I have to admit that Donald Trump hasn’t done anything to talk me off the #NeverTrump bandwagon. His name calling, authoritarian leanings, and lack of substantive policy pronouncements concern me, but as a Christian my biggest problem with Trump is that he claims to be a believer yet sees no need to seek forgiveness from God.
Trump’s supporters make it even more difficult for me to consider supporting him. From their lack of civility to their calls to “fall in line” because we “have to” support Trump, to the weird celebrity status they’ve bestowed upon a presidential candidate (one friend posted a meme on Facebook that read, “Share if you think Ivanka Trump would be the coolest first daughter ever!” as though the real election were for presidential children), the Trumpbots are turning me away from the candidate they support.
Now a couple of Christian leaders are relying on a wacky hypothetical argument in an attempt to rally more believers to Trump. Over at Charisma News, Trump supporter Steve Strang quotes a theory from a pastor named Lance Wallnau that God is using the billionaire to restore American much as He used Cyrus to restore the territory of the Israelites.
What a concept! We know our nation is in a very critical situation. We know that God has raised up leaders in the past. In fact, I feel this is so important I interviewed Lance for an edition of The Strang Report on the Charisma Podcast Network. He reminded me that Abraham Lincoln was no darling of the Conservative Christians of the time. In the day of Charles Finney, when there were many devout Christians in America, Abraham Lincoln did not even proclaim to belong to any specific denomination. Yet, he was a God-fearing man and frequently quoted the Bible in public speeches during his presidency.
In the darkest days of World War II, England chose Winston Churchill, who was a profane drinker.
“In their period of time, neither Winston Churchill nor Abraham Lincoln were the darling of revivalists or evangelicals,” Wallnau said in our interview. “Churchill was a bloviating, cigar-smoking politician whose opinions were frequently offensive and whose judgment was faulty. Looking back at history, he was the Cyrus for Great Britain that defeated the Nazi spirit in Adolf Hitler. … With Lincoln, here’s a man that wouldn’t even identify himself as a pew-sitting believer; unthinkable. But, he became the most Bible-quoting man in office.”
Yes, Trump is Cyrus, Churchill, and Lincoln all rolled into one with these folks. In the eyes of Strang and Wallnau, Trump is so great that we should overlook the very life of the unrepentant Donald!
I see Trump not in terms of his three marriages or his casinos. I see him in terms of his work ethic. He’s driven by ambition to make something better. Most people miss this, but his kids adore him. How many Christians can be scrutinized by their kids’ opinion of them and by their work ethic? These are the aspects of Trump’s personality that make him a candidate that we should be looking at through a different lens instead of his casinos and his marriages.
Before I go any further, let me say as a follower of Jesus that I believe that God can do some surprising things. The Bible tells us that God’s way are far different from ours (Isaiah 55:8-9) and that He often chooses the “foolish things of this world” to turn the order of things around (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
We have seen this played out before. God chose the most vicious persecutor of the early Messianic believers to take His incredible message of salvation to the nations (the apostle Paul). In the 20th century, He chose a former atheist to be come one of the most eloquent apologists for the Gospel (C. S. Lewis).
The list goes on, so yes, we can say that stranger things have happened. However, to stake our presidential election on this idea that God just might use Donald Trump is simply too great a gamble.
In fact, let’s take Messrs. Strang and Wallnau’s argument in a couple of different directions to expose its speciousness. Why didn’t someone talk Christopher Hitchens into pastoring a church on the off chance that God would use him to save souls? Or better yet, why not put the reprehensible Dan Savage at the helm of the American Family Association in the hopes that God may use him to promote traditional family values? The argument winds up looking somewhat silly in other lights.
And we’re supposed to think Donald Trump could be God’s agent based upon his work ethic and the fact that his kids like him? Ted Cruz has worked hard, as has Marco Rubio, and I’m sure Chelsea loves Hillary. What about an admirable upstart like Austin Petersen (the Libertarian candidate whom I’m considering throwing my support to)? Why can’t God use any of these others too?
Another ridiculous feature of this theory from Strang and Wallnau comes in the comparison between the story of the Jewish nation and America. God used Cyrus, the King of Persia, to allow the Israelites to rebuild Jerusalem. This was God’s chosen nation. To suggest any equivalence between God’s choice of Israel and the United States in modern times is to make an idol of this nation. I, for one, patently refuse to buy an argument that raises “make America great again” to the status of rebuilding Jerusalem after the Jewish exile.
God has a purpose for Donald Trump, but it’s only His to know. Can God use him to accomplish some great achievement here in America? You bet He can. Should we bet the presidency on it? Not on your life. Christians should pray fervently over whom to support, and they should seek God’s direction rather than basing such an important decision on “what ifs.”
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Joseph Sohm