The Lesser of Two Evils - It's About Choosing Sin, Not Politicians

If you've spent any time surfing the web or simply reading your Facebook posts of late, chances are you've been exposed to the meme above. It says it was penned by Charles Spurgeon. It even displays his dignified signature. The only problem is Spurgeon did not write it.

So then, since Charles Spurgeon did not inscribe these words, who did? 

Have you ever heard of Michael Marcavage? Me neither. Marcavage is an American missionary and the founder of Repent America, an evangelistic ministry based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Marcavage aside, even he did not prohibit Christians from voting their conscience for their candidate of choice. That is, since "ALL men sin and fall short of God’s glory" (RO 3:23), one would presume that ALL encompasses politicians, including those we admire as well as those who we do not. This embodies those whom we would see as a saint, as well as those whom we are absolutely sure, are the antichrist. 

After all, ALL are sinners.

The long and short of it is this meme was manufactured. It misattributes Marcavage with Spurgeon, in a not so veiled attempt to trash whichever of the current presidential candidates you believe is "the lesser of two evils." Plain and simple.

Spurgeon’s actual quote is from The Salt Cellars – Proverbs and Quaint Sayings. Its admonition offers direction when confronted with a choice of clear sin, such as if deciding between stealing and murder. To this Spurgeon applies the saying when writing:

Of two evils choose neither. Don’t choose the least, but let all evils alone.

That is, Spurgeon did not comment on voting or politics of any sort. Instead, the CONTEXT of Spurgeon's admonition addresses spirituality and illustrates the foolishness of devising false choices where both are missing God’s mark.

Spurgeon’s counsel was clearly understood in his day, and its usage has invariably been acknowledged and accepted without confusion. That is, it was clear until an American election emerged where a plan was hatched to incapacitate Christians by keeping them from voting. Powers that be are resolved to distract the salt-of-the-earth from making a wise choice between two deeply flawed people.

Interesting enough, Spurgeon knew that some would MISUSE his advice and even WARNED people of doing so. He begins his caution with the following:

There is a wicked way of using this saying…

"Of all evils choose the least,” by applying it to an undersized wife. When the Lacedaemonians fined their king for marrying a little woman, he excused himself by saying that of two evils he had chosen the less.
The old rhymster said:
“If wives are evils, as ’tis known,
 And wofully confessed,
the man who’s wise will surely own,
A little one is best."


Spurgeon’s advice on voting, which he offered frequently, was that Christians must continue to be involved citizens of their own country and that they should use their vote wisely in the sight of God:

I would not, however, say to any persons here present, despise the privilege which you have as citizens. Far be it from me to do it. When we become Christians we do not leave off being Englishmen; when we become professors of religion we do not cease to have the rights and privileges which citizenship has bestowed on us. Let us, whenever we shall have the opportunity of using the right of voting, use it as in the sight of Almighty God, knowing that for everything we shall be brought into account, and for that amongst the rest, seeing that we are entrusted with it. And let us remember that we are our own governors, to a great degree, and that if at the next election we should choose wrong governors we shall have nobody to blame but ourselves, however wrongly they may afterwards act, unless we exercise all prudence and prayer to Almighty God to direct our hearts to a right choice in this matter. May God so help us, and may the result be for his glory, however unexpected that result may be to any of us!”– Charles Spurgeon, Particular Election (Sermon).

Finally, if the preceding weren't enough, Spurgeon also offered this tidbit of wisdom:

Discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right.” All men have at times lusted, but is a wife to be nonchalant, noncommittal, and nonresistant if her husband watches porn every night? Both are evil, but one is less odious than the other is. No, all sins do not carry the same penalty and are not rated equally offensive.

As Spurgeon suggested, discernment is required to differentiate between options – the difference between right and wrong and the difference between wrong and very wrong.

Trump vs Clinton? 

You decide.

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