from sea to sea.” It is to the ends of the earth and all kings (and presidents) will in the end bow down to him. His compassion is perfect:
“For he will deliver the needy when he cries for help, the afflicted also, and him who has no helper. He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy he will save. He will rescue their life from oppression and violence, and their blood will be precious in his sight. ..”
The Psalm goes on to praise God for his wonders and glory.
Many years ago, in a sociology class, the professor asked us to take a quiz to help him with a project he and some other professors were conducting. The quiz consisted of choosing between two different actions we would take, at first a good action or a bad one. But as we went further into the test both actions to choose from became bad. Finally I returned the quiz to the professor, telling him I could not finish because I could not choose either action. This election is the same.
I hope and pray that many of us, who are Christians, if we must, will not vote, but will instead cling to that One who will and does reign in righteousness.
 Eric Metaxas, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2010) see chapter 9, “The Führer Principle”.
 Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72: An Introduction & Commentary, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, (Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity 1973).