Exasperation over the status quo has found its voice – Trump bellows what many people think yet keep to themselves.
What is surprising, and disappointing, is that so many evangelical Christians are gladly going along for the ride. More disappointing still are the voices of Christian pastors endorsing Trump, whose claims to be a Christian are contradicted daily by his boorish behavior.
This wave of evangelical support for Trump, whatever its size, is in reality a riptide that tarnishes the image of Christianity. Seldom do we see in a politician so many words and actions that contradict the teachings of Jesus.
Before I offend anyone further, let me clarify: If Trump didn’t tout his Christianity, wave a Bible around and try to quote Scripture, I wouldn’t be writing this. My concern is not politics per se, but the reputation of Jesus Christ in our communities.
Who we Christians support is part of our witness.
Politics are not somehow distinct from our faith; to be a Christian is to be a person whose entire life is influenced by a relationship with Christ. The implications of this follow us all the way to the ballot box.
So never mind Trump’s promise to make store clerks say “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.” When a politician appeals for our vote by calling himself a Christian, he ought to be examined to see whether he acts, at least in some way, like an actual Christian.
Trump fails this test.
Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, put it this way recently in the New York Times: “(Trump) humiliated his first wife by conducting a very public affair, chronically bullies and demeans people, and says he has never asked God for forgiveness. His name is emblazoned on a casino that features a strip club … he once supported partial-birth abortion and to this day praises Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest abortion provider.”
A Christian, by definition, is a person who realizes a desperate need for God’s forgiveness, and receives this grace on the basis of Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross. To never seek forgiveness shows an astonishing blindness to one’s own condition, and a very low view of God.
More succinctly, says Wehner: “(Trump) is a narcissist appealing to a people whose faith declares that pride goes before a fall.”
To be fair, I empathize with Christian voters who desire a strong leader, someone who speaks his mind and eschews our culture’s stifling political correctness. That’s refreshing, and it is clearly Trump’s draw.
But the Bible reminds us that decisions made in anger and frustration are seldom best, and cannot possibly honor God.
In fact, says James 1:20, “… the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
Before we vote for the candidate who appears strongest on the debate stage, let’s remember the strongest man who ever lived – Jesus Christ. He shows us that a truly strong man harmonizes grace and truth, loves even those who disagree with him, and seeks to serve others, not himself.
This Jesus is someone Trump professes to believe in and follow.
Ought not the character of Christ be the fragrance of his true followers?
Steve Massey is pastor of Hayden Bible Church (www.haydenbible.org). He can be reached at (208) 772-2511 or email@example.com.
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