Iowa GOP seeks principled Christian president

by Karen L. Willoughby, |

CORALVILLE, Iowa (Christian Examiner) -- Republicans across Iowa are working to get a principled Christian elected to the U.S. presidency in 2016.

They say they want the president to be a man of high character, strong integrity, and solidly grounded in the Christian faith upon which the United States of America was founded.

"I've come to realize that basically Christians, we've been given responsibility of stewardship over civil government," Brad Sherman told the Christian Examiner. He is pastor of Solid Rock Church in Coralville, where perhaps 80 people gather each week for Christian worship.

"Our nation was founded as a Christian republic," Sherman continued. "Civil government is just as much an institution established by God as is family and church. ... Luke 19:11-27 makes it clear we're going to answer to God some day for our stewardship."

Sherman, for 35 years an Iowa resident, was one of three men who talked at length with the Christian Examiner on subjects related to issues of strong interest to Republicans in Iowa.

People across the nation have a strong interest in Iowa Republicans, since the nation's first caucus -- which some call a primary -- takes place the first week of February 2016 in Iowa.

A.J. Spiker is the former Iowa GOP Chairman from Ames and a Catholic layman who got involved in politics during the 2008 election.

"Look at what we have done as a people, like allowing abortion to go on," Spiker told the Examiner. "It doesn't take a majority to change the world; it takes a few people waking up a few more people and so on....

"When we focus too much power in Washington [D.C.], we wind up with really bad results," the former chairman continued. "We've got this huge out-of-control government. The only way to really restore God's plan is to bring the power back to family and the church."

One hundred percent of the membership of Jubilee Family Church in Oskaloosa, Iowa, that is able by law to vote, does vote, reported Bill Tvedt, pastor for 25 years, 21 at this church.

"We're a church that takes civics seriously," Tvedt told the Christian Examiner. "We've been a voting bloc of adult Christians with a biblical worldview; not as a branch of our church, but as citizens who have been taught to be responsible in civics."

At least 120 people participate in Sunday morning worship at Jubilee Family Church, in a town of about 12,000.

"Fear God is a key criterion Scripture gives for choosing leaders," Tvedt continued. "The candidates need to be men of truth who honor and fear God. ... We can't be Christians and have a Muslim-doctrine fellowship and agenda.

"If we call ourselves a Christian, we need to be true to the source, our Scriptures. That's non-negotiable," Tvedt continued. "We believe as evangelical Christians that there is truth, and consequence for violating truth."

Republicans in Iowa are looking for a presidential candidate – and candidates for all other elective offices – who will be "of a biblical worldview and basically men of integrity and truth," Tvedt told the Examiner.

"You could say our Constitution conceptually is all based in biblical truth," the pastor continued. "When you obey the Constitution, you obey God, and that's why we were blessed. Now that we are deviating from the Constitution, we're not as exceptional."

He doesn't lead his congregation to vote Republican or for that matter, Democratic, but when his members study not only what the candidates say, but also how they vote, they learn which ones adhere to a biblical mandate, Tvedt explained.

"First off, we need to understand that righteousness exalts a nation and sin doesn't," Sherman said. "That means we should have righteous leaders. Then, understand that if Christian values don't form the basis of our government, somebody else's values will.

"What I tell our members and the other pastors I talk with across the state, is that we should vote, and vote for those who represent biblical values such as on life and marriage."

The Christian Examiner will be following the actions and words of these three men – Sherman, Spiker and Tvedt – as they help lead the state next February in determining their choice in the nation's first caucus of the people's choice for the next president of the United States.