When it comes to American evangelical Christians, there seem to be two camps when it comes to Donald Trump: those who are wholeheartedly behind him and those whose stomachs turn when they think of him. It’s tough to find any middle ground.
Trump’s supporters cite their candidate’s promises to stand up for religious freedom, to appoint conservative justices to the Supreme Court, and to give Christians a greater role in government.
But are those promises just a deal with the devil? Eric Sapp, of the Eleison Group, the American Values Network, and the Global Advisory Board of Christian Media Corporation (and a self-professed “evangelical leader”), seems to think so. (It’s funny how any Christian with an opinion about Donald Trump automatically gains credibility as an “evangelical leader,” but I digress.)
Sapp compares Trump’s promises to evangelicals to the bargain the devil tried to make with Jesus during His period of temptation. Satan offered Jesus food and physical protection, which Jesus refused, but the devil saved the best for last, offering Jesus power over the kingdoms of the world. Jesus of course refused this temptation as well (see Matthew 4 for the whole account).
In Sapp’s eyes, Donald Trump is offering this third temptation to American evangelicals. In his editorial in the Christian Post, Sapp writes:
I know the editors of CP to be good evangelical Christians, but they made the same mistake many evangelicals are liable to make. They said they were actually tempted by Trump’s offer to “Vote for me, and I will give you Supreme Court picks and abolish the Johnson Amendment.”
Trump’s “tempting” offer is remarkably like another made two millennia ago … when the Devil offered Jesus the power to rule over all the kingdoms of the world with justice and mercy, if only Christ would bow down to the Devil. American Christians should not take a deal Jesus rejected.
Sapp goes on to argue that Republican candidates’ continued promises to appoint justices friendly to Christian morals have failed to overturn Roe v. Wade and that repeal of the Johnson Amendment is a bad idea. I can understand his reasoning — who really wants their pastors picking sides from the pulpit anyway? It sounds so crass.
Sapp saves his sharpest daggers for the idea that Christians will have a seat at the table of power under a President Trump. He writes:
To the faithful, Trump has said, “Christians should vote for me because if I’m there, you’re going to have plenty of power. You don’t need anybody else.” Trump claims to be sinless and without need of God’s forgiveness. Let me ask you, when the beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies, what kind of things do you think he said?
What will it do to the evangelical witness if we are marked by our support of Trump? And given Trump’s life of broken promises and worship of only himself, even if the cost of accepting this deal were not so high, why would anyone put their faith in Trump to keep his vows once he has gotten what he wants?
But perhaps worst of all, if we accept Trump’s deal, we’ll trade all we are for nothing. Trump will definitely not save the Church or restore morality and Christian decency in America.
Why are believers falling hook, line, and sinker for someone like Donald Trump? Christians are supposed to seek solutions in God rather than man. They’re supposed to be more discerning than this.
I’m no supporter of Trump, but if you’re going to vote for him, God bless you. Just don’t view him as some sort of human savior for the church. Find reasons related to policy to base your support on, but don’t place your hopes in one man just because he claims to be on your side even though he has put forth no evidence to prove it.