This is from Christianity Today in an article dated December 19, 2019:
To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?
This is a letter written by Stephen R. Haynes, a professor of religious studies at Rhodes College and theologian-in-residence at Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee. It’s entitled, “An Open Letter to Christians Who Love Bonhoeffer but (Still) Support Trump,” and it was written January 10, 2020. Haynes would like to believe that the evangelicals’ support of Trump is reminiscent of Germany’s support of Adolf Hitler in the 1930′s. While he’s very quick to say that he doesn’t equate Hitler with Trump, he stately proclaims his concern that Christians today are supporting a fundamentally flawed leader just like the Germans did during Hitler’s rise to power. Here’s a portion of that letter:
I accept your claim that you could not, as Christians, vote for Hillary Clinton. I regard this as a principled stance rooted in the belief that behavior and character matter, as well as certain political convictions that for you are nonnegotiable. If you are one of those evangelical Christians who simply could not, as a Christian, vote for Hillary, I will not ask you to consider what role Russian propaganda played in your view of the Clintons. I will simply acknowledge that you found yourself in a truly difficult situation in which party loyalty became less important than the moral burden of having to choose between the “lesser of two evils.”
But if you truly felt that both candidates might be “evil,” I would point out that you were obliged as a Christian—to extricate yourself from this moral quagmire, either by refusing to vote at all, or by risking a vote for one of the candidates and, depending on how that person governed, being prepared to renounce him or her. In other words, you were obligated to do everything in your power to ensure that the evil you had unwittingly helped unleash on the country would be mitigated by people like yourself who still believe in evil and believe it must be resisted.
Finally, here’s an article that recently ran in USA Today written by John Fea, a history professor at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
At one point in his speech, Trump rattled off the names of the Fox News personalities who carry his water on cable television. The crowd roared as the president read this laundry list of conservative media pundits.
This rhetorical flourish was all very appropriate on such an occasion because Fox News, more than anything else, including the Bible and the spiritual disciplines, has formed and shaped the values of so many people in the sanctuary. Trump’s staff knows this. Why else would they put such a roll call in the speech?
At times, it seemed like Trump was putting a new spin on the heroes of the faith described in the New Testament book of Hebrews. Instead of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, David and Samuel, we got Sean (Hannity), Laura (Ingraham), Tucker (Carlson) and the hosts of “Fox and Friends.”
I am used to this kind of thing from Trump, but I was stunned when I witnessed evangelical Christians — those who identify with the “good news” of Jesus Christ —raising their hands in a posture of worship as Trump talked about socialism and gun rights.
I watched my fellow evangelicals rising to their feet and pumping their fists when Trump said he would win reelection in 2020.
Trump spent the evening mocking his enemies, trafficking in half-truths in order to instill fear in people whom God commands to “fear not,” and proving that he is incapable of expressing anything close to Christian humility.
His evangelical supporters loved every minute of it. That night, Christians who claim to be citizens of the Kingdom of God went to church, cheered the depraved words of a president and warmly embraced his offer of political power. Such a display by evangelicals is unprecedented in American history.
I usually get angry when members of my tribe worship at the feet of Trump. This time, I just felt sad.
Here’s my initial thought:
When I say, “Grow up,” I’m referring to what is an immature wielding of the Word of God in that you’re asserting your preferences as Divine Absolutes (see Phil 3:1-15; 2 Tim 2:15). If you think for a moment that you make your point by citing the Washington Post or the New York Times more than you do the Word of God, think again. And to assert the ridiculous notion that support for Trump is reminiscent of Germany’s support for Hitler, you’re completely overlooking the fact that Hitler outlined his political ideology in “Mein Kampf” before he took over as Chancellor. In that book, you can see his diabolical disdain for the Jews articulated in plain sight. Germany’s support of Hitler was not based on a willingness to overlook a lack of decorum as much as it was a willingness to ignore an insidious hatred of those considered to be the apple of God’s eye.
I’m familiar with Diedrich Bonhoeffer. I’ve read “The Cost of Discipleship” as well as some of his other writings. I know that he was a brilliant theologian and I’ve been to place where he was executed because of his involvement in the attempt to assassinate Hitler. Frankly, I believe that Bonhoeffer would be a staunch supporter of President Trump because Bonhoeffer would’ve identified the Democrat party as the godless force that’s attempting to strip every bit of Divine Truth from our national history as well as it’s current consciousness and he would’ve cast his vote in favor of the one whose platform best facilitated 1 Timothy 2:1-2.
Mimicking a press corps who has nothing but contempt for our President by accusing him of being a pathological liar demonstrates your ignorance more than it does your attentiveness to current events. The New York Times published a piece that occupied the entire front section of their publication in June of 2017 that detailed a list of 101 lies the President had supposedly told since taking office. It’s typical of what the MSM wants to label as lies by being intentionally incomplete in their reporting. Every one of their 101 accusations has another side that when reviewed results in a very different conclusion than the one they want to force upon the public. Click here to see a detailed response to every one of their indictments.
John 7:24 says:
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly. (Jn 7:24)
Everything you know about Donald Trump is based on second hand information oftentimes being relayed to you from the perspective of someone who’s disdain for our current President is as intense as it is nonsensical.
Stop staring at a screen that’s giving you nothing but a biased rendition of the facts rather than a comprehensive view of the truth.
And by the way, to even suggest that you’re deploying a righteous approach to the voting booth by excusing yourself from voting, simply because you’re not “comfortable” with any of the candidates…
Know this: Failing to vote wisely is a vote being cast for the worst possible option. You do yourself nor your family nor your country any good by being irresponsible and then attempting to justify it with a verse taken out of context that mirrors your spiritual lethargy more so than a Biblical Absolute (1 Chron 12:32).
As far as Trump’s “blackened moral record” and “immoral behavior,” again I would say that you need to grow up.
The F-Word Used Like a Comma
I was in the Marines for nine years. Some of the best leaders I ever served under used the “f-word” like a comma. While I didn’t applaud their vulgarity or any of their other character flaws, I knew I could trust them implicitly to provide the needed leadership to accomplish whatever it was that needed to be done. Mind you, I’m not talking about character flaws in the context of something criminal. Rather, I’m talking about the kind of behavior that’s unbecoming to a champion of moral excellence (Matt 5:48). But I would much rather work for a man that’s “leads” rather than “manages” any day. And that doesn’t constitute a compromise of my faith, it’s an expression of it in that I’m being wise in the way I counter the efforts of my enemy by supporting a leader that God has positioned for “such a time as this (Esther 4:14; Dan 2:21).”
And one other thing to consider: You are walking in lockstep with those who are aggressively working to silence any reference to Christ not only in the political arena, but also in the marketplace and in our culture in general. If you’re bothered by Trump’s tweets or his checkered past, remember this: Paul wasn’t always especially refined when he was condemning the spiritual immaturity of some of his flock. No, he didn’t cuss, but if you extend the line of your reasoning to its inevitable conclusion, then there’s a good chance you would’ve had a hard time listening to Paul because of the way you want to focus more on the way something is being communicated rather than what’s actually being said.
It galls me no end that certain members within our ranks turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the things that President Trump has done that champion biblical Truths and yet you refer to his administration as an “evil that has been unleashed on this country.”
Let me ask you something: Are you aware that in 2011, Obama defined pregnancy as a “disease” that justified preventive care? That’s how they were able to compel all health care companies and employers to subsidize birth control for women ? It’s called the Contraceptive Mandate.
That means that, as an employee, I’m now indirectly funding what amounts to scenarios that are potentially immoral if not incredibly foolish.
Not to mention, contrary to the Word of God (1 Cor 6:18; Heb 13:4).
If you want to be sexually intimate with someone, that’s your decision, but it is not my responsibility. And that’s just a practical objection. I could also make a strong case for the fact that you are compelling me to subsidize something that’s contrary to my religious beliefs.
In 2017, Trump rolled back that mandate and made it possible for employers to comply with Federal standards and yet not be required to provide birth control for women.
This is but one of many things that Trump has done that champion Biblical values.
It’s Not My Relationship with Christ…
It is not my relationship with Christ that needs to be questioned given my support for Trump. Rather, it’s yours.
Jesus said you know a tree by its fruit. The harvest of Trump’s accomplishments are not just noteworthy, they’re spiritually on point.
You complain about his lack of decorum, you cringe when you ponder his past, but you don’t look at what God is doing in and through him. As a result, you’re judging by appearances, you’re asserting your preferences as substitutes for biblical Absolutes and you are elevating yourself to the position of a bogus judge who cites Scripture without actually applying it.
It’s not uncommon for Progressives to hijack the power of words in order to speak into existence something that’s not real, nor is it uncommon for Liberals to spew all kinds of vitriol in an effort to illicit an emotional response so as to distract from the lack of substance that characterizes their platform.
But that kind of strategy should never come from someone who has access to the Holy Spirit when it comes to discernment and political savvy.
To read Part One of this series, click here.